Lauren's Virtual World

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fabric in the Bay

I currently live in Tampa, but I'm originally from Chicago. Needless to say that makes me super spoiled with fabric and sewing resources. I had to do some serious searching to find of stuff in Tampa and I always share. So if your ever in Tampa, here's the lowdown.

Fabric Stores:

Jays Fabrics 801 Pasadena Ave S St Petersburg, FL
(727) 381-6600
I've never purchased here but they have really nice high quality fabrics. Just be prepared to pay. The place is large and they have an extensive selection. The sales people were very nice and they knew their stuff. I like it there a lot, it's just a little far for me.

Queens Fabrics 1724 S Dale Mabry Hwy Tampa, FL
(813) 258-2805
I love this store. Great high quality fabrics and again you gotta pay. What I really like is the set up. Everything is kind of everywhere but it works because the place is so small. So it's really hands on and kind of cozy. There's also a good variety. There's even a sample section to order super expensive couture. The person there was nice and friendly. She asked if I needed any help, talked with me a little, and let me browse. When I'm off fabric probation, I see this being my favorite store.

Jo-Ann 11215 Causeway Blvd Brandon, FL
(813) 655-1408
Ahh, good old trusty Jo-Ann. Home of the 3.99 Vogue patterns. I like them for that alone. It seems like they're converting Jo-Ann to the supercraft stores which I kind of don't like. It seems to lower the quality and selection of fashion fabric. The thing I find interesting about Jo-Ann is how overpriced the fabrics are for what they are. I guess you just have to wait for the sales. As for fabric, they are not my go to people. I quickly browse the fabric but take advantage of the pattern sales. The Brandon loacation has the best selection of sewing magazine, though. They are the first place I've ever seen who carries Australian Stitches. And they don't throw away back issues of Vogue Patterns. And they're good for notions. They have a great selection of just about all kinds of notions you could ever need. There are other Jo-Ann store but I've found this one to be the best. And the salespeople are friendly if you make them be :) That just means you have to engage them first.

Hancock Fabrics 1112 S Dale Mabry Hwy Tampa, FL
(813) 251-4232
Very similar to Jo-Ann- great for patterns and notions. While Jo-Ann is trending toward the superstore, Hancocks has kept their focus on sewing. I have found with Hancocks you get better fabric and more variety than Jo-Ann. Definitely keep them in mind for the pattern sales. They have books and magazine but not like the selection at Jo-Ann. Not to sound mean, but the people there are not very helpful at all.

Fabric Sites:
Since there aren't too many good fashion fabric shops, the internet is a great alternative. I spend too much time drooling over fabric surfing the net at my favorite spots. Now I'm not going to give you an exhaustive unedited list, just my favorites who have good stuff for fashion sewing. I hate those long lists, only to find out half the stores only sell quilting fabrics or don't even sell online. So trust me, my list is good.
Enter at your own risk. You will either leave broke or depressed because your broke. She has some of the most beautiful and unique fabrics ever. The prices are steep but the fabrics are very high quality and worth it. What I love about her website is the photos and descriptions. You really know what your getting. There's also sewing guides if your unfamiliar with working with the fabric. She also has great service. I've ordered from her a few time and service is top notch. The funny thing is, my fabric has always looked and felt much better than I expected. The fabric there also has very high turn around, so the great stuff goes quick.
Don't pay retail! This place has great fabric at the best price. I love it. I used to be a part of their swatch club but it looks like they're not doing the club anymore. The pictures aren't color accurate and it's hard to tell exactly what you're looking at. My advice is to stick with what your familiar with and go by the description. I've ordered from them before and I had good experiences.
Also bank breaking, gorgeous, to die for fabric. I used to be in their swatch club but I've never ordered from them. They're expensive, but let me tell you, their fabric is worth every penny. They also have buttons, thread matching services, and extensive selection of interfacing.
I've never had a chance to shop here but there are some great fabrics at wallet, friendly prices. I especially love the knit prints. And she sells Burda (yay) and vintage patterns.
This is the website for Vogue Fabrics swatch club. Ok fabric, ok prices. But still a good resource. I love how they're now offering some of the fabrics in Vogue Patterns Magazine. There is also an extensive amount of notions and interfacing. You can also find some tailoring supplies and independant patterns. And one thing that works good for dressmakers is that fabrics are available for a long time. I was able to order fabric from a 2yr old swatch. I was also satisfied with their service.
I love her website. She has so much fabric available and at reasonable prices. I haven't had a chance to purchase anything yet. But I'm cleaning her out when I get off fabric probation. I've also heard so many good reviews about her fabric store.

I hope this list helps anyone who is in the Tampa area. It's definitely been hard for me adjusting to the new area with less resources available, but they are here. You just have to look.

Happy fabric shopping!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I Don't Have A Bra For That!

Yes You Do!

I have a retail background and one of the things that aggravated me were woman who didn’t buy something due to an undergarment issue. Has that ever been you? Now if that wasn’t the real reason- you don’t have to lie. If it was the truth, then this entry is dedicated to you. There are undergarments for any and every type of garment. I’ve worked in an intimate apparel department at a department store before and I’ve seen it. If I like something, whether it plunged, was sheer, or backless, or what-not- I never let that stop me from buying it. And I’m a 34/36D so I need support.

Now, I’m not rich so I tried to keep budget in mind. The ones I feature are affordable, but there are luxury versions of each style- for those who got it like that.

Ok, these garments are not for the faint of heart, but if you’ve got the confidence- rock it. Please appropriate occasions only though. It might be too much at the grocery store or the mall. If you have a super low neckline, here is your solution. The one I have featured is from Fredricks of Hollywood and it's only $30. I actually own this and it’s awesome. Not only does it plunge really deep, but the back is really low. I also wear this for my tops that cut really deep in the back. The straps also come off so you can do racerback or clear straps.

Barest of Them All
This is for the most daring. I have yet to try this, but it's backless and strapless. This is also from Fredricks of Hollywood and only costs $20.

And we can't forget the stickies. Some people have told me they don’t work, but I promise they do if applied properly. When I first used them, I wasted a few trying to get it to work. But after I learned how to do it, they worked great. It’s not full coverage but it gives that extra lift and shaping. The ones I use are from Victorias Secret and they cost $18.

I fell in love with sweaterdresses last fall. The problem is they can be very sheer.
The solution- a seamless, tunic cami. I can’t find any images of what I have (and I’m am not about to model it) but it looks just like the shapewear piece below, except it’s not shapewear. It's even strapless which I like as well. I found mine at Dillards in the Intimate Apparel Dept for just $28.

Body Flaws and Lumps:

Nobody is perfect. Don’t let imperfections stop you from wearing that dress. That’s why God invented shapewear. It’s not even about making you look skinny, it can also be used to smoothing the lumps out. Creating a sleek, smooth, firm silhouette. These are perfect for clingy or jersey dresses. There are all types of cuts for whatever clingy, sexy thing you are trying to wear. Spanx is suppose to be really good, but you can actually find them anywhere in Lingerie Departments in a variety of brands and all price ranges.

My All Time Favorite:

This title goes to the Victoria Secret Very Sexy Infinity Edge Strapless (whew, that's a mouthful) that cost about $50. This bra is incredible. It's the only strapless I could find that gives support, gives amazing cleavage, and that dips this low. I love it!

Now if you have hard to find sizes it must be a pain in the butt. Your best bet is local specialty stores. Also, I ran a online search and there are a lot of places to order online. Another great place to check out is They are overseas, but they do ship to the US. You have to order through the mail or via the internet, so you can't try the bra on. But they have so many sizes and they actually have some good strapless options. I'd recommend checking them out .

Now after all this, please don't tell your sales consultant at a retail store that you don't have anything to wear underneath that garment you want. There really is something to wear underneath everything. If you like something and face this issue, just visit an Intimate Apparel Dept at any department store. You'll find what you need.

Happy Sexy Fashions For All!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Mccall's 5002

Okay, I cheated and bought fabric, but I NEED it. I loved this Balenciaga look so much and when I saw the fabric, inspiration hit. it's not really a knock-off, more of an inspiration piece. the Balenciaga is so unique because of the interesting shaping of the dress. Ghesquiere must have really been channeling the line's originator, because unique fabric shaping and silhouettes was what really set Balenciaga apart. But I digress, sorry fashion makes me do that.

So here's what I'm making. The only change is that I'm making it a mini dress. Nothing to extreme. My big trouble was deciding the size. I'm either a 12 or 14 depending on the ease. Because this is very fitted, and after comparing finished measurements to my own, I'm going with 14. I'm not making a muslin, I'm going to use the lining as a test fit. I hate making muslins and I want instant gratification. This way I have a test garment, and the linings out the way before I really start. Yay!!!

Here's my fabric. It's a pretty, floral brocade. It's polyestor so not too high end. I allowed myself the treat because it was on sale -about $5/yrd. I'm being good and using lining I already have.
Well everything is purchased and I'm going to get sewing. A review will be coming soon.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Spring Fashion 08 Review Part 1

Ok, I may be late. With the internet and how fast info spreads, they’re talking about spring fashion in January and resort in October. So by March, it almost seems like it’s old news and the fall shows are what’s what. But I’m a fashion traditionalist and March is all about Spring Fashion. Well folks, it’s March and here- it’s all about Spring Fashion. So here’s what I'm loving!

Whats Hot

Ethereal, Floral Prints:
I want some pretty, floaty blouse. I’m on the hunt for some good fabric to inspire me. has posted some really pretty cotton/silk voile. Unfortunatly, my stash has grown to ridiculous proportions so I’m on fabric buying probation.

Light Denim:

Lately, light denim has taken a backseat to dark denim, but there has been a resurgence of light denim this season. It looks great for spring. Especially with one of those pretty floral blouses.

High Waisted, Wide Leg:

Please let this mean I don’t have to see anyone’s crack or panties anymore. And if anyone has seen mine, I’m truly sorry. They were only making low-rise jeans; I couldn’t find any regular jeans that didn’t look like Mom jeans. Oh yes, and goodbye muffin top. I think this look is so flattering on just about everyone. And did I mention comfortable. I want a pair of light denim high waist trouser jeans. The only tricky thing with this look is the shoe. I think they look best with a heel or wedge.


I love Spring’s color palette. It’s so bright and pretty tone down with some sexy nuetrals. Dresses are gorgeous but I love the idea of working some bright pants with a bright top. It's tough, but you just have to own it.


I used to think of shorts as too casual but you can definitely make them look more sophisticated depending on fabric and cut. I personally like the shorty shorts, but bermudas are cute, too.

Gladiator Sandals:

I really like this look in either flats, heels, or wedges.
These are so hot- and for only $98 from Nine West.

Photos from: (Spring 2008 collections from Gucci, Stella Mccartney, Versace, Doori, Chanel, DKNY, Calvin Klein, and Balenciaga), Nine, Neiman,, Lucky Magazine
Mar 2008

Monday, March 3, 2008


Hello Everyone,

This is the first time I've done something like this but I 'm very excited about it. I've recently began working from home and I've just discovered the amazing, vast world of the intertnet. And I want a part of this community. Working from home turns you a little more reclusive, but there is still a yearning for a sense of community. So can I be a part of your virtual community? Thanks in advance for the invite :).

Well, your probably wondering what this blog is about and here it goes. A little bit of everything. I have very diverse interests and I want to share a little of what I do. I think the primary focus right now is going to be a creative outlet for sewing projects. I love to sew and I've been so inspired my many sewing blogs. I want to share my projects, tips, and new discoveries with you.

Since this is about me, you will also find many other things here, too. I like to write (I'm out of practice but I hope this will brush my skills up), draw, read, knit, and crochet. My interests include fashion and fitness. So in addition to sewing, I will probably be sprinkling in a few of these things, too.

I won't make this too long, but I wanted to give you a brief introduction. I'm really excited and I plan to put a lot of myself into this. So welcome to Lauren's Virtual World! Enjoy.