Jun 212014
 

Before we dig into The Rambo Project, I wanted to share a little surprise with you all! Yup, that’s me…sporting quite a baby bump for someone not due until November. This picture here is me and our little girl Clover Rose expected this November.

Lolita Patterns | Surprise! and The Rambo Project

I know a lot of you already knew about my pregnancy because you were either with me while I was showing, or you were with me when I was trying to confirm that I was officially pregnant (I’m looking at you Trice, Lladybird, and Clare!) But now that we finally got to learn the gender (girl!) I figured it was time to share it with all my virtual sewing buddies.

Lolita Patterns | Surprise! and The Rambo Project

So since I’ve known about this new addition for a little while, I had plenty of time to plan my Rambo project accordingly. Since it was hard to gauge what size I would be ahead of time, I thought I would make something more practical that I could  use everyday instead of only when I was 5 months pregnant. A baby sling!

Lolita Patterns | Surprise! and The Rambo Project

You have probably heard about The Rambo Project by now from all the other talented ladies participating, but just in case you haven’t, I’ll give you the cliff notes version of the story. (Click here to see the full version) My girl Erin received a box of turbans that were used in the movie Rambo III! These turbans were actually used so they have rips and stains and are different colors, etc. She messaged some of us around the web to know if we wanted to make something out of them. Believe me when I say the answer was a unanimous yes!! Everyone wanted a piece of the Rambo action…and really, can you blame them/us?

Lolita Patterns | Surprise! and The Rambo Project

I started searching around the web for how to make a baby sling. This is my first baby and I have no idea about these things yet. Turns out it is very simple. I bought some sturdy rings from Sling Rings and followed the instructions on their website. I did NOT believe this was going to hold anything. It seemed too simple! Of course my dogs are ginormous so I couldn’t test it out with them, but luckily my parents have a smaller dog and she was more than willing to help me test out my new baby sling. And look! No hands! It totally works and Nellie (the cute white dog) was completely comfortable just chilling in it. I’m excited to try it when Clover finally gets here!

Lolita Patterns | Surprise! and The Rambo Project

Of course, me being me, I couldn’t just leave the baby sling the way it was. I had to embellish it, with neons, and pom pom balls, and variegated thread decorative stitches…and of course couch some of my new neon pearl crown rayon that I picked up in New York at Pacific Trimming. Here is a closeup of all the stitching.

Lolita Patterns | Surprise! and The Rambo Project

neon pink hearts, green pom poms, neon orange and yellow spikey squiggle, couched neon variegated trim from NY, neon yellow and green squiggles and more green pom poms

In order to do decorative stitching on a fabric, especially if you are using wide stitches, you need to use a stabilizer on the back to keep the stitches from tunneling and pulling. I used a tear away/wash away stabilizer that tore cleanly. You just stitch with the stabilizer underneath and tear it off when you are done…easy presto!

0618141253

Lolita Patterns | Surprise! and The Rambo Project

Also, one easy trick I use when couching trim, or using binding is to put the roll on the knee lift lever and unwind it from there. Holds everything perfectly and works much better than trying to hold it on my lap when it constantly falls off and then the doggies try to play with it.

Lolita Patterns | Surprise! and The Rambo Project

How about one last pic for the road?

Lolita Patterns | Surprise! and The Rambo Project

I hope to alter some Lolita Patterns into a version I can wear for maternity because I am seriously outgrowing my clothes way too fast. If I do, I will definitely post how I modify the pattern so you all can make them too!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

 

May 292014
 

Sewing Indie Month has almost come to an end…but not without one more post!  Today I am posting an interview with Sew Caroline. She recently released several modern and comfortable patterns that are super cute and I was so excited to get to connect with her and learn more about her philosophy and design style.  Now you can too! Here is our interview.

Sewing Indie Interview With Sew Caroline

  1. Which came first…love of sewing or desire to make your own styles prompting learning sewing?

I think my answer to this question is … both! BUT, I didn’t sew garments at first. When I first began my sewing journey I loved sewing small, easy to sew items such as zip pouches, bags, etc. but I wanted to create my own style of these items because I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. I began imagining the things I would create and shortly after finding a way to sew them.

  1. What started you sewing…what was the precipitating moment? DO you think of sewing all the time? What aspects do you dwell on mostly?

I begain sewing about four or five years ago when I received a sewing machine for Christmas. It was a magical day! I don’t remember much a bout the first few months of owning the machine, but I quickly learned how to use it and found myself staying up late watching youtube videos on how to sew things.. This is how I learned! I think of sewing and designing MUCH more often than I care to. I find myself awake in the middle of the night thinking of a new pattern that’s been in my head and having “aha!” moments of figuring out how those seams should go together. It’s really a problem! ha! I dwell on the design of things a lot. When I am out shopping and/or gathering inspiration, I tend to think deeply about how certain garments are put together, etc. I love learning new techniques!

  1. How would you describe what you sew? Is there a particular influence on your choice of design? When did you decide sewing your own clothes was important to you? When did you decide to share your ideas as patterns with others? What inspires or influences your style? Do your pattern plans come from dreaming up styles or from styles you see and want to modify to fit your ideas?

