I’m so excited, you guys! I’m sitting in the middle of LaLove Design’s very own first studio space. How crazy is that? It felt like I would never get here sometimes, but it’s real…trust me….I’ve already pinched myself. So, it’s not huge and it’s in desperate need of a coat of paint and some vibrant minimalist styling (is that an oxymoron?) but it’s mine! I can’t wait to make this place shine! I will definitely keep you posted and now that I have an official space I can take better pictures-you know, ones without rows of laundry hampers in the background-which means I can post a lot more!
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!)
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.
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!
“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
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?)
I am very pleased to announce to you guys that I was recently interviewed for the Pattern magazine blog about designing for a local market and you can check that interview out by clicking the link below.
This interview tells a bit about my design history, inspiration, my personal aesthetic as a fashion designer, and my process and personal story.
Pattern Indy and Me:
Pattern Magazine is the first fashion mag based out of Indiana…ever, as far as I know! They put out some killer work-I definitely hand it to them for superior editorial high fashion shoots. Not only is Pattern a magazine, but it’s a collaborative effort to bring together and equip people in any facet of the fashion industry in our area. If you read me very often, you know I’m an unapologetic Christian and when I say “Thank the Lord for Pattern” I don’t just mean it figuratively.
I touch on it in this interview, but Pattern had a lot to do with my decision to get back in the design game. When I moved back to Indiana after getting my degree in fashion design in California, I planned on it being a temporary hiatus. That is, until I had my twin girls and decided that their stability was more important than my dream. That’s when design became just that to me- a dream. Before becoming a mom, it was my plan. Afterward, it was a very abstract wish that I held onto rather loosely. It’s not that I gave up on design. I just resigned myself to the fact that there was really no fashion industry to get into here. We were just starting out with two babies at once to raise and take care of, and my full time job with good benefits took priority over fashion. Sadly, because the dream was painful to think of since I was so far from it at that point, I removed the reminders-putting away my sewing supplies, sending my final collection from school to Goodwill, and trashing my pattern sloper set (my worst mistake perhaps ever!)
Then one day my coworker and BWFF (best work friend forever) brought in a clipping from the morning newspaper about Midwest Fashion Week. I was floored. While I had my head in the proverbial sands of data entry and such, a fashion industry had been sprouting up around me. It ignited a thought-a whisper-of possibility. A year or two later, I heard of Pattern. There was now a Hoosier fashion magazine? I sarcastically wondered if they featured Carharts and farm attire. (A little Indiana humor, folks.) They were having regular meetups to establish a cohesive industry within our state, so I went to one- and LOVED it! It was on sustainable fashion, which I’ll admit I hadn’t done a lot of thinking about, since I had abstained from fashion altogether for a few years. It struck me that not only is there growth in the fashion industry around me, but the growing societal conscience for sustainable, responsible fashion was a tremendous benefit for local designers.
You see, we were taught in college to OUTSOURCE EVERYTHING. It took Pattern to break that mentality for me. After studying about the impacts of large scale “fast fashion” I wanted to not only get back to doing what I loved, but help lead the charge for change in the industry which glamorizes disposable fashion and making the quick buck. Learning to sew really, really well has taken me some time. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m pretty darn good. It took a ton of time to hone my pattern-making and -grading skills…and it will require more still. I’ve also had to change my outlook on the ideals of the design industry. But you know what? It feels so good. The slow road isn’t glamorous. Operating a mom and pop design business (two people actually would be GREAT!) doesn’t equal overnight success. But I can tell all of you aspiring fashion designers that it is such a great way to develop a really strong foundation and skill set to springboard your line an ideas on fashion once you have the fundamental know-how in place.
Thanks, Pattern, for the role you’ve played in coaxing me out of my comfort zone to jump into the industry. Here’s to making a splash!!!
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.