Category Archives: Shopping

Biu Biu Review

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Do you have trouble with Ready-to-Wear blouses with buttons that pop and gap? Do empire waists ride halfway up your bust? When you sew, do you have to do a Full Bust Adjustment? In knitting do you use short rows to accommodate your bust? If your bust is larger than a C cup, my guess is yes. The Big Four sewing pattern companies, knitting patterns, and most RTW clothing are based on a B cup. As you can see, you don’t have to be terribly large busted in order to benefit from clothing made with your bust in mind.

Luckily, several companies cater to the larger-busted woman. Colette sewing patterns are based on a C cup. Silhouette sewing patterns offer a variety of cup sizes. Ysolda Teague offers outstanding knitting advice and patterns for accommodating a large bust in her book Little Red in the City. Finally,  several RTW companies offer blouses and dresses for the woman with a large difference between the waist and bust. Unfortunately, many of these are quite expensive. Not so with Biu Biu.

I read about Biu Biu on Thin and Curvy’s blog — she has a wealth of information about fitting the bust, even if you are neither thin nor curvy. She provides a review of the company, including photos. Go see! Based on her review, I decided to give Biu Biu a try, and I was not disappointed. Far from it! The quality is fabulous, the fit is wonderful, and the prices are terrific, even accounting for shipping.

I ordered 5 items:

  • Vanity Fair long-sleeved white blouse
  • City short sleeved blouse in cappuccino and white
  • Hanoi knit top in bright green
  • Fuego knit top in raspberry (see photo above)

My total bill for 5 shirts, including postage, was $150. I paid about $27 in priority postage. I thought I was ordering parcel post for $16, but apparently not. As it turned out, I am glad it worked out this way because I got my tops in 10 days instead of 2 months. If we divide the postage evenly into 5 items, it adds less than $5.50 to each piece. I think $40 for the long-sleeved blouse seems very reasonable, especially considering similar tops list for $120 on other Not-to-Be-Named websites catering to the same target market. With postage, I paid $22 for a short-sleeved blouse and about $35 for each long-sleeved knit top.

Ok, let’s stop talking price now and get to the point! These tops all fit like a dream. I was nervous about having to ship ill-fitting items back, but I just found my measurements on the chart and crossed my fingers. I was on the cusp on the waist size, but since I have a little paunch, I decided to go to the larger of the two sizes for the waist. My waist is about 30″ (or 76-77cm) and bust is about 38″ (96cm). I chose the 40B for the woven blouses and the 40B/BB for the knit tops. The size was perfect.

Here is the City short-sleeved blouse. Side shots show no button popping! The Vanity Fair is the long-sleeved version with a little more flair at the hip.

I am very happy with the fit. The quality is also outstanding. The knit tops are made of soft cotton, and both have interesting details that make them more visually appealing than plain t-shirts. The Hanoi top does not have any gathering under the empire waist like Fuego does. Fuego is very full and would accommodate a wider belly, but it doesn’t have that pregnant look.

I recommend going to look at the Biu Biu site, even if you make your own clothing, just to see the styles. Biu Biu knows how to dress for a full bust. Their style is made for women like us, so the blouses are very flattering.

Usually t-shirts look like hell on me because they pull across my bust and my stomach, leaving a baggy area inbetween that hides my waist. Not flattering. I often buy a larger blouse than my shoulders really need because I can’t button them. Or I buy the right size, knowing I will always have to wear it unbuttoned with a camisole peeking out. Biu Biu takes all that into account. The shoulders fit, the waist fits, the buttons stay buttoned. Biu Biu offers dresses, blouses, and knit tops. There are a variety of colors, styles, sleeve lengths and collars to be interesting. I look forward to seeing their new offerings this spring!

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Return from Stitches

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What a wonderful trip…and how good to be home again. Isn’t that always the way with travel?

Overwhelmed?

I’ve been to Stitches Midwest three times, but this is the first time I took classes, and the first time I stayed overnight. It is SO much easier to shop the marketplace when you have more than one day. There are eight aisles, packed to the brim. And staying overnight meant I had time to eat at Joe’s Crab Shack — super yummy — and shop at IKEA.

As soon as we walked into IKEA, my traveling companion kept repeating, “Oh no! Oh no!” She was overjoyed and overwhelmed. I made it out of there spending just $16, which includes some spice shakers, several kitchen utensils, and a yard of Cecelia fabric. I could not resist, especially when I found out they trust you to cut your own fabric! I was tickled pink.

Cecilia $5.99/yard

But back to the point: Stitches. I bought yarn from just two vendors. First I got three skeins of Universal Yarn in “Spanish Moss” from Yarn Mountain. They showed a display with an entrelac shawl made from the yarn, which was stunning. I have been interested in learning entrelac for a few months now, so it seemed like a perfect project.

Spanish Moss

Then I got six skeins of “Eden” from Sunday Knits. Wow. So soft, so luxurious, so pretty, such great colors. I chose the color “Curry” with a summery sweater in mind. After sleeping on it, I went back for six more skeins in the color “Pickle”. I really want to make the Dahlia cardigan in the latest issue of Interweave Knits. I think Pickle is the one. At $8.50 a skein for 225 yards, I was pretty excited.

Pickle & Curry

One of the most interesting things I saw was a booth that had made up dozens of muslins of how their sweater patterns fit, from Jean Frost’s new book Custom Knit Jackets. I tried one on and found that I should really be knitting different sizes for the front and the back. Jean Frost is a tiny little lady, and she took to making her own knits because she couldn’t get any ready-to-wear things to fit her. I did end up buying her book. It has a large section on fitting, which is helpful to me as a seamstress as well. (And I had a 28% off coupon. Who makes a coupon for 28% off?) As luck would have it, as I was on my way out, I saw Jean Frost sitting at a booth signing books, and nobody was in line, so I got my book signed as well.

I took two classes, and they just so happened to be taught by the same woman, Brooke Nico. She was wearing some amazing jackets of her own design, but sadly they are not up on Ravelry (yet). The first class was Designing a Triangle Shawl. I learned a lot, and when I got home I went directly to my computer to start playing. Well, first I kissed my husband and boy. I can see I am going to have a lot of fun with designing.

I also took Fixing Mistakes in Lace. One of the things we had to do was drop 12 stitches off the needles, pull the work down 10 rows, and reknit the entire section. Useful for if you realize you messed up in one section of your lace. You don’t have to tear out all the rows back down to the mistake, you just drop down one motif. After taking these classes, I have been daydreaming about knitting more lace. I don’t know where to wear it or what to do with it, but it is fun to make.

My Loot

Perhaps I need to make a shawl to match each of the new dresses I have sewn this summer!

One final thought: I loved the carpet at the hotel, and I kept thinking I want to sew a quilt like this. What do you think?

Stitches Midwest

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I’m about to leave for my weekend to Stitches Midwest. I have searched through the patterns I want to knit this fall, and I have noted the yarn requirements for each, so I’m ready to shop!

As if I don’t have yarn leftover from last year. And from the Michigan Fiber Festival.

Yes, that's my stash.

I am hoping to find some great fingering weight yarn to make some summery cardis to go over dresses.

I’m taking two classes, Designing Triangle Shawls and Fixing Mistakes in Lace. And I’m hoping to get over to IKEA to buy a bookcase for my craft room.

I must dash — I think that’s my ride. Happy stitching everyone!

Michigan Fiber Fest

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It’s an all-fiber weekend, here is sunny Michigan. Yesterday was the Fiber Fest, today one of my knitting group meets, and tomorrow my sewing group comes over.

Fiber Fest was great fun, with lots of vendors, loads of animals, and plenty of food booths. My son had custody of the camera where he shot a million photos of the animals. He spent about 2 hours in the barn just visiting the various pens. This gave me plenty of time to browse all the fabulous yarns. Sadly, I only got to work the camera once we got home, so no shots of the sales booths.

Vendors had yarn, sewn bags, knitting and crocheting gadgets, weaving supplies, roving, books, you name it. I walked away with 6 balls of wool for $5 each (half price!), a skein of beautiful burnt orange lace yarn, and a skein of variegated yellow fingering yarn from Studio June. Mmmm. Jill June is completely charming and friendly. Her yarns are amazing!

When I got home, my husband asked me if I bought anything (Ha!) and then said, “Oh, I see, a bag full of fall-colored yarn.”

My Loot

Here are some animals shots, courtesy of my son.

 

Yep, it's a camel.

If you have the chance, go to the Michigan Fiber Fest or a festival where you live.