Because I know people live busy lives, I want my garment designs to be things women can sew in an afternoon. Quick and simple are important to me when sewing as well as designing. I love being creative, so when I first learned to read a pattern and began sewing my own clothes I did it because of the sense of pride I felt! NOW, I wear my own clothes proudly because I never have time to go shopping and prefer what I have sewn over other store bought things. When I began altering pattern so much that they no longer looked a bit like what the original pattern looked like, I knew it was time to start designing my own, from-scratch patterns. I love seeing ready to wear garments that look simple enough for me to sew. I gain a lot of inspiration from current trends and timeless staples.

  1. Describe your typical sewing/patterning daily routine.

Every day is different, BUT.. I typically get up in the mornings around 7, make my coffee and eat breakfast while checking Instagram, emails, etc. The emails that need responses immediately, I answer. The others wait until around mid-afternoon. After coffee, I head into my studio and decide what has priority. It may be a sewing project, some pattern drafting, a blog post, etc. I figure out what it is and do it right then. After this I eat a bite for lunch and typically go work out in the early afternoon. When I am back, I do some more emailing and computer work and then have a couple of hours in the late afternoon to do a bit more sewing. Sometimes this late afternoon time spot is used for a photo shoot. Like I said, though, everyday is different, so I kind of fly by the seat of my pants sometimes J

  1. You have released your first three patterns in such a short period of time! Are there more en route very soon? What have you learned from these patterns that will affect your future releases?

I have been working on these three patterns for about 8 months, so it seems like they all released in a very short amount of time, but in reality they’ve been in the works for quite some time! I have another pattern set to release in 4-5 weeks that I am really excited about. Every thing I’ve learned has been through trial and error and I have of course learned valuable things through each and every release!

  1. What helped you decide to start your own pattern company…what was your “aha” moment?

After I realized I was re designing so many patterns to where they no longer looked anything like the pattern I had purchased, I realized that was silly.. I should design my own! That was definitely my “aha” moment.. and it happened almost a year ago.

  1. What types of designs are your primary focus? Has designing your own fabric influenced the kind of patterns you design?

I love wearing dresses and easy to style tops and skirts. So these easy to sew staples are definitely my primary focus. Since my fabrics will be sold in quilt shops, I try to design clothing that will work well with quilting cottons (along with other apparel fabrics!)

  1. What influences your style?

I love classic, yet trendy styles. I love Anthopologie, J.Crew, ModCloth, etc. I find a lot of inspiration for my patern and fabric designs through ready to wear garments.

  1. What are you finding is the hardest part of having your own business?

Finding time to do everything!!!

       10. Will you be having sew-alongs? Why or why not?

I want to! I just haven’t found the time to get it all organized, yet! I think it is a fabulous way for people to connect while sewing the same patterns.

      11. How do you bring your sewing/pattern/designing day to an end…or do you?

My husband comes home and we have dinner together.. I try to stop working for a couple of hours to spend time with him, but inevitable I am always back at it for an hour or two before I go to bed.

      12. Do you still have time to sew for yourself using patterns by other designers?

Not much… but I try. I really enjoy this part of sewing! I am hoping to get to do more self-sewing this summer.

      13. Is there anything else you would like to say?

Thank you so much for having me here today! I’d love to connect with you on my blog  (SewCaroline.com), Instagram (@SewCaroline), or Facebook (fb.com/sewcarolineblog)!

It is so sad that Sewing Indie Month is almost over but I hope everyone enjoyed it and that you learned about some new indie pattern companies…I definitely did! Stay tuned for a new challenge I am participating in being announced in a few days :)

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

 

May 282014
 

If you haven’t bought your copy of Olive, head on over to our shop where you can place your order! Also, you can visit the Olive page where you can see all the tutorials as they go live as well as download the cutting labels to keep your pieces organized, get inspired via our Pinterest and Flickr pages, whichever you prefer. And go ahead and tag your work with #lolitapatterns so we can find it and admire, like, share and basically swoon!

Today, I’ll show you how to cut the back on the fold and how to face the waistband, both things that testers opted to do and we thought them smart ideas. First, let me show you how to cut the back on the fold. Just note: You will need extra fabric to cut on the fold so plan accordingly!

You can do this with any pattern that doesn’t require a back zipper or even if you want to move the zipper to the side, like Olive, you just need to fold down or cut off the seam allowance on the back and mark your pattern so you don’t forget. I’m notorious for making tons of notes on my patterns. A lot of times it’s the fitting changes I’ve made that I want to keep track of. It’s a good habit to get into so that you always know where your pattern notes are…unless you have a notebook and you always keep notes there.

IMG_20140520_131825064_HDR   IMG_20140520_131929257

I folded my back piece down rather than cut it, as a personal preference. Feel free to trim the seam allowance off and mark your pattern piece as CUT ON FOLD. The back waistband piece is already in one piece so you don’t have to alter that at all.

Next, I’ll show you how to face your waistband.

If you haven’t cut your fabric out yet you’ll need to cut two front waistband pieces and 2 back waistband pieces. Cut only one interfacing piece out of each front and back, as per the pattern instructions. IMG_20140528_104533378_HDR

When you get to Step 20, you’ll have your bodice and facing sewn up around the neck and basted around the arms and sides. At this point, you’ll want to sandwich the back (or front, start with which ever piece you’d like) bodice with the waistband pieces. Place the right sides of the waistband facing each other so to encase the bodice.

