FOSSIL | Rachel Satchel – the just enough bag!

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINKS

FOSSIL Rachel Satchel - review//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

A little trendy, a little sophisticated and a whole lot of fun – this Fossil handbag has snagged me more compliments than anything else I’ve ever carried and I definitely think you all need one in your life. Meet the Rachel Satchel, similar to the previously released Sydney and might I add distractingly akin to the the shape of the Louis Vuitton Speedy 25 in size this bag has been my steady companion on days I don’t need to carry my work bag. 
FYI | I’m still trying to find the best format for a handbag post between filming a video and being able to show you detailed closeups, additionally I’m also trying to accommodate for those who have time to watch a full video versus those who just want a quick break down so, let me know if this format works out for you!
THE FULL REVIEW
THE QUICKIE
Size: 10″ x 7″ x 5″ 
(LV Speedy 25: 9.8″ x 7.4″ x 5.9″) 
Price at time of purchase: $188 CAD (tax included) 
How long I’ve owned it: 6 months
Materials: Coated PVC (outside), cotton twill lining
Details: Detachable crossbody strap, front and back slip pockets, interior zip pocket & 2 slip pockets
WHAT I LOVE
  • Easy to carry size that doesn’t overwhelm my 5’2 frame
  • Fits my small iPad pro with keyboard cover and still have room for everything else
  • PVC outer keeps clean and is water-resistant
  • Placement of cross body D-rings is well balanced and doesn’t pull on the bag body 
  • Duo tagged zipper opens all the way down yet is gusseted so things don’t fall out
  • PVC version is super lightweight
  • The zipper is smooth and slides easily every time
THINGS TO NOTE
  • Carrying handles are not removable (had someone ask!)
  • Handles are not large enough to use as shoulder bag under the arm
  • There needs to be a belt loop to keep the tail of the cross body strap in place when you have it on the shortest setting
  • I would love to see a key fob in future versions
THE FINAL VERDICT

I would absolutely buy this bag again in a heartbeat as it’s served so functionally in my life and make me smile every time I look at it. The fact that the bag was PVC didn’t distract from the overall beauty of the bag which I had initially worried about but now I love it as it is – the PVC versions also gives Fossil lots of creative play with prints that is hard to do with leathers. While I did compare this to the LV Speedy 25, I wouldn’t say this is a step down alternative as this absolutely has its own charm and is worth owning in multiples if it works for your lifestyle.

Chat soon,

Work It | Comfort Shoes for Everyday

Rockport Highheels//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Work wear has become a bit of my recent obsession – hey, when you spend 40 hours a week in the zone, it’s probably a good idea to think about what you wear while hustling. While most of us would love to dress like we walked out of a Vogue magazine, practicality always wins in the end for me especially when it comes to footwear. As I’m in the process of overhauling my shoe closet to more comfort footwear choices, I thought I’d share with you some of my current favourites.

SHOES MENTIONED

  • BLONDO | Elvina Waterproof Boots 
  • ROCKPORT | T-Strap Pumps 
  • HUSH PUPPIES | Odessa Evaro Sneakers 
  • CLARKS | Faye Mary-Jane (LE) 
  • GH BASS | Evelyn Oxfords

Now while heel height isn’t necessarily the singular measurement of comfort, being a bit more thoughtful about the heel type, support and structural details can go a long way if you’re going to be in a shoe all day. Other brands worth a second look include Naturalizer, Earth, Vionic and Geox just to name a few. Now with spring just around the corner, I’m more than excited to browse the warm weather options!

Happy Shoe Shopping,

Tips on sewing a workwear wardrobe

Workwear. One of those words that sounds terribly boring on the surface but has so much inner potential. While I do prefer non-fussy and easy to wear pieces, I also advocate for a working wardrobe that makes you excited and happy to put on clothes in the morning. When it came to off the rack options, my struggles had always been fit and price point. Being short and dressing professionally can often be at odds with each other. And then it suddenly struck me, with a twist in colours and fabric choices, there was no reason that I shouldn’t or couldn’t sew my own workwear. Here’s a peep at what I picked up recently and my plans creating your own ready to work sewing capsule.

KNOW YOUR ENVIROMENT
Before you get too excited picking out patterns left and right, it’s crucial to evaluate your everyday environment both at work and on the way to/from work. This is especially important if you transit as you’ll need to account for weather and temperature challenges. Personally, this translates into comfortable but weather proof pieces that will keep warm on the road but still dust off nicely when I step into the office. Full length pants with ankle coverage so I can pair with boots along with an easy pull on waist design so I’m not fumbling with zippers and buttons. Options in crisp wovens or wooly knits would be ideal.

