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!

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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!

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

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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!

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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!

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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

Mar 042014
 

How many of you have ordered from Fabric Mart Fabrics in the past? I’ve been on their email list for years and cannot resist all the amazing prices and sales they have! They even have a great discount code for your first order! When I realized they also carry a select amount of indie patterns, I knew I had to contact them about Lolita Patterns. Luckily, they tried out the patterns and wanted to carry them!  I think I have used a piece of fabric I bought from Fabric Mart in at least one of the samples for every pattern.

Fabric Mart now carries all Lolita Patterns!  The best part? When you order your fabric, you pay a flat rate for shipping…and that shipping stays the same even when you add patterns to your order! No extra shipping charges ordering a pattern from a separate website..you can get everything at once on Fabric Mart’s website!

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My favorite part is that Fabric Mart separates all their fabrics by category–and even makes their categories very detailed! For example, anything in the coating category would be perfect for Spearmint!  Their mesh category is ideal for Gunmetal…I love that they have a separate section for that. Their ponte section is exactly what you need for the skirt section of Sugar Plum. And any of the silkschiffon, or challis’ (not wool) work for the top portion.

I just wanted to give you all a heads up now that Fabric Mart carries Lolita Patterns so you can order both your fabric and pattern at the same time!  New vendors coming soon…stay tuned!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Mar 032014
 

Today is our last sew-along day! It’s a pretty big day. We’ve put our coats together and now all we have left are the finishing touches. I say that’s “all” we have to do but this is the point where we shape out flounce collars and give our coats the final pressing. I have a video for you today, too, to show you how to get the collar to look the way it does in the illustration. 

If you’re just starting to follow the sew-along, feel free to visit the Lolita shop- it’s open whenever you need it! There you can get a PDF version, a paper copy and you can also pick up hair canvas for the flounce collar at a very reasonable price! We are always available to help you along your Spearmint coat sewing venture so please feel free to ask questions, leave us comments and share your work in progress and your finished coats! Let’s get started.

Sleeves – Bonus Video

If there was any confusion regarding the instructions on how to sew the hem of the sleeves by machine, there is a video up on Three Dresses to show you exactly how to do it!

Finish Flounce collar

Turn your coat right side out and start pressing. You might need to use a pressing cloth so that you don’t shine your wool. Press with steam and a lot of pressure to get the coat to behave, especially the collar. Take your time pressing.

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Pin where the flounce collar meets the coat so you can stitch in the ditch. You want to make sure that you pin the collar seams so that your stitching stays in the ditch on both sides.

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Pressing video

shaping and pressing flounce

And some images from Amity’s white Spearmint construction to further illustrate.

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Finishing touches

Go to the hem of your coat and stitch in the ditch for 1.5″ within the hem to keep the fabric from shifting. Do the same on the sleeves.

Sew on your button and slip stitch your bound button hole shut. Remember these images from the Lolita Patterns bound button hole tutorial?

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If you’re finishing up with us today, head on over to your social media site of choice- whether you prefer Flickr, tag us onFacebook or use #lolitapatterns on Twitter and Instagram so it’ll pop up on our Showcase page! We love showing off your work and work in progress!

Thank you for joining the sew-along whether you joined at the time of posting or in the future!

Enjoy your coat!

leila signature

Feb 282014
 

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

At Lolita Patterns we are truly Sew Grateful! We have a giveaway going on so please, if you haven’t entered, check it out. As Amity was talking about in her Sew Grateful post, we’ve seen a wonderful response to the release of our Spearmint coat pattern. I do go on about how straightforward the construction is on this coat. Today I’m going to show you how to bag the lining and what I’m going to do is make it so you can apply it to bagging any coat lining. There will be a couple of things you have to mark on your pattern that are already marked on the Spearmint pattern but don’t worry, we’ll try to make it as clear as possible.

If you’d like to buy the Spearmint coat, feel free to visit the Lolita shop- it’s open whenever you need it! There you can get a PDF version, a paper copy and you can also pick up hair canvas for the flounce collar at a very reasonable price!

A couple of things to keep in mind are that the Spearmint coat lining is cut from different lining pieces. So, if your coat doesn’t have separate lining pieces, you’ll need to alter your pattern for this tutorial to work for your coat. You’ll need it to be several inches shorter than the fashion layer, for starters. That said, the facings of both layers will match so already you can see that the changes aren’t that many.

If you are not using the Spearmint pattern, make sure you stop sewing about 3″ from the bottom where your lining matches your front facing. Leave this open. You will also want to leave about a 10 inch opening in the sleeve seam of your lining for turning later- already explained in the Spearmint instructions.