IMG_20140528_105603400   IMG_20140528_105718164  

Stitch with 3/8″ seam allowance and then press the waistband pieces away from the bodice.

There are a couple of ways you can attach the peplum. The Olive instructions call for attaching the peplum to the waistband, then turning the blouse inside out, folding the waistband facing under and topstitching it in place. That’s how I attached my waistband facing on my first Olive. You can topstitch the top of the facing, too, if you like.

IMG_20140417_084001883

Another way I was playing around with was to place the peplum, right sides together with the waistband and waistband facing together and stitch. Finish your raw edges with a narrow zig zag or serger and press the edge toward the peplum. You can also press toward the waistband and topstitch if you like.

IMG_20140528_110025836   IMG_20140528_111231091

IMG_20140528_111246678

Now that your waistband is faced, continue to follow the Olive instructions to finish your blouse! Share your Olive on social media and make sure to tag it with #lolitapatterns or get our attention so we can see your work!

leila signature

 

May 232014
 

Hi fit nerds! Today we’re going to talk about fit around the bust. When I made my first Olive, I made zero changes. I cut the size 8 and just stitched it up. Do you know how exciting that is for me?? It’s very exciting when normally I fiddle with patterns a lot.

The Olive blouse has princess seams. On view A, you have a neckline and an armhole princess seam to alter, as well as adjusting the sheer overlay and making sure your facings true up. View B only has the armhole princess seams. It isn’t hard but it’ll take a little more time than just cutting and sewing one size.

olive line drawing

I didn’t call this tutorial an FBA/SBA tutorial because we’re doing a different kind of adjustment. We’ll be lengthening and shortening the princess seams to give you the fit your body needs. If you need to add bust room in the width but would like to keep the high bust, shoulders and waist as per another size, you can draw a line on the side front pieces that go from one size to another.

For instance, you can draw a side line from the size 8 waist to the 10 bust on the sides as well as add length. Play around, muslin and take notes of the changes you make each time. Once you have the fit you like, you can make this one blouse over and over again- as View A or View B.

To mark your pieces, start by marking the side front pieces 1″ down from the armhole and draw a line across the pieces.

IMG_20140522_134202648 IMG_20140522_134223372

Line up your matching points and draw a line across the front bodice pieces.

IMG_20140522_134242756 IMG_20140522_134316768

Mark across all front pieces- whether you’re doing View A or View B.

IMG_20140522_134517833 IMG_20140522_134553166

Once your pieces are marked, you will want to measure to see how much length you need to add or subtract. I added a 1.25″ to the length. You can measure your front to your waist and compare to the pattern pieces or you can put the pattern pieces up to your body and see what you need to alter.

If you’re adding length, you’ll need to put tissue paper behind your pattern pieces and tape the open pieces to the tissue. Once you’ve added length to one piece, go around to the other pieces and make sure they all match up and have the same amount of length.

IMG_20140522_135123274 IMG_20140522_135517960 IMG_20140522_135732723

If you need to take out some of the room in the bust but find you only need to decrease some in the side, you can take piece 3 and pinch out less than an inch, depending on your needs. Once you’ve pinched out the side, you can trim the side armhole. 
IMG_20140522_212901475 IMG_20140522_212916889 IMG_20140522_212927989 IMG_20140522_212946619

If you need to decrease the length in the bust area, take that same line we drew across the front pieces and fold the pattern piece up. Then, clean up the side by smoothing out your side lines.

IMG_20140522_213011351 IMG_20140522_213020328

Once you’ve shortened the front length, you’ll need to shorten the side front piece and the overlay, if you’re doing View A. All lengths need to match up.

IMG_20140522_213213415

Last but not least, you’ll want to make sure your facing pieces match your altered front pieces. You shouldn’t have to change your facing pieces unless you added to the shoulder with of neck. If all you’ve done is change the bust length, you can just cut the facings according to the original size you started altering.

I made a wearable muslin of View B with the added length and starting with one size smaller than my first Olive. I’m finding that the neck, both front and back, are closer to my body and don’t gape as much. Granted, the gaping isn’t awful in my first version. That said, I do like how the Olive fits this time around. I didn’t add the peplum or the sleeves but you most certainly can if you want to complete yours.

IMG_20140522_211557321

Any questions?

Next time, I’ll have a tutorial for you on how to cut the back on the fold along with how to face the waistband. Hope this has been helpful!

leila signature

May 212014
 

Hello lovelies! While Amity is in New York, I’m here sneaking around Lolita virtual headquarters getting some tutorials ready for you Olive lovers. If you haven’t bought your copy of Olive, head on over to our shop where, day or night, you can place your order! Also, you can visit the Olive page where you can see all the tutorials as they go live as well as download the cutting labels to keep your pieces organized, get inspired via our Pinterest and Flickr pages, whichever is your poison.

 

I’m starting with tips on working with lightweight fabrics and mastering your serger skills first so you will see that you can do it.

First of all, cutting these gorgeous fabrics! Some people prefer to use a rotary cutter and healing mat while others use spray on stabilizer or a gelatin rinse (I’ve used this method and it’s excellent) to beef up their fabric, keeping them from being so shifty. You can also cut shifty fabrics by sandwiching your fabric between two sheets of paper. Once your pieces are cut, you just need to keep them from pulling and distorting.

