Friday, September 24, 2010

The Sordid Tale of a Stain Remover

How to defeat the denim enemy

Ezibuy Capture Denim Jacket, available to purchase in NZ and Australia

Coloured denim needs to be laundered with consideration for colour-fastness. Unacquainted with this, I purchased a denim jacket in a vibrant aqua and wore it through the summer with enthusiasm. After a bit of wash and wear, I noticed the collar was stained and did what I normally do to fix this. I applied Frend stain remover, waited an hour or so according the instructions on the bottle, then chucked it in the washing machine.

My jacket emerged from the laundry wonderfully clean and horribly marked. Where Frend had dripped, denim had bleached. I was horrified. My favourite jacket! Sick unto death!

After a period of moaning, it was buried in the closet, exhumed only on certified stay-at-home days, for I would be ashamed to parade myself in company with such a collar.

If this seems to you a harsh attitude to take, I must assure you that I spent considerable time trying to find a solution. Could another Attack of the Frend bring the rest of the collar to a matching state? Or could I bleach the whole garment and start afresh, suffering my dear jacket to dye all over again? I didn't have the fortitude to do either, hence the burial.

That is, until a dull wintry day pressed upon me desperation for cheery colour on my person. Oh, that my aqua was baqua! Well, maybe it could be, if I deviously attaqua with a scarfy knaqua.

Example #1

: Scarf.
Application: Settle around neck then tie.
Aqua scarf is a stitched triangle. Rose print scarf is folded lengthways into four, providing an helpful slotting feature (see images below).

Example #2

So remember this: Frend is not the friend of denim. It is your denimy.

I'm particularly partial to wearing this scarf with this jacket because when my at-home lifestyle requires loose ends out of harm's way, I can quick as a wink tuck them between the buttons (hard to manage on a zipped jacket). Safe and cute.

More denim laundering tips here: Dabble in Denim.

More scarf tricks here: Scarfing Around, part 2.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bargain Hunters Plan Ahead, updated

Bargain hunters plan ahead -- we get on the mailing list of stores that provide clothing we like! That way we get first dibs on sale and super-sale items.
Bargain Hunters and Plan Ahead were posted in 2009. The advice still stands, and to make it easier for you to benefit from that advice, I've created a Modesty Mall, Boutique Narelle's list of recommended online stores that have consistently provided MODEST clothing options for women.

Get on the mailing list of your favourite stores
so you know when the bargains are ripe for picking!

Disclaimer: Boutique Narelle personnel have not purchased garments from all stores in the list, so we can not vouch for quality or service, nor do we claim all stock in these stores to be of a modest nature.

Friday, September 10, 2010

How to Make a Reversible Shoulder Bag

Reversible shoulder bags have been featured in a number of Boutique Narelle posts. They're fun, cute, and a terrific accessory to jazz up an outfit. Here's how to make a reversible shoulder bag for yourself. Yes, I'm letting you in on one of my creative secrets!

  1. Sewing machine
  2. Two contrasting fabrics in a sturdy weave, 1 meter each. Furnishing fabric is ideal (but don't get thermal-backed because you can't wash it). I got this floral print and textured stripe for NZ$3/m each. There's enough width to make at least two bags.
  3. Braid, lace, or ribbon trim (good quality trims are expensive, so grab what you need when it's on special)
  4. Coordinating thread
  5. Paper scissors and fabric scissors
  6. Writing stick
  7. Ruler for making paper pattern
  8. Paper for pattern
  9. Dressmaker pins
  10. Measuring tape/stick for working with fabric
  11. Iron
  1. Make a paper pattern. The example bag measures 41cm wide, 39cm deep. Remember to add seam allowance to this. The fold at the top of this picture will form the base of the bag and doesn't need seam allowance.
  2. Cut two pieces on fold, one of Fabric A and one of Fabric B.
  3. Cut four handles, two of Fabric A and two of Fabric B.

1. With right sides together, stitch the two side seams of Fabric A (which we will call Bag A). Starting 11cm from the base, leave a gap of 7cm on one side. This is where the ends of your braid or ribbon trim will tuck inside, and it will allow you to turn the bag outside-out when finished. Backstitch where you stop and start the side seams so that the stitches hold during movement of fabric.

2. Measuring up from the base of the bag, pin braid or ribbon to bag and top stitch. Be extra careful that your measurements match where the two ends meet at the side seam.

SEAMSTRESS TIP: I use a wooden clipboard as a pinning base. No more pinning fabric layers together by mistake!

This bag has a gussetted base which gives it a lovely shape. Here's how it's done.

3. Flatten one bottom corner into a perfect peak. I use the gridlines on the vinyl table cover plus a measure stick to help me be sure I have it at a 90 degree angle. Setting 5cm on the measure stick, fold up the corner so the tip meets the side seam and the depth of the triangle is 5cm. Pin, checking that the tip still meets the side seam and you still have a 5cm depth.

4. Stitch close to bottom edge, checking that you've secured all layers. Stitch again. Trim fabric close to stitching (the triangle is now surplus to requirements).

Repeat the gusset on the other side.

Repeat these steps for Bag B.

5. Decide whether Bag A or Bag B is going to be your main outside fabric. Complete the side seam on this one, leaving just the inside bag with an opening.

6. Press the side seams of Bags A and B.

  1. To make the handles, match a strip of Fabric 1 and a strip of Fabric 2, right sides together, and stitch the two long edges. Turn inside out. Repeat for other handle. Press, and top stitch if desired.
  2. The spacing of the handles is imporant for balance. I've set mine 10cm in from the side, which is a quarter of the bag width.
  3. With raw edges even, stitch handles to top edge of outside bag with a 15mm seam.
  4. Pin handle loops to bag. Right side to right side, pin Bag A to Bag B, raw edges even, side seams matching. Stitch with 15mm seam.
  1. Turn bags rightside-out, slot them one inside the other, and top stitch the top edge at 7mm.
  2. Pin the gap in the side seam and hand stitch with invisible stitches.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Pretty Spring Things

This post may feel like a let-down after last week's modest and gorgeous array, but a girl has to be practical, right?

Blue and white. Feminine and floaty. Hip and sweet. Rockmans in Australia offers layers of charm and a discount to go with it.

BoutiqueNarelle investigates whether those layers are modest.......

Rockmans suggests that maxi skirts are the style of the season, lightweight, easy to wear, and flattering to all shapes and sizes. Do check that they're lined. If they're not and require a layer of nylon petticoat for modesty, don't count on them being cool in the heat.

Yes, the accessories are available, just not listed in the online catalogue.

The under-t layers have scoop necklines, so if you want to wear the overshirt or cardigan open as in the illustration, you'll probably need camisole coverage. BoutiqueNarelle's recommended camisole is featured here:
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