You will also need to mark your pattern pieces with the all important star/dot that will show you where to start and stop your stitching. To mark your pattern pieces, you will need both the front coat piece and the front facing piece.

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- On the facing pattern piece, make sure to mark the star 3/8″ (or 5/8″ if your pattern uses 5/8″ seam allowances) from the edge and 3/8″ (or 5/8″) from the bottom.

- Layer the facing piece on top of the coat front piece, aligning them as shown in the drawing, and transfer the star marking from the facing piece to the coat front exactly where it lines up.

- Mark this star on each fabric respective fabric piece when cutting out.

Now begin sewing!

Put your coat and lining right sides together, matching facing edges and collar edges. On your Spearmint coat, you’ll stitch from the star to the edge, up the side, around the entire collar, and down the other side to the star.

If you are using another pattern, start stitching at your star/dot, along the bottom edge, up the outside edge of facing, around the top and down the other side and bottom finishing at the other star/dot. You can see the stitching line drawn in the photo below.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

You should have part of your lining hanging free. This is where you did not stitch all the way down when you stitched the lining to the front facing. This is part of what helps bag your lining completely by machine.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

Next, you’ll mark double the hem allowance all around your fashion fabric so you can press up the hem.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

Fold up a your  hem ( 2″ if using Spearmint) to create the press line. Trim seams within the hem allowance to prevent bulk. Take care to measure very carefully. Once you’ve turned your coat right side out and stitched it closed, there’s no way to even out the hem.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns  

At this point, if you are not using Spearmint, check to see how long your lining pieces are. The perfect length would be if the lining pieces fell exactly at the fold line of the hem. If they are longer, you can trim them now. If you are using the Spearmint pattern, this has already been taken into account and the lining will fit perfectly.

Unfold the hem now and match the lining bottom to the bottom of the coat with right sides together, stitch the length of them hem with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

There will be a little gap. We’ll address that in a minute.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns    

Clip the fashion fabric ONLY (not facing) diagonally from the edge to the star/dot as shown in the photo below.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

Fold up the coat hem. Press lining down into the folded hem. You’ll want to find where the lining wants to fold naturally. Make sure you get a nice crease.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

Fold the facing back under the garment so it’s out of the way and stitch from the dot down through the star, all the way to the edge and backstitch. The next three photos show you how to grab the fabric to do this step.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns  Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns  Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

The biggest thing about this step is making sure you get all the thicknesses into your stitching. You also want to make sure that you don’t get a pucker in your fashion fabric. All you have to make sure to do is keep everything as flat as you can. To make this next part simpler, you can mark the stitching line as shown in the photo and then just sew on your marked line.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns  Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

Below you can see how the lining is tucked into the fashion fabric. This is correct. Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

Here we illustrate the way to line up the fabric to stitch from the dot down through the star and to the edge. Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns  

Stitch from where you stopped stitching the facing and lining together, all the way to the bottom on the stitching line you marked. This will complete the gap you left open at the bottom when stitching the lining and facing together.

Trim your corners. Seam allowances on the edge of the facing should be pressed toward the lining.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

Turn the coat right side out, slowly, through the opening you left in the sleeve lining. Go slow and you’ll be fine. Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

And there you can see a perfect jump hem sewn completely by machine!!

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

Complete the lining instructions for closing up the sleeves as described in the Spearmint instructions. Because this part is slightly confusing, we will be posting a video showing exactly how to hem your sleeves by machine as well! Yay for no slipstitching!

Edited to update: The video on how to hem your sleeves by machine can be found over on the Three Dresses blog now!

Thank you for joining us as we say thank you in our special way with this bagged lining tutorial! Have a great day and let us know if this has helped you!

leila signature

and

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Feb 242014
 

Last year we participated in My Happy Sewing Place‘s Sew Grateful week where the sewing community can show their gratitude to everyone that supports us in our sewing endeavors. We had a great time participating last year and we saved our Spearmint themed Giveaway specifically for this years post!

This giveaway celebrates both Sew Grateful Week as well as the release of our Spearmint coat pattern back in December. This pattern has been really popular and there are many fantastic versions around the web. I have compiled many Spearmints from around the web on this Pinterest board here. They all look so gorgeous! This giveaway also coincides with the group sew-along we have going on right now. We are smack dab in the middle of sewing up Spearmint as a group on the blog. You can check out the sew-along page with all the links.

This not only goes with the Sew Grateful theme, it also goes along with our pattern themed giveaways! We have done one for every pattern we released and it is such a blast shopping for the color themed giveaways. Let’s see what the goodies are!