Use needles that match the weight of your fabric and, if need be, switch to a lightweight thread on your sewing machine.

The biggest tip I can give you for getting your serger to produce a lovely rolled hem is to test, test, test. Use scraps every time. I know my serger will make a sweet rolled hem and I still always test it.

If you’re having trouble getting a nice rolled hem on your serger (though these tips also apply to working on a sewing machine), I recommend you:

1. Change your needle. A fresh needle with a sharp tip can make all the difference.

2. Re-thread your machine…and while there isn’t any thread, take a second and clean out the lint. Add a dab of oil and then re-thread.

3. Set your stitch length to 2 or shorter. When you test it on a scrap, you can set it shorter if you prefer.

4. Differential feed is at 1-1.5.

5. Move the stitch finger slider back (on some machines you might have an R for the rolled hem position). You basically don’t want the stitch finger sticking out- you want it back so that the rolled hem is possible.

6. The settings for the needle and the loopers will vary with each machine and how moody your serger is that day. I have mine set to 4 across the board and I don’t move them all that much.

Here are some tests I did on scraps of both my fabrics for my first Olive. I wanted to test both the regular serged hem as well as the rolled hem. My poly chiffon overlay did just fine under the serger but if your overlay is lighter weight or has a looser weave you might need to stabilize it before you do the rolled hem on it.

You can stabilize it with a very narrow piece of like-colored ribbon, by using spray on stabilizer or even by folding the cut edge in and doing your rolled hem over the two layers. If you have bits on the wrong side peeking out, you can trim those off.

IMG_20140415_113401 IMG_20140415_114025197

As you go around the ruffles, hold your overlay fabric firmly in place so you don’t skip any part of your fabric. If it ripples, it’s okay. Remember, it’s a ruffle. :)

IMG_20140415_114158643

 

To get that rolled hem all the way to the end of your curved pieces, just use a pin to hold your fabric in place as you slowly feed it through the serger.

IMG_20140415_114332701   IMG_20140415_114541099_HDR

When doing the rolled hem on the straight pieces, you can feed them in sequence and then trim them in between.  IMG_20140415_114701421_HDR IMG_20140415_115057473_HDR  

Before you apply the interfacing to the facing pieces, make sure that your fabric didn’t shift. I double checked my facing pieces by placing the pattern piece over the cut fabric just to be sure. Then, I felt okay ironing on the interfacing.

IMG_20140415_095454465_HDR IMG_20140415_095758574

Serging the bottom of the facings shouldn’t give you any trouble because the pieces are interfaced and therefore more stable. Just remember to change your serger settings before you get started on the facings.  IMG_20140415_113827248_HDR

As you put your overlay ruffle pieces together, you can use your serger threads to keep the very ends together. When in doubt, just go slow and you’ll be fine.

IMG_20140415_115638925_HDR

 

Pin, pin, pin!

IMG_20140415_120856438_HDR IMG_20140415_121008553_HDR

Marking your back darts can be easy with pins.

IMG_20140415_150344380

 

You can either stitch and then serge your Olive together or, making sure you stick to the 3/8″ seam allowance, just serge it all. Here’s the inside of the top of my blue Olive.

IMG_20140415_145530299_HDR

 

Any questions about working with lightweight and shifty fabrics? Friday, I’ll be back with FBA and SBA alterations. See you then! Let’s hope Amity is having a blast in the big apple!!

leila signature

 

 

May 202014
 

Wow that title was a mouthful!  Sewing Indie continues with a tutorial I wrote up to share over on Sewn Square One’s blog. This tutorial shows you how to shirr fabric using elastic thread but by using your serger that has chainstitch capability. It is a wonderful time saving technique that keeps you from having to hand wind bobbins.

sneak peek photo from tutorial

For those of you that don’t know Sewn Square One, they are known for their modern and streamlined designs. I am currently crushing on this Skirt Smarts pattern! The ruching on the side is right up my alley!

click for source

Another awesome pattern I’m eyeing is the Go Anywhere dress. It looks extremely practical and cute for every day.

click for source

So go ahead and check out the tutorial and hopefully learn a new technique and a new pattern company at the same time!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

 

May 152014
 

Today I want to show you two gorgeous Olive’s made by testers. The first one started as view A but was converted into something completely different. This one was made by Handmade by Carolyn.

click for source

The above photo shows the final version. She started out with view A making the cowl overlay and flounce which you can see below but decided it did not quite fit her style…so she adapted a button front view instead! You can see how on her blog post!

click for source

Her Olive is made of a beautiful white linen and I love how the white tone on tone looks for Olive. Below you can see a closeup of her final version after modifications.

click for source

She has a bunch more pictures and details of her modifications over on her blog post.

 

The second Olive I have to show you was made by Velosewer. And this version is made out of olive colored fabric!  This is so perfect. She made a spearmint colored Spearmint and now an olive colored Olive!

click for source

 

Her version is view B but she couldn’t resist adding the sleeve ruffles from view A. She also converted the neckline into a v-neck. Don’t worry, she will be doing a post on how to do that on your own Olive!

click for source

 

Here is a closeup of the sleeve ruffles.

click for source

There are tons more pictures and info on her alterations over on her blog post. She even mentions another version of Olive coming up! Click on over to see the details.

