Monday, March 18, 2013

How to Replace Google Reader

Hi everyone!
I'm sure all of you know by now that the Google Reader services will be ending soon.I follow all my blogs on Google Reader, I like that they're all in the same place and that it has no connection to my email (I wouldn't want to get an email every time a blog updates!) but now that it's closing I feel like it may be a good idea to properly search for a way to subscribe that would be the most efficient and easy to use. I never even thought to explore other options other than GR, but now that I have to - I'll make the best of it!

I'm sure some of you are struggling with this as well, so I thought I'd share my thoughts with you so that you can make an educated decision as well!
First you'll want to download all your GR subscriptions, you can easily do this here. Once you do that you can transfer your subscriptions to any other reader you like!


I heard a lot of talk about Bloglovin' the the sewing blogosphere so let's talk about that first.
I have to be honest here and say that I don't think this is the best program for me. I like to click on the blog name and have the posts lined up in a way where I don't have to open a new window to actually read the feed (this is why I also get frustrated with blogs that have their settings on snippets of posts rather than displaying the whole posts). The reason I use a reader is to have all my favorite blogs in the same place, so I feel that having them all open be fully displayed in my reader is crucial.
Bloglovin has you open a new window to see the posts - as I said, not my favorite feature. I couldn't find a way to disable this - maybe I'm being technologically stupid though so if you guys can figure out a way how to do this, let me know!

See? Only part of the post is showing!
Moreover, I like to have my subscriptions organized by types and groups, I don't only follow sewing blogs and I like them to be separated (divide and concur!). I tried to find an option for sorting my subscriptions and I couldn't.
This is an example of the catagories I had in my GR.

That being said, Bloglovin seems to be getting ready to recieve a lot of GR users and has a post about moving from GR to Bloglovin. BUT I guess they didn't forsee the amount of traffic and people trying to import GR files and the LINK ISN'T WORKING. I've heard of this happening to quite a few reader sites, because they're not used to so much traffic going through their site. Oh well, I'm sure they'll figure it out!

I think it's so cute they didn't see this coming!
Another thing I like about Bloglovin is that it gives you recommendations for other posts and blogs you'd like, and whats better than finding more blogs to follow and be inspired by?

In conclusion, I DO recommend Bloglovin for those of you who:
1) Don't mind clicking on posts to open them in another window.
2) Like their blogs to be unsorted.
3) Want an easy transition from GR to their new reader.

If you want to start using Bloglovin, don't forget to subscribe to Dinosaurgirl here!


I did some research and Feedly seemed to be a top choice for many people as a replacement for GR.
The interface looks really easy to use though it works a little differently than GR. When I click on a category it shows: A list of all the blogs in the category the new posts, featured posts (no idea how they decide what "featured" are), recommended posts and then each blog with it's last three posts.

I love that it saved my categories AND when I click on a blog it doesn't open it in it's own window but in the reader itself:

The only bad thing I can say is that it only works with Google Chrome (meaning if you're using IE or Firefox this won't work for you!) and worst of all, it doesn't work in an incognito browser. (for those of you who aren't familiar with this - an incognito window is a window that doesn't save any cookies or any information while you're using it. I use this a lot at work, this way my personal email doesn't interfere with other accounts I'm signed onto in my other windows).

I like this much better than Bloglovin, and if you're using Chrome you should definitely check it out!


Skimr seems to be less of a reader and more of an index of your blogs. As I said before, this style does not appeal to me at all. I'll show you:

It doesn't seem to arrange the subscriptions in any way. Why is this "sewing-" before the blog name helpful??

Then when you click on a subscription this is what happens:

THERE AREN'T EVEN PICTURES. It's just a list of the posts. Once you click on one of them it takes you to the original blog. I HATE THIS.

Anyway, in my opinion (you may disagree!) Skimre - BIG NO!
BUT, if you want to just "skim" (as the name suggests) your blogs and not have to go into every post - this may be a good idea for you!


