Top: LaLove Designs Original
Necklace: Walgreens (Yes, you read right!)
Hey Girl! (…Or Guy!) This is my first foray into video tutorials on sewing and design-My very first video blog! I’ve been putting off doing videos forever, but I took the plunge yesterday and made one because this little gem of a trick is too good not to share! It was very, very impromptu, but it occurred to me as I was using this sewing hack I picked up last year that it would make a great quick video. It’s a tip I learned on Craftsy, in Angela Wolf’s Jeans class for sewing over seams. It also works for sewing fabric with embellishments that make it thicker in some places than others. If you’ve ever wanted to throw your machine out of the window because your presser foot just wouldn’t go over that hump, this one’s for you!
Let me know if this was helpful to you in the comments section!
LaLove Designs is proud to announce that we will be presenting a small collection at the Black Next Cultural Fest Fundraiser!!!
It is an arts and design-based fundraiser for Martin University, Indiana’s only black college. They’ll be presenting something at the beginning of the show about the history of the school, which, you know me…yay for learning and history! That’s not sarcasm. I’m just that nerdy. Also, I believe it’s everybody’s job to promote diversity and harmony! I’m white, but my daughters are biracial, so I’m extra passionate about and excited to support a cause that, hopefully, promotes unity through diversity. I think it’s wonderful to celebrate all cultures and what makes us all unique…cause in the end, that brings us together.
If you are local and follow my blog, I hope to see you there! In fact, I hope to sell you tickets to the event because that covers my entry fee as a designer.
(I have to give it up for them for doing that, btw, because that’s a really inventive way to help designers out while promoting an event! I can spot ingenuity, creativity, and helpfulness when I see it!)
I was asked to put together a short bio of myself and my clothing line to put in a local boutique called Pattern that exists soley to boost the local design community. (You can see the blog post with my q&a for their blog here.) As you well know if you follow me my writing is never short and sweet, but I managed to come up with a not-overly-long (hopefully) bio that expresses who I am and what my clothing line is all about. Let me know what you think!
Sarah Raquel LaLonde
Owner of LaLove Designs: a handmade (and often hand stitched) clothing line located in Shelbyville, Indiana
A little about me: I am so grateful and blessed to be working as a fashion designer- even in a region of the country that isn’t yet known for having much of a fashion industry. I’m excited to be on the frontlines of fashion in Indianapolis, where we are working together to turn that around! I believe God has gifted each of us specifically and intends for us to be a blessing to others by putting those talents to good use. I pray this clothing line will keep me inspired and inspire others to be instruments of God’s grace, forgiveness, and love through Jesus Christ.
I have always been intrigued by the arts and in middle school, my specific love for fashion blossomed as I began to pour over fashion magazines and sketch clothing. I had the wonderful opportunity of studying fashion design at Brooks College in Long Beach, California, where I received a wonderful education in design. Being based in LA, I also learned all about industry standards and how things are done exclusively by keeping costs low and outsourcing all of the manual labor. I realized that seamstresses are actually looked down upon in the industry, because companies can out-source that so cheaply. After being ingrained with that kind of thinking, I was resistant to start my own line when I moved back home, because I didn’t know how a small scale designer could compete with the low costs of cheaply made, mass-produced clothing lines.
Then it hit me: who wants everything they own to be carelessly made and mass-produced? Just because that’s the industry norm doesn’t mean that it should stay that way. As a bargain-hunting mother of two, I definitely understand the economics behind shopping for the best deal, but I also know the best value is usually a piece I absolutely LOVE and feel comfortable and beautiful in and will wear again and again. LaLove Designs strives to make quality, well designed clothing in a mix of classic staple pieces that won’t go out of style and high-impact “Wow” pieces to sprinkle into your wardrobe. I’m very excited to be part of a network of local designers and artisans who are bringing back industry to the United States and focusing on sustainability by making unique, thoughtfully crafted boutique items.
I look forward to dressing you and making you a “Lovie,” a fan of LaLove clothing! (If Taylor Swift can have swifties, I can have lovies, right?)
My daughter is rough on jeans, and really, what kid isn’t? She wears holes in pants so frequently that she usually wears them completely unbothered. (Why yes, grammar nerds, I did make that word up. Thank you: freedom of the … Continue reading
That elusive summer Break once again has come and gone, along with my sabbatical from blogging.
Over the summer I spent some amazing time with my husband and daughters, welcomed a new nephew into the world, got to be a cabin leader at the greatest church camp in the land, and had the ultimate privilege of making a princess dress for the most deserving little girl I can imagine.
I also had an order for a jungle-themed first birthday party. Here’s what I came up with:I made a hand-embroidered keepsake tee shirt showing his age and what I believe to be a very cute young lion. I wish I had a cover stitch machine for knits like this, but I was able to hem the shirt with no real problem to speak of. It’s definitely possible-and pretty easy with just a little practice-to sew knits on a regular machine. Knits intimidate a lot of seamstresses-don’t be one of those. Go for it!