I’ll be featuring more Olives as we go along. In the meantime, don’t forget about the coupon code sewing15indie to save 15% on all physical patterns through May 19th including Olive!

 

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

May 132014
 

I wanted to write a quick post to let you all know I am heading to NY again! I will be there next week and am looking forward to meeting up, fabric shopping, drinks/dinner…everything!  I had so much fun the last time I was there and I hope to see a lot of you again. I am around Tuesday the 20th, Wednesday the 21st, and on Thursday the 22nd I am going fabric shopping with Carolyn from Diary of a Sewing Fanatic! Does anyone else have time to meet up? Send me a message!

NY dinner pic

picture from last NY trip in March!

Reminder: All physical patterns (including the newest release Olive) are 15% off through May 19th using the code sewing15indie!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

May 122014
 

I am happy to finally introduce you to our latest pattern, Olive. Olive envelope front olive line drawing

Olive is a beautiful blouse that plays with fabric texture to create a striking look. View A features a beautiful draping sheer fabric combined with a stable solid that produces a unique look. The sheer cowl overlay and soft flounces draw attention to the gorgeous blend of fabric textures. The waistband combined with the pleated peplum adds shaping to the garment. View B eliminates the sheer fabric to provide a fantastic all-around basic blouse perfect for pairing with suits, skirts, and pants.

Lolita Patterns | Olive

In the photos here, I am wearing View A. I will also be sharing with you some fabulous versions of View B in the coming weeks. This blouse is so versatile and so unique…I love all the ways you can play around with fabric pairings and texture with this pattern. Olive is now available for sale! And the timing is perfect because we have a 15% off all physical patterns sale going on right now for Sewing Indie Month…and that includes Olive! Just use coupon code sewing15indie and the discount will show in your cart.

Lolita Patterns | Olive

That isn’t all. We decided to launch a limited two pack set so customers can save when buying two patterns. This two pack set is not part of the Sewing Indie coupon code because it is already discounted. But don’t worry, the two pack will still be around after the sale ends so you can still save when buying multiple patterns.

Lolita Patterns | Olive

Both views of Olive use small amounts of fabric when you cut in a single layer so it is great for small remnants and special fabrics. You can see all yardage chart information on the Olive pattern page.

We also have exciting news: Olive will be launched with a blog tour of various sewing bloggers around the world starting tomorrow! Here is a list of the bloggers participating this week.

Three Dresses

Handmade by Carolyn

Velosewer

Peneloping

Quirky Pretty Cute

Made With Hugs and Kisses

Instead of a sew-along with Olive, we have chosen the trickiest parts and decided to feature tutorials on how to do them best. Each time we post an Olive tutorial, we will post a link on the Olive pattern page so they are all collected in one place. We will also feature hacks for the pattern including making Olive in a knit, using lace, and even making the top into a v-neck!  I can’t wait for you all to see it!

The pattern comes in both physical pattern and PDF form. The PDF version includes both tiled PDF versions and print shop versions.

Don’t forget that the Sewing Indie discount code (sewing15indie) is only good through 11:59pm Pacific Time Zone on May 19th, 2014!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

May 112014
 

Today we have our second Sewing Indie post. I partnered up with Soma Patterns by Sylvie P and she interviewed me about Lolita Patterns for her blog. Go ahead and click over to get the scoop on behind the scenes at Lolita Patterns!

Let’s talk about how cool Soma Patterns is for a minute. They make patterns with zero waste! The patterns are designed to use all the fabric so there are no unnecessary and wasteful scraps left behind. Not only is this such a great idea, the patterns are also very practical and fashionable!

Check out their new FloriAnn Skirt:

click for source

 

They even have a link to show you sneak peeks of their upcoming patterns.  Soma Patterns was a new company to me that I learned about while preparing for Sewing Indie Month and I am so glad I did! I love learning about new pattern companies.

I hope you are all enjoying Sewing Indie Month.  We still have some more posts coming up this month partnered with Sewn Square One and Sew Caroline!

Also don’t forget about the pattern sale going on to support Sewing Indie Month! Use code sewing15indie to save 15% off all physical patterns!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

 

May 072014
 

I’m sure you have all heard about Sewing Indie Month by now and seen all the great independent pattern companies that are participating. One of the great things that this month brings is the big sew-along that features over $1,000 in prizes! Check out Mari’s post to get all the details.

sewalongrule02

To make it easier for you to participate, we have a 15% off all physical patterns discount going on until 11:59 Pacific Time Zone on May 19th, 2014. And stay tuned, because there just might be a new pattern release hidden in those dates that will also be eligible for the discount! Just use discount code sewing15indie to save 15% on all physical patterns! Go ahead and take advantage of the discount at the shop and enter the first Sewing Indie contest!

I hope you are all enjoying Sewing Indie Month as much as I am! Good luck with the contest…I can’t wait to see all the fantastic garments you all make!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

May 012014
 

This month has a huge surprise for all of you…it is Sewing Indie Month!  This month will compile tons of interviews, tutorials, and special goodies from tons of independent pattern designers all put together by Mari from Seamster Patterns. To get all the details, check out her blog post here. Also, grab a Sewing Indie Month badge from the sidebar!