Lolita Patterns | Spearmint Giveaway

1. Spearmint colored buttons

2. Gorgeous gingham checked eyelet fabric

3. Fun stationery

4. Spearmint flavored Doublemint gum

5. Spearmint flavored Trident gum

6. Spearmint flavored Orbit gum

7. Sally Hansen nail polish in Mint Sorbet (not available if international winner since nail polish can only be shipped ground)

8. Spearmint colored ribbon with pink polka dots

9. Spearmint colored Coats and Clark thread

10. Spearmint colored Jordana eyeliner

11. Spearmint colored rose Amity Originals earrings

12. Spearmint colored Sharpie marker

13. The Spearmint pattern itself!

14. Sparkly spearmint colored fold over elastic

15. Shades of spearmint eyeshadow set

16. Spearmint Chapstick

17. Spearmint colored crepe knit fabric (awesome texture!)

18. Spearmint colored zipper

Whew! 18 pretty goodies!

To enter:

- Follow the blog (through wordpress or bloglovin’) and leave a comment on this post.

The following are optional (for more chances to win!):

- Like us on Facebook for an extra entry and let me know in the comments.

- Follow on Twitter for an extra entry and let me know in the comments.

- Follow on Pinterest for an extra entry and let me know in the comments.

- Follow on Instagram for an extra entry and let me know in the comments.

Here is the fine print: This giveaway is open to everyone everywhere! (One problem: If the winner is outside the continental U.S., I can’t include the nail polish because it has to be sent by ground shipping.) This giveaway will be open until midnight Pacific Time on March 3rd. Good luck!

Edited to add: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED! THANK YOU FOR ENTERING!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Feb 172014
 

Believe it or not, we’re closing in on the end of our sew-along. The longest part about this coat is choosing the perfect fabric and lining, and then doing any alterations and cutting. You just have to commit to something and run with it! There’s always more fabric. Always! And once you know how fast this coat sews up, you might not mind spending more time on the pre-sewing steps.

If you’re just starting to follow the sew-along, feel free to visit the Lolita shop- it’s open whenever you need it! There you can get a PDF version, a paper copy and you can also pick up hair canvas for the flounce collar at a very reasonable price!

As we go along, upload your progress to one of our social media sites whether you prefer Flickr, tag us onFacebook or use #lolitapatterns on Twitter and Instagram so it’ll pop up on our Showcase page! We love showing off your work and work in progress!

Lining

Stitch the dart  in the side of your front lining. End at the dot. To get a smooth dart, you need to get really close to the edge of your dart and think of getting as close to the edge as possible for about 3 stitches, then let your stitches come off the fabric. Pressing also make a big difference in how clean your dart turns out. Press over a ham or a rolled up towel. Use steam and take care not to stretch your fabric.

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Sew the side front lining to the front facing (the fashion fabric piece). Stop stitching at the dot. This will leave the bottom few inches open above the hem- which is what you want.

Amity’s note: Match up your seam starting from the top since the bottom will not match up.

When we go to bag the lining, the shorter lining pieces will pull the fashion layer up, creating a professional finish.

Sew the center back linings together, basting as you see in your pattern instruction diagram. You’ll take out your basting later, giving you a relaxed fit in the back but for now basting that area will give you a nice pressed edge. Press and take out basting stitches.

Coat Hook

I’m going to show you two ways you can do a coat hook. The differences are the material I used and the placement of the hook itself.

For the first one, I used a 5″ piece of bias binding in pink to match with my lining. A lot of the length will hang while you’re basting it so you could cut a shorter piece if you want. Have fun choosing what to use for your coat hook. Pin and baste your coat hook to your un-interfaced flounce collar.

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Stitch the flounce collar to the neck seam with right sides together, matching your notches. Press using a press cloth. Press a little more. Understitch. You can trim and grade your seam allowances before or after you understitch. So long as you grade them.

The other way is to attach the coat hook to the lining before you attach the neck facing. For this one, I went ahead and made a coat hook out of my blue wool.

Cut a piece of your fashion fabric 6″ long by 1.5″. Fold it in half with right sides together and stitch at 3/8″. Trim down to 1/4″.

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Turn your tube right side out. You can see with mine that I have fraying bits. This is why I cut the length so long. Trim down the frayed bits and pin to your lining with a loop pointing down toward the body of the lining. Baste in place.

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Pin your neck facing to your lining. Stitch in place and trim off the excess loop pieces. Press.

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If you went with the first approach to the coat hook, it’s now time to stitch the back neck facing to the center back lining. Start pining at the center.

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Pin, curving your pieces together. Smooth them as you sew so you don’t end up with puckers. Press with your press cloth.

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Stitch your side back lining to the center back lining on both sides. Your seam allowances are already pretty small so you can use your judgement on whether your fabric needs clipping around the curves. One place that might need a clip is at the waist. Press seams toward the back or open.

Then, stitch the side back of the lining to the side front lining on both sides. Your lining is starting to really take shape now!

Stitch shoulder seams, adding a strip of stay tape. Press shoulder seams open. Using pressing tools will help your pressing.

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Set in sleeves

Pin your under and upper sleeve linings. Baste for 10 inches in the middle of one of the sleeve seams. It doesn’t matter which sleeve but just make sure you back stitch before and after the basting . The basting will let you get a nice pressed seam, like with the back lining pieces. You can mark where to start and finish your basting stitches by putting two pins in so you don’t forget the basting.

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Press. There isn’t much excess in the sleeve head so you shouldn’t have a problem setting in your sleeve. Line up your notches and stitch in your sleeve. Take care to use your notches so you don’t set in the wrong sleeve.

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Attach second flounce collar

Stitch remaining flounce collar (the un-interfaced one with the coat hook loop) to the neck seam with right sides together. Make sure you match your notches. Press and understitch. Trim your seams.

Next time we’ll be bagging the lining! Several of our testers have used this technique for bagging other coat linings so it should prove to be lots of fun to learn! Feel free to visit the Spearmint Sew-Along page to see what we’ll be doing next after that. Thanks for joining us!

leila signature

Feb 142014
 

Hiya sew-alongers! If you’re just starting to follow the sew-along, feel free to visit the Lolita shop- it’s open whenever you need it! There you can get a PDF version, a paper copy and you can also pick up hair canvas for the flounce collar at a very reasonable price!

As we go along, upload your progress to one of our social media sites whether you prefer Flickr, tag us onFacebook or use #lolitapatterns on Twitter and Instagram so it’ll pop up on our Showcase page! We love showing off your work and work in progress!

Coat Back

Stitch center backs together of your fashion fabric. Press seams open. We suggest you use a press cloth so you avoid shining your wool. Then, stitch up the center back to side back for both sides.

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To get the curved side pieces to lay flat, use a pressing tool like a ham or point presser to press around your curved seam. You will definitely want to use a pressing tool for the front bust curve.

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At this point, if you’re planning on adding a back stay, check out the Lolita tutorial on how to do that. 

Lolita Patterns | Back Stay Tutorial

Side Seams

Stitch your whole back piece to the whole front piece at the side seams. Make sure that when you’re stitching the side seams you stitch them in the same direction for both sides, whether you go from hem to underarm or vice versa.

Shoulder Seams

Cut a piece of stay tape the length of your shoulder seam. Place it on your seam and stitch your shoulders with right sides together, and the stay tape on top. Repeat for the other shoulder.

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Sleeves

Stitch underarm sleeve to the upper sleeve. Ease where needed and repeat for the other sleeve.

Press using pressing tools to get a clean, open seam allowance. Below you can see how Amity used her clapper to press the seams on her sleeve lining piece.

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Amity’s tip: To know which is the front and which is the back of the sleeve, fold your sleeve in half and locate the seam that’s closer to the top of the sleeve. That’s the back of the sleeve.

Set in sleeves using our tie interfacing tutorial to add support, shape and gently gather the sleeve head before stitching it in.

Flounce Collars

With the right sides together, sew your flounce collars together at the back seam. One interfaced collar with one non interfaced collar. Press your collar seams open.

With right sides together, stitch the flounce collar with the hair canvas interfacing to the neck seam. Press. Understitch. Trim and grade your seam allowances.

Next time you’ll be ready to start stitching up the lining! Feel free to visit the Spearmint Sew-Along page to see what we’ll be doing next after that. Thanks for joining us!

leila signature

 

Feb 112014
 

Lolita Patterns | Back Stay Tutorial

A back stay serves the purpose of lending stability to the back of a coat, right at the upper back. It’ll also help keep the shape of your coat while you wear it and while it’s hanging on a coat hanger. You will want to add a back stay even if you’re underlining your coat.

Materials needed

Coat pattern pieces

Firmly woven sew-in interfacing, though you can also use a quilting cotton or muslin

Tracing paper or something equally suitable

Draft the back stay

Since the Spearmint coat has a side back panel, you will want to overlap your pieces before you start creating your back stay pattern piece.

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Make a mark 7-8″ down from the neck along the back seam.

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Make another mark 3″ down from the armhole.

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Connect your two mark with a gently sloping curve.

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Trace your back stay pattern.

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Since the back is seamed, you want to cut off the seam allowance and mark your pattern to be cut on the fold.

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Cut out your back stay in a suitable fabric/interfacing. Use pinking shears, pink the bottom curved edge so you don’t have a hard edge along the back.

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Attach the back stay

Stitch up your back fashion pieces, right sides together. Press seams open.

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Place your back stay on the wrong side of the back seamed pieces. Smooth out your back stay and machine baste around the side, armhole, shoulders and neck, leaving bottom curve free. You can also use glue and glue baste your back stay in just don’t glue the bottom edge. Let it dry and continue with construction.

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leila signature

Feb 102014
 

Welcome back! I hope you all had a great weekend.

If you’re just starting to follow the sew-along, feel free to visit the Lolita shop- it’s open whenever you need it! There you can get a PDF version, a paper copy and you can also pick up hair canvas for the flounce collar at a very reasonable price!

As we go along, upload your progress to one of our social media sites whether you prefer Flickr, tag us onFacebook or use #lolitapatterns on Twitter and Instagram so it’ll pop up on our Showcase page! We love showing off your work and work in progress!

Fuse hair canvas/interfacing

We highly advise using the hair canvas on your flounce collar. I did use crinoline on my zebra print Spearmint but the hair canvas will give you the best effect.

Fuse your hair canvas to two of the flounce collars and fuse your interfacing to the front facing and back neck facing pieces. Leave them to cool, then set aside.

Pockets

Sew the bottom pocket facing to the bottom pocket with right sides together. Press the stitches, then open the pocket and press flat, like so:

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Apply your stay tape to the wrong side of the side fronts and center fronts where the pocket will be attached. You’re looking for notches C and F. You want your stay tape to be longer than the pocket opening by about an inch. The extra length will go beyond the notches.

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Place the bottom pocket combo to the side front with your right sides together, matching the notches and stitch with a 1/4″ seam allowance through your stay tape. Repeat for the other side.

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Press your pockets out and understitch. Understitching the pocket to the seam allowance will keep the pocket tidy inside your coat. I like to topstitch with a longer stitch than my normal stitching. If, say, I’m stitching everything with the length set to 2, I’ll topstitch at a 3. Press your topstitching.

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Stitch center front to side front along the edge and around the pocket  back stitching on either side of pocket. Clip at the base of the pocket.

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Topstitch your pocket opening from the right side of your fabric and press your topstitching. DSC00672

Bound Buttonholes

Visit our bound buttonhole tutorial for detailed pictures and tips!

You’re all set!

Feb 062014
 

Another day of prep! Once we get through these few steps and are ready to cut, the sewing will go by really fast- especially in comparison to the stages of decision making, fitting and cutting. If you want to check to see how we’ve grouped the posts of the sew-along, go to the Spearmint sew-along page.

You still have time to pick up your pattern, especially if you’re in the U.S. The Lolita shop is open whenever you need it! There you can get a PDF version, a paper copy and you can also pick up hair canvas for the flounce collar at a very reasonable price!

As we go along, upload your progress to one of our social media sites whether you prefer Flickr, tag us onFacebook or use #lolitapatterns on Twitter and Instagram so it’ll pop up on our Showcase page! We love showing off your work and work in progress!

Prepping fabric

To prep your wool, you’ll want to take one of these steps to pre-shrink it before you cut. If you’re really nervous about any of these suggestions, you can always cut a swatch and try the treatment to see how the coating comes out.

  • If you’re using a poly blend wool you can throw it in the wash- as long as that’s going to be the way your wash your coat once you’re done with it.
  • My favorite way of pre-treating wool is to put it in the dryer with warm wet towels. Put it to dry until the towels are dry.
  • You can also steam your fabric using your iron. Just hover your iron over your fabric and go over every inch.
  • Take your wool to the dry cleaners.

You will want to pre-wash your lining fabric according to the type of fabric you are using. I’m a fan of hand washing silk but if you’re going to be taking your finished Spearmint to the dry cleaners, you might want to take your silk to be pre-treated there, too. For polys, you can throw those in the wash at home.

Fabric layout

Layout all of your pattern pieces on your pre-treated wool before you start cutting so you can make the best use of the fabric you have. You’ll want to make sure you can use your fabric in the most economic way. For the plus size block, you’ll want to cut on the single layer to economize your fabric. So long as your fabric doesn’t have a pile, you can flip your pattern pieces to make them fit best.

Mark all your notches with either a clip with your shears or a mark with an erasable marker. You can keep your pattern pieces in case you need to refer to them throughout construction or mark the letters on your fabric. Just make sure to test your erasable marker on the fabric before you work with your cut fabric.

Use the grainline marks on the pattern pieces to line them up with the selvage. If you’re in doubt, you can use a ruler to line up your grainline with the edge of your fabric. Trace your pattern or pin down so you can cut the pieces out.

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You’ll also want to make sure that you cut your interfacing. You’ll want a little scrap of silk organza for the bound buttonhole. You only need a small amount so you’ll be able to use any other yardage for other projects. You’ll also want to cut out your flounce collar interfacing at this point.

We suggest using hair canvas to get a beautifully draped lettuce collar. That said, I used crinoline for my Zebra print Spearmint and I got a great flounced collar. I’ll be showing you in a video how to get the lovely collar to behave.

Flat lining/Fusing fashion fabric

If your fabric isn’t as thick as you had hoped, you can always flat line it or fuse it with an interfacing to beef it up. To do this, you will want to get enough interfacing to cover your whole coat. The type of interfacing will depend on the type of fabric you’re using but you’ll want something that is the same or even lighter than the fabric you have on hand. We still recommend using the hair canvas for the flounce collar. It sounds like a lot but you’ll be happy with the results.

Here’s Amity’s White coat in the fusing phase.

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Monday we’ll pick up where we left off! Please don’t hesitate to leave any comments or questions.

Happy Sewing!!

leila signature

Feb 032014
 

Welcome to the Lolita Patterns Spearmint Sew-Along! I’ve posted the whole schedule on the main sew-along page for the coat so you know what to expect from our time together. The speed of construction might just shock you but we’re sewing everything by machine except for attaching the button and slip stitching the bound buttonhole. No, really. That’s it. Choosing your fabric, alterations and cutting are really the ones that will take the longest. We’re going to try to keep this sew-along neither too slow nor too fast. That’s the hope, at least!

If you still need to get your pattern, hop on over to the Lolita shop where you can purchase a PDF version, a paper copy and you can also pick up hair canvas for the flounce collar at a very reasonable price!

As we go along, upload your progress to one of our social media sites whether you prefer Flickr, tag us on Facebook or use #lolitapatterns on Twitter and Instagram so it’ll pop up on our Showcase page! We love showing off your amazing work!

Choosing a size

Before we get started talking about fitting, let’s talk about this coat and how to choose your size. Spearmint is meant to be worn as a topcoat, aka a fashion coat. It’s drafted for minimal layering so if you want to wear it over thick sweaters for a colder climate, I suggest you go up a size. I’ll be showing you how to get that flounce collar to ripple over the center front so you will get some coverage but it might not be enough for a super cold winter. Remember also that Lolita Patterns are drafted with a lot less ease than most patterns so keep that in mind. It’s also the big reason why we offer final measurements. You should check those to make sure you get the coat you want! I also highly recommend you make a muslin. When I made my zebra print Spearmint, I went up one size. While I love it and it works great for Fall in the sateen I used, I could’ve just gone with my regular Lolita Patterns size. For my next Spearmint, I’m going to make it without going up a size. It’s really up to you and you should make sure you know what  you want out of your coat.

Again, check the finished garment measurements. You can measure a coat in your closet to see what you tend to wear and go from there.

Fitting/What to muslin

When you’re looking at the size chart and the final measurement chart, you might need to use different sizes. You can easily trace the pattern using different sizes, say for a size 10 bust, gently curving to a 12 waist and then a 14 hip or so. Since you have both blocks in your pattern, you can mix the two sizes, so long as you true your seams and do a muslin. I know our Lolita Patterns packaging doesn’t talk about grading between the two blocks but some of our testers have done it and have had great results so feel free to do it but just make sure you do a muslin.

Some of our testers felt the sleeves were a big snug while others found them to fit perfectly. You will want to either muslin the sleeves with your coat or do flat measurements and compare them to the measurement of your upper arm while wearing the layers you plan on wearing under your coat. Heather used a size up on the sleeves and had great results. Lady Katza did a full arm adjustment. Read about their experiences.

You might have noticed that there a separate pattern pieces for the lining. To muslin, you’ll want to use the fashion pieces (not the lining pieces). Once you’re done with your fitting adjustments, you’ll want to make sure you copy any changes to the necessary lining pieces. So, to start, you can trace out the Center front (1), Side front (3), Center back (5), Side back (7). And then your two piece sleeves; the upper sleeve (9) and the Under sleeve (11).

Lowering the bust apex

First off, you’ll want to lower the bust apex before doing any addition to the bust area.

The bust apex can be found on a princess seam by looking for the part of the “bust bump” where it starts to curve down. If I’m not going to do a muslin in fabric, I will at least tissue fit. So, I’m going to show you how to figure out how to lower the bust apex. I’m covering lowering the bust apex because, in testing, we found several testers needed to lower it. Again, muslin the outer coat pattern pieces to see if you need to lower the apex. On my zebra Spearmint, I didn’t lower the apex which doesn’t show too much because of the print and because of the flounce collar but I will be lowering the apex on my next coat because I can tell from close up. It’s your choice. If you’re getting bunching just above the fullest part of your bust, you might to lower the bust apex.

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Here you can see my tissue fitting session. I put a pin where the extra tissue is on the pattern and where my bust apex is- that’s how far down I need to move the apex.

First, you want to draw a box around the apex and I’ve drawn it above and below my pins- which will help me with my adjustment.

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Cut it out and then slide it down so that the pin on the cut box now lines up with the bottom pin on the center front piece.

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Place more tissue paper behind the hole you created and tape or glue it to your pattern piece.

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Draw either with a ruler or a gentle curve (eyeballed) to smooth out and complete your new piece. Next you need to lower the bust apex on the center front piece. This one is less noticeable but I still recommend you do it.

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Create the box, cut it out, slide it down, put down tissue paper and then draw your line again. You’ll basically be making the slight curve (for the bust curve on your side front piece) a little bit deeper toward the bottom of the bust apex.

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Last, you will want to adjust your side front lining piece. Below you can see how the change in minimal but I went ahead and redrew the bottom part of the bust dart, making it a little bit deeper of a dart. You can also see where I added a 1/4″ to the center front of the lining piece. I’ll be addressing that next.

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Adding to the bust

When I was testing Spearmint, I considered doing an FBA but then when I saw the lining pieces would need an FBA as well I started to think creatively on how to add to the bust without having to go through the trouble. I also started to think about how the flounce collar would fall and how the center front doesn’t close all the way at the center. I did want the princess seams to hit over my bust apex so when I was tissue fitting, I saw that all I really needed was to add to the side front pieces (fashion and lining). I added a quarter inch to both side seams just at the fullest part of the bust on the pattern and then added the same quarter inch to the lining pieces. For the side front lining, I lessened the front curve when I added the quarter inch. That’s the picture above I was talking about.

Basically, I added to the area where I have more breast tissue. It’ll be different for everyone but I added to just the side front piece. As you can see below, you just add tissue behind your pattern, add the amount you need (based on your tissue fitting) and then trim the excess and you’re ready to go! Don’t forget the lining piece.

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One other alteration I like to do when I don’t do an FBA is to raise the armhole. It’s another option but it might give you a more snug fit so if you like it, add 1/4-1/2″ to the armholes both front and back as well as the lining pieces.

Fabric Choices

We recommend wool, wool blend coatings, flannels, tweeds and velvets for the fashion (outer) layer. For the lining, we recommend silk, polyester and rayon lining fabrics. If your fashion layer is a bit on the lighter weight side, you could also underline it with a thin flannel layer or even a muslin. You can really underline with anything you want! It just depends what end result you want.

You can always take your fashion layer and put it next to the lining and see what they look like draped over a shoulder. Then, add in a layer of muslin or thin flannel. Again, play around until you get the look you want! Have fun!

Next time, we’ll be talking about prepping your fabric, I’ll show you the fabric layout and we’ll get into flatlining or block fusing your fashion layer.

Let me know if you have any questions! Welcome to the Spearmint Sew-Along!

leila signature

Jan 282014
 

This post has been a long time coming! My Spearmint (which has been done for ages) never got a proper photo shoot or blog post! So now it has both. This Spearmint is made from Marc Jacobs novelty wool boucle I picked up at Mood in Los Angeles while shopping with Caroline (miss you!) from the blog Tigerfeet.  I don’t see this fabric on their website, but it also comes in bright orange and hot pink…which I definitely considered. But going into Mood, I had a vision in my mind of a white sparkly Spearmint so I got the white. It is a sheer wool boucle that is kind of a creamy white, with white yarn type stuff going in stripes all the way across. And then of course there are the sparkles…beautiful sparkles!

Lolita Patterns | Spearmint

First, I block fused the entire yardage because it was kind of sheer and merely a suiting weight and a more hefty weight is better suited to this pattern. I fused the yardage with a fusible tricot. Worked perfectly.

Lolita Patterns | Spearmint

Next, not paying attention when I bought it, in my head I assumed the stripes would be going lengthwise and it would be easy to match them up. Of course when I got home, I realized they went horizontal and I didn’t have enough fabric to go lengthwise. Begin cutting forever!! I matched up every single piece for the horizontal stripes…and Spearmint is a lot of pieces around the body to get great shaping.

Lolita Patterns | Spearmint

After cutting, sewing up Spearmint is a breeze. It is all done by machine and goes quickly. I used hair canvas for the collar…which is the trick to getting it able to be shaped and molded to the cascades you see here. Also, let me tell you, for this version I used the hair canvas I sell to all of you…..sooo much better!  The last hair canvas I used for samples was bought at F & S and I am not sure what happened, but the fusible beads would fly off all over the place and it did not want to stick to the fabric at all. I was very careful to make sure and test and get great fusible hair canvas for you all after that fiasco. I am here to tell you that not all fusible hair canvas is the same!  But in any case, I was able to use both kinds, just this one worked much easier than the other :)

Lolita Patterns | Spearmint

Here are a lot more pictures. Some closeups of the collar and the clean finish jump hem on the inside…no slip stitching needed!

Lolita Patterns | Spearmint

Lolita Patterns | Spearmint

Pretty houndstooth lining!

Lolita Patterns | Spearmint

clean finish, no slipstitching

Lolita Patterns | Spearmint

perfect jump hem

This coat looks wonderful opened or buttoned, and the pockets are nice and large. I am wearing Spearmint here with both my Leopard Gunmetal and my hot pink zebra Giorgio’s Top. I made my version 5 inches shorter than View A in the pattern and I made a size 2. I am very petite and I wanted a coat that would not dwarf me, plus I live in Los Angeles where it doesn’t get very cold, so I didn’t need the extra length. I am wearing it here with only the Gunmetal underneath it. This is how I designed this coat to be worn, as a topcoat. I wear it over dresses or blouses. As we have mentioned before, it is important to size up if you live in a cooler climate and want to wear layers underneath.

Lolita Patterns | Spearmint

This is a closeup of the gorgeous sparkly beaded button I bought for it. The button is also from Mood. A bunch of you helped me pick the right button by letting me know on Instagram which one looked best.

Lolita Patterns | Spearmint

Have you seen all the amazing Spearmint’s around the web?  We have collected them all on our Spearmint Pinterest board.

Are you all ready for the Spearmint sew-along? It starts next week! Gather your supplies, grab the sew-along badge in the sidebar, and meet us back here on February 3rd. Still need the pattern? Both PDF and physical versions are available in the shop.

  amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Jan 252014
 

In the spirit of Jungle January last year, I made a Giorgio’s Top out of red leopard print. In the spirit of Jungle January this year, I made a Giorgio’s Top out of hot pink zebra fabric!

Lolita Patterns | Giogio's Top

see my matching shoes again??

I made this immediately following my Jungle January Gunmetal. I love the way my Gunmetal turned out and it looks awesome, but when I was sewing it, I was craving color so badly. So I grabbed my hot pink shiny zebra knit and went to town!  Giorgio’s Top is an incredibly quick sew. It is only four pieces, and made entirely on the serger except for those who want to hem on your regular machine. This is my fourth version of Giorgio’s Top.

Lolita Patterns | Giorgio's Top

My best version was my first, the sparkly orange one. The slinky knit just hugs the figure better than the other knits. I made the other three out of regular knits and while they are wearable, I am not as happy as I am when I put on the original version. So from now on, I will be making this pattern out of slinky knits. I think the heavier weight makes it hug the body better around the waist. I suppose I could just sew those seams larger around the waist but it’s already done and wearable…and will be good when I gain weight since it has extra room.

Lolita Patterns | Giorgio's Top

I always make the smallest size in Silhouette Patterns and sometimes is too big. Giorgio’s Top happens to be a tiny bit roomy but it always still looks great. The peplum doesn’t flare like the photo on the pattern through…at least not in any version I have made. I actually traced off the pattern and added a 1/4″ to each side of each piece which would have added 4 inches to the bottom circumference in an attempt to make the bottom flare more, but it just looked like way too much fabric so I just stick with the original. In any case, it is still such a quick and easy sew, fits well, and looks good so I keep making them!

This hot pink zebra was a stash fabric knit that came from Fabric.com, the same place my orange sparkly slinky knit (the first Giorgio’s Top) came from…same order actually! I didn’t bother trying to make the print match at all…the zebra stripes go in all different directions anyway so I wasn’t concerned about it. Plus I needed a break from the epic horizontal stripe matching that was my Spearmint…way  back in December. I’ll blog my Spearmint in the next post!  Those of you who follow me on Instagram have seen glimpses of my pretty Marc Jacobs fabric Spearmint.

That reminds me! Do you all know about the Showcase? If you tag your instagram photos with #lolitapatterns, your photo automatically shows up on the Showcase page!

Don’t forget that the Spearmint Sew-Along is starting February 3rd! Make sure you gather your supplies and grab your badge from the sidebar. This sew-along is going to have so many tips and photos and extras, you won’t want to miss it!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns