Double Review! A Guide to Quality Taste & Style by Tim Gunn and Kate Moloney & Plus Style: The Plus Size Guide to Looking Great by Suzan Nanfeldt

Whoa, it's been a long time since I posted a review, but I've been busy. Today I'm reviewing two different styling books.

The First Book

Title: A Guide to Quality Taste & Style
Author: Tim Gunn, Kate Moloney
Illustrator: Laine Roundy
Source/Format: Library Barrowed; Hardcoer
ISBN: 9780810992849
More Details: Self-help, Styling, Fashion, Clothing and Dress
Publisher/ Release date: Abrams Image; May 1 2007

What I Thought

A Guide to Quality Taste & Style is a nice little styling book. It goes over basic things to consider like cleaning out closets, shopping, and dress codes. It was a considerably quick read. The information seems like a good starting point, especially if you've never taken a good look at how you dress. I already followed a lot of the advice presented, so there wasn't much new for me. However, I still enjoyed this book.

The Second Book

Title: Plus Style: The Plus-Size Guide To Looking Great
Author: Suzan Nanfeldt
Illustrator: Shawn Banner
Source/Format: Library Borrowed; Paperback
ISBN: 0452275962
More Details: Self-help, Style guide, Fashion
Publisher/ Release date:  Plume; Sep 1 1996

What I Thought

Plus Style is a slightly long but informative read that covers measuring, style, color, proportions, underclothes, and more. There were a lot of things that were out of date, but it was still interesting to see the difference between the style of today and that of when this book was published in 1996. Although some of the information was outdated, there was still advice that holds true even today. For example, how certain lines, shapes, or color combinations can move the eye towards a particular direction.

Even though these are two very different styling books, I still found them helpful and enjoyable.

I give both books

Thanks for reading.

More Candy Corn Flavors

The last time I found different Candy Corn flavors was two years ago. Finally, I found four more seasonal flavors: Mermaid, Dragon's Teeth, Pumpkin Pie, and Caramel. Spoiler alert: I liked all of them. Well, except for one. The first two were found in Ralphs (Kroger) and the latter in Walgeens. I still did not find Vampire Teeth; however, Mermaid and Dragon's Teeth have strawberry so I didn’t care.

There were only two flavors in Dragon's Teeth. The chocolate tasted like the one in the Autumn Mix. The strawberry tasted like fresh ice cream.
The Mermaid Candy Corn had a lot more flavors. So of course I was excited to try it. Here’s what I thought of the six flavors. Strawberry was really fruity. In Comparison, the Dragon's Teeth strawberry tasted way more natural than this one. Lemon was like a lemon drop, but fluffier. Green apple seemed stronger than I recall the Witches Teeth being, but I’m not complaining. Raspberry was like a slushy or Slurpee. Orange was nothing short of an orangesicle. And lastly, grape was my least favorite. It tasted like medicine. I decided to buy another pack to give it another chance. But it still tasted like cough syrup. However grape isn’t going to keep me from buying since I only got three in a pack each time, luckily.

I was kind of scared of Pumpkin Pie. I didn’t know how it would go, but I unexpectedly enjoyed it. It tasted like it had lots of cinnamon. It was so warming. It’s perfect for when you want the spiciness of pumpkin pie but don’t feel like making it. Caramel tasted like regular caramels, but with an after taste of sweetened condensed milk. And I mean that in a good way, it’s just the best way I thought of describing it.

Overall, as you may be able to tell, I thought all of the flavors were delicious, well, except for grape. Anyway, I’m excited to see what other flavors Brach’s will create.

Thanks for reading.

The Making of a Salt-N-Pepa Costume

Salt-N-Pepa Costume Construction

Adri: So, my mom, Andrea, decided that she was going to make a Salt-N-Pepa Costume to go to The Talk's Halloween special this year. 

Adri & Andrea: We originally tried to find an oversized white or yellow sweat-jacket that could be altered to look like Salt-N-Pepa's jacket, which would include adding the appropriate patches and color blocking. Sounds easy, right?? Well, we went to every store, but were unable to find what we were looking for. So, we went back to the drawing board and decided to make this outfit from scratch.Today, we are going to talk about how we made it.

The Planning Stage

Adri: I usually design my own patterns. Since we were making my mom's costume, she decided that we would plan, modify patterns, shop for needed supplies, and make patches almost simultaneously and not in any particular order.

Pattern Selection

Adri & Andrea:We modified every pattern we used for the outfit. We already had patterns we could use for the hat (McCall's 4002) and jacket (McCall's 3012). Actually, we were shocked that we already had patterns we could use at home. At first we were going to make the bodysuit from scratch, but we eventually found pattern 7269 by McCall's that would be perfect for the Pepa Costume.

Fabric Selection

Adri & Andrea: Shopping for fabrics was absolutely horrible. At the point that we started this project, we only had a week to complete it. There were all kinds of fabric sales going on, and everyone seemed to be in the store buying fabric in bulk. Since the weather had been so hot, we originally wanted to use satin or flannel, but we couldn't find the right colors. We did find fabric online, but there wasn't enough time to have the fabric shipped. So we went with our only option, yellow fleece.

Next we had to decide what type of fabric we would use for the hat, letters, patches, arms, and the yoke. During a trip to Joann Fabrics and Craft Stores, we selected a Kente Cloth Print and The Witching Hour Blue Textured Costume Knit for the hat. We wanted the arms to have a leather look similar to a Letterman's Jacket, so we used white and red textured costume knit as well as black fleece to assemble the arms. The white textured knit was also used for the yoke of the jacket. After several trips to
the store we found everything we needed including: pefomance nylon/spandex in red for the body suit; green textured costume knit and black felt for the Salt-N-Pepa Patch on the jacket's back; and felt for the letters (black, white, red & green). We also selected The Witching Hour Red and Green Textured Knit for the construction of the drama masks. We purchased all of our supplies from Joann, except for the red felt squares we got for this exact project last year before I (Andrea) changed my mind and decided to make a Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation Costume instead.

Modifying Patterns

Adri & Andrea: We guesstimated how much we needed to take off for the color blocking, hat band, arm patch, back patch, and drama mask.

For the front, back & yoke: To find the length of the front and back yoke, I helped hold the pattern pieces up to my mom. We decided on a length that looked right and marked the armscye, center front, and center back. We took that measurement and drew a straight line to create the yoke. We added another line 1/2 inch below the first, so we could overlap the fabrics and create a seam allowance. Then we drew a line at 3 inches and 3 1/2 inches from the bottom so we'd have a 1/2 inch seam allowance and a 1 1/2 inch elastic casing.

For the color blocking the sleeves: Then my mom traced the sleeve on paper and broke it down into 5 different sections (Two for the black under sleeve, one for the lower black section, one for the white portion at the top of the arm, and another for the red cuff). We noted which color would be used for each section on the pattern pieces. ** Please note: We added a 1/2 inch seam allowance to all of the modified pieces.**

For the back patch:We folded down a rectangle piece of paper and
measured it in relation to the back pattern. We then made 1 inch markings around the entire rectangle and sketched an S/P --which We tried to keep to 1 1/2 inches in width. I then sketched the ALT and EPA. I barely measured this, but they were about 2 X 1 1/2-2 inches.

For the patches on the front of the jacket: We did the same for Let There Be Music and Idol Maker --which was slightly bigger. The Let There be Music letters were created with black and white felt. And the Idol Maker letters were created with green and red felt. We added a contrasting color to the letters by cutting white letters and red letters respectively that were slightly bigger than the original letters we cut before sewing them onto the jacket front.

For the arm patches: Instead of drawing the S and P out, my mom found them online and adjusted them to the size that we needed, 75% of the original size for both letters. It's from a site called Pattern Universe. (S and P can be found here and here respectively). These letters were cut out using the red and white felt and were sewn onto a red textured knit patch prior to being attached to the sleeves.

Putting the Jacket Together

Adri & Andrea: First we stitched the modified pieces together, and added a top stitch to make it look more refined. Then we referred to a picture of Salt-N-Pepa's Jacket as we added the patches and letters to the jacket in a similar fashion. The back patch had to be redone because too much excess ease was bunching in the S/P. **Andrea: In other words, I tried to take too many shortcuts.**

Adri & Andrea: To fix that, not only did we decide on a zigzag stitch, but also sewed it down on a rectangular piece of felt. Before, we tried to sew it all down at once on the black piece of felt. I think this is the best time to say that working with the textured costume knit was horrible. Pins barely wanted to go in. It was because of this we decided to imitate the black lines by sewing it onto felt. This made it easier to sew the patches onto the fleece. The same was done for the drama mask. Afterwards, we followed the pattern's directions closely.

Making the Hat

Adri: While my mom was finishing the jacket I cut out the hat. Instead of cutting it on the fold, I traced the band piece to make it full length and took of 1 1/2 inches for the bottom part of the band. I was trying to be as accurate at possible, but I cut the Kente cloth print at night when I was tired. The next morning I woke up and compared it to the reference image. The print was wrong, and I cut too many crowns from this fabric. Subsequently, I didn't have enough for another full length band, so I cut as much as I could. And then another piece to match it. I sewed that together (indicated by the white lines in the image above) then trimmed off the excess. I also went wrong when it came to turning the right side out. I made the hole way to small and ended up ripping some of it. I fixed that when I hand stitched the hole close.

Making the Bodysuit

Adri: This was the easiest and last thing to do. By the time I put the first stitch in, it was past 12 A.M and the day of the show. It took about 2-3 hours in total. from cutting out the pattern to the final hem. The only modification was hemming the armscye and using a 15 inch zipper rather than a 22 inch. That worked just fine by the way. Otherwise, I followed the instructions word for word.

And that’s it! It wasn't easy, but it was fun. Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween!

What were you for Halloween?

Book Review: Silk

Title: Silk
Author: Mary Schoeser

Source/Format: Library borrowed; Hardcover
More Details: Fabric, fiber, history
Publisher/ Release date:  Yale University Press, May 28 2007


Synopsis from Goodreads:
This gorgeously illustrated volume not only offers a tour through the fascinating history of silk but also a glimpse into the future, when imaginative designers and textile producers will be changing the boundaries of what is possible with this extraordinary material. Textile expert Mary Schoeser presents an authoritative account of the development of silk, its properties and practical uses, and its role in some of the greatest achievements in the history of fashion design.

What I Thought:

Silk by Mary Schoeser is basically a big book about… silk. Due to the small text and large pictures, it’s not overly long, but it definitely was more in-depth than I thought it would be. From the historical aspects, to the process of weaving silk into fabric from start to finish, Silk pretty much covers it all. As mentioned above, there were a lot of large but gorgeous and high quality photos peppered throughout the book. I found that this only added to my enjoyment. And to boot, the last section without pictures, entitled The Science of Silk, talks about the scientific properties of silk as a fiber –right down to the microscopic portions and cellular structures. I personally found this part interesting and cool. To be honest, I haven’t read many fabric oriented books that break it down that much.

What can I say? It talked about history, manufacturing, fashion uses, and scientific properties. I thoroughly enjoyed Silk. If you want to learn more about the fine details of silk, I suggest you pick this one up.

Thanks for reading.

Book Review: The Silent Patient (ARC)

Title: The Silent Patient
Author: Alex Michaelides

Source/Format: BookishFirst and Celadon Books; Paperback ARC
Publisher/ Expected release date: Celadon Books; Feb 5 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Goodreads     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository


Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word. Find out more at Celadon Books...

What I Thought:

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is an engaging psychological thriller that had me flying through the pages to get to the end. I such a hard time putting it down, so I stayed up to finish it the same day I got it.

In a sense, the story isn’t just about a psychotherapist’s quest to find the reasoning behind Alicia Berenson’s silence, but also about how Theo Faber deals with his own issues. Although it’s mainly told through his perspective, Alicia Berenson’s diary also makes up some of the chapters. This not only added to the suspense, but also revealed a couple of the characters’ personalities and the reason behind their actions. Eventually, I found myself attempting to predict the end. Nonetheless, I was wrong. As for the twist, I wasn’t sure if I liked it immediately after I finished reading; however, the more I considered the plot, characters, and motives, the more I loved the ending.

There is so much more I want to say, but in my opinion, those things are spoilers. Overall, I recommend checking out The Silent Patient if you like psychological thrillers with a twist.

Thanks for reading.
*I received this book from BookishFirst and Celadon Books for this review.