Indie Sew Winter Collection

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Hey guise.. remember when I won second place for the Nettie Challenge? If you don’t thats ok, I don’t expect you to. One of the prizes included a certificate to IndieSew. When Allie sent over the code, she expressed how much she liked my blog, which makes me happy because if you like to hear about my sewing fiascos when I drink then I salute you. I would probably be drinking right now if I had this bag:

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Enough about drinking, let’s move on. I think I made some purchases on IndieSew about the time when the Fall Collection was being displayed, and I thought it was actually a pretty cool idea to bundle patterns up and save, and all the participants made me jealous with what they made. I probably threw out some jealousy vibes into the universe because it was really fan-freaking-tastic (at least to me) to open my inbox and see an email from Allie asking me if I would like to participate in the Winter Collection Tour.

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5 patterns with a total of 15% discount and every time someone buys a discount an angel gets their wings (don’t quote me on that). I chose two patterns to review and based them off my style. My style falls into two extreme categories: either edgy/urban (aka hipster brooklyn) or really fancy dressed up. One thing for certain that I do know from much trial and much error is that I’m not girly by nature. My dresses won’t flare, gather, or fall to my knees.. I don’t wear headbands and sweetheart necklines.. even princess seams are pushing it…  So I took the opportunity to make the Out and About dress a little more tailored to my Brooklyn style. A flurry of google image searches for the dress results in very casual knits, which led me to do the opposite and work with something a little bit more sheer and shimmery for when I outdo fitty cent and you can find me in da club.

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Here’s an outtake because why not

There’s a lot of changes I made to make the dress better fit what I was envisioning (think Free People). I cut a medium for starters so it would be a bit more flowy than fitted. Because I was raising the hem of the dress drastically, I rose the neckline as well. I like the balance of modesty on top. Originally going for a boatneck, I was a little less overzealous and should have given myself less shoulder width. That’s fine, it still works for me as a crew neck kind of option. At first I had actually decided to lengthen the waistline a bit, because one thing I’ve noticed in patterns is that my waist falls a little lower than drafted or I like to give myself the illusion of a longer waist. That idea got nixed quickly and keeping true to my Free People inspiration decided on shortening the waistline to an almost empire waist. Finally like Andrea, I opted to shave the side dip that the dress has.

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The fabric remind me of this 80′s shift dress my mom has in her closet that I’ve been dying to steal for ages but she just won’t let me. I obviously sewed the skirt wrong. I was meaning to keep the same directional print as the top, but I think I like it better that way and breaks up the visual a bit.

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I was trying to be a wallflower

Keeping up with extremes, the other pattern I chose was the Josephine Top by Made by Rae. It’s something I’d wear to go on interviews and Christmas dinners at my boyfriend’s house. I love the idea of pleats and wanted to try and incorporate that into a drapey poly georgette that I had in my stash for maybe a year now. I really like to get myself into trouble without realizing it until I’m halfway cutting my patterns. I was lucky this georgette was a little on the thicker side, which made it easy to cut. My fabric is black which makes marking a pain in the ass. I knew that if I used white chalk it would be terrible to wipe off and I had all these pleats to mark. What I ended up doing instead was making sure each side of the pattern was cut accordingly and clipped into each end of the pleats. I then folded each end and ironed the shit out of each pleat to crease and sew. It was tedious having to go back and forth and measure the distances so I had even straight pleats but it worked.

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The pattern options are sleeve and sleeveless, which i should’ve taken into consideration, given the fact that I opted for sleeves and should’ve lowered the armseye. You’ve been warned. I don’t have that much arm moving wiggle room. (I’m flapping my arms right now like the chicken dance, so use that as visualization. You can also see a little pulling in the armpits in some of the pictures) What I did like about the pattern is that it comes with 2 front options for cup sizes A/B and C/D, which kinda saves you time regarding FBAs and such. Because this IUD has given me the boobs I’ve never wanted, I chose the C/D version. The darts however end a little too close to my apex. I’ll probably come back to this shirt in a week or two and correct the dart issue or treat this as a wearable muslin. There’s no back elastic thing on mine so maybe that could also be the deal.. since nothing is pulling the back… but I’m not a fan of back elastic. This version made me rethink it though.. especially the sleeves. At first I didn’t want the tunic.. you know what though.. I’m rethinking it

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Speaking of sleeves, something was telling me to construct the whole thing flat, attach the cuffs flat and sew up in one run. As of lately, I’be been taking the time to follow directions as opposed to doing things my way. Note to self… sometimes my way is better. The cuff opening is tiny which is ok given my tiny wrist and forearms… My machine is not capable of handling tiny circumferences and the instructions have you insert the sleeves flat, close up the sleeves, side seams and then insert the cuffs. I hand sewed the cuffs because sandwiching the fabric and sewing the cuffs on to the sleeves without using the arm extension to hold my shit together wasn’t going to work at 1am in the morning. I HATE HAND SEWING EVEN THOUGH IT GAVE THIS SHIRT THE LOVELIEST FINISHING DETAIL.. <– that’s me having an angsty teen moment .. I have residual teenage angst.