Twenty one different independent designers are participating! It has been incredible! There are also over $1,000 worth of prizes available. See the information about the prizes here.

banner_sewingindie

There will also be sew-alongs and prizes hosted by various bloggers around the web. Lolita Patterns is offering patterns in the prize pack for the Dressed to the Nines category put on by Laura from Lilacs and Lace.

Sewing Indie Month designer prize pack: PDF pattern of your choice from Lolita, Pauline Alice; paper pattern of your choice from By Hand London, Christine Haynes

Sewing Indie Month designer prize pack: PDF pattern of your choice from Lolita Patterns, Pauline Alice; paper pattern of your choice from By Hand London, Christine Haynes

Hopefully this month will show you all the great independent pattern companies that are around and help you learn a little bit more about them. Today I am so excited to show you this fantastic tutorial put together by Stepalica. Stepalica makes wonderful more advanced patterns. Check out this Nougat Dress with the gorgeous spiral detailing. 

click for source

And the recently released Zlata skirt

click for source

Today Ana will show you how to convert a basic skirt pattern into this beautiful YSL inspired skirt. Her instructions are so detailed that anyone can follow along and end up with a high end designer skirt at a fraction of the cost!  Without further delay, here is her tutorial:

I am so thrilled to show you a lovely and unusual skirt I made. At first glance it looks like a basic pleated skirt, but take a closer look at it and you’ll notice it’s a skirt with a twist, or should I say – a twisted skirt. The knife pleats are slightly angled, thus making the twist effect.

I got an idea for this skirt from a commercial for a YSL bag. The bag itself didn’t impress me as much as the skirt from the photo did. Just look at lines of those pleats – such an ingenious design! My interpretation is slightly different, but I kept the basic design of it.

YSL-inspiration-photo

YSL advertisement that inspired this skirt tutorial

This kind of skirt is perfect for office and work environment, but it could look quite casual if made from denim, twill or cotton. It is suitable for plain fabrics or those with floral or abstract prints, but I’d advise you to avoid using plaid and striped fabrics, since those can be challenging for matching.

A pattern for this skirt is really easy to make, especially if you have a pattern for a basic pencil skirt – with just a few cuts you can transform it into this lovely and unusual skirt.

Jewelry made by Anya - Studio Artesania (http://studioartesania.blogspot.com/)

01_BasicSkirtPattern

1.

- Start with a basic skirt pattern that has waist darts.

- If you’re using a pencil skirt pattern that tapers towards the hemline, straighten the side seams so that they’re perpendicular to the hemline.

- Copy the panels to a new sheet of paper, transferring both left and right side of each of them.

- Join the front and back panels along the right side seam (the right side of the pattern will represent the right side of the fabric).

02_MarkPleatsDirection

2.

- Draw a set of parallel lines connecting the waistline with the hemline. The lines should be angled – you can use one of your waist darts to define the angle of the line (in the drawing, I used the back dart). There should be nine lines:

  • one for each dart,
  • one for the center front line,
  • one for the center back line,
  • one for the right side seam,
  • two for the left side seam, as shown on the picture.

- Each line (except for the ones that correspond to the center front and center back lines of the skirt) should be drawn so that it intersects with the apex of the corresponding waist dart, or with the point on the side seam where the front and back panels form a V shape.

- Measure the width of each waist dart. Optionally, you can copy the shape of each dart by making small triangles as guides for the next step.

03_RotateDarts 3. 

- Rotate each of the darts so that it’s width is equally spread to the left and right side of the angled line that corresponds to it. Make sure the apex of the dart remains in its original position.

- If you were using triangular templates as dart guides, fixe them in place. If not, redraw the darts on the pattern.

04_CutPanels

4. Cut the front and back skirt panels along the angled lines.

05_SpreadPanels

5. 

- Define how wide the pleat should be when folded. I’ll call this measurement the pleat width. In my case, the dart width was 1.5” (4.5 cm).

- Multiply the pleat width by 2, so in my case that’s  3” (9 cm) – this will be total pleat width.

- Spread the panels as shown on the picture. The distance between the two panels should be equal to the total dart width.

- Split the distance between the left and right panels in two, by drawing a line parallel to the panels.

- Also, draw two lines, one on each side of the pattern; each line should be distanced from the pattern by pleat width.

- Define the point on the skirt where the pleats should start and draw a line at that point, parallel to the hemline

06_RedrawShape

6. Transfer the shape of the skirt to a new sheet of paper as shown on the picture. Spread the front and back skirt panels.

07_SkirtPattern

7. This is how the final skirt pattern should look.

08_DraftLining

8.

- Take the panels gotten in the step 4 and lay them over a sheet of paper. Close the waist dart on both front and back skirt panel, by rotating the panels as shown on the picture. Fill the gap that’s been made by the dart rotation at the hemline.

- Smooth the hemline and the waistline so that they form nice curves. Redraw the shape to the paper.

09_LiningPattern

9. This is how the lining pattern should look.

Ready for some finished photos of the skirt?

stepalica-twisted-pleats-skirt-01 stepalica-twisted-pleats-skirt-04 stepalica-twisted-pleats-skirt-07 stepalica-twisted-pleats-skirt-10

I hope you all enjoyed this fantastic tutorial Ana from Stepalica put together. I adore this skirt and cannot wait to make one of my own. It is the perfect combination of stylish with interesting lines but still perfect for the office. I hope you enjoyed this first installment of Sewing Indie Month…don’t forget to check out Seamster Patterns for what else is in store coming up this month!

