LaLove Designs Boho Draped Necklace

This is one of the offerings on my etsy store. Half boho/half punk…all modern.  Support small business and handmade design by picking one up-for yourself or as a great holiday gift! Or, support LaLove Designs by just browsing my Etsy store. I love interaction from my blog readers!!! I’ve been pretty “off the grid” lately, but I’m trying to make a comeback so please show a little L-O-V-E in the comment section, you wonderful people, you!!

www.etsy.com/shop/sewlalove

Baby’s First Birthday

   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:IMG_3552I 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!IMG_3558

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. IMG_3564Isn’t this the cutest little fabric? Look at all those adorable baby animals!IMG_3563

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Well, hi there, mister Tiger Pocket! You were very fun to make.IMG_3560

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.

IMG_3559Ok,  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.

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I dare you not to smile at this picture. Go ahead-make my day!IMG_3557

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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.IMG_3555

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.
IMG_3552IMG_3554I just want to pet his playful little whiskers! You? No? Just me, then.

IMG_3553He’s climbing the one. He looks ambitious to me.

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.

Basting for Better Bodices Tutorial

IMG_2905Have you ever been frustrated by sewing princess seams? It seems I always get at least one pucker each time I sew gathered curves of any kind. You have one piece that’s already longer than the other and gathered by pins to the shorter piece, then you have to sew and try to feed both pieces in evenly so the longer one doesn’t slide down and create an unwanted ruffle.

I used to be much more impatient when sewing. In college when I was learning, I would skip steps and take shortcuts which led to pumping out a garment quicker, but not necessarily growing as a seamstress. This time around, I’m determined to put extra effort into planning, prepping, pressing, marking, cutting, and basting. Those things are so key in sewing and for me, this year is dedicated to learning how to sew as well as possible. (Click HERE to see my post Becoming an Expert Seamstress.) So little of sewing is actual sewing, and most of what goes into it are items from my previous list. The prep work is important and vital. Ever try to sew without pressing thoroughly? Betcha won’t make that mistake twice.

I’m finding also that the prep work I’ve avoided for so long really saves time! Making sure to do things right the first time is really pivotal to the process. It takes a lot longer to rip out an entire seam and re-pin and re-sew it than it does to hand baste before sewing.

I had never tried hand basting a gathered seam before stitching it before, but it really worked like a charm! This is a method I’ll be using from here on out because it eliminates a lot of the problems I had sewing this type of seam before. Primarily, I had trouble with the longer fabric being pulled by the machine and then buckling beside the pin. I’ve tried sewing with both sides down and had the issue both ways. It’s so simple to hand baste before and you know your fabric’s in the right place and you don’t have to deal with all those pins.

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Step 1: Pin the pieces together, gathering the fabric with the longer edge so they fit together. I don’t use many pins on straight seams, or even curved seams that aren’t gathered, but a gathered and curved seam is no place to skimp on pins, I can tell you that much!

IMG_2901You can see in this picture how it would be easy to get puckers when sewing!IMG_2903

Step 2: Hand baste the pieces together, taking the pins out as you go. My seam allowance was 1/2 inch and I tried to baste about 1/4 inch from the edge. You don’t want to stitch over the basting because it makes it hard to take out.IMG_2904Step 3: Sew using your actual seam allowance. I sewed with the gathered fabric underneath. If you do that, just make sure it’s not folding up on you under there or you’ll end up with a mess.

IMG_2905This is how it looks after sewing.

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Step 4: Cut off the knot at the end of your basting stitch.IMG_2907

Step 5: Remove the basting.IMG_2908

Here’s the finished seam. I love this method because you know it’s going to turn out well, since the fabric can’t shift as you sew.IMG_2902Step 6: Iron your seam, using a tailor’s ham if you have one. They make it so much easier to iron curve areas.IMG_2951Tailor’s Ham: A Handy little pressing tool!

I really hope this method helps you guys as much as it did me. Thanks for reading!

Open Back Spring Tank

 

 

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Between 2 hour delays and working on a separate project last week, this top didn’t come along as quickly as I had wanted it to. But it came nonetheless. It was like Christmas…it came without packages, boxes, or bags, and there was nothing that old Grinch of busy-ness could do to stop it! IMG_2814

Now, I won’t be wearing it without another shirt on under it- unless I had really, really high waisted pants on and it was like a hundred and thirty degrees outside and someone could guarantee me that I wouldn’t run into my dad, or anyone from my conservative family for that matter. I used to throw caution-and modesty-to the wind, much to my mother’s chagrin, but poor girl, she wasn’t as strong-willed as I am. I had an unshakable argument, too. She had been a hippie, a real flower child of the 60s. Like she never went braless! If I had known then what I know now that mother’s are right in ways we can’t imagine in our naive, rebellious youth! Oh well. Now I have my own children to wrangle, so the tables have turned. I’ve already told them they’ll never be more stubborn than mommy, though, so I refuse to back down on the important issues. (That’s my sometimess-too-gentle-and-peaceable mother in the background picture. She was beautiful! Man, if I could take back the misery I caused her, I would. Well, sae la vie, I suppose.)IMG_2816

Back to the shirt. I may not wear it without something under it, but sheer is hot right now! Would I send it down a runway like that or put it in a photoshoot? Heck yes! I may be a fairly modest midwesterner, but I am, after all, an Yves Saint Laurent Girl at heart. . . Mastermind behind the iconic women’s tuxedo and sheer secretary blouses of the 70s- worn, of course, sans bras.

Also, Lets take a moment of reverence for these new palazzo pants. No, I didn’t make them, but I was just as excited to buy them for $11.99 at Sears last week! I will be wearing them with everything! And, yes, they do have pockets. Thank you for rejoicing with me over that fact. I know you did. Because nobody doesn’t love pockets!

IMG_2819I didn’t want the bra strap to show, but I”ll be wearing a cami under it, so it works for me!

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IMG_2821-0That criss-cross back turned out really well. Let me just say that it was no fun sewing the straps into the back neck binding, but we’ll leave that little saga for another post.

IMG_2827This post is for you, Mom, the one who told me to follow my dreams and believed I would be a writer since my second grade teacher told you so. I didn’t want to be for quite a while-perhaps just to be obstinate-but I’m writing now. . .and I love it. I wish I had listened to you sooner, but thank you for never really backing down, even when I ran all over you. You had your way in the end. I love and miss you!

 

The Moral of the Story?

Always remember to be grateful for pockets! It’s not until you buy a pair of pants, bring them home, and then realize the front pockets aren’t real that you truly appreciate them the way they deserve.

And listen to your mothers! Unless maybe they were hippies. In that case, go ahead and have a little fun with them. I think they enjoy the banter.

Whatcha Workin On Wednesday

IMG_2806 I must admit that I love the style of the teensy, squared short sleeve. I’ve doted on this style on pinterest, but honestly didn’t think about the construction until I began sewing the binding onto this tank and put the half-finished project on the dress form. Maybe next time.

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The original design- quickly sketched, not that I’m too amazing at drawing when I spend a lot of time on it. I have the pattern made for the skirt and the fabric cut out, but I haven’t begun sewing.

IMG_2799That’s my to-do list pinned to the dress form. If I leave it anywhere else, I forget about it and get off track.

IMG_2790I got a little bored and played with the scraps and I love these dainty little flowers. I have enough for several hair clips for my daughters to lose.

IMG_2807Turns out, they would be pretty cool around the neck of a really rad dress, or just as a neck piece. Boredom really does inspire a lot of my designs.

I’m excited about this criss-cross back! It’s fairly open, while still being able to hide a bra. I love fashion and fads, but not at the expense of my bras!

Crop Top and Skirt Set

There’s not a whole lot I love more right now than matching skirts and crop top sets. (Fashion-wise that is- I mean, I’m still pretty fond of my family, friends, and pets.) And believe you me, I would never, ever, ever have thought that would ever be the case. Let me just re-emphasize that fact…NEVER. 5 years ago if someone told me I would soon be in love with loud 70s prints and colors in MATCHING SETS, I just would have fallen over laughing- probably literally, as I tend to lose muscle tone when I laugh way too hard, but that’s really neither here nor there.

I know I’m not alone here when I say I would have shuddered at the thought of prints  like these:

and suits like these:

. . .ever making it back into play in fashion. But it was inevitable, right?   Each decade makes at least one revival in each subsequent decade in fashion, so I knew it would happen sooner or later. I just didn’t know I’d like it so much. Although, it is one of those trends I wonder if people who don’t study what’s going on in fashion and live their lives on Pinterest, like I do, will appreciate.  I live in Indiana, so we don’t go for the most outlandish of new fashions, but those of us who appreciate fashion generally stay pretty well in the loop, so I don’t care frankly. I can’t wait to finish this set and wear it out. I know people who love fashion for what it is will recognize when I’m on trend and hopefully what I design is still more tasteful than trendy, so at least people who don’t know or care what’s IN or OUT will think it’s pretty.

Girls’ Gymnastics Shorts

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Intimidated by sewing knits? Don’t be-they’re actually really easy to work with. Whether you have a serger or not, they can easily be mastered. I used my serger on the interior seams, but since it doesn’t have that handy dandy cover stitch that’s normally used to hem knits, I used my sewing machine for the waist and legs.

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This is a stitch often used in lingerie, it’s a zig-zag, but has tons of tiny stitches within each zig and zag. It’s fancy. Plus, it has awesome stretch, which is what you need for performance knit sewing.IMG_2464

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The interior seams are serged and for the top of the waist and legs, I serged first and turned the fabric under only once and stitched using that fancy zig-zag. This makes the inside look finished without having to turn the edges under twice. Less work?Love it! The waist has 1/2 inch elastic in the band, but the legs don’t have any elastic. I thought about using the clear lingerie elastic for the legs, but I tried it without, and it worked out well. These are tight enough in the leg that they don’t require any extra elastic. Works for me!IMG_2459

Captain America T-Shirt Remake

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Ok, so I admit it. I’ve never actually read any Marvel comics (or any comics for that matter.) I’ve never even watched the Captain America Movie. I’m a nerd, but not in that way, how’s that. Like, if Chaucer, Hawthorne, or C.S. Lewis were super heros, then I’d read the comic books! (Chaucer would make a terrible super hero, wouldn’t he? It would be like a 1400 page graphic novel on someone who describes places and people’s physical characteristics for so long that all of his enemies fall asleep and die. His name would be Canterbury Fail. Hawthorne wouldn’t be much better. 40 pages to describe a tiny fishing village in The Scarlet Letter? Really?)

But let’s face it, superheros are fun! (I’m a batman girl myself…gotta love the dark side.) Between making this shirt and the Captain America trailer I’ve watched over and over on my copy of Guardians of the Galaxy, (I think that’s the movie I keep seeing it on.) I’ll probably break down and rent it soon. And yes, that is a copy of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the background. It’s just the best. Bam! I’m not sure if you guys care, but I’m still salty because in kindergarten, I was always the only girl who wanted to play Turtles instead of house, so they ALWAYS made me be April. I just wanted to be Mikey or Donnie. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

These are just pics of the process and tips on how to add fabric if your pattern is bigger than the fabric you have to work with.

For more posts on upcycling T-Shirts and hand stitching check out these posts:

Step-By-Step Picture Tutorial

Decorate a Top WIth an Easy Flower

Girls Tank Applique Tank Top

Make Your Own Yoga Gear (A step-by-step tutorial on how to make a sports bra)

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The Original T-Shirt

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How to cut up a t-shirt for upcycling the most efficient way.

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Oops! Not enough room. (I had to use the bottom for binding for the neck and arm holes.) Not to worry. Just make a separate piece for the missing part of the strap! Be sure to add enough for seam allowance. I love how this turned out, anyway. It’s a cool decorative seam now because I did the contrast top-stitch. Happy Accidents! I’m tellin ya.IMG_2383

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For the pattern for the extra strap piece, I used tailor’s chalk to mark where the fabric stopped on my pattern. Then I measured down one inch (to allow for a 1/2″ seam allowance on both pieces.)IMG_2386

I didn’t get a picture of cutting out the strap piece, but here’s what they look like pinned on.IMG_2411

Here it is, Folks!IMG_2412

Have I ever told you I love hand-stitching and contrast top stitching? A million times? Ok, well consider this a million and one!IMG_2416-0

Dun du du daaahhh!!! Is that Super-Hero-y enough? I don’t know how well theme music comes off in print.IMG_2417

Contrast Topstitching!!!!IMG_2421-0

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Leave it in the Comment Section:

Who’s your favorite Super Hero and has that ever influenced your style or designs? 

Aw, Crap!


IMG_2323That moment in sewing when you’re almost at the end of your project only to realize you’ve done something wrong. . .sewn the wrong seams together, cut 2 rights instead of a right and a left, or if you’re a patternmaker like me, mislabeled the original pattern. Yay.
Remember the waistband I was so excited about and proud of in This Post? I sewed it just fine. I did everything right, according to the pattern. Problem is, I labeled the left waistband piece as Right and vice versa, so the whole thing is all wrong.  Stay Calm and Grab Your Seam Ripper and all that, right? I bet that’s a really good philosophy with patient people. For me, I’m satisfied to be able to calm back down after my initial freak out and use it for an inspirational post, hopefully. (Probably less inspiration than sharing a common rant, but I think that helps, too.)

The funny thing is I made a sample pair to test the fit of this new pattern I made. (You can see a pic of that pair at the bottom of This Post on My Easy Button Sewing Tip.) And when I encountered this problem with the waistband on that pair, I assumed I just screwed up during the cutting-I had kids running around and dogs barking while I cut out. I didn’t even think to check my pattern. At least I caught it the second time around! (This has been a real blow to the old perfectionist ego, folks!) Well, let’s all live and learn together, fellow seamstresses, designers, and DIYers!IMG_2336

The Inside of the Finished Pants.

Everything worked out all right, after all. I did not hyperventilate, I did not die of boredom seam ripping (although I thought I would do both when I first realized my mistake when pinning on the waistband.) IMG_2328 IMG_2329 IMG_2330 IMG_2323 IMG_2327 IMG_2326 IMG_2324 IMG_2325
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