Lauren's Virtual World

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hot Patterns Nomad Hobo

Yay, I just finished my first bag!

Pattern Used: Hot Pattern Nomad Hobo (Free!)






I used a metal zipper b/c that was on hand and in a matching color. Yeah, the magnetic closures are silver and the zipper is gold. I’m really trying to use what I have on hand.

Fabric: Linen blend, cotton lining, both from stash. In fact, I didn’t buy anything new for this bag. All materials were on hand.

Pattern Notes:

Ok, so you can’t complain about a free pattern right.

Putting the Kimono Tee pattern together was easier than this one. It wasn’t necessarily hard, just not as user friendly. The Kimono Tee had guidelines to help you, but this one this one was like a puzzle. Towards the end, I felt like I was playing battleship- Row 5, column 7, row 3, column 6, and so forth. I traced the pieces after I put it together to true everything up.

There are a lot of reviews on PR about this pattern, and the main issue is that the magnetic closures and pockets are instructed to be sewn in the wrong spot. This is a huge mistake so it’s important to be aware of it before you sew it.

I’m not too crazy about how they have you put the handles together. I can’t put it into words exactly, but I really can’t imagine it giving good results. I did this method w/ my racerback tank dress, and it worked well in that situation. The difference is bulk and size of the seams. This is not a good method, IMO, for this bag. I followed their method for the most part but sewed it in the round inside the handles instead of flat. There was still a lot of bulk, and it was such a tiny area to sew inside, that I’m really not happy with how the seam looks. But I just left it. I’m really anal, but I don’t think most people would notice unless I pointed it out. I'm sorry I don't have a good solution for it because I'm still working it out in my mind. I have some ideas, but I haven't put any of them to the test. Just something to think about if you are planning on making the bag.


Eww, I know! Edge stitching makes it look worse, but I really felt it needed the extra stitching for durability.

I also edge stitched around all the seams to help everything lay flat and it give it a little more structure.



(My cell phone left shadows in all the pics, but I’m still camera-less)

I sound like I’m being hard on this pattern, but I really don’t mean to. Aside from the huge pocket location mistake in the instructions, its pretty straightforward and it looks like the pic. I think it’s a great pattern to introduce sewing bags.

Conclusion: I’m ok with the bag. It makes a nice casual bag. After I wore out my last big bag, I haven’t replaced it, and this makes a suitable substitute. I would definitely recommend it if you like the style.

This bag was really meant to be practice, though. I have grand aspirations of making the Hot Patterns Hommage Tote in black leather I have in the stash. I want some more practice before I attempt it thought.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Knit Separates

Ok, I really need to sew something besides knits. But they are so fast, easy, and comfortable that I can’t help myself.




Fabric: Rayon Spandex Jersey- some of that wild print stuff that Fabricmart and have

Pattern: Can’t you tell? It’s BWOF 5/05 125- the top version. (technically the top is 124)

I love it if you didn’t already guess. I am going to give this pattern a break though. I really can’t have a closet full of the same thing, lol.

Maxi Skirts:

I left some of the background in the pics so you can see part of my sewing room. Just thought I would share a little of where the magic happens. It’s kind of messy but what sewing room isn’t.

Pattern: Self Drafted, its adapted from the skirt version on my racerback maxidress. Its fitted and flares out at the knee. It also has a foldover waistband.

Nude Version:


Foldover Waistband:


The black one looks exactly the same except you can’t really see it in any photos.

Fabric: Modal Spandex Jersey

I love this color. The fabric is pretty thin (not see thru, though) so I doubled it up. I treated it the same way you would treat an interlining. The inner layer ends right below the knee b/c I didn’t have enough fabric to do full pieces. I think it works good for coverage but I’m going to have to double check w/ a friend to be sure.

Black Version:


Fabric: Bamboo/ Cotton Jersey from Great stuff!

It’s pictured with tank I made a few months ago out of zebra knit. The tank is from Simplicity 2317, it’s the same pattern I used for the top part of my maxi dress.

Racerback in the back:



Conclusion: I love all of it.

I love sewing knits, but I need to flex my sewing muscles a little and make something a little more substantial. I’m so low on bottoms, so I’m going to try a pair of those next. I’ve been wanting to sew some jeans. I've been playing around with bleaching samples from the stash, just to see what I can do with it. Hopefully I will have something to show soon.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Burdastyle Kimono Tee

Ever since downloading patterns became popular, I’ve always been pretty skeptical about them.  Seriously who wants to sit taping pages and pages and pages together,  not to mention all the paper and ink you’re using up.  Plus, I was skeptical about being able to retain the patterns accuracy. 

Well I bit the bullet and made my first project from a downloaded pattern.


Pattern Used: Burdastyle Kimono Tee.  Extra bonus is that it’s free!

Fabric: Modal Spandex Jersey

Pattern Notes: 

The downloading, printing, and taping process was less laborious than I thought it would be.  This pattern has gridlines around each page which made it easy to match up.  I can’t imagine having to do this w/ something more complex, though.  I do think you lose some accuracy, too.  It’s hard to tape completely flat, so I did end up tracing (yeah, I’m a tracer) after it was all taped together.  Be prepared, this pattern piece is huge, so you’ll need a large place to lay and cutout.

I used the largest size because I wanted it to be easy fitting.  I didn’t really make any changes, except for omitting the tie.  I just made a regular hem on my coversitch. 

The sewing part was a cinch.  It’s a kimono tee, all you really need to do is sew the side seams, finished your edges and your done!  I think I would make more just for that fact alone.  The pattern recommends binding but I just finished my neckline by turning and stitching.  Nothing fancy. 


One thing I do like about this pattern is it’s versatility.  The look can completely change with your fabric.  You can make it more dressy or casual.  It will be even more drapy w/ a slinky jersey.   You can even lengthen it to a tunic or dress.  You can use a smaller size and make it more fitted.   You can make the neckline deeper or even into a V-neck.  The possibilities go on and on.

Conclusion: I feel like the tee is kind of “meh” but really, I can’t get mad at a simple, black tee for being a simple, black tee.  I like the kimono sleeves, but it doesn’t really transform it beyond an ordinary tee like I thought it would.  It is what it is and I’m sure I will get a lot of wear out of it.  

Now why am I strangely attracted to the Batwing Top, too.  Walk away from the big, baggy, shapeless top, Lauren, just walk away.

Have I converted to downloads?  Not really, but I do have the HP Nomad Hobo saved on my computer and I plan on making it soon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Finally- The Dance Costumes

Back in March, I mentioned that I was busy sewing dance costumes for T’s dance class. Well, I’m finally taking some time to show the dance costumes I did for the girls. Better late than never, right. I didn’t want to include a photo of all the girls b/c I didn’t want to put photos of anyone else’s kids online. So I have my usual lovely model, T.

First up Outfit #1:


Fabric Used: ITY knit

This pattern is self-drafted and graded. I tried to get as much information from the dance instructor as I could and I worked with what she had in mind.

I ended up having to make my own pattern for this dress b/c I couldn’t find any dress similar that wouldn’t be too much work to make multiples. Since kids don’t have as the curves like women do, the front and the back are the same piece. It’s an has an a-line shape. I included straps and a ruffle for some detail so it wouldn’t be too plain. I decided to just self-line the bodice because I thought that would be the fastest method for finishing. My preferred method would have been binding but since I don’t have a binder, I wasn’t sure how fast it would go. If I had a binder and I was proficient with it, I probably would’ve used that.



Self-lined bodice:




Purchased Tee

Pant Pattern: Kwik Sew 3498, I used the fold-over waistband with the full pant length.

Fabric: Stretch French Terry from Sewzanne’s Fabrics



These pants are great. I am really impressed with Kwik Sew as a pattern brand. The only problem with these pants are that they run short, but that is an easy fix.

To keep Tina out of my hair while I was sewing, I cut out an extra dress pattern in some fabric I didn’t want. Here is the dress she sewed. I’m so proud, lol.


Since T loves to pose, I thought I would throw in some more pics just for fun. She can be so dramatic.





Overall, I’m pretty happy I took this project on. I made a little money and I actually enjoyed it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

BWOF 5/05 125- Take 2

I loved this dress so much I had to make another.





Front Twist:


Fabric Used: Paisley Border Print ITY from Fabricmart.  And its still available- click here.  Warning- despite being opaque, this fabric is thin and slinky.


Right now, this is my favorite pattern.  Would it be crazy if I just had a closet full of these dresses, lol?  Ok, I’m not going to make too many more, but I do have the top version coming up soon. 

I also need a cover up for this dress, but I’m not sure what to do.  Right now, I’m just using my jean jacket. I’m thinking of making a cropped wrap top out of a coral cotton knit jersey that matches a color in the dress.  The only problem is that fabric was promised to T.  She keeps begging me for all MY fabric!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Simplicity 4669- T's Suit

Pattern Used: S4669







Jacket Close-Up:


Construction Notes:

I used a very loosely woven fabric. I almost didn’t buy it b/c it was so sheer and loosely woven. Plus it’s synthetic and my sample melted when I fused interfacing. But I wanted to make this suit for T for the longest and it was the only color scheme that I liked that was reasonably priced.

After washing the fabric fluffed out a little and wasn’t as sheer. I had to serge the edges before washing though to avoid a lot of unraveling. I then underlined it w/ Ambiance (I had it on hand and got a ridiculously good deal on it). I’m anti hand sewing- I avoid it whenever possible- so I attached the underling by machine. I just basted it around the edges, and then serged the edges, I really wanted to prevent unraveling. I left the hems open to accommodate any fabric shifting during sewing.

After washing and underling, this fabric completely changed. It was literally transformed into a beautiful boucle with amazing drape and body.

I didn’t really use much interfacing, I just used weft interfacing strips around the neckline, armholes, and front edge of the jacket before I attached the underlining.

After underlining, I just treated both fabrics as one. I stitched the seams on my machine and finished them with my serger.

The pattern calls for this jacket to be lined. Halfway through the project, I realized I forgot to consider how I would finish the front edge. I decided to just make a facing out of lining. The edges were secured to the inside with my machine blind stitch.

Inside Jacket:


Pattern Notes:

First off the rosette pictured on the envelop is not included. This is very misleading, esp. since it shows up in the tech sketch. There’s a lot of resources to make a flower rosette, but I decided to use the instructions in High Fashion Sewing Secrets. Claire Schaeffer hasn’t let me down yet.


rosette copy

I wanted the rosette to be removable but I wasn’t sure how to do it so I just used safety pins. Is that bad?


I also couldn’t get out of hand stitching for this. The instruction I used called for hand sewing a lining piece on the back to hide all the ugly edges.

Back of Rosette:



The skirt pattern sucked! What should have been the quickest skirt of my life turned into taking twice as long as it should have. This is one of those gored skirt patterns that have the f&b pieces the same. This does NOT work for women, but I thought ok, this might work for kids since they’re pretty straight (T does have a booty, though). Well it created a horrible shape! The skirt poofed out around the stomach under the waistband. It looked really bad with the bell shape of the skirt.

To fix this, I ended up taking 1/2” off each seam in the front (yes that much). The waist still bubbled out crazy. I then made the elastic flat in the front. I positioned it flat and secured it at the each front seam line. This finally worked! It was flat in the front and the give from the elastic was moved to the back. It ended up working great, but this was way too much work and tweaking for a kids skirt.

The Jacket:

The jacket pattern on the other hand, was great! There are bust darts (not sue why you need that for a kids pattern), but they were so small, I just shifted them out to the side seam. Worked fine. Everything worked well and fit great. I think I should’ve went up a size though for growing room, though.

I used a plain hook-n-eye closure instead of a tie.

I found this great textured ribbon trim that was exactly what I wanted at Hancock’s, thrown into a 50% off bin. I almost walked out without it b/c I didn’t even see it!

Now, I don’t know what I was thinking w/ this jacket. This was supposed to be a quick and easy project and it took a lot longer than I thought it would to. I guess I underestimated the work. I wouldn’t normally put this much work into a kids jacket.


Finally, I just drafted a simple plain tank out of some poly/rayon/spandex jersey I had on hand that matched the ribbon and picked up on one of the colors in the boucle.

Tank with skirt:


Conclusion: I think this suit looks so cute on T. Great jacket pattern, but don’t bother with the skirt.