Apr 152014
 

Today I want to feature this drop dead gorgeous Gunmetal made by Cari Homemaker. I think the combination of the white and black checked fabric with the black underlay looks incredible. And I love that she made the D-ring version!

click for source

My other favorite part of her Gunmetal is how she made the underlayer longer for the skirt portion…it’s a simple way to add such a statement to the bottom of the dress! I definitely want to do this on my next version…it is genius!

click for source

It is also hard to see but this fabric has some sparkles in it! Girl after my own heart!

click for source

She also has a lot of details about the pattern including rolled hems and what her man thought over on her blog post. She also has a bonus make in her post that you won’t want to miss so click on over!

Want to get a Gunmetal of your very own? Check out both the PDF and physical versions in the shop!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Apr 032014
 

Has everyone heard about this contest?

It features an amazing prize—a Babylock serger!!  The deadline is coming up on May 1st and it is definitely worth your while to enter. To check out the rules, visit www.patterncompanies.com. So grab some fabric, pick your pattern, and make your winning creation! These prizes are fantastic and the contest is definitely worth entering.

I know I only recently heard about the contest so I thought I would post it here to make sure everyone gets the chance to enter. Let’s help get the word out!

Party Like A Rock Star

 

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Mar 312014
 

Today’s feature is two gorgeous Sugar Plums, a mother and daughter combo!

click for source

Cbsyr has a blog where she details many of her sewing adventures and you can see her post specifically on her Sugar Plum by clicking here.

Both of these Sugar Plums look so comfortable! I don’t speak or read Swedish, but I used google translate and think I got the gist. Even if I could not understand any of it, you can tell by their smiling faces and beautiful dresses that they love this pattern as much as I do!

I love seeing that other countries have learned about Lolita Patterns and are able to make the patterns with the detailed illustrations instead of relying on the words in English. These are truly gorgeous and I can’t wait to feature more!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

 

 

Mar 262014
 

Did anyone notice Fabric Mart Fabrics amazing sale going on right now? They have 35% off their entire Sewing Room section!

lolitabanner

This section has patterns—and includes Lolita Patterns!  I just wanted to point it out to everyone because if you have ever been iffy about purchasing a pattern or were waiting for a sale, this is it. Thirty-five percent off is an amazing deal….the most we ever had was 31% and it was only for one day–my birthday. They carry lots of other patterns and many other items in their sewing room section that are all 35% off. Plus they have 40% off knits going on right now!

I don’t know how long the sale is going to last so pop over quick before they sell out of everything!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Mar 242014
 

I know March is almost over..that’s how far behind I am in getting my garments posted!  For those of you who don’t know, the Sewcialists choose a color every other month to theme sew and for February it was blue. This was fun for me because while I like blue, I never seem to gravitate towards it and have very few blue fabrics. This was good for me to break out and use the blue for once. I found this gorgeous navy fabric with light blue hearts all over it at Fabric Planet (the newer one across from Ace Sewing) in the Los Angeles garment district.

Lolita Patterns | Blue February Pendrell

I don’t know how my eyes ended up half closed in all the outside photos I took…but I know you need to see the garment so I post it for you all anyway!

I have this extreme weakness for hearts..I have to buy all fabric with hearts on it..I just love them! (Side note: Some of the sewing gals I took shopping in the garment district this weekend picked up some of this fantastic fabric for themselves!)

Lolita Patterns | Blue February Pendrell

I decided on Sewaholic’s Pendrell which I had been planning to make for some time. This fabric was a rayon challis and works perfectly for this pattern. I love how drapey it turned out.

Lolita Patterns | Blue February Pendrell

Back story: When I made my Renfrew, I had to extend out at the underarms 1 1/4″ and then taper back in to size 0 for everywhere else because her patterns are designed for pear shapes which is tiny up top. While I am definitely tiny, my ribcage is very broad…especially in comparison to the rest of my body. My first Renfrew kept riding up trying to get room under my arms so now when I make any Renfrew variations, I extend under the underarm.

Lolita Patterns | Blue February Pendrell

Now I had not yet made the Pendrell, and know it is a woven and not a knit, but thought it might also be tight on the underarm based on the build Sewaholic is drafted for. For this reason I extended under the arms out to a size 6 and tapered back in to a 0 everywhere else. Turns out it was unnecessary! The woven block Sewaholic drafts from seems to have the room I needed. So the extra room was unnecessary and I was able to sew in that extra excess under the arm and the blouse fits wonderfully!

Lolita Patterns | Blue February Pendrell

The only other change I made was to shorten it by 2 inches and it is at the perfect length for me. Works well tucked into skirts and still looks great when worn with pants. I really like it and think the challis is a perfect fabric for it. I can’t wait to make another one!