WORKWEAR SETS FOR LAYERING
The magic word of the fashion world, layering is something to keep in mind when planning a handmade wardrobe as well. Lots of brands offer patterns that contain a mix and match set of pieces that you can duplicate in different colours and textures but still maintain a cohesive overall look. These are great if you find a silhouette you love or don’t want to fuss with piecing together individual separates. All the hard planning is done for you so all you do is sew it up and go.

PICK ONE KEY FOCUS
If tackling a whole working capsule seems much too daunting, start off with one key area in your collection that you want to expand. For me, this means tops, blouses and sweaters because while I can get away with wearing the same two pair of pants throughout the week, I am missing interchangeable top pieces that add fun to dressing up. This translated into buying designs for silky tops that will make use of all the fun prints I always see in the fabric store but never know what to do with. Think multi-seasonal, the same pieces could be worn solo or layered under a long vest in the chillier months.

HAVE A VISION
Its sounds like common sense but having a vision of the colour palette or specific fabric for your sewing pattern before you check out means you’re more likely to sew  it and see it to completion. I would say this takes the most experience to truly grasp because it’s so easy to just see the design as its made in the photo sample. Figure out what element attracts you to that pattern and how will it look with the rest of your closet. When I see Butterick 4136 for example, I know it’ll be so stylish as a gingham or tweed skirt paired with tall suede boots and a cozy sweater.

A WORD ON FIT
Just as I started this post talking about the challenges of great fit in a professional capsule closet, I want to end on this note as well. If you do a little extra digging, you will find that the Big 4 (Vogue, Butterick, Simplicity, McCalls) do have a few options for petite sizing which means you’re more likely to get a better fit straight from the envelope with minimal adjustments. Most of today’s picks were chosen for exactly this reason and I can’t wait to get started on them.

Follow my sewing progress on Instagram #sewwithgerry through the week to see what I’m making.

Happy Sewing,

Handmade| Ogden Camisole – True Bias

Ogden Camisole - True Bias
Ogden Camisole - True Bias

 

This sassy little tank top started with me in my usual habitat…shopping, when I came upon this beautifully whimsical fabric with prints of little bees in bright yellow. On the next few trips, I’d always stop by to look at it on the bolt but with nothing to use for it, every time it stayed in the shops.

PATTERN: True Bias – Ogden Camisole

MY NUMBERS: 34 – 27.5 – 37
PATTERN SIZE: 2 (B33-W27-H35)
EDITS: Shortened body and straps
FINISHES: Double stitched rolled hem

That is, until I found the Ogden Camisole pattern and what do you know, the two together is completely adorable! As I don’t prefer to wear anything too fussy design wise, I often find myself at the cusp of being boring with my wardrobe but it’s these unexpected combination of fun fabrics and classic silhouettes that creates an interesting modern piece. My challenge with finding the perfect ready to wear tank is either a too low cut in front or too long straps but sewing one myself means I can fix both in a jiffy.

 

Ogden Camisole - True Bias

I love when simplicity in good design makes a garment easy to sew plus easy to wear and Ogden is just that. No bias cutting, no complicated seam finishes plus this even comes with a built in facing (which I’ll have to lengthen next time). Being adventurous, I thought the loose looking camisole would be fine sized down but as you can see, it pulls at my high bust (where the fabric creates horizontal lines) so I’ll have to go in for a size 4 next time. Can’t wait to see how this looks made up in blush pinks, stripes, florals, leopards…..

Happy Sewing,

G

Monochrome to foxes – discovering colour in my wardrobe

The best thing about getting back into garment sewing has been all the all the little revelations and epiphanies along the way. In between sewing pockets and struggling with zippers, I’ve been really excited to fall in love with colour again. 
In my childhood my mother dressed me in ditzy florals and pastel pink button down shirts but my teenage years were clouded by blacks, greys and lots of denim (denim my friends, is another story). Coming out on the other side in early twenties, I had soon adopted a fear of colours and prints. I often hummed and hawed over what went together then shove my frustrated pile in the back of my closet and put on something safe instead. Didn’t they always say black was slimming? The problem was that I had stopped loving my clothes.
Colourful fabric prints

My wardrobe overhaul has been in the works for more than a year now yet looking back at the progress, I’m glad that it was a slow and purposeful project. I started branching out from my comfortable greys into coloured solids and classic patterns like stripes and polka dots then before you know it I was buying foxes, poppies and cartoon clouds. My guidance came from bloggers like Oh Joy and Oona Balloona who expressed so much happiness through their bright and colourful clothing choices that it was practically addicting.
This week I’ve thinking about this new vintagey mustard yellow floral rayon that’s going to be made into an Eve dress; it makes me smile just looking at it! I’m really starting to think this is what life should be about.
Chat soon,

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Chatter: So I spent $81 on hosiery…

 … no, you didn’t read the title wrong. I really did recently spend what seems like a small fortune on sheer, small pieces of fabric that need constantly careful care. Hosiery or the dreaded term pantyhose, was never one of those things I felt any excitement about and in fact I made sure to stay far away from them as possible for as long as possible. But between being fed up with blisters, wanting to wear more bottom options in the chillier Westcoast weather and determined to wear my pumps more often I finally gave in and bought my first base collection of hosiery. Sure I had the odd pair of winter tights but I was really lacking items I can wear on a regular basis and especially for transitional weather.

While I could have gotten them from The Bay or even Walmart, I decided to place my order from Marks & Spencer online which has a well curated selection of neutral basics in a variety of finishes and deniers in very reasonable multi-pack prices. There were two main brands available; the M&S in house brand and the Rosie Huntington Whitely endorsed Autograph line so I ordered from both. A few knee highs for wearing with pants, some sheer nudes for summer dresses and a pack of shine finish tights just for fun. And after spending a solid 30 minutes laundering them on my Sunday afternoon, I’ll admit that I’m just a little excited to test them out in real life. Who knows, I might even end up buying some fancy lingerie soap… #adulting

Chat soon,

I made a vintage wiggle dress | McCalls 3461

There’s a lesson to be learned here and I’m just going to call it out now; perseverance (paired with Google) makes you a winner. If this dress looks familiar to you it’s because I started cutting the fabric two years ago and have only recently completed it with a cry of exaltation! This vintage McCalls dress was one of the first in my now growing collection of decade sewing patterns and the chic illustration along with sophisticated silhouette caught my eye right away but I was in for a wild ride.

Pattern: McCalls 3461
My Measurements: 34 – 27 – 37
Pattern Size: 12 (B32-W25-H35)
Edits: Narrowed the seam allowances to accommodate for fit, regular back zip instead of lapped zip
Finishes: Seams zig-zagged, kick pleat at back, sleeves and neckline faced

What I love: The fit on this dress makes me so happy! I really wonder why modern commercial patterns (and indie ones at that), no longer give fit options for different height variations right in one envelope. It’s a common misconception that petite adjustments simply mean taking a few extra inches at the hem but a proportioned fit means everything from sleeves to torso and even how high the back slit ends. This feels so much better on than 90% of what I try on in a shop at the mall and I’m smitten.

Details: One thing I quickly learned about vintage style is that darts are a big deal. Closer fitting silhouettes mean the need for more shaping details so there’s plenty of front and back darts on the bodice as well as the skirt itself. It helps to create a more hourglass figure even if you may not be blessed with one. On me, this dress actually has a looser fit in the hips but its well disguised as the skirt puffs out a little on its own. It has a back kick pleat which looked intimidating to sew but actually turned out just fine. And pockets? Yes please!

Challenges: One word. Zippers. Having only successfully installed a dress zipper once in all my years of sewing; I was over confident that putting in a 22″ lapped zipper as the last step on a full constructed dress was going to be easy. Oh so wrong! First I couldn’t even get the entire piece to fit under the sewing machine without wrinkling into a big bundle and then I came the problem of not getting close enough to the zipper teeth. One year, 3 books plus a few Youtube tutorials later and I finally put the entire zipper in albeit not a lapped version. Hey, exposed zips are trendy now right?

All challenges and frustrations aside, this single dress taught me so much about fine sewing and I’m excited to delve deeper into techniques and more dresses! I’ve also become more selective about choosing proportioned vintage patterns which means I can focus more on the sewing and less on the fitting. Would I make this dress again? Not until the memories of the dreadful zipper fades but I probably will give it another go at some point. Now if only the westcost rains will clear up so I can wear this out!


Happy Sewing,