This is the shirt made to go over the tee for the party. We figured he could wear this one for the cake and take it off afterward. The hope was that the tee shirt wouldn’t get too messy that way. I’m not sure if that’s how it played out. Hmmm…I’ll have to ask. Isn’t this the cutest little fabric? Look at all those adorable baby animals!
As cute as the fabric is, it just doesn’t hold a candle to the most adorable buttons I’d ever seen in my life.
Ok, I may have purchased them without noting the price. I had a decent coupon and I assumed a button couldn’t be more than a couple bucks, right? Sooo Stupid. Oh well, they really do make the shirt, and I ended up knocking it off the cost of the final product, anyway. It was worth it. Those buttons just belong on that shirt. Look at them…right there in their natural habitat. They look happy.
Confession Numero Dos: I would have loved to stitch a little monkey on the back because, well, how great of a joke would that be? But I’m silly and not everybody else is, so I left the monkey off of the babies back, but I like the lion’s tail wrapping around like that.
Once again-hand stitching! Boom! If you haven’t tried it, you should! It may take a long time, but ya just can’t get that effect any other way.
By the by, this is the same baby I made the original “Hand-stitched Tee” for in this tutorial post on how to make one. For that project, I sewed the whole shirt by hand, which is pretty much crazy talk. I believe that’s totally worth it for a keepsake when a new baby is born, but for most other occasions, it’s much easier and faster to sew the garment, and just embroider by hand.
I just want to pet his playful little whiskers! You? No? Just me, then.
The Moral of the Story? Be warned: Working with Children’s whimsical fabric and notions can make you a little zany. And sometimes an overpriced button or two can be totally worth it.
Yesterday I finished the 6th and final superhero cape for Vacation Bible School at our church. As there are fewer seamstresses around than there once were, I’m pretty sure those of us who do sew get the whole gamut of oddball requests. I love oddities and challenges, so to me it’s more of a perk of my vocation than a downside. Design and sew a half dozen superhero capes for kids and come up with my own super logos for the backs? Yes, please!
I do have to admit, the church came dangerously close to having 6 little Darkwing Ducks running around for a week…well, 5 little ones plus me-because you know if I had made Darkwing Duck capes, I’d be rocking one of them! As it was, the theme song has been running through my head for the past two weeks. (Remember the songs and catchphrases, you 20 and 30 somethings? “You better watch out you bad boys,” “Let’s get Dangerous,” and let’s not forget the slightly unsavory “Suck Gas, Evildoers!” I bet my mom loved me repeating that all the time.)An Ode to the Dark
Knight, Uh… Wing
An Arrow: Because I ran out of ideas and because Jesus is the Way!A torch…also because I was running low on ideas and Jesus is our light.Yeah, that’s a Bible. My husband thinks it’s lame for a cape, but it’s our Sword of the Spirit, right?
A lightning bolt: Because it looks really cool.
This really has no symbolism behind it, although I could pull some out of my hat if my kids asked me. Moms are great at that- it’s like our superpower! P.S. I went through,like, 3 mangled lightning bolts before I had to look up pictures to draw from. I can’t believe it was that hard, but I was cutting without drawing first. If you want a challenge, I dare you to cut a lightning bolt from fabric without looking at one. If you do it, hit me up in the comments section. If you do it with no trouble, I’ll happily concede to you because this lady had one tough time!A Shield of Faith
Hearts: because the pastor wanted some for girls and what better symbolism for the kids than Love?
This was a really fun project and was also an opportunity to do some more hand stitching, which you know I love!
I used velcro for the neckline to close the cape. I thought that would be nicer than just tying them.
Pardon my cluttered background and to answer your question, Yes. Those are turkeys on the wall. I realize we are a long way out from Thanksgiving, but we happen to be coming around again, which means I don’t procrastinate, I plan ahead!
You can see in this picture just how full these capes are. They are a half circle so the kids can play with them and hold them over their little faces, which is cute. It’s less cute when I do it and pretend to be Darkwing.
I think that’s actually my villain face. Oh well. It was worth it because while I was dressed up and singing the theme song, I realized I could replace “Lets get dangerous” with “Lets get Biblical!” None of the kids will get the reference, but my nerdy friends will! And the people my age who don’t: I’ll just stop hanging out with them. Just Kidding. But not Really.
Since this is already a long post and I’d already gotten out the “Selfie Stick,” here are some pictures of today’s Pinterest hairstyle. I’ve determined to actually try some of the styles I’ve had on my Hair board on Pinterest on myself, my kids, and frankly, probably some unsuspecting friends and family members. I know it isn’t sewing related, but it is fashion related…loosely. So I may do some posts on hair and hairstyles, since the topic is so intermingled with fashion. If you follow my blog and you hate or love that idea, let me know! Styling and taking care of long hair and biracial hair are both close to my heart, so keep an eye out for posts on those topics.