Last, but not least NetVibes. I don't think this is meant to be a reader but rather a news feed, it does much more than just a reader, you can type in any key word and it brings you news and videos about the topic you asked for. Moreover, you can add widgets such as Facebook and Twitter and keep track of them there.

You have the option of viewng your subscriptions through a reader format (shown above) and a widget format (which I don't like as much but maybe it just takes getting used to!). It's pretty similar to GR, you just click on the blog and all the latest posts appear in the window.

If you feel like you'll take advantage of the widgets (shown above) this reader definitely outperforms Feedly. I have yet to try them out, so I can't say how efficient this is, but as I want to have a reader that works on an incognito browser I think I'll be using this for now!

Anyway, these are the options I heard of THAT ARE FREE and seem to be the most popular. I think my top two choices would be Feedly and NetVibes.
Let me know if you have any question or any experience with any of these (or any other reader I didn't present!)

Disclaimer: I didn't actually have the time to use all these programs in an extensive time period so I can't vouch for how good they are in the long run. Also, I have no affiliation with any of the sites above!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Pearl Collar Blouse + How to make a pearl collar tutorial!

Hey everyone!
Phew! I had SUCH a tiring week! I didn't get much sewing done but I have a few project stacked up to show you guys!

This is a blouse I made a few weeks ago that I'm IN LOVE WITH even though it's FULL of flaws and I'm sometimes a little ashamed to admit it's me-made. I really like pearls, I think they're classy and timeless - what outfit isn't improved by a pearl necklace? I've been wanting to use pearls as embellishment for a while but I couldn't decide how and with what fabric. In the end I went for the simplest design possible - black short sleeved blouse as a backdrop for the embellishment. Sometimes keeping it simple is the best is the best policy.

I'll be sharing a tutorial later in the post! It's really easy and I think it's such a cool touch!

I have so many different pictures of this blouse, see how much of a difference this picture made? You get to see like 10 more degrees of the blouse and my elbow.

I used a very very very old black satin-y fabric from my stash. This is one of the few fabrics I have left from my grandmother (who sewed as well - can you believe that both of my grandmothers sewed??), I don't even know what the fabric is made of even though I have a strong suspicion that it's silk. It's much softer and less plastic-y than poly satin but then again it's difficult to say, I am fooled easily. I'm going to say it's silk because I want to be one of those bloggers who sews with fine fabric and doesn't have a whole wardrobe of man made fabrics that make you feel like you're wearing a sauna.

Full frontal view. (I love this picture!) The collar is constructed from two rows of alternating pearls. It took a while to sew but I think it was worth it.

The blouse sports princess seams and (badly) gathered sleeves. I love princess seams, I think they're so flattering and I find the easier to sew than darts, especially princess seams that reach the shoulder seam (rather than the under arm seam). This is the same pattern from the Mrs. Pettigrew Plaid Blouse I made.

What issues do I have with this blouse? The armholes are totally wonky, in retrospect I know what mistake I made to make this like this - which is a good thing! I'm learning! I'm still kind of ashamed of it but it doesn't seem like anyone but me notices it. Live and learn - right?

Ok, so let's talk about making the collar, it's a pretty easy process but it's a little time consuming (especially if you decide to sew two rows of pearls like I did.)

OK, step 1: take your cat off your fabric.

2) Trace the front neckline on a piece of paper.

3) Next trace the shape of the collar you want (I went for a peter pan collar!)

4) Cut it out:

5) Trace the new collar along the neckline of the shirt. (I finished the neckline with bias tape before doing this)

Next trace the opposite side of the neckline:

I used an old necklace for this:

Next, hand sew the pearls along the markings (I sewed two rows at alternating points)

That's it! It's that simple!

What do you think? Would you try this out yourself?
Do you guys ten to lean towards simpler fabrics/silhouttes and make you embellishment the focal point of you design?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Godet Jacket - Taloring Details

I really hope you're not sic with this jacket by now, I warned you there was another post ahead!

Let's talk a little about the tailoring details in the jacket. As you can see, I drafted a peter pan collar for the jacket. At first I wanted to use hair canvas to create the collar fold but I couldn't find any in my area so I decided to go for the fusible method.

The fusible method is a pretty simple idea so adding another layer of fusible interfacing so the fold to give it more body. How did I determine the fold? If you look back at the muslin post, I marked the fold with a pin and then unraveled the collar and copied the markings to the pattern. Next I traced a moon shape inside the collar stand – this will be the extra layer of interfacing to create the fold. Let me know if you have any questions about this!

See the excess fabric in white?

One thing I learned from being lazy in the previous jackets I've made is that determining the turn of cloth in collars is REALLY important; otherwise the collar won't lie flat.  It's a really easy process if you have a  body double of some sort. If you don't (like me) you will need a helper. Just pin the outer collar to the inner collar along the neck seam and the the collar lie naturaly. If you're using a thick fabric, the inner collar (the collar inderneath) should peak underneath the lower collar , like this:
Picture of turn of cloth
Trim the excess fabric and you're done!

Easing the sleeve:

 I decided to ease in the sleeve with the help of a bias strip (I use Gertie's tutorial for this). I know she said she used mohair but I just used plain old poly fleece (I made sure it stretched well on the bias) and I think it turned out fine – do any of you know a reason why this could be bad?

See how it eases the sleeve beautifully??
I then pressed the bias stip and the seam allowances towards the sleeve (thus the bias strip turns into a sleeve head!)
When I took this picture the sleeve was standing on it's own. Hehe.

I made bound buttonholes. I have a question and I want to guys to be honest here – have you ever managed to make all your bound buttonholes even? I've made two jacket with bound buttonholes and IT'S SO DIFFICULT TO GET EVERYTHING LINED UP. I was really meticulous about the stitching and everything and they still aren't perfect. ARHHG

My first practice buttonhole.
Anyway, I measured everything using my see through ruler (I LOVE THAT THING).
I made the bound buttonholes using two tutorials together and I think this is the best method for me as of now. Let me know if you guys want a tutorial (even though I'll say I advance that they didn't turn out perfect).

Pile of fabric squares for buttonholes.

Mt first bound buttonhole!
The back of the buttonholes after trimming.

That's it for now! I have another post lined up about lining the godet jacket and then I promise I won't mention it ever again!
If you would like to vote for the jacket in the RTW Contest  you can click here. (THANK YOU!!!)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Godet Jacket - More Final Photos

As I promised! I few (haha) more pictures of the final jacket. Again, I'm not sure how happy I am with it, I really wish it were a little more fitted but I'm SO proud of myself for making it nonetheless. This really was one of those projects (and to be honest there really aren't many of those) that I thought everything through and was really meticulous with the details.

 I'm not completely happy with how the waist fits, I wish it were more fitted!

 See how much smaller my waist is??

At some point thinking about everything got kind of tiring and I was craving an easy project but I had to stick with it for the RTW Contest! The last weekend I worked on it was SO STRESSFUL, I had one full day to sew (Friday) because I wanted to take pictures of the final jacket the next day in the daylight. I think I ended up making the bound buttonholes,  sewing the lining, attaching the lining to the jacket and doing all the hand sewing in a day in a half. I really don't know why I thought making bound buttonholes will be a good idea, I mean \, I did manage to finish the jacket in time but I don't think I left the house on Friday (I have windows in my bedroom so at least I saw some daylight).

Close up of the collar (THAT CAN'T SEEM TO LIE DOWN) and the bound buttonholes:

Close up of the godet. I really like this picture, I don't know why!

And the sleeve!

OK!! No more pictures!
I hope you guys aren't sick of reading about the jacket by now because I have at least one more post lined up about it (or maybe even two! More construction details and tailoring details. Do you wan to kill me? I hope not!)

So what do you think? If you like it I'd love for you to vote for me on the RTW Contest on Pattern review. To vote you can click here!
I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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