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.

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.

A Label Garden

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I kind of need a drying rack, but hey, this is prettier.

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To see how to make these cheap and easy homemade labels for your designs and sewing projects, click HERE.

Flower Hair Clip Fiesta Tres

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“Oooh La La La! That’s the way that we rock when we’re doin our thing.” Remember that song? If so, you’re getting old, but that’s ok. I am too.  Need an explanation? Flowers make me think Oh la la, which made me sing the song in my head, and presto change-o, I’ve shared it with you for your enjoyment. That is, if you were a Fugees fan. If not, this is one paragraph you’ll never appreciate, but don’t worry…it gets better.

On to the Flower!

Supplies You’ll Need to Make It: 

This one is made using jersey knit (t-shirt) fabric, hand sewing, and a cute little silver bead left over from the time I made wrap bangle bracelets.
Remember that? If not, check out the post and tutorial Here.photo (4) ..

How You Make It:

Cut a rectangular piece of knit fabric. (I made these flowers months ago, so I don’t remember the exact dimensions I used. 3″ X 12″ should do it.

Cut that rectangle into two scalloped strips by cutting lengthwise nearer to one side in a wave motion, creating one thin strip and one thick strip. (I hope that makes sense. If not, hit me up in the comments section. If you want, I’d be glad to re-do some of these flowers and get step-by-step pictures for a bona fide tutorial! Just let me know-I love your feedback.)

Gather both pieces separately by sewing a hand running stitch down the straight edges and pulling until they are long enough to wind around 3 or 4 times.

Once they are both gathered, put the thin piece on top of the larger one and spin both pieces around until you’ve got a flower shape. (If you want, you can sew as you spin. Stitch each new round in place before making a new layer.) The two sizes layered together give the flower more dimension and texture, which you can see in this picture.f (3)

This fabric is super easy to sew and thin enough that I made the flower shape first and then sewed through all layers. If you didn’t sew along as you were forming the flower, do so now, holding the flower in one hand and you sewing from back to front, front to back through all layers, making sure that all areas of the flower are in place and attached. Knot off in the back of the flower.

Run a line of stitching in the back to attach the very end of the fabric strip to the rest of the flower. You can see that in the picture below. Kind of. The fabric curled around the stitch line so the thread itself isn’t visible, but you can see where I sewed it together. Point is, you don’t want that piece in the back to be flopsy.b

Add your little bead, a button or other embellishment using needle and thread. Make sure it’s really securely attached, especially if you’re making it for a small child!f (3)

Attach it to a clip using felt and hot glue like my previous two flowers, or sew it directly to a garment. This flower was sewn on to a children’s dress I made a while back in This Tutorial. Check it out if you have time and let me know if you like it.klnmiulmgdf

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The Moral of the Story:

If you can’t get a song out of your head, write it somewhere on the internet- that’s what everyone does on Facebook now, right?

And if you need a really quick flower for a last minute DIY emergency, (which may seem unlikely, but the more you craft, the more it can happen) always go with jersey knit! It’s quick to sew and it never frays. A WIN-WIN!fdsa

As always, thank you for reading and stay tuned for tomorrow’s bonus post on the simplest of all the fast fabric flowers! (Hint-they can also be seen on the gray dress above.) Happy Thursday!

Flower Hair Clip Fiesta Dos

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Here it is. . .part two in the series of easy-peasy flowers to make. Today’s flower is this little pink polka-dotted number in the picture above.

How to Make It:

For this flower, you can use just about any fabric. All you need is a rectangular length of whatever kind you choose. I used some “Quilter’s Candy” fabric from Connecting Threads, a website with tons of really economical quilting fabric and an amazing selection of thread. Catch them during sale time and you can really stock up!

You can experiment with the length and width, but I believe I used something like 2 1/2″ X 12″.

Fold it in half lengthwise, right sides together, and sew down the side.

Turn the tube right side out and stitch the ends closed so the raw edges aren’t visible.

Sew a machine gathering stitch or a running stitch by hand down the edge with the seam and gather the fabric by pulling one side of the thread.

Begin to roll up the flower, stitching the bottom together at each new round. I suppose you could use hot glue for this step instead of sewing. I’m not sure how well it would hold up. . . now I’m curious. If you try it, tell me how it goes in the comment section.f (4)

The last step is to attach the flower to the clip. For this step, I know hot glue works! Ask my children who wear these clips out, and my dog, whose mouth I have wrestled them from numerous times.vfvf

 

Flower Hair Clips

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There are about as many ways to make or sew fabric flowers as there are funny pictures of cats posted on Facebook. If you run a search for tutorials, you can quickly become overwhelmed with all the beautiful options you want to try. I prefer the faster kinds. (Some flower video tutorials are like 40 minutes long-what could they possibly be doing? I think after a few minutes the videos cut to scenes of them showing off their stamp collections, or something. I know I’m not gonna spend 40 minutes making a darn flower! If you have that kind of time and patience, more power to you! If you don’t, I have  3 quick and easy methods for constructing fabric flowers. I’ll post the directions for each one throughout this week. AND…if you guys are lucky, I’ll post a bonus easy flower not shown here on Friday. Try not to fall off the edge of your seats in anticipation, (and I’ll try not to choke on my sarcasm.)

 

TODAY’S FLOWER METHOD: Polyester Circles and a Lighter!

Just so you know, my eyes got all big and maniacal looking as I typed that title and pictured something akin to Bart Simpson with a lighter and an aerosol can.

What you do:

Find some synthetic fabric. (If you’re not sure if the fabric is synthetic, do the lighter test. You want edges that melt and crinkle up a bit, not fabric that actually catches on fire. Fire bad.)

Cut out 4 or more circles of your fabric. It’s easiest if you make a paper pattern so they all come out the same size. I used a compass to get just the right size. You could also draw around something round.f

Melt the edges using a lighter. Do not burn your house down.

Once the edges are melted and cooled off, fold each circle into fourths and sew or hot glue the corner to a small circle of felt and a hair clip. f (1)

That’s it. You’re done. You could also use a safety pin going through the circle (or oval, in this flower’s case) of felt for attaching to shirts or accessories. I like that better than sewing flowers on for certain garments if you don’t want the flowers to go through the wash.

Stay tuned this week for more flower making madness! It’s guaranteed to be a good time, and you can rest assured I will bring you the quickest, easiest methods of fabric flower production know to man, because nobody has time to make a 40 minute flower!

Making Due and How To Make An Easy Flower

IMG_2101What do you do when the rad concert t-shirt you turned into a one of a kind, hand-sewn, work of strappy-backed art gets a hole in it? You make due with what you have, that’s what! One of my favorite sayings is “When life hands you lemons. . . you freeze ’em and throw them back so it really hurts like heck.” Or something like that.
What is design but making something where there was nothing before? So why did I let myself get all bent out of shape when the shirt I had just made ended up with a hole in it? (Stupid Cat!!!) I was just about to list it on Etsy when I noticed the anomaly, and I just let it hang in my sewing room for months. (Thanks to that lack of decisiveness that creative people are often plagued with.) I didn’t want to darn and mend it and then sell it. I didn’t want to list it with a hole in it. I felt like a flower over it may be too out of place. So I just left it. Ever been there?
But I did the brave thing and finally got it out. A flower was my only option for true repair that didn’t look awful, so that’s what I went with. It may not be part of my original design or intention, but aren’t happy accidents the part of design that I’m always touting, anyway? So now I have a kick-arse (Can I say that?) Led Zeppelin shirt that, yes, has a flower on it, and I love it. It’s edgy and pretty. Together. And because of that, in a happy accident kind of way, it embodies my whole design aesthetic. Thank you, fate. (I don’t actually believe in fate. That was a literary device lest you think I’m totally naive. I do like to personify ideas and attributes to sound like I’m talking to them. I also like to over-explain what I’m doing. You’re welcome.)

Who knew such a tiny hole could cause so much anguish?IMG_2088

Luckily, I had some scraps from the fabric I used to make the godets for this shirt. (The little triangles I added to the sides.)

IMG_2089I cut out a shape that would work for a flower-It was already there. I just tidied up the edges a bit. If you’re using this post on a tutorial to make an easy flower, take any jersey knit (t-shirt) fabric and cut it between 6-12 inches and taper it so one side is wider than the other. I liked the curved edge for this flower.IMG_2090Using a running stitch, sew near the bottom edge of the fabric all the way across. Don’t worry about the stitch being perfectly even. Unless chaos kills you inside. Then you can be perfectionistic if you want to.IMG_2092-0

I used Button & Craft thread. It’s heavy duty stuff. It’s cheap. And it will last. Highly recommend it!IMG_2091-0

After you’ve stitched the edge, pull the thread to gather the fabric so your flower crinkles up. Cute, no?IMG_2093Using the same length of thread, sew the flower together. Just take the needle in from the back and out the front and vice versa. Make sure your stitches aren’t noticeable and don’t sew down that cute fullnes in the middle of the flower! Once it’s sewn together adequately, secure it with a knot in the back.IMG_2094


You’re done with your easy flower! Now you can sew it onto a garment or accessory, or you can hot glue a piece of felt with a safety pin to the back so it’s detachable. I used black thread for this flower so you can’t see any stitching and since there are so many flower options, I’ll probably do a whole post on easy flowers and break down exactly how to sew them together for newbies.IMG_2096

I mended the hole before I attached the flower so it wouldn’t fray.IMG_2097This was the shirt’s original design.Finished front

And this is what I ended up with. I’m actually more it this way. You know, after all that unnecessary worry and feeling like I couldn’t possibly make a flower work.IMG_2098IMG_2099

And here are some of the details I love about this top.

The braided binding. Boy, this stuff takes forever to make, but it’s so versatile, strong, pretty, and unusual! Plus, this shirt was entirely hand stitched and it lends itself to that medium.

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The godet panel and hi-lo hem.Finished-sideGodet finished stitching
And this beautiful contrast stitching. The hem stitch is a stretchy one that I learned from one of Natalie Chanin’s books. Love her!Hem Stitch

Also, if this 2 for one post wasn’t enough for you, here are some other ridiculous and fun lemons quotes. Enjoy:

If life gives you lemons, keep them, because, hey, free lemons!

When life hands you lemons, slice those suckers up and grab some vodka.

When life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Then life will be all like…What?!?

When life hands you lemons, make grape juice, and sit back and watch everyone wonder how you did it.

If life gives you lemons, sell them and buy shoes!

Unless life also hands you water and sugar, you’re lemonade is gonna suck.

When life hands you lemons, freeze them and throw them as hard as you can at the people making your life difficult. (Okay, this was the one I was thinking of earlier. I got it totally wrong!)

When life hands you lemons, it’s time for tequila shots.

When life gives you lemons, make bacon. Discard the lemons.

 

Super Duper

A few months ago, we had an emergency. Not a real emergency, just the kind where your child tells you at the latest possible minute that they need something for school. . .that very day. I normally don’t really oblige, but this particular overlooked spirit day item was pretty much my fault. Let me explain. For spirit week at school, they send out a bulletin showing which days are what and I’m pretty used to what my girls dress up for and what they won’t. Hat day? Love it. Red day? As long as we’re not too behind on laundry, they’re into it. Jersey day? Up until they both got a Colts shirt, they wanted nothing to do with it. Now they’re into jersey day. But Superhero day has never been their thing. So honestly, I didn’t even mention it.

Then, the morning of superhero day my when my daughter said, “Mom, isn’t it superhero day? I wanted to be superman,” I melted. I had about 25 minutes before they had to get on the bus, but I was able to pull this quick little cape together because I had the red and yellow felt, a hot glue gun, a t-shirt I could cut up and the superhero logo idea I’d seen on Pinterest. (Are they thinking about paying me yet for plugging their website? It’s well overdue, if you ask me.)

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How to do it: Cut a t-shirt into a cape shape. You could get really fancy and sew the ties onto the cape, but I just cut it out as one piece. For the symbol, find the one you want online and either print it out and use it as a stencil or just draw it based on the one you saw. For this one a ruler was indispensable! I cut out the red felt in the log design and laid it over the yellow so it would fit over it exactly. Then hot glue the two layers together and either sew or glue the symbol onto the cape. I used hot glue since I had so little time, and it held up for the whole day. Sewing would probably be the way to go if you were making it for someone who would use it for dress up often.Dec. 2014 Group 2 019

You can see my mistakes on the red, since I outlined in sharpie, but this would be a very easy project if given enough time to do it. I’d suggest either using something washable to draw the shape initially, using a template to draw around, or if you prefer to freehand with a sharpie like I did, draw the logo backwards, so you don’t have any extra markings. Now that I’m thinking of better ways to go about it, if I had to do it again, I think I’d prefer to use a really soft drawing pencil that would work on felt and then use the sharpie to do the outline once I had the correct design. Dec. 2014 Group 2 020

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I think she did a great job of putting her outfit together while I made the cape. Very Super-y!Dec. 2014 Group 2 025

I may have made her cheese it up a little for this pic. Couldn’t help myself.Dec. 2014 Group 2 026She seems pretty mellow here. I believe I was significantly less calm after this little rush project. It’s really too bad she didn’t just keep it on, because once I got her and her sister on the bus, I came back inside only to find the cape on my stupid ironing board. I found it somewhat ironic that I wouldn’t have had to rush if I knew I’d have to run the thing to school anyway. You know what they say, rushing and anxiety make for an excellent memory. Oh, wait, NOBODY says that!

My Very First Granny Squares

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 My latest obsession? Crochet.

 

   I’ve always loved the idea of learning how, but I also knew how time consuming it would be. I assumed it would take forever to learn, but I was happily surprised to find out just how easy it is. (Easy, that is, after two days of doing it completely wrong before breaking down and watching a YouTube video on it.)
   To show anyone who’s interested in learning but intimidated by getting started, here’s a little bit about how I finally made my way into the wacky world of crochet.
My initial investment was about $16. That bought a “Learn How To Crochet” kit and two skeins of yarn from my local Walmart. The kit came with several crochet hooks, some plastic needles to hide loose yarns, some rings I haven’t experimented with yet, a book with each basic stitch and several projects, and a DVD. It was a super value, as far as I’m concerned! I had decided to work my way up through the different stitches using the diagrams first before watching the videos. I assumed I’d learn quickest by figuring it out by myself. My opinion on that one has been swayed! I misinterpreted a diagram for the single crochet stitch and was leaving out one of the-very, very- important steps. YouTube did save me, and with the help of that website and Pinterest, I’ve been blissfully crocheting away. And I must say, it seems to be just what the doctor ordered to get me through football season!