Sewing Over Thick Seams Video

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!

Strap Sewing Hack

 Confession: I procrastinate. I’m not sure exactly how long I’ve had this little top cut out and pinned onto one of my dress forms, but it’s been more than a couple months. I had the lining sewn together and the exterior fabric together-and even top stitched, but joining the two pieces was something I just didn’t seem to ever “get to.” You know those things you put off because of something silly? I was not looking forward to sewing this together or turning it out. Crazy, I know. But I think when we break down the stuff we put off, a lot of times it comes down to something we’re dreading, but isn’t really that bad. That being said, I’m going to give you guys a little life hack to make turning out a top with straps a little less procrastin-able. That’s right. . . Procrastin-able: The ability to procrasinate. (I think I actually medaled in that sport in Middle School.)

The problem with sewing lining onto a garment with straps is that they tend to slide around inside and can get caught in the stitching. You can pin them to the fabric, but you still have to turn it out after. Serious Ouch Potential.

Here’s what I did to avoid the ouch: Tied a little ribbon on it! Well, it’s actually a knit fabric scrap, which works better because of the stretch. I just wound up the strap until I was pretty close to where it’s sewn onto the top and tied it. Then I tucked it into my meticulously pinned packet, closed it up, and continued to pin.



    

I was then at the refreshing liberty to sew without any fear of my strap sliding over and getting sewn into the darn seam.   If you don’t know what that agony is like,

  

And this is me turning my garment out without bleeding on it from pin pricks. That’s always a really good thing!
I hope this little trick helps you guys out. Let me know in the comment section if you have any other tips and tricks for sewing lining or straps! I’m a lifelong learner and I hope you guys are, too!

Pattern Workshop Launch and My New Year’s Resolution

“How long can one save pictures for a blog post without publishing?” you might ask. The answer, my friend, is indefinitely, which leads me to today’s release of a blog intended to be published last summer. Also, to answer the … Continue reading

Succesories!

I’m not even going into the title. If you don’t see the play on words, you’re clearly not nerdy enough. Or I’m too nerdy to be clear. Either way, LaLove Designs’ new accessories line is in full swing! 
  
  

 

  
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How to Fix Holes in Jeans: Jazzy Style

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

Have No Fear, VBS Capes are Here!

IMG_3519-0   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

The Capes:IMG_3525

An Arrow: Because I ran out of ideas and because Jesus is the Way!IMG_3524A torch…also because I was running low on ideas and Jesus is our light.IMG_3526Yeah, that’s a Bible. My husband thinks it’s lame for a cape, but it’s our Sword of the Spirit, right?IMG_3519-0

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!IMG_3515A Shield of FaithIMG_3518-0

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!IMG_3527

IMG_3516-0I used velcro for the neckline to close the cape. I thought that would be nicer than just tying them. IMG_3517-0

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!IMG_3451

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.IMG_3528

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.


***Bonus Post***

   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.

 My “Pinspiration”:Everyone will think this easy braided headband required a lot of effort. | 17 Ways To Never Have A Bad Hair Day AgainMy Reality:IMG_3536So, I definitely didn’t “nail” the teasing, but the braid is cute and super quick! It would show up much better if my hair was lighter on the ends, but I still dig it. IMG_3529IMG_3535

 


Sew an Invisible Zipper Without a Special Foot

IMG_3336Almost 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.IMG_3372IMG_3321

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.IMG_3322Step 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.)IMG_3323

IMG_3324See,  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.IMG_3325Step 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.


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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.

IMG_3327Step 5: Sew the second side in place. 

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. )

IMG_3328Step 6: Make sure the zipper zips up. 

Please.

Don’t skip this step.

Don’t even breathe until this step is completed.

It’ll save you heartache, I guarantee.

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Step 7: Sew below the zipper. 

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.)IMG_3330IMG_3331IMG_3332IMG_3373Step 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.IMG_3335IMG_3336IMG_3334IMG_3333Step 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.IMG_3338
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Step 10: (Optional) Sew a hook and eye above the zipper.

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!

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IMG_3342The Moral of the Story? 

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.

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.

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!

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!