Lauren's Virtual World

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Little Something

I finished these two items up right before I left Tampa. I was trying out my new sergers. Yes, I finally decided to treat myself to a serger. Well here are my first serger projects.

Simplicity 2603

I participated in the Sew Along at Plus, I've been wanting to make this forever. I used rayon/poly/spandex jersey from . BTW, I love them! Their prices are great and I've been happy with all my purchases. If you've considered making this pattern, I would definitely recommend it. I made the small and I didn't make any adjustments. Cutting out is a PITA, but it makes up for it with the construction. I was just complaining about how slow I sew, but this only took a few hours.


Tied (how I will wear it):

McCall 5917:

The pattern is a hot mess IMO, but it turned out cute w/ a lot of work on my part. I used purple jersey from Joann's. I'll try to get a detail shot of the bodice so you can see the detail.

If you care to see my issues w/ the pattern you can check out my review.

I am still not sure why my pics are coming up so blurry on blogger w/ my new camera. I'm going to play around w/ it and try to figure out why.

New Move

Okay, I'm probably crazy but I just moved to Atlanta. I felt like I needed a change of scenery and the opportunity was there so I took it. I'm not sure if it was the right thing to do b/c I really don't know anybody here and I work from home so I won't be meeting anyone through work. Although there were some things I liked about Tampa, I didn't feel at home there. And who knows, I'm a military brat, so I may never feel at home anywhere.

But so far, everything has gone ok. I finally have a sewing room- yay! But I have to share it as an office space, but no biggie. It's a lot more than I ever had before. And get this, the previous tenants left this huge, solid wood desk. It's perfect for sewing- I can fit all my machines on there and still have some work space left. As for other areas, my daughter is in school and I'm all set up for work. So I'm trying to keep a positive outlook. I guess I'm going to just drive around and visit different places to kind of get a feel for the city. And of course take advantage of all the great community stuff Atlanta has going on.

On the bad side- It's sooo cold. You wouldn't believe I was originally from Chicago the way I can't tolerate the cold. Florida really has me spoiled. I came here in flip flops and a tank top and I need to go buy some winter coats, lol. I don't think I kept mine from Chicago, but if I did, it's buried deep in some box somewhere.

Well I'm still trying to get settled, so no sewing right now, but I plan to start up again soon. So hopefully some reviews will be up soon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Sew Sooo Slow

I don't know why I sew so slow. I read and some people are whipping out garments in a few days, some even just a day. I've never been that fast. The closest was in my pre-mommy days where I could actually make a garment in a few days. But I was making sewing a big priority. I took a some time off from school(for personal reasons, not to sew, lol) so I was only working f/t instead of doing both, I wasn't going to the gym, and I wasn't planning my meals. Now, I can't even imagine sewing like that. I feel like a snail, lol. And it's fustrating b/c my mind is planning garments at a much faster rate than I could ever possibly sew them.

So what I've been trying to do is accept my slowly, snail pace. I had to evaluate why I sew. Do I sew b/c I enjoy it or do I sew b/c I need the cloths? Well I do want/need the cloths but looking at it that way, I've turned something I love to do into a chore- and I have more than enough of those. So now, I've decided to treat it like a hobby. I goal myself at 15 mins/day and 1 garment every 2 weeks. Slow but fair to myslelf. And if I don't produce something every 2 weeks, I just make sure I sew that 15 mins daily. I've been enjoying sewing so much more since I've decided to do it this way. And of course, I'm secretly hoping that the more I sew, the faster I'll get and next thing you know I'll be making all these new fabulous garments left and right, lol.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

BWOF 9/05 #113

BWOF 9/05 #113

W/o the belt:My daughter is my photographer. Isn't she good!

Description: Lined high-waisted pencil skirt w/ belt loops and CF seam.

Size: I used 40 at the waist and 42 at the hip. I had to take a little out the CB at the waist which is pretty typical. I'm a curvy girl :)

Fabric: Rayon-blend suiting from EOS. This project was mainly a stash buster. This project was mainly a stash buster. I have way too much fabric and I'm really tired of it taking up so much space. This fabric is gorgeous- as is everything from EOS. It's hard to see the detail but it's a plaid print w/ floral print on top of it. I love it, but it's been in the stash for years.

Likes: I wasn't sure what I wanted to make w/ it but I only had enough for shorts, skirt, or a vest. I chose a skirt and I found a pattern in my old BWOF stash. It's a nice simple pattern that's great for showing off the fabric.

It's also very well drafted, everything went together so well. I love BWOF!

Changes: I eliminated the belt loops and CF. I also added a facing and drafted the lining pattern accordingly. I added some boning to the waist to give it some stability.

I made this way too hard for myself by adding a kick pleat, lol. I hardly ever sew skirts so I couldn't remember how to do it. I used Easy Guide to Sewing Skirts as a reference, but I'm bad at following directions. Of course things began to click and my memory started coming back after I messed up, lol. And for where the lining met the kick pleat, I just did a slit in the lining. By then I really didn't care and it doesn't look bad. And it's even funnier b/c after I finished the skirt, I remembered I don't even like kick pleats b/c the overlap doesn't always sit perfectly flat. Maybe it's my sewing skills, but I have that problem in RTW, too.

I hemmed the lining w/ lace. It's something I've never done before but it was in Easy Guide to Sewing Skirts and I thought it looked cute. Plus I had some lace trim on hand, so why not. I really like how it turned out.

Conclusion: I think my skirt is really cute and it goes great w/ a top and belt that I already own. And my fabric is better as a garment than just laying in my stash. Now the real question is will I ever wear it since I never wear skirts. I guess it's a nice alternative to have when I need to be a little dressier. I'll probably never make this skirt again, but the pattern is a great base. Since it's already traced and fitted, I might use it as a base for another skirt that I'll probably never wear, lol.

As for recommending it, I wouldn't say hunt down this issue for this skirt. But if you have it and need a pencil skirt, this is a great pattern to use.

Simplicity 2683

This jacket is so much cuter made up than it is in the pattern pic. I actually bought the pattern for the dress. But my daughter needed something summery and semi-dressy so I wanted her to wear the yellow dress. Since the event was indoor, she needed something to cover her arms. I was in a time crunch and I saw this pattern in my stash and thought why not. I ran to Joann's and bought some fabric and quickly sewed it up.

Simplicity 2683

Front and Back:

Tied in the Back:

The tie doesn't have to be tucked in the back. It looks cute when it's visible, too.

Fabric: White cotton Eyelet

Likes: This sews up so quick and it's much cuter than the pattern picture suggests.

Changes: I basically sewed this up as is. The front is on the bias but for some reason or another I didn't have enough fabric. I either spaced out in Joann or lost a lot during washing. So I was unable to cut it on the bias. On the finished garment the sleeves are extremely tight. I don't know if it's due to the whole bias thing, but I can't imagine it making that much of a difference. She needs at least 1 1/2" extra in the sleeves to be comfortable. I had to let them out and sew them at 1/4" SA. And they're still too tight. If you make this I would double check that.

I used 1/2" elastic instead of the wider size the pattern recommends b/c I didn't want it to be too visible from the outside since I was using eyelet.

Also, they have the neckline casing cut as a separate piece than the ties. I'm not sure if this is to save fabric but next time I might see if they can be cut as one b/c it would save bulk where they connect. At that edge, you have the garment hem, SA from where the neck casing is sewed to the front, and the SA where you sew the ties to the neck casing. I'm not sure if I'm explaining it clearly, but if you have the pattern, just look at how they put it together at that edge and see if it's the best way for you.

Conclusion: It's versatile, cute little jacket. I would definitely sew it again- with wider sleeves, though.

Simplicity 3859 Version 3

Front and Back:

In the front view, she's putting her hand on her hip which makes the dress look a little lopsided, but it's not :)

Fabric: Cotton Plaid Seersucker, Cotton Plisse for contrast


Well when you look at this, it's looks nothing like Simplicity 3859 and here's why. I originally was going to make McCall 5308 View A and H (top and bottom). That's what I originally bought fabric for. But my daughter really likes dresses so she practically begged for it to be a dress. So I decided to make View F. Keep in mind the plaid was only supposed to be for the top so that's how much fabric I was working with. Well after looking at the pattern pieces and the instructions, I decided that I didn't like the pattern.

-I used the Simplicity 3859 bodice b/c it was already fitted for my daughter.
-I made the straps thicker (something I meant to do originally).
-I didn't like the tie at all. It was way to wide and it was sewed with a pleat in the back to make it look fuller. I drafted my own piece and made the width more proportionate.
-I didn't like how there were buttons all the way down the back b/c that basically meant the back was open. I wanted make sure she had sufficient coverage so I used my placket again.
-I was going to use the gathered skirt from McCall 5308 pattern but b/c I bought fabric for the top, I didn't have enough. So I just cut a rectangle across the fabric for the skirt. I notched it in quarters to match cf,ss, and cb to the bodice to make sure it was gathered evenly. So the bottom is basically a rectangle w/ only a cb seam. I would've like ss so there could be some more flare but I still like the dress.

So in the end, I didn't end up using any of McCall 5308. The only commercial pattern piece I used was the Simplicity 3859 bodice.

I have a back view where you can see the placket. I used the contrast for the placket, straps, and ties.

On the inside I stitched the bodice self lining down by stitching in the ditch on the right side. I pressed the gathered SA up and it's hidden inside the self-lined bodice so it's looks really clean on the inside.

Conclusion: My daughter like this dress a lot!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Simplicity 3859 Version 2

Simplicty 3859 Version 2

Front and Back View

Fabric: Cotton Seersucker, lace trim, and satin ribbon all from JoAnn, bleached cotton muslin from my stash for underlining

Likes: For this version I used view F. I can't really add to the likes that I mentioned from the previous post. Honestly, I really like just about everything about this pattern.

Changes: I also used a button placket for this version instead of a zipper. There was also about 1/2" gapping in the front that I had to take out. I had to take it from the side of the bodice since I was fitting the fashion fabric, but I folded it out on the pattern for next time.

I wanted to be more creative so I added some more detail w/ satin ribbon and lace. I used it for the strap and on the hem. I'm very conservative design-wise so the detail is subtle, but I really like it. I have 2 detail shots below.

Because the seersucker was so lightweight, I decided to underline it with some cotton bleached muslin I had laying around the house. Turns out I really like how it worked and I'll probably use it again to underline more of dresses if needed. I used this Thread's article and I love the clean finish it created on the inside.

Finally... A Review!

I know I've been neglecting my blog but things have been a little hectic and I've been without a camera. But I've been sewing this summer and I wanted to share a little of what I've made now that I have some time and a new camera. I'm breaking the posts up b/c I need to get used to blogger's formatting again. As for the blurry pics, I'm not sure what happened. They're much clearer when I view them on my computer and camera.

First up is my first dress for a little girl.

Simplicity 3859 Version 1

After making my little girl's jacket, I discovered I really enjoy making kids cloths. And she loves helping me pick out the fabric and patterns. Yes, my secret plan is to to turn her into a prodigy seamstress, lol.

Here's the Front and Back:

As you can see, my daughter likes to pose. And she wanted to show off her princess shoes that she got for her birthday.

Woven A-line dress w/ empire seam and bodice variations including, sleeveless v-neck, v-neck w/ cap sleeves, and v-neck w/ straps. The pattern also includes a pattern for a hat. For this dress, I basically used view C.

Fabric: Plisse cotton from Jo-Annes, textured ribbon trim

Likes: This was my first dress for a little girl so I wanted to start w/ something easy. This is a really easy pattern and I loved the fact that is uses so little fabric. Size 3 only uses 7/8 yard of fabric and I even had some left over. You also have a lot of different options w/ the bodice to create different looks. Plus with the simple design you can showcase a fun print w/o being to busy or you can use embellishments to spice it up.

Changes: First off, I don't understand why children dress patterns all have zippers. All of my daughter's RTW has buttons and I think the zippers might be kind of scratchy. So I created a placket in the back and used buttons. This was my first placket so I kind of just used intuition and I'm happy with the way it came out. I measured a little off so I didn't have enough fabric to finish the overlap edge inside so I just stitched and pinked that edge.

I lengthened the dress by adding the hem band pattern to the skirt front piece. The pieces didn't match, so I had to true it up.

I glanced over the instructions just in case there was something special I was supposed to know about sewing children dresses. I wasn't missing anything, but I definitely didn't like the instructions. I like to sew as much flat as I can, so I just used an order that allowed me to do that.

Also they forgot to mention finishing the bottom edge of the sleeve for this view. The sleeveless version is bound w/ bias tape. I decided to just turn and stitch. I ziz-zagged the sleeve seam and trimmed it close. I included a detail shot.

The neckline is faced. I think next time, if I make this view, I'll just self-line the bodice. I think it will be faster and easier.

Conclusion: I really love this dress. I would recommend it, especially to beginners. It's very easy, versatile, and inexpensive (7/8 yards!). I've made this dress 2 more times and I plan on using this as a block to make more dresses for my daughter. I trace all my patterns so I have all the sizes still intact.

I'll be posting the other views soon.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Late But Why Not...

I know this is all the way from April but I thought I should write about this because it seems like us Black Women have such a hard time finding good quality hair products. In the past we’ve been ignored by big companies, but once they had a chance to see how much money we spend on our hair now everybody wants to come out with a line for Black hair. The problem is, most of the stuff ain’t really all that. And I’m speaking from experience. I decided to go natural about 4-5 years ago and I had to learn how to do my hair all over again. So I’ve tried it all. Expensive stuff, drugstore stuff, stuff raved about it mags, and more. After awhile I finally settled into a routine with what I was using that fit my pocketbook and was good for my hair. But ofcourse the search never seems to be over. You see all these natural styles in magazines and all these curl crèmes that are supposed to do this and that. So although, I’ve settled in a routine, I’m still looking.

Well, Back in April my mom and I went to the Black Hair Expo in Atlanta and I really enjoyed myself, there. It was so great to see a lot of products especially for natural hair as well as a lot of Black owned products. I had a chance to pick up some samples and kits from different brands and I wanted to share one that I really impressed with. And people kept asking me about my hair. How I did it and was I a stylist. I was loving it, lol. I wasn’t expecting to blog about it so I didn’t really take many pics, unfortunately. But it’s something I will keep in mind for next time.

But most importantly about this trip, I found a new brand that I LOVE. It’s called Black Earth by Taliah Waajid. I picked up one of her kits and some samples and I was really impressed with everything I've tried so far. Not to mention her products are reasonably priced. And Taliah is so nice, and beautiful, too. I attended a seminar for children’s hair and my daughter got a chance to get her hair done. Christina loves attention so she was eating it up.

That’s my mom, Tina, and Taliah Waajid.

Here's a quick rundown of the products I’ve tried so far are:

Herbal Stimulating Pre-Shampoo- Don’t know how necessary a pre-shampoo is, but the minty smell is very invigorating in the shower and refreshing on the scalp.

Black Earth Conditioning Shampoo- I love this shampoo and it smells so good. It’s more of a moisturizing shampoo and not really a clarifying type. When I judge shampoos I look for something that will clean my hair, but not leave it too dry.

Herbal Conditioner- Now I’m very picky about conditioners and this one is very good. I think one of the biggest indicators for conditioners is the consistency. This one is very thick and creamy. The conditioner I have now is amazing and I think nothing will ever live up to it for me. But unfortunately the company changed the formula and the new version is terrible. I plan on using this conditioner as a replacement once I run out.

Herbal Strengthener- This is basically grease, but it’s so lightweight and really does add moisture. And there’s no buildup.

Lock It Up- This is locking gel but it’s the best gel I’ve ever used. This is the only thing I’ll use now for my twist. It has a soft hold and absolutely no flaking.

Herbal Detangler- This is a new product she came out with for kids and I was able to pick up some samples. And it’s great. I’m not exactly sure how to describe it but it’s a cross between moisturizer and leave in conditioner. It’s not oily or greasy, in fact it’s really light but it really makes your hair softer and shinier.

Now that’s all I’ve tried so far. I have some more stuff in my kit, but I’m so low maintenance I really don’t use a lot of products or have a big routine.

Her website is at . There, you can find out more about her, her products, and even shop. Hope this helps any sistahs out there trying to find some good hair products.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

BWOF 8/08 #133

Pattern Review 

BWOF 8/08 #133

Pattern Rating:  Highly Recommended

Fabric:  Wool Houndstooth

Pattern Description:   From the Burda Mag- “This slightly flared double-breasted étamine jacket has a wide collar and practical pockets.”  My description- Princess seamed, cropped A-line jacket with flared sleeves, and patch pockets, with collar (not sure if I’d consider it wide).  Depending on the button size it can be either single breasted or double breasted.

Pattern Sizing:  Child heights 104 – 128 cm, I used 104 for my 3 yr old

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  It has the same shape and body, but it looks different because of different type of fabric and a few design changes.  

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Didn’t use them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I like the shape of the jacket.  It’s cropped and flared which I think is really cute.  It has such a classic shape but still with some flair.  No real dislikes.  Of course with Burda all the pattern work takes up extra time, but I couldn’t find something similar in the Big 4.  And despite that extra work, I love Burda patterns in general.  Everything fits together so nicely and they really have some great styles.   And it’s really easy, basic jacket construction.

Fabric Used:  B&W wool Houndstooth, poly lining.  I wouldn’t buy something this nice for children’s wear but it was in my stash leftover from a coat I made a few years back.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:  I didn’t use small buttons to make it double breasted; I just used large 3 large buttons.  I lengthened it by 2”.  This pattern is very short; I would recommend adding some length.  It’s very flared and I’m not sure if the proportions look right as short as they made it.   I made a lining pattern and I had to enlarge the pockets.  The ones that came with the pattern are very tiny.  Maybe that proportion works with the original length but I don’t think anything would be able to fit in them.  Just a FYI, the sleeves are very flared as well.  I like the look, but I didn’t realize how flared they were at first. I also didn’t topstitch. 

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I would definitely sew this again.  It’s a great template for design changes.  Depending on the fabrication you can make it dressier or more casual.  Or you lengthen it as well or change the pockets.  There are many possibilities.  I don’t have any plans for another one yet, though, because how many coats does a 3 yr old really need.  If it’s too short next year (which it probably will be) I’ll probably make another one.

Conclusion:  My daughter loves her new jacket and believe it or not we’ve gotten some compliments on it.  It’s the perfect weight for Florida’s “winter.” And I’ve found a great jacket pattern for next fall/winter.   

Here she is wearing the jacket.  And I have no idea what's up with the purple gloves.  3-yr olds have their own sense of style, lol.