Lauren's Virtual World

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tip: Buttonholes on Difficult Fabric


I’ve seen a lot of people complain about buttonholes on thick fuzzy fabric so I thought I would share a trick that works for me.  Sulky Water Soluble Stabilzer works wonders and makes smooth machine buttonholes. 


1)  I take a long strip of stabilizer and just wrap it around (front and back) the entire area that I’m going to stitch buttonholes on.  I pin it in place and them mark my buttonholes with a pen.




2) Stitch buttonholes using your machine instructions.




3) Rip away Sulky, and wipe with a wet cloth.  Finish your buttonhole however you normally do- clip, seal with fray check, etc


4) Voila!  Clean smooth buttonholes on thick, tweedy fabric.




This is also the method that I used to make the buttonholes on my Boyfriend Cardigan which was sewn with a thick sweater knit.  I haven’t had this method fail me yet. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

BWOF 4/09 #112



Pattern Used:  BWOF 4/09 #112


Fabric:  Slightly sheer, lightweight b&w stripe sweater knit from EOS, Bamboo/Cotton Baby Rib from for contrast.  Again, all from the stash.

Pattern Notes:

This is a pretty straight forward pattern.  It’s a basic raglan sleeve tee.  Don’t worry, it’s not as low as the tech drawing makes it seem.  The only change is that I added a contrast neck binding and a hem band.


Another great pattern from Burda that I highly recommend.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

FNSI Recap

Okay, so I’m late with my recap, but I did spend my Friday night sewing.  I don’t have any pretty FO to show because I did a lot of prep work.  I’m going to do my first pair of jeans!  They’re not for me, though.  They’re for T.  On Friday, I finished up all the pattern work and I cutout all the pieces.  Not exciting, but necessary to the process.  I’m using the following pattern:

BWOF 11/05 #137


I figure a mini pair of jeans would be good practice before I sewed a pair for me.  Plus, I’m not too happy with a lot of jeans I’ve been seeing in the stores for little girls.  Is it just me, but is it hard to find a pair of jeans for a little girl that are not super tight skinnies?  I chose this pattern because they are a regular, more traditional style bootcut jean.


I am also including a pattern review of my finished pair of shorts from my last FNSI to show that I do finish stuff I start.  These did sit around as a UFO for awhile, but I ended up finishing them in the middle of October.  I can’t wear them now, but it will be nice to have a pair of shorts when it starts to get hot again.

Pattern: BWOF 7/09 113

Fabric Used: Beige Linen Blend from the stash

Front On:

Side On:

Front Flat:

Pattern Notes:

I really like the end result- a nice trouser style pair of shorts.  The nice thing about Burda is that the pattern matches the model photo.  There are some things you might not notice something until you finish the project and see it on yourself.  But when you go back to the model pic, it’s definitely there.  For example, this pattern sits higher on the waist than contemporary cloths, and the pockets don’t completely lie flat.  When I went back to look at the pic, this is definitely evident.  It’s a little different from what I’m used to, but I still like the shorts a lot.

I made my normal alterations- lengthen back crotch length and big butt adjustment (that’s what I call it).  I didn’t do the extended tab on the waistband.  I also left the back plain- no pockets.  I’ll admit it was more laziness than a design feature.

Conclusion:  I definitely recommend this pattern.  It’s a nice basic that’s well drafted.  I love Burda!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011



Yeah, it’s that time again. If you haven't signed up yet be sure to sign up here.


BWOF 2/08 #131

I’ve been gone for awhile, but I’ve been sewing. How’s this for irony? I was waiting until I lost weight to make pants.  Since it wasn’t happening, I made a pair of pants, and then I lost weight.  I’m back to my old weight and I’m so happy.  I didn’t really follow a plan, I just made a point to eat a lot less.  Luckily, I kept a lot of my old cloths, so I feel like I have a whole new wardrobe. 

I’ve spent a lot of my sewing time making alterations for myself and for others for money.  I have managed to fit in a few projects to show, though.  I haven’t had enough money to spend on fabric so I’ve been working through my stash. 

My most recent project is a Fall coat for T.


Pattern:  BWOF 2/08 #131 (I heart Burda)


Fabric:  Tweedy B&W Houndstooth from the stash

Pattern Notes:

I liked the shape and style of this coat.  The only drawback is that is is drafted without any faces, lining, or pockets.  Of course, I didn’t realize that when I picked it out from the tech drawing.  I just ended up drafting facings and a lining.  To keep it simple, I just added inseam pockets.  I also took off the cuffs. I should’ve lengthen the belt because it it way too short.

Conclusion:  I think this is the cutest coat and T loves it!  She always gets lots of compliments on it.  I think it’s a good pattern, but just remember that there’s no facings, linings, or pockets.  Because of the simple, classic lines, I think it’s best for a lighter spring coat in a very busy fabric.

Here’s some extra pics:


Belt Loops:

Sparkly, Fun Buttons:


Also, I got T to take some pics of the khaki pants just so you can see what they look like on. They’re a little looser since I lost weight, but they still fit okay.  I did get some back shots, but I couldn’t bring myself to put my butt online.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall 2011- What I’m Feeling

It's a little overdue, but it's been hard for me to let go of summer.  The weather is finally starting to cool down here in Atlanta, so I really need to start thinking about fall.  I haven't been to crazy about fashion for the past few years, but I did find some trends I like for Fall 2011.  Here's what I'm feeling:


When its colder out, I start steering towards black, but I might be using gray as my new nuetral.  I loved how Helmut Lang used it for Fall:


Dolce Gabbana Star Prints:

I am so in love with this.  Dolce Gabbana is way out of my price range, so I’m going to be on the lookout for some star prints from my favorite fabric haunts.  I shouldn’t be buying fabric, but this is an exception.

Mixed Materials:

I’m really inspired by the mixing of different fabrics/fur/lace/etc.  Don’t you just love these fur and leather combos:


The Fall Sewstylish issue is right on time with a great article by Kenneth King on sewing fur and fabric. 
And here’s some unexpected use of lace:


Animal Prints:

Not really new, but I still love ‘em.  I told myself I should take a break on animal prints, but they seem to be everywhere for fall.  I might have to indulge myself.



Ok, not really a trend, but I haven’t really been interested fashion lately.  I feel like a lot of what’s been coming out for the past few years is just not for me.  That means it would be a great time to just focus on the classics.  You know, a great black or camel coat, some silk blouses, and some mid-rise bootcut jeans. Stuff that never goes out of style, and just makes you look great effortlessly.



Well that’s my fall review.  You might have noticed that I didn’t inlcude 70’s and midis on the list.  Although, 70’s is my favorite fashion decade, I think all the interpretations this season has taken everything I don’t like about it, and nothing I love about it.  Also, I do like the midi length, but I’m still stuck on maxi.  I loved it this summer and I’m happy to see a lot still around for fall.  Seriously, how cute is that Helmut Lang maxi dress in the Gray section.

Now this is my inspiration, but we’ll see what actually gets made.  I haven’t had much time to sew for fun lately.  The UFO’s in my sewing room are piling up.  I’m up to 6 now!  I’m hoping I’ll be back on track soon so I’ll have some fun stuff to show you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Khaki Crop Pants- BWOF 6/24 #103

I have finally made some pants!  It’s been years since I’ve made real pants so I really forgot how.  I’ve also forgotten my fit adjustments, but since my body is so different now, I guess that really doesn’t matter.  I’ve been avoiding making pants because I’ve been wanting to lose weight.  But it’s been years, and the extra weight hasn’t gone anywhere.  And I really need some pants!  So WTH, I did it. 
These have been finished for about two weeks, but I’ve been trying to get someone to come over to take pics of them on me.  But it hasn’t worked out so I’ll just display them flat. 

Pattern: BWOF 6/24 #103, I decided to use a Burda pattern because I remember how much better these fit me compared to the Big 4.


Fabric Used: Cotton Stretch Twill from the stash (it’s older than my daughter)



Kinda on dressform:


Back: (It looks better w/ my big butt to filling it out, lol)


Back Yoke:



Hip Yoke Pocket and Side Inset:



These are the first pair of pants I’ve made since having my serger and look how clean it looks inside.  I love my serger even more now.  If you’ve been contemplating getting a serger, its so worth it.

Pattern Notes:

Before I cut the pattern I made these adjustments because I remember that I used to have to do this:

-big booty adjustment, and extended back crotch by 1/2”, after wearing, I could’ve added more
-shortened front crotch by 1/2”

I also went down a size because these were running a little big.  It might just be the fit, though.  This pattern is from 2004 and pant fit has definitely changed since then.  The waist was also too high for me so I lowered it by 3/4”.  This turned it into a comfortable mid-rise instead of at the waist.

During sewing and fitting, I found the waistband to be too big so I cut off 2” from it.  Because the pants were already cut and sewn, I just eased them into the waistband.  I guess that’s cheating, but I kind of like the effect.  The waistband feels nice and secure in place, but the pants have a nice amount of ease.  Next time though, I’ll probably just use a smaller size in the waist.

I left off the belt loops because I don’t wear belts and I don’t like the lines the belt loops make under my shirts.

The pants look and fit pretty good but there is still a fit issue.  There is too much length in the back thigh.  I’m not sure if it’s the way the pant is supposed to fit or what.   Upon closer inspection in the magazine, it kind of looks that way on the model with the side view.

For the fly, I used Sandra’s Betzina’s fly zipper method.  There’s a video here, but I really just use the Power Sewing book.  I think the fly facing on this pattern is too narrow.  The finished width in 1”.  I followed the pattern, but it could be wider. 

Sewing these were very fustrating.  I kept making mistakes and I kept having to re-sew things.  I think I did the fly like four times, no kidding.  I guess it’s just about re-learning how to do things.  I’m pretty sure my next pair will go easier now that I’ve had a refresher.

I really wanted these to be a kind of wearable muslin because I wanted to use this pattern for jeans.  But I think I’m scrapping that plan.  I like the way they are for casual khakis, but I don’t think I will like them for jeans.  I think I’m just going to end up using my RTW that I like as a pattern.

Styling Tips:
Although, I like the crop pant look, they can be a little tricky to wear so wear so here’s some styling tips I found from Stylewatch Magazine from Stacy London:

And some more from Angie at You Look Fab

I will say after playing around with these pants, these tips are dead on.  Main things to remember- slim leg (these pants have this) and a heel looks best (but they aren’t too bad w/ flat sandals).  Also, after testing different hem lengths, I ended up hemming mine about 4” above my ankles.  They don’t look like high waters and I think it looks more  slimming and less shortening at that length.  

After sewing, I was kind of blah with the pants.  The issue with the extra fabric in the thigh, was really annoying me.  I can be really anal sometimes.  But after wearing them, I love them.  It’s not as bad or noticeable as I thought it was.  And the fabric is really good!  It’s cotton, but it doesn’t wrinkle really bad.   I worked at my desk all day in these and I didn’t look a huge wrinkly mess.  I also notice the difference the interfacing in key areas made.  It really helps the pants retain their shape and look nice throughout the day.  So in the end, I love em!

Would I recommend?:
I think these are great for someone who is annoyed by contemporary pant fit and wants a more traditional fit.  Although, I do like my pants, I’m not sure if I will make them again.  I really want to play around with different fits and styles before I settle on a TNT pair.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How I Spent FNSI II

I don't have any fun or exciting completed projects to show because I worked on the boring part of sewing- patternwork, cutting, and some prep.

I'm trying to get the last few items finished from my Summer Sewing list.  I have four items left, which is pretty ambitious since I'm only giving myself to the end of August to complete my Summer sewing.  After August, I'm officially working on Fall.  Of course this isn't strict, but its the plan.  If I can’t finished all four items, I at least plan on finishing the two that I worked on Friday night.

So here’s what I accomplished:

1) Linen Blend Shorts- completed pattern, cut, and serged all edges
For these, I’m using the same natural colored linen blend fabric that I used for my Nomad Hobo.
I’m using this pattern from Burda 7/09 #113.
BTW, this is my most used issue, and I still have more I want to sew from it.

2) Tie Dye Printed Racerback Tank- completed pattern (hey, that’s progress right)
This top by Rebecca Taylor is the inspiration behind this project:
I’m using McCall 6359 as the basis for this.  For the fabric, I’m using a tie dye printed bamboo jersey (sooo soft).
Well that’s all I have to report.  Sorry I don’t have any pretty FO to show from Friday, but I hope to be finished with them soon.  BTW, money is still tight so this is all stash fabric.  That linen blend is as old as my daughter and the bamboo jersey is from a little over a year ago.   

The crop pants that I’ve been working on have been finished for about a week and I hoping to do a post on them soon.