LaLove Photo Shoot Close-Ups

  The Spring Line pictures are going really well. In addition to designing, making the patterns, and sewing, I’ve been able to model and watch my friend model, which is a really enjoyable process. In the top picture, I’m wearing my LaLove tank with a criss-cross back. You can see the post on it HERE. In the second photo, my gorgeous friend is wearing my newest LaLove crop top. I’ll post more pictures of that project soon.

Easy Zipper Tutorial

IMG_2284-0I mentioned in an earlier post, Becoming an Expert Seamstress, that when making a pair of pants for the first time in 8 or 9 years, I realized I had totally forgotten how to sew a fly-front zipper. I found a really good YouTube tutorial on an easy way to do it. Click HERE for the link to the video. Trust me, it’s something you wanna watch. I broke it into steps for this post, but this is really intended as a refresher on what the steps are once you’ve seen her video.

I’m doing this as a blog tutorial because once I began sewing the zipper in the pair of pants I’m working on, I went to her video again and I thought I should make a cheat sheet on the steps she uses until I memorize the process. Then I thought if that would help me, it would probably help you, too, and that’s the story of why I had to seam rip the zipper out of these pants and start again to get photos of each step.

These pictures are of my olive palazzo trousers. You can check out the post on the waistband by clicking the picture below.IMG_2346

Before we begin, this super easy method only works with a pattern that has the fly extension built into the pants pattern as one piece.

Step 1: Serge the edge of the fly extension and front crotch seam. The Youtube video doesn’t actually show that part,  her edges are already serged when she starts the video. If you don’t have a serger, no prob, Bob! Just sew a fairly tight, wide zig-zag stitch along the  edge, making sure the needle goes over the fabric edge so it overlocks the raw edge.

Unnecessary Sidebar: My serger and I are frenemies. Like, I hang out with him. But only because I know I need him.  It’s definitely love/hate with that guy. I’m getting a little braver as I get  to know him more, though.IMG_2244

Step 2: Measure the extension. How far does it go out from Center front? Put a notch at the CF. Mine is about 2″ out. Mark how far down the zipper stop is.IMG_2243

Step 3: Sew the front inseam up to the point the of the notch you just made for your zipper pull. Backstitch.  Then sew the rest of the way up to the notch you made at the top for the CF point, using a basting stitch (the longest stitch you have on your machine.) You can mark a sewing line with tailor’s chalk if it makes it easier for you.IMG_2245

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Step 4: Press open the seam you just made.IMG_2252

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Step 5: Place your zipper face down on the left pant leg fly, so the teeth are touching the Center Front seam and sew (just to the fly extension layer,) using your regular presser foot so the stitch isn’t too close to the zipper teeth. On her tutorial, Diane opens the zipper so she can sew closer to the teeth once she gets to the pull. To do this, make sure your needle’s down and raise your presser foot to slide down the pull a little, then lower your foot and sew to the end.IMG_2253I had to shorten this zipper. If you don’t know how to do it, just measure how long you need it to be and hand or machine sew the new stopping point. Make sure it’s secure because this becomes your actual zipper stop.

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IMG_2256Ah, see, once again Scotch tape works for everything! 

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Step 6: Flip the zipper over so  and topstitch beside the row of stitching you just made to attach the zipper. Switch to a zipper foot for this step. You end up with one side of the zipper tape being folded under and topstitched.IMG_2247On the left is my normal foot and the zipper foot is on my right. If you’ve never used a zipper foot before, watch a tutorial or look it up in your machine’s manual.  You’ll be glad you did!

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Step 7: Open the pants and turn the fly extension with the sewn zipper over so it’s on top of the fly extension for the other pant leg. Fold the edge of the sewn extension back, pin it in place and sew the zipper to the other fly so it’s attached to both.IMG_2269

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Step 8: Topstitch on the right pant leg, using your normal presser foot. (If you’re looking at the pants from the front, it will be on your left.) If you’re new to this, it may be best to have a line drawn where you want to stitch.  This will be the decorative backwards J shape we all associate with fly front pants. To do this,  sew straight down from the top so you catch the extension underneath. Mark or pin on the front of the fabric where you made the notch at the zipper stop point. This is where your stitching will curve in toward the crotch. Lift your presser foot up at this point and turn the other extension you had pinned back so that it will be sewn in the curve, as well.IMG_2274

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Step 9: Take out your basting stitch and iron out the crease on the left pant leg.IMG_2278-0

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Ok, so 9 may seam like a lot of steps for an easy zipper, but they’re all baby steps and this method only uses 4 seams! That’s pretty good. I love bullet points and steps written down to remind me of a process untill I have it down, and now it’s available for you guys-and myself-to use on our fly front pants. I hope I did Diane’s tutorial justice. She is such a wonderful teacher and I can’t wait to watch and try her other videos. (There’s one on smocking I’m very interested in…I just don’t know if I have the patience to smock. Mocking, however, is a different story. If there was a mocking tutorial, I’d Nail IT! For sure.)IMG_2282-0

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Happy Sewing! And a Special Thanks to Diane Deziel and herYou Tube Video.