Almost every tutorial on invisible zippers call for a special invisible zipper foot. I’ve installed plenty, and see no real need for that foot. I’d be willing to try it out, but it’s not something I’m dying to add to my collection of sewing machine accessories. I use my sliding zipper foot (which happens to be the one I use for all zipper applications because it allows me to sew so close to the zipper teeth.) If you don’t have one of these, you should. If you have to choose between one of these and an invisible zipper foot, I absolutely recommend this one. It works for any zipper you can imagine. Well, at least for any zipper I can imagine.
Here’s the invisible zipper I used for this skirt.
(Remember: you can always shorten a zipper, but you can never lengthen one, so if you’re not positive of the length you need its’s best to get it a little longer.) The inside of the zipper package will give you instructions saying you must use an invisible zipper foot. I bestow upon you the permission to toss that constraining little piece of cardboard into the trash whilst chuckling madly and saying “Your demands have no power over me!” You know, or something like that. (If you literally do that, put it in the comment section and I’ll officially nominate you as Duke or Dutchess of this blog for a day!)
‘Nough said. . . now let’s get down to it.
Step 1: Iron the zipper teeth outward.
If you’ve never seen an invisible zipper, this is an odd step, but once you open up the zipper package, you’ll notice that the teeth are turned inward so they are more perpendicular to the zipper tape that parallel to it. Flip them over with your finger and hold them down while you iron on a low setting.Do not iron directly on the teeth, just on the tape. The teeth can melt or warp, leaving you an unzippable zipper. Nobody wants that.Step 2: Pin one side of the zipper in place.
The right side of your zipper goes onto the right side of your fabric and then it will flip out when you iron the seam allowance under. Make sure that the stitch line will be right on your seam allowance. This is easy enough to do. Just measure from the edge of your fabric 5/8″ or whatever seam allowance your pattern calls for, making sure the zipper teeth are just beyond that mark. (You don’t want to sew into them.)
See, 5/8″ puts me stitching just inside the zipper teeth. That’s where you want to work.
Step 3: Sew the first side of the zipper into place.
This zipper foot will get you right up beside the teeth. Just be careful not to sew into them, because then you won’t be able to zip it. Even if the stitches get too super close to the teeth, they can catch the zipper pull so it gets stuck. I always check to make sure it zips after I sew each side to check for that.Step 4: Pin the other side into place.
Use the same measuring method as before. Remember, the teeth should be facing the part of the garment that will show, not the seam allowance.
Make sure the two sides of the zipper line up, like the picture below. if you have one side sewn on and one side pinned and then figure out the tops don’t line up, just take out the pins and line it up better. If you sew without doing this, you’ll be scradoodled and nothing but a good round of seam ripping will be able to turn things around for you.
I prefer to sew down one side and up the other, but to each his own. Who am I to judge? So long as the thing gets sewn in there with a straight line and without puckers, nobody cares which direction you sewed. Unless you are on an online sewing forum, in which case people will hunt you down and hen peck you until you conform to whatever “tried-and-true” method of directional sewing they subscribe to. C’est La Vie. (Ahh, the Internet-Land of a trillion sewing opinions, all of which claim to be the only way to do it. )
Step 6: Make sure the zipper zips up.
Don’t skip this step.
Don’t even breathe until this step is completed.
It’ll save you heartache, I guarantee.
Again, only if you completed step 6, people!!!
Pin from the zipper down to the hem and stitch at the same seam allowance you sewed the zipper at. This seam allowance from second line of stitching will be about 1/8″ bigger right beside the zipper pull, because you can’t sew on top of the pull. If that doesn’t make sense yet, it will when you go to sew. Just move the garment over a bit until you can sew without hitting your zipper and when you stitch down from there, go back to your normal seam allowance. Once everything is sewn and ironed, this little zig isn’t even noticeable. (See the last picture on this step.)Step 8: Iron the seam.
Be careful ironing over the zipper. If your fabric is very light, you should strongly consider using a press cloth so you don’t melt or warp your zipper teeth.
This is when it all comes together. If you’ve never used an invisible zipper before, you’ll see in this step where it gets it name. You really can’t tell it’s there except for the zipper pull. It makes a beautiful seam.Step 9: Sew the edges of the waistband down so the zipper tape can’t flip out and become visible.
(This step is only if you are making a skirt or pants with a waistband.) You can do this by hand so the stitch isn’t seen on the outside, or by machine if you don’t care about that. Now, since I don’t mind stitch lines on my waistband and this is such a busy fabric, I went ahead and used my machine. If you feel like that defeats the purpose of an invisible zipper, you’re certainly entitled to that. In that case, hand stitch the sucker down.
To clarify, this step isn’t really optional to me. I’m not going to insist that you do it, but I almost never make a skirt or dress without either a button or a hook and eye above the zipper. I’ve seen ready to wear garments made like that. The trouble is, the zipper does what it was made to do. It zips…and UNzips! Taking a few minutes to sew on a hook and eye is a small price to pay to avoid the potential embarrassment of a skirt coming unzipped on me or-worse- on a client!
When someone tells you there’s only one way to do something and you’ll need their special equipment in order to do it, proceed with skepticism. What’s more powerful? Their wonder tool or your creative genius?
. . . I thought so.
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.