 

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when you’re paying more attention to the TV you end up doing shit like this

The neck and hem were finished with minty green bias binding. I was scared that it would show through, however it seems that I’ve been overestimating the sheerness of this fabric. The matching of the bias binding to my pants was unintentional, I swear. But these are my wishful thinking pants, when I wear when it’s brick outside and I want to remind myself of warmer months when flowers are in bloom. You love them don’t you? I know, me too.

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PS – It’s BRICK COLD. These pictures were taken today, after it snowed & rained last night, leaving a residual of temperature dropping and gusty winds. I have no idea how models do it, when they have to model swimwear a season ahead and it’s so damn cold outside. Cheers to you ladies. PS- too cold to smile.

I finally have fabric to start playing around with my next sewing project. I had instagram this vintage pattern I bought on etsy as an ode to the passing of Oscar De La Renta. I’ll probably wear it to Thanksgiving dinner and win over all the ladies.

 

Lastly.. have you guys seen Mortified Nation? It’s on Netflix and you should. The collection of embarrassing stories is cringe worthy. They go on tour, which I found out about because boyfriend sent over the link that they were in town last night. The highlight of the night of course was this girl telling us the story of when she auditioned for the Christmas Story play in her home town. She wrote an 8 page monologue of some sort of Dr Jekyll / Mr Hyde deal where this doctor killed a patient with some sort of collector’s item cutlery because the patient dared accuse the doctor of prescribing the wrong medication on purpose. PS – she got a part in the play.

Must be jelly, cause Ginger don’t shake

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Nothing is harder than keeping a secret, to me at least. I’m also not in the train of being one of those people that are all like “I’m creating something super top secret but I can’t tell you guys”, because A) Why say anything at all? and B) What that really means is you are either testing a pattern or creating one. I like the big reveal. Anyways, big reveal over at Closet Case Files with release of  the Ginger Jeans and I was a happy tester. I’ve never been one, so I took the time to look at the instructions, follow them to a T and construct the jeans and actually do some fitting to be able to report back with issues in my size. I hate fitting. I honestly do. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that I’m lazy or that I really don’t know how to fit. But I’m lucky enough to have a somewhat standarish body (if is that even a thing to be happy about).. so my adjustments are really only about length. Back to jeans.. these were sent out early Oct and I had plans to do them the first weekend they were sent out, except I looked at my bank account and I was poor but then it was ok because payday was next weekend and I went out and scored myself denim and notions. If you’ve ever been to PS Fabrics you know the lovely wackadoodles there have no idea what’s in the fabric, so I have denim with god knows how much percentage of stretch.. I’m going to say 2% but it could possibly be more. IDGAF. love-lola-ginger-jeans_0093

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This lunge is to show that how comfortable the spandex in this shit is

So the weekend came rolling in and what was meant to be a staycation indoors to do the pattern turned into a disco diva frenzy of some sorts. I thought my 30s were for settling down but the streets are calling my name more than ever. God bless New York and the fact that we can close shit down at 4am.. and then if you’re a lucky bar with that special permit, you can go on til about 6am and some cases 8. And since no one likes to party more than this club kid (James St James, call me), I rolled home at about 7am saturday, spent the day sleeping and forced myself to say home saturday night. Except that some time around 2am my friend R texted me that he was at some gay bar in BK and I couldn’t pass another night of dancing with campy drag queens that gave Jynxx Monsoon a run for her money, not to mention being pushed aside by a little person trying to get to the dancer stage… don’t ask me what time I came home Sunday because we may have gone elsewhere where I had too many Whiskey Gingers and was literally graining on wood and trying to twerk to bounce music… I’m not gonna say that it may have well been 6.30 am again. Lola..when will you learn? I forgot how much going out takes a toll on your body and with the super monster flu going around, you can bet your ass that some time between Monday and Tuesday my body was just not having it. Call it luck, although not really sure getting sick enough to have to be quarantined at home is luck.. but it gave me just the right leeway to meet my deadline. I seriously have to stop procrastinating things. 4 days at home were enough to get fitting issues down. I did View B of course because why pass up the opportunity to look like a Diana Ross Disco Extravaganza. The top stitching was done with Jeans thread, which is some purply metallic thing I picked up years ago when I didn’t know the difference of threads (or fabrics for that matter). love-lola-ginger-jeans_0127 Some testers obviously tested early and Heather was kind enough to report some crotch hip issues, which I actually took into consideration. I decided to sew a straight size 4, although I could’ve gone for a 2 and then graded a little on the calves. Afterwards I did end up taking in about 5/8ths all the way from the inner thigh and crotch and then about 1/8 from the outer thigh down. I think the demin has started to mold itself because at first my calves felt like casings but now they’re actually pretty sweet. I had no issues with the waistband, the notches on the size 4 line up to where they are supposed to, but I do know for myself that I have to stretch it a little more than what is called for to contour to my hour glass shape, otherwise I have a gaping hole in the back. They’re actually right below my belly button which led me to believe that taking in the crotch was a good idea. I have to keep on practicing getting my lapped zipper down.. i always feel like they never cover as they’re supposed to so part of the zipper is peeking through. The jeans are classic 5 pockets, but I omitted the back packets. they were cut out, interfaced, ironed and ready to be placed but I really loooooved the way my butt look. I know Heather took into consideration a lot of our suggestions, which I can see in the instructions booklet and I’m actually pretty excited to construct another pair with the final pattern. I’d like to get my hands on some wax jeans because my HM wax ones are pretty horribly constructed. Anyways here are some action shots to counteract this long ass post. love-lola-ginger-jeans_0108 love-lola-ginger-jeans_0147