Say Hello to My Little Flats

IMG_3236I got these new tribal printed Roxy bad boys at TradeHome and I couldn’t be more pleased! Apparently, TradeHome is a store chain that doesn’t spread past the midwest, but if you live near one and you heart comfortable shoes, it’s worth a peek. You won’t find many bargain store prices there, but they make sure the comfort, quality, and style of the shoes they stock are well worth the price.

P.S. Who doesn’t love a little hidden splash of hot pink? These shoes officially contain my favorite insoles. Hmmm, favorite insoles. . .the thing I never knew I always needed!

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Whatch Workin on Wednesday

IMG_3242LaLove Designs Skinny Trousers!!!!! Yay! 

These are one of the items on my current wish list. Most of the things on that list I’ve decided to make myself. I love, love, love buying clothes, but when it’s all said and done, it’s much more fulfilling to wear what I’ve made. (Mostly because if I’m wearing something cute, people always ask me if I’ve made it and It really stinks to have to say no.) I changed my original wide leg trouser pattern block, then made these in muslin and found out the pattern was way off. So I changed the pattern and went ahead and cut these out with that pattern. It was pretty close…close enough that I don’t regret not doing a second muslin mock-up, but not so close that I didn’t have to do quite a bit of seam ripping and pattern alteration. Oh well! Now I have a working pattern from which to make-wait for it….FLORAL CIGARETTE PANTS! (Like the ones below.) I can’t wait. I’ll have to make the leg a little narrower for those, but that won’t be very much trouble. 2015 Floral Pants For Women - Street Style Trends (19)Ok, that easy chic outfit is really spectacular, but back to the pants I’m making today. I still have the button and hemming to do, but that’s what afernoons are for.

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IMG_3245IMG_3246This fabric is adorable! I am and forever will be crazy in love with plaid! This is a very subtle plaid that looks like a gray solid from far away. These pants will go with everything! That’s the way I justify my clothing and shoe purchases, and that’s what I’m using to justify the time taken to make the pattern and sew these babies.

Leave it in the Comment Section:

How many of you make your own patterns? Do any of you know how to do it, but prefer to use store-bought patterns for the sake of time? I’m very curious to know.

Hope this inspires you guys to keep on sewing!

Just when you think it’s too warm for this get-up:

  . . . it’s not!

Sheesh…we’re just completely skipping Spring this year, huh? Winter, Winter, Spring for a day, Winter again, Winter some more, Summer. The bright side is that it’s supposed to be in the 60’s here at some point today, but that first dog walk in the morning still requires bundling up. The real bright side, fashion lovers, is being able to make use of this awesome winter coat with Spring colors.

LaLove Designs

11139850_790414081043640_1519081390_n 10602945_790413951043653_1984979599_nLaLove is introducing it’s very first Spring Line!

Any of the items from my line can be reproduced for clients and made to their measurements or in different fabrics or colors. That’s the way it’s done in the world of Haute Couture, and I’m sure hoping I’ll be able to make a splash that way myself. I’ve decided to start there instead of mass-producing my lines. The reasoning is three-fold. One: Economics. Two: Customization is King. Three: I’m my only employee.

My vision is to innovate new and creative ways for independent designers to go from sewing out of their homes to building a legitimate, lucrative business. To all you designers and entrepreneurs who follow me—You’re in for a ride! Together we’re going to learn to BOOTSTRAP our way to success and fulfillment carving out a way to make a living doing the thing we love, that we were blessed by our Creator to do well. Join me as we build skills: Pattern making, sewing, altering, navigating the retail world, working with clients, budgeting our cash flow, managing time, organizing our space and stuff, and juggling our family, commitments, and outside jobs. You get to see my wacky brainstorms, my successes and failures, and tell about yours so we can all learn together.

Slow Fashion is making a comeback. I’m excited and blessed to be a part of building a community of conscientious makers and consumers!
11093191_790414054376976_1311706552_nThis outfit is a blush pink and gold jacquard crop top and pencil skirt set. The top has a flyaway open back and a comfortable gold elastic band to keep it in place. Both the top and the skirt are fully lined. The skirt zips in the back, but could be customized to zip on the side. My inspiration was the fabric! Every time I passed this in the store, the bolt called to me. I could only ignore it for so long until I purchased it. I had originally planned to make a structured sheath dress with fun, geometric cap sleeves, before I realized it would be perfect to make a crop and skirt set like I had been determined to do this year. I hope to make a dress out of this, as well. 11131789_790413934376988_614356141_n These pictures were taken by my friend Duke of 2K1 Photography here in my hometown. He always does such an amazing job, even though I’m no natural in front of the camera! He probably spends more time trying to get me out of my shyness than snapping pics, but he puts up with me.

