Mar 272013

I thought I would share with you some of the tools I use most when sewing as well as various items that I have found very helpful in my sewing room. To be clear, this is not a sponsored post. I am not providing links to buy these items and I am not receiving any compensation for writing this post or if you buy anything as a result. I just love these tools and want to share how to make your sewing experience easier!

First off is my clear ruler–so very helpful for so many things! Oona already wrote about how this one tool is crucial for any sewist. It has marks down to 1/16″ of an inch and does both metric and imperial measurements.

Lolita Patterns | Helpful Sewing Tools

I love my Nancy Zieman seam gauge. It does a bunch of different things and locks in place so my seam allowances remain accurate. You can watch a video on the give things this tool is designed to do here.

This wooden wine rack holds all my stabilizers and tracing paper. It is an amazing deal and holds far more than other “stabilizer holders” on the market. Plus it is less expensive and you can add more as you need. I have added onto mine twice. You can also build it into any configuration you need so it fits the space you have. It is very handy.

Lolita Patterns | Helpful Sewing Tools

Steam a Seam 2 Lite on the roll– Cannot live without! I use this stuff for everything…everything. When I need to hold something in place before stitching, if I need to sew something difficult and don’t want to use pins, when inserting zippers, bound buttonholes, basting, hemming, holding down seam allowances, making piping, and I am sure many other things that escape me right now. This stuff is a lightweight fusible web tape that comes in 1/4″ and 1/2″ widths and is sticky on both sides so it holds  even before pressing.

Lolita Patterns | Helpful Sewing Tools

Ez-Off Iron Cleaner-This iron cleaner works really well and buying it from Wawak gets you a much larger tube at a much lower price than buying a similar product at Joann’s or Walmart. You put some on a towel and then rub it on a hot iron without steam. It cleans of all that fusible or burn marks that get stuck to the bottom of your iron.

Lolita Patterns | Helpful Sewing Tools

Hugo’s Amazing Tape-I wrap this around thread to hold thread tails in because many threads do not have a place to store the end. I also use this on my stabilizer and tracing paper rolls to keep them neat and tidy. Another recent use is to keep our master patterns in tact. This “tape” sticks only to itself and can hold a lot of weight. I also use it to bundle things together to keep them organized. There are so many uses for this. It also comes in a variety of different widths depending on the need.

Lolita Patterns | Helpful Sewing Tools

Dritz French Curve/Styling Design Ruler-This is the french curve I use almost 100% of the time. I have a set of professional french curves but I find this one works for nearly every curve I need. It is also handy that it has a straight edge on it that I can use without having to switch to an entirely different ruler when I am drafting. This one is also relatively inexpensive and widely available.

Lolita Patterns | Helpful Sewing Tools

Another tool is the marking tool that I discussed in this post. The Frixion pens are wonderful. I wrote a review on patternreview here about how they work.

Lolita Patterns | Helpful Sewing Tools

I also use the Olfa seam allowance gauge a LOT. I wrote a review on patternreview on this gadget as well because I find it so helpful and many people do not know about it. It is just like the seam allowance guide that has been popular for scissors for adding seam allowances only it works with a rotary cutter. I cut almost exclusively with a rotary cutter because it is significantly easier to cut on slippery fabrics that way and I love chiffon and charmeuse! This guide is adjustable so you can use it so cut out with seam allowances or cut off excess seam allowance before cutting. Let’s say you are working with a 5/8″ seam allowance pattern. You can use this gauge to easily cut off the excess 1/4″ to make it a 3/8″ seam allowance. In any case this is wonderful for not having to go around and add seam allowances on each seam with a pencil before cutting out. I can use the original seam allowance free pattern and cut directly into my fabric because this guide does all the work!

Lolita Patterns | Helpful Sewing Tools

I also love the clapper pressing tool. I use it so often because I work with a lot of slippery fabrics and some polyester fabrics that do not like to press well. Pressing with the ironing and then immediately pressing over it with the clapper and holding it until the seam cools works wonders. It is also great for thick seams in thick fabric like coating or denim for hammering them down. They also make clappers with tailor points on top which are great for pressing our corners and collars and for pressing seams open without getting show through on the right side.

Lolita Patterns | Helpful Sewing Tools


These are just a few essentials I use often. Trust me, I have tons more! But these seem to be the ones I use nearly every time I set foot in my sewing room.

What is your favorite sewing tool?

 I discovered most of my tools through recommendations from fellow sewists so I would love to see what you use and recommend! Please tell us!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Mar 232013

Ren made a beautiful Fuchsia for her daughter. She followed the sew-along to put it together and her end result is gorgeous! I also love how the jacket looks with the skirt. It is a very stylish outfit! Not only that, she is going to make another version for herself!

She includes a lot of pictures in her review on Pattern Review. She also wrote a detailed review of the pattern. Check it out!

Still need to get your own pattern? You can get Fuchsia for free in the shop!

Want help sewing it up? All the sew-along posts can be found here!

We are also now on Instagram! Follow us as LolitaPatterns.

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Mar 162013

Today we have a special treat for you! I’m going to show you how to make the belt I wore with my gray Fuchsia. It is a unique spin on the typical bow belt and the end result is super cute!

Lolita Patterns | Ribbon Bow Belt Tutorial

Without further ado…here is how to make it!

Step 1: Gather supplies

– 1″ wide grosgrain ribbon.
– 2 sets of 3/8″ sew-on snaps.

Lolita Patterns | Ribbon Bow Belt Tutorial

Step 2: Cut the ribbon in to 3 sections.

– Bow knot 3 1/2″
– Bow loops 13 3/4″
– Belt finished measurement + 1″. If you want your belt to be 32″ you will need 33″. If you are unsure you can leave extra length until step 6.

Lolita Patterns | Ribbon Bow Belt Tutorial

Step 3: Make bow loop

– To make the bow loop you need to lay the ribbon at a diagonal.
– Grab the 2 ends and fold them towards the middle like in the picture.
– Pin all 3 layers in the middle and sew down the center.
– Trim off the excess ribbon at the back. Seal the edges with fray check or burn with a lighter.

Lolita Patterns | Ribbon Bow Belt Tutorial

Step 4: Make the bow knot

– Fold the bow knot ribbon right sides together and stitch.
– Turn the tube inside out. Slip the knot onto the bow.
– Stitch along the outer edge of the knot stitching through the top layer of the knot and the bow loop. Do not stitch the bottom layer of the knot.

Lolita Patterns | Ribbon Bow Belt Tutorial

Step 5: Slip the belt into the bow.

– Since you didn’t stitch through the bottom layer of the knot you should have a little opening to slip the belt into the bow.

Lolita Patterns | Ribbon Bow Belt Tutorial

Step 6: Sew on snaps.

– Fold one edge under 1/2″ and sew on 2 sew-on snaps.
– If you weren’t sure about the finished size, put the belt around your waist or wherever you are going to wear it. Mark the finished length.
-Sew the other half of the sew-on snaps outside of the chalked line. Trim off excess and fray check or burn the edges.

Lolita Patterns | Ribbon Bow Belt Tutorial

Step 7: Wear your ribbon bow belt with your Fuchsia skirt. They look amazing together!

Lolita Patterns | Ribbon Bow Belt Tutorial

Still need to get your Fuchsia pattern? It is free in the shop!

Want help sewing it up? All sew-along links can be found here!

We would love to see any Ribbon Bow Belts or other Lolita Patterns garments that you make. Send us a shout out on our Facebook or Twitter! Make sure to follow the blog by email subscription (on the right sidebar) or RSS so you don’t miss all the exciting news and tutorials coming up!

Nhi Signature (1)

Mar 152013

Today’s Fuchsia was made from curtains! The red gingham curtains she used turned out into the cutest skirt! And she used the rest of the curtain to make a corresponding dress for her daughter. So darling to have a matching outfit with her daughter! Mamma Nene, from the blog Serger Pepper, made this version. She blogs in both Italian and English! And makes amazing refashions.

Here is a picture with the matching dress for her daughter.

Can you believe those used to be curtains? Check out her entire post on the refashion here.

amity bow | Lolita Patterns



Ms. McCall’s Fuchsia

 General, Pattern  Comments Off on Ms. McCall’s Fuchsia
Mar 122013

Ms. McCall, of the blog Brown Paper Patterns, made this fabulous Fuchsia and featured it on her blog. Doesn’t it look spectacular?

I love the zebra print! She also mentions that she loves the waistband so much, she is using it for a pair of pants she is making! It is so wonderful to see how different every version of Fuchsia turns out. Ms. McCall’s is a wonderful example. You can read more about her experience on her blog post.

We know many of you are still finishing up your Fuchsia. Let us know when they are finished so we can feature them! You can also post them on our Facebook page or in the Fuchsia Flickr Gallery. It is so exciting to see how they turn out!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Mar 102013

It’s time to feature my finished Fuchsia! This fabric turned out to work perfectly for this pattern. I used a polyester taffeta. It is just the right amount of puffy to be cute. This version is definitely good for play! I have another version with just the bottom tier out of a grey wool suiting that is perfect for the office. I love how versatile this pattern is! You have seen several different versions and no two look alike…I will definitely be making more of these in my future.

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia #1300

I also tested to make sure it was party ready….by krumping!

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia #1300

And some more silliness.

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia #1300

I did not get a good back view–they were all blurry—and so is the side view but I will put it here anyway.

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia #1300

Anyone know why so many of my pictures turn out blurry? The only good pictures seem to be some sort of closeup or zoom….and I checked that it is not set in permanent macro mode. It goes into macro automatically on zooming. But without any zoom, they all turn blurry….help!

Okay I’ll post the blurry back view. Maybe one of you can help with my camera issue!

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia #1300

I included this closeup to show the accessories and makeup. This is a great DIY necklace made of pearls to look like a peter pan collar. Keep an eye out for a future tutorial! The makeup is also very lolita–pinks, cat eyeliner, sparkles, and shimmer. I’ll also be doing the makeup tutorial for this look soon! So much to look forward to!

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia #1300

We still want to see any pictures or posts about your Fuchsia experience! Pass them along!

Still need to get the pattern? It is available for free in the shop!  If you want detailed instructions with photos, you can follow the sew-along to sew it up!

Are there any specific tutorials you would like to see? We have so many planned but we would love to do one’s that our readers would specifically like to see. Please let us know!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Mar 072013

Lolita Patterns | How to Hem Slippery Fabrics

I was hemming a slippery polyester chiffon the other night and it occurred to me how much trouble I used to have with this kind of fabric. It is impossible to press any kind of crease so hemming it used to be incredibly difficult and frustrating. Until I figured out this little trick. I use a product called Seams Great which is a very soft and sheer nylon tape. Seams Great does lots of other cool stuff, but I end up using it most often for this hemming trick.

First up, sew the Seams Great to the right side of the fabric at the hem. I use a 3/8″ seam allowance.

Lolita Patterns | How to Hem Slippery Fabrics

Side note: Another trick I do, is to put the roll of tape on the knee bar. This way it feeds off easily and I only use exactly what I need and don’t have to measure off an amount before I begin. I also do this for pearl cotton or cording for buttonholes. That knee bar is a wonderful holding place!

Lolita Patterns | How to Hem Slippery Fabrics

After sewing all the way around, I trim the seam allowance down to around 1/8″.

Lolita Patterns | How to Hem Slippery Fabrics

Now flip it over to the wrong side and pull under to make your hem. Press well. If your fabric does not press, as my lovely polyester chiffon, we can still make it work. You have the Seams Great to hold onto while hemming.

Lolita Patterns | How to Hem Slippery Fabrics

After your hem is pressed up (if possible), grab your edgestitch or blind hem foot. If you don’t have one of these feet, don’t worry. We are only going to be stitching in the ditch…you can do this with your regular foot. I just find it so easy with the edgestitch/blind hem foot!

Lolita Patterns | How to Hem Slippery Fabrics

blind hem foot–has a blade in the center so your needle stitches directly behind it

Stitch directly in the ditch of where the Seams Great is attached to the hem.

Lolita Patterns | How to Hem Slippery Fabrics

As you can see in the above picture, my hem did not lay flat on its own. But I was able to hold it in place to the hem marking I made while stitching in the ditch. This method is far easier than trying to double turn a hem with a slippery, misbehaving fabric!

Lastly, trim close to the stitching.

Lolita Patterns | How to Hem Slippery Fabrics

The fabric won’t fray because the raw edge of the fabric was sewn to the Seams Great and is enclosed in the seam and Seams Great doesn’t fray! This gives a beautiful single stitched finish without the bulk or the hassle of a double fold hem.

What do you think? Will you use this trick the next time you encounter a difficult fabric?

Don’t forget, the parade of Fuchsia’s is next week! Send us pictures of your finished Fuchsia so we can feature you! Still need to get your free Fuchsia? You can download it from the shop for free!

Not quite finished with your Fuchsia yet? You can find all the detailed sew-along posts here!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Mar 052013

Nhi made a fuchsia Fuchsia! It is so gorgeous and wonderful party wear. She added an lacey, scalloped exposed zipper to the back that looks so cute. See for yourself!

Lolita Patterns | fuchsia Fuchsia

Lolita Patterns | fuchsia Fuchsia

Lolita Patterns | fuchsia Fuchsia

Lolita Patterns | fuchsia Fuchsia

exposed zipper closeup

Nhi did not change the zipper from a side zip to a back zip. She just top stitched on the exposed zipper for the fun of it! The fabric is a fuchsia polyester satin and Nhi used a lot of starch to work it into shape to hold the pleats. It was definitely a challenge and helped us learn a lot about using different fabrics for this pattern.

How is your Fuchsia coming along? Don’t have the pattern yet? Get it here for free!

The sew-along is also complete! We want to post pictures of finished Fuchsia’s on Monday, March 11. Please send us your photos or links to your post or pattern review so we can feature you!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Mar 022013

Here is the last sew-along post! In this post we will finish the waistband facing to the zipper completely by machine with a beautiful finish, understitch the facing, stitch in the ditch, and add a hook and eye. Then we get to have a parade of all the beautiful finished Fuchsia’s! I will plan on posting the finished garments on Monday, March 11, 2011. Please leave a comment or send us an email with your finished pictures or links to your blog post or pattern review so we can make sure and feature yours!

Still need to get your Fuchsia? You can grab it in the shop for free! Need to go back and see the other steps? All of the sew-along links are posted here.

Finishing the Waistband Facing

Let’s first sew together one side seam of the waistband facing pieces. These are the waistband pieces that are interfaced. You want to make sure you stitch the correct side together. Try to follow the picture as below. Or if you have trouble figuring out which side, lay it right sides together on the current waistband so you can see which side to stitch. The only tricky thing is you will stitch the opposite side together than you did on the original waistband because this one will be turned the opposite side out. Press the seam open.

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_1

Measure 3/8″ in on each side and trim it off. So now each facing piece is 3/8″ smaller on the end. Now match and pin the side seam together.

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_2

Now pin the facings over the zipper.

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_3

And stitch down both sides next to the zipper using your regular zipper foot.

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_5

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_4

Now we are going to fold back the zipper and stitch all the way around the top of the waistband pieces. Watch the pictures closely to make sure you are turning the pieces the correct way and pin to hold it in place.

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_6

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_7

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_8

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_9

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_10

When you have turned the pieces correctly and pinned all the way around the top, it should look like this.

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_11

Next you will stitch all the way around the top using a 3/8″ seam.

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_12

Here is a closeup of the edge after stitching around the top.

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_13

 Trim off the corners on both sides.

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_14

Turn right side out. Look how pretty it looks!

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_16

DSCLolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_17


Next we want to understitch the facing to keep it from rolling out to the right side. Because of our neat waistband finishing method, we won’t be able to understitch the entire way…only most  of the way. So just understitch as much as you can.

When understitching, you want to make sure you push the seam allowance to the side you want it to roll. For this, we want the facing to roll to the inside of the skirt so we will understitch the seam allowance to the facing piece–the interfaced waistband. When you understitch, you stitch as close to the seam as possible while catching the underlying seam allowance.

The picture below shows the seam allowance being pulled to the facing side of the waistband.

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_18

And stitch as close to the seam as possible while catching the seam allowance underneath.

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_19

Stitch as far along as you can. Then turn completely to the inside and press well.

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_19

completed understitching

Stitch in the Ditch

The last piece of major sewing is to stitch in the ditch from the right side of the waistband to take down the facing inside. Many people like to slip stitch the facing to the inside, but I prefer to do as little hand sewing as possible…..none!

When I stitch in the ditch, I like to use my blind hem foot, or edgestitching foot. It has a blade in the center that you run along the seam line and the needle stitches directly  behind it. This keeps the stitching exactly in the ditch and invisible from the right side.

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_20

Pin the facing down over the inside seam allowance and stitch in the ditch from the right side.

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_21

Last thing?? Attach a hook and eye above the zipper and you are all done!!!

Here is my completed Fuchsia.

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_22

Lolita Patterns | Fuchsia Sew-Along 6_23

I will be featuring my completed Fuchsia and another Fuchsia that Nhi made during this week while you all finish up yours. Don’t forget to send us pics of yours and/or links to your blog post or review so we can feature them here!

Also coming up in the next few weeks we will be showing sneak previews of our next pattern, Sugar Plum. It’s so cute! The pattern, the packaging, all of it! We know you will love it!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns