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!
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!
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.
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. 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.
This 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!
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.Step 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.
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!The inside of the skirt’s waistband with lining. Step 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!Step 7: Sew the center back seam. (Or the other side seam if you had to use two pieces of fabric joined together.)Cool 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.Step 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.
Upcycling T-shirts is all the rage these day. One needn’t wander any farther than Pinterest, Craftsy, or just a good, old-fashioned Google search to stumble upon oodles of ideas: tank tops, boy shorts, purses, rugs. You name it; crafters have probably thought of a way to make it using repurposed t-shirts.
When repurposing garments, I typically like to take them completely apart and use the fabric, not too much of the stitching. That way, it’s like making something from scratch, which I feel better about. That’s not to say I haven’t cut off ugly sleeves, shortened hems, and revamped old dresses and other articles of clothing. That can be really fun and definitely makes great before and after shots, but my preference is really to design from the ground up.
Upcycling is a great way to get your feet wet in the sewing world. Whether you’re brand new to sewing and just want to get in some practice or you’re an experienced seamstress and are just looking for economical projects, it’s a fantastic option. And as my followers know, you don’t even need a machine to get started sewing clothes. I used my serger for this project, which made it super fast, but if you don’t have a machine, aren’t comfortable sewing knits yet, or if you just love the artistic goodness of the hand-stitched look, whip out your needle and thread and read a couple of my tutorials and posts on hand sewing knits to get started!
Here’s what you’ll need for this project:
A Pattern (If you don’t have one, use a pair of leggings as a guide to make one. Just add seam allowance.)
One or multiple T-shirts
1/2 Inch elastic for the waistband
A sewing machine, serger, or hand sewing needle
Step 1: Prepare or make the pattern. I used a pair of yoga pants to make this pattern.
Step 2: Cut out the fabric. I used a cool graphic tee and one with a contrasting color for the foldover waistband. Ideally, I would like these leggings to be a little longer since my daughters are so tall, but since this t-shirt is very soft and thin, I decided these would be for Spring/Summer wear anyway and they’d be fine as capris.
I kept the hem at the bottom for ease of sewing and because I don’t have a cover stitch machine that will do that type of hem yet. I like to avoid the zig-zag stitch for knits if I can. Another option for taller kids would be to use another t-shirt and extend the pattern. Just sew the extra piece to the bottom of the pant legs before sewing the pant.
Step 3: Cut the elastic. You can measure the waist of the pants you made the pattern from, follow the pattern package directions, or measure your child’s waist. I prefer the third method. That way, you get a wonderful fit the first time around.
Step 4: Sew the pants together. I don’t have step-by-step pics for the sewing portion, but if you’re a sewing newbie, feel free to ask questions in the comment section.
My favorite way to sew pants is to sew the inseam and outseam (this pattern only has one seam per leg, so I just folded each leg over and sewed that seam) and then turn one leg right side out and put it inside the leg that is right side in, so that the right sides of each leg are facing each other and sew the crotch seam, being careful to match the inseam up on both sides. (Click here for an easy tip on how to do that well.)
If there’s a waistband, sew it on with the elastic inside. If there’s no waistband, sew the elastic together at the ends and roll the top of the pants down over it to make a casing and sew, using a zig zag stitch or cover stitch.
Do not sew the waistband or crotch with a straight stitch, because the threads will break as soon as the pants stretch! I wouldn’t recommend sewing the vertical seams with a straight stitch, either. With knits, your stitches must allow for stretch, or your kid may be looking at a pretty embarrassing day at school.
The Moral of the Story:
If you have more time than money, upcycling is a fabulous way to pursue a hobby and get in your sewing fix.
Also, make use of that zig-zag stitch, please! Friends don’t let friends rip their pants.