You know, readers, that’s one of the amazing things I’m seeing about small business. (And by small business, I mean teeny, tiny, really, really small businesses like mine, where you’re trying to grow from absolutely nothing into a working, functional business.) We get to help each other out. Part of bootstrapping is teaming with other people with similar goals, or people for whom you can supply something they need through your business or talents. This is where your creativity will pay dividends! Look for ins. Look for ways you could help someone whose help you need. Are you a great bookkeeper? Maybe someone is looking for those skills, but can’t yet afford one. So trade for labor. Maybe you’re an organizing freak and addict like I am. Again, use that to help people whose help you need! You would never get free labor just because. But bootstrapping means you’re willing to do work for someone else who in turn can do some work that you need done. And don’t discount a person or a business because they look so much bigger than you are. You never know what needs a company has until you talk to them.

The bottom line is: this is your business, whether it’s a working business already or just a dream you want to pursue. Approach it like a business, but creatively. Never give up. Keep working-with your goal continually in mind. Pray. Dream. This is your business. Work for it!11134188_790413954376986_358253271_n

A Spring Maxi Skirt Tutorial

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Here’s a quick little tutorial on making a maxi skirt for Spring and Summer. My fabric was a super lightweight guaze, so I lined it with a jersey knit so it wouldn’t be sheer. Because, let’s face it: Nobody wants to see that. If you’re using a thicker fabric and can skip the lining, this skirt would be even simpler and quicker!

Step 1: Measure your waist. You’ll need to multiply that by 1.5 or 2 for the width of the fabric you’ll need for the skirt. If the width you need is more than the width of the fabric (they are usually 45″ wide) then just cut two panels and sew them together.

Step 2: Measure the desired length. You’ll need to know this to purchase the fabric. Make sure to add a little extra for the waistband and hem when you are buying. Remember, you’ll most likely need the length plus the extra times two. It will probably take two panels to make a maxi skirt unless you’re making one for a very small child and the 45″ width will be enough to fit around their waist and gather, or you’re making one that isn’t very full.

Step 3: Cut the fabric and elastic. Just cut a rectangle using your width and length measurements. Make sure to include extra for the hem. Also cut a waistband. I made it the same width as the skirt, because the elastic goes inside and the waistband will gather with the skirt. Then figure out how wide you want the waistband. (A good rule of thumb is to add a quarter inch to the width of the elastic you’re using. If you have 1/2 inch elastic, make your waistband 3/4″, remembering to add seam allowance to that as well.)

Here’s what I did to make cutting a little easier, since my cutting board it shorter than the length and width I needed.IMG_2715IMG_2714Step 4: Hem the skirt. Yes, you heard that right. Do it now before you sew the side seam and your life will be so much easier! One of the advantages to a dirndl, or gathered rectangle skirt, is that you can hem before it’s assembled, so you’re just dealing with a straight line instead of a tube. I finished mine with a rolled hem on my serger. If you have a serger, but don’t know how to do a rolled hem, check out some tutorials on youtube and look at your manual for the exact settings your serger needs to be on. You’ll have to remove the stitch finger, but the manual will tell you how. If your skirt will have lining, hem that as well. If it doesn’t show though the fabric too horribly, you can just serge it and no one will ever notice. That’s how a lot of linings in ready to wear skirts are done, anyway.IMG_2686

Step 5: Sew on the waistband. Just double over the fabric, right sides together of course, and pin to the right side of the skirt. Sew or serge the seam. Once it’s sewn, press the waistband up. I always love to top stitch after that so the waistband never flips back up again. Keep those waistbands in check, ladies!IMG_2713IMG_2719The inside of the skirt’s waistband with lining. IMG_2721-0Step 6: Insert the elastic. (Make sure you cut it so it stretches around your waist comfortably, but not loose enough to fall off or droop.) There are tools you can buy to do this, but I always use safety pins. They ain’t pretty, but they sure are cheap. And a penny saved is a penny earned, right? Uh, Cha-Ching!IMG_2726IMG_2728-0Step 7: Sew the center back seam. (Or the other side seam if you had to use two pieces of fabric joined together.)IMG_2730-0IMG_2731-0IMG_2737Cool Tip: If you use a serger, you can tuck in the tails using an embroidery thread needle threader. That way they won’t stick out or unravel.IMG_2732-1IMG_2733-0Step 8: Iron the back seam. You can also go ahead and top stitch if that’s what your little heart desires. It looks nice on some fabrics and not-quite-so-pleasant on others. As the seamstress and designer, you get to decide! Go nuts.

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Happy Sewing!