PS – It seems I’m always tardy for the party and I recently discovered the GOMI forums.. Holy hell what the fuck. I’m running on empty given that I went to bed last night at 3.30am reading the threads. I’m on a downward spiral here… cant stop reading.. THEY DONE GONE CLOSED THE LIBRARY UP IN HERE.

Goodbye to my idol, my star, my role model

Oscar de la Renta at his fashion show at Neiman Marcus-  Chevy C

I want to wish that the flux of hormones is what really is making me sadder than what I should be, but the lost of Oscar de La Renta last night hit me as hard as if it were a relative of mine. Those who have known me throughout the years, especially adults that knew me when I was five, were often told by me about how I wanted to be a fashion designer. To me being a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer didn’t exist. I knew nothing outside of fashion and wanting to create beautiful illustrations that translated into three dimensional garments. Those adults who knew me also knew how stubborn I was and no amount of rebutting was going to change or detour my mind.

I don’t remember the day I discovered Oscar de la Renta.. geez I can’t remember birthdays of my most beloved people, but I remember like today how I felt. This sense of elation and proudness to know that someone from my tiny and insignificant island was out there being recognized as a great designer. Oscar was someone that made my island shine. Before him, I couldn’t imagine someone from the DR as being famous or recognized, especially in the fashion world. It would never occur to me that unless you were from the US or the EU you could study directly under Balenciaga himself ,go on to Lanvin, or dress many First Ladies.

Yesterday my legend died, but he made the world a beautiful place. Not only through his designs but through his wonderful personality and great heart.

Tech Talks – Understanding Google Analytics

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In my previous series we talked about Understanding SEO and how to successfully implement it on your blog. This month we’ll talk about Google Analytics and get to see our SEO and keywords in action. As a disclaimer I mention that some of the things are geared towards WordPress, since I don’t have a blogger account to screenshot from, but these things are fairly easy to integrate no matter what your blog is.

Let’s start with the basics.. what is Google Analytics? It’s a free tool (FREE!!!) to analyze your website/blog traffic, where the traffic is coming from (referrals), conversions (if you are selling) as well as other detailed statistics. Since my target audience is mostly in the non-selling category, I won’t go into much detail on that on this post. But feel free to email me if you’re curious on that). Setting up GA is easy, many of you already have installed it and have it up and running on your blog, but if you haven’t you can follow these steps.

1- Create an account if you have not already.
2.- Setup your google property (website address, user id)

3.- Get your tracking code. If you forgot where your code is, you can find it by logging in to www.google.com/analytics, select admin on the top menu bar. Under the second column (property) click on tracking info, then tracking code . It should look something like this.

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You will want to copy everything inside the editable box starting from < script > and ending at < / script >.

You’re next and final step on installing GA is to place this script in the header of your blog. Some blog themes come with a specific box that allows you to place the script in it so you don’t have to tinker around with any PHP files. If yours in particular doesn’t have that you can do the following.

1. – Log in to your wordpress dashboard

2.- Select Appearance, then Editor

3. – Under Templates (right hand side) select header and wait for the page to refresh.

4. – Paste your code before the closing head tag < / head >

Screenshot for reference

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You completed the install. Look at you all techified!

Now comes the good part. Looking up your stats.

Logging on to your dashboard you’ll come across the Audience Overview screen. It can be tailored to your specifics but in general it should look like this.

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This is a general idea of what your visits constitute on a monthly basis. Sessions, Users and Page/Views on this particular page do not count as an individual hit or ip. Meaning that if Becky landed on my site 3 times in the past month, these numbers are registering Becky 3 times instead of just once (unique). If I wanted to take a detailed look at my unique visitors and page views, head on over to Behavior – Overview and you’ll get something like this

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As you can see a total of 3,047 unique users took a look at 3,436 pages on my site, along with the top 10 pages.

There’s just so much you can go with GA that if I went on a detailed adventure this post would probably take ages to finish, so we’ll head on over to what bloggers are most interested at. Keywords and Referrals.

The easiest way to look at Referrals is by clicking on All Traffic or Referrals, but I like to get a little bit more detailed information like where (link) is my referral coming from and to where on my site is it pointed to. To get this, Under the Behavior tab, click on Site Content and then Landing page. In this instance, landing page means exactly that.. the page where the user is landing on. Now to get the referral link, under secondary dimension, select full referral.

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Now you’re page should look like this

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As you can see a lot of my referral for the past month was thanks to Heather. (Hay gurl thanks)

Another detailed overview of your referral activities can be found under Social (again under acquisition).

Network referrals lists all the social networks where links to your website have been broadcasted. By adding shared URL on the secondary dimension you can see in detail the link shared and the Social Network.

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Trackbacks are also a good thing to look at, but this one is a little bit self explanatory and probably the cleanest (less amount of data) way to look at where certain landing pages (unique urls of your blogposts) are being linked from.

For keywords, you can go about it two different ways. Under Acquisitions, you can choose keywords and organic (unless you are paying for adwords) and view all of the keywords that people are searching to land on your site. But of course, I like to get a little bit more analytical and I prefer to use the new SEO option under Acquisition. Under Search Engine Optimization (which is an integration of webmasters tools) I can get information like impression, clicks, and average position for keyword.

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In less geek talk what this means that for the first keyword (Love Lola).. it appeared in the search results 200 times and out of these 200 times 5 people clicked on it to get to my website.

One of the most important things to look at on GA is Technology & Mobile (both under Acquisitions). It’s important to see what platform users are using to view your blog and what browser as well. Sometimes themes aren’t tested throughout all browsers and you could potentially lose a lot of users because the browser they happen to use gives them an error or the styling is off. If a lot of users are coming to your site via mobile and tablet, it’s a good idea to have a mobile version of your website activated. These days, almost all blog themes have a responsive design integrated, but there are also a few good plugins that allow you to design a simple mobile/tablet design if your blog theme doesn’t have one.

Again, there is so much more that you can do with Google Analytics, like reporting and setting up goals (my fav) but this is just the basics and hopefully an insightful way to view traffic and keywords and understand where people that land on your blog are coming from.

Hammer Time

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If last weekend was about being active, this one was mostly staying indoors. After having my IUD put in, there was nothing I wanted to do except be in my wool socks, PJs, and in front of the TV with my cozy blanket binging on James Spader. I won’t go into details about the procedure because I don’t want to scare off any ladies looking to get it implanted. When I mean spending the weekend indoors, I really meant it. But being inside your house from friday to sunday has it’s advantages. Sewing sewing sewing!! I still can’t believe I managed to make 2 outfits, yes two. I might as well have been channeling Lauren. Lately my sewing mission has been to carefully construct garments, so it was a surprised that not only was I was able to finish 4 different pieces but that the insides looked exactly as I wanted them to. No mistakes here.

 

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The minute I saw the Hudson Pants, I knew that before I made them in to sweats, I absolutely needed to make these in woven. My first attempt was a no-go and this time around I realized exactly what went wrong. I NEVER READ INSTRUCTIONS. Had I paid attention and read the seam allowance was 3/8 instead of 5/8, there would’ve been a perfect pair of blush crepe de chine hudson pants on my body. My first pair I went up to a size 6 but felt like I really wanted to channel an 80′s feel so I went up about a gazillion sizes. Which I have to say scared me a bit before I put on the waistband because they looked clownish. Waistband later, I did end up taking in another 3/8ths and still debating if I should take in a smidgen more. The ankles aren’t as tapered as I’d like them to be. Given that I went up so many sizes I didn’t need to adjust the ankle as Kelly explains in her woven tutorial.

I think I’ve discussed more than once how much I needed a breton shirt in my wardrobe, especially since I’m starting to shape it into a more basics and lasting items. In the Gertie Sews Vintage Modern book, there’s a boatneck variation top that screamed make me now gurl! With no choice but to listen, I used up my striped fabric from Girl Charlee that I bought with the gift certificate from winning Heather’s Nettie Challenge.

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I really love the black and white ensemble with the gold wedge sneakers. I feel like an urban Audrey Hepburn back in the beatnik days. The cotton sateen had me a little worried since it wasn’t drapey enough, but it actually looks really good. The pocket details are pleather (even though you can’t totally notice). For the first time in history I finished off my hem on the t-shirt.

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