I have some rainbow charmeuse that would be so beautiful as this blouse. Next time. :)

Lolita Patterns | Blue February Pendrell

Lastly lets talk about these shoes. They are one of the first pairs of expensive shoes I ever bought back in 2002 (which back then did not cost nearly as much as Charles David shoes do nowadays) and I love them so much still! They are real Charles Davids (this was before Charles by Charles David existed) and are extremely comfortable wedges and looks great with pants and skirts. I don’t wear nearly enough blue which is why these are still in such good condition…I obviously need to make more blue clothes to go with these shoes!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Mar 192014
 

By now you have probably already heard about Oona’s Drunken Fat Quarter Challenge. It was dreamed up in the midst a dark restaurant, loud laughing and talking, and plenty of margaritas. Oona was trying to convince us that fat quarters could not be used for garment sewing. What?!? Luckily for Carolyn, Devra, and myself….we did not agree. And trust me, Oona can be convincing. But we held our ground…and now Carolyn, Devra, Jennifer and I are all going to prove it to her!

picture of some of us at dinner taken by Carolyn

We each got a bundle of 9 fat quarters that we get to use to make a garment/outfit. You can see the rules over on Oona’s blog. There were four different styles but I didn’t even need to pick the kind I wanted. Oona already knew. In fact, she started off early in the evening asking me if I could do anything with zombie fabric. Me?!? Use zombie fabric?!? As I’m carrying around my orange and purple skull bag made especially for my New York visit. I practically leapt out of my seat exclaiming that I must have all the zombie fabric.

Lolita Patterns | Fat Quarter Challenge

So guess which bundle I got? The zombies!  But of course, we all know I love my rainbows and hearts and things so I begged Devra to let me trade one fabric for some rainbows and unicorns. In my world, rainbows, unicorns, and zombies go hand in hand. They needed to be together. Lucky me, she agreed! So I now get one piece of rainbow unicorn fabric to use as well.

I have all these ideas on what to do but I keep changing my mind! There is a deadline so I will have to make up my mind soon….off to my sketchbook!

I have to tell you all, I had such a wonderful time in New York! I got to see Clare again and spend time with Lauren and meet tons of new people! So much so that I plan on going back very soon. I didn’t get nearly enough fabric shopping in, there were so many other things to do!  Next time…..

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Mar 132014
 

Remember the Spearmint themed giveaway we did in honor of Sew Grateful Week? Well we have a winner!

First, let’s refresh ourselves on the prize:

Lolita Patterns | Spearmint Giveaway

We had 127 entries! It was so wonderful to see how excited everyone was about this themed giveaway. And the winner is:

spearmint random generator

Congrats Laura!

Laura is actually someone I had the pleasure of meeting in person last week!  She is so nice and very fun. We met up with another sewist, Joy, and went fabric shopping all over Los Angeles. She blogs over at A Make It Yourself Mom’s Diary. Hopefully I will get a chance to meet up with her again soon.

Right now I am blogging from my hotel room in New York!!  There are some epic meetups planned with a gaggle of people (Lladybird, Clare, Oona, Carolyn, Betsy, Sonja, Devra, Sown Brooklyn, and that’s just off the top of my head, there are more!)…dinner/drinks/fabric shopping so expect tons of instagram/twitter coming your way! And yes, I brought an empty suitcase with for the fabric I plan to buy…I did this in London and bought more than fit…hopefully I can stay within my one extra suitcase this time :)

Thanks for entering the giveaway. I’ll be back soon with New York news!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

 

Mar 092014
 

Edited to Add:  Apparently I never pressed publish so now this post is a little behind since Sew Grateful Week is over but I still love the Sew Grateful sentiment so I’m publishing anyway!

Sew Grateful Week continues! Today is the day to showcase a sewing project. This make combines several themes! It was made with a gifted pattern, Jalie 2921, and I also originally made it up to match with Project Sewn’s shoe inspiration challenge. But of course, I didn’t get it photographed in time so I figured it would be perfect for Sew Grateful!

Lolita Patterns | Jalie 2921

I was given this pattern quite some time ago and I loved it from long before then! I don’t know what took me so long..this is such a quick sew! It is only 4 pattern pieces. I made the smallest adult size, R, and extended under the arms out to size S. I have a broad ribcage and regularly add at the underarm on patterns. A quick check of the measurements showed that this would be a tiny bit too big, but since my fabric was only slightly stretchy, I figured it would work well. And it did….except for the sleeves. I couldn’t even get my arms in them! So I cut off the sleeves and re did them in the black trim fabric which is much stretchier. It is a black matte jersey that I buy in bulk and use all the time. My favorite!

Lolita Patterns | Jalie 2921

I had originally planned on doing all the hem bands and scarf collar in the black, but when I had to switch the sleeves to the black fabric, I switched the sleeve band to the yellow lace. It is a little itchy on my arm since the cuff is double layered and the lace rubs on my arm.

Lolita Patterns | Jalie 2921

Lolita Patterns | Jalie 2921

How great is this fabric?!? It matches my shoes absolutely perfectly! I have had these shoes for years, they are Colin Stuart from Victorias Secret. Yellow is my favorite color and I love lace (hello? Every single Gunmetal I’ve made!)  so the black lace yellow pumps were a no brainer!  When I was in London in November, I went to Walthamstow market with Simona and saw this fabric hanging in one of the stalls….I bought it immediately!

Lolita Patterns | Jalie 2921

I actually had another make I made for the Project Sewn Shoe Challenge that I didn’t get photographed. It involves shoes given to me by the awesome Leila!  I’ll post it soon. I also have my Sewcialist Blue February post to do…even though February is over. I’m slightly behind! I did post a sneak peek of my Blue February make over on my Instagram though so if you follow me there, you already caught a glimpse!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns