sewing night

by Lara on March 21, 2012

in crafty

Last night I had 3 ladies over to learn how to use a sewing machine and it was a blast. It all started on Twitter with an offer to help one girl learn how to sew and others piped up wanting to join. It turned into 4 hours of awesomeness where I suffered a wine headache ALL day today.

I haven’t really entertained MY friends at my apartment very much so I was pretty excited. Everyone came by around 6pm, dinner time, so I made an herbed pork roast, this mac and cheese recipe I found on Pinterest, and some prosciutto honey mustard Parmesan palmiers to snack on. They brought the wine AND cupcakes from Frostings!

palmiers via

I’ll admit, not much sewing was done. Amanda brought some fabric to make a pillow so we made a pattern and cut out two squares and sewed that up. I taught them how to thread a machine, how to wind and insert a bobbin and basically let them play around with the machine to get a feel for it. It’s pretty magical!

Buying a machine is a big investment though and you should see if it’s really right for you before you drop that kind of money on what could be a small hobby or passing fancy. You also need some key supplies if you’re going to seriously get into sewing. I did a post a while back of essential sewing items one should have. Also, here’s a zippered pillow cover tutorial.

After food was eaten, sewing knowledge was gained and we were all just sitting around my kitchen table shooting the shit and drinking down 4 bottles of wine, I got out mt huge nail polish box and we did manicures. I really needed a night like that… just some serious lady time with some awesome chicks.


sewing the shirt

by Lara on October 8, 2011

in crafty

I finally sewed that damn top! Honestly, the whole thing was a friggin disaster that frustrated me like you would not believe!

I haven’t sewed clothing in a long time and have never made anything without a store-bought pattern so, this was a great refresher and a major learning experience.

This isn’t going to be a full-on tutorial because well, it’s not. I will give the basic steps though, dotted throughout a bunch of bitching. This was mainly a trouble-shooting process that drove me insane. Like lying in bed at night and thinking of ways to make this work insane because… uhm… it’s impossible to line a tank top like I wanted to. Seriously. Impossible.

I had to give up on the lining and do interfacing.

Oh yeah, here’s the Badgley Mischka top I was attempting to copy:


First off, I used a top that I already had for the pattern. It has a similar shape, the arm holes are perfect on me and I can pull it over my head. I was really hoping I could avoid a side zipper and I DID!

I pinned it taut to some pattern tracing cloth.

This pattern tracing cloth is great. I bought a few yards of this years ago and never used it. It’s semi-sheer so you can line up fabric designs and it won’t tear. It’s cat proof! This is important considering Ulti was hellbent on helping me every step of the way.  Regular craft paper is fine too, of course.

I cut around the top, making it longer and giving myself about a 1/2″ seam allowance all around and folded the pattern in half. Of course the 2 halves didn’t match so I trimmed up a bit and cut it down the middle, keeping the side I liked best. I was using the same piece for the front and the back (and lining and later just the top part for interfacing). A lower cut version may be in the works for the future.

 When I cut out the fabric, I folded it in half and laid the center line of the pattern on the fold. A lot of store-bought patterns work this way and half-patterns guarantee an even piece if you’re making your own.

I cut the lining fabric too but all that got tossed in the trash after I figured it wouldn’t work and then cut out long interfacing that addressed the armholes later… much later.

This is neck interfacing in case you have no idea what I’m talking about. When you flip it into the garment, you have a clean line at the neck with no top stitching. Those little notches cut into curves prevent bunching:


I pinned the top together and put it on (carefully) and I was really happy with the fit but gave up on the side ties because the fabric looked too drapey. Then disaster happened over 2 nights of sewing.

I began to sew and everything went to hell. There is not a single tutorial online to show you how to line a tank top like I wanted. I ripped out seams so many times! There was no order in which to sew the pieces to be able to turn things right side out and have the wrong sides facing the correct way with clean seams and zero top stitching showing. To the trash it all went.

I cut everything out again, going with the interfacing instead, sewed it together, hemmed by hand and tried it on. It was so boring without the side ties so I gave em a shot. Thankfully I still had some more fabric. (2 yards would do the trick.) I eyed out and cut long triangles and on the 4th night of working on this, I then ripped the side seams out again, sewed up the side ties, tucked them in, pinned in place, sewed this bastard up, ironed it and it’s done!

So over it.


Seriously though, I’m really happy that I stuck with this. I’ve had a bad habit of starting things and not finishing them so I’m trying to be better about that. I also have a great pattern and when I make another one, it won’t nearly be as awful as this whole mess was.


when you give a cat a bow tie

by Lara on September 22, 2011

in crafty

… he will try to destroy it because he was so excited about you sewing, that you’re lucky you even got it made. He now has a thirst for plaid fabric and he’s hell bent on denying you a good picture.

Your boyfriend will try to help distract him so you can finally get a half-way decent shot.

Then you will promptly take it off so he doesn’t rip it to shreds. A half-hour of work for 2 pictures. This is my life.


sewing again

by Lara on September 20, 2011

in crafty

I’ve had the sewing itch for a while now but I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to make. I have enough pillows and they’re kinda boring to sew. Then, a few days ago an old friend emailed me asking if I could make her Halloween costume. She wants to be Wilfred the dog:

How cute right?

I need to get her measurements and we’re going to pick out furry fabric in a couple weeks. The pattern I’m using, I’ve already made 2 costumes from. Here’s my friend Bobby and I from 2008. I was a hamster.

It’s soooo easy and you can customize it in a lot of ways!

purchase here

Soooo anyhow, this costume will be quick and I still have a desire to make something for myself. I’ve been checking out all the Spring 2012 shows coming in and I saw this top by Badgley Mischka. I am totally doing this.

I’ve never made my own pattern that required lining. I need to figure out how this puzzle is going to get put together. Brainstorming time.  Maybe a hidden side zip and sew the tie flaps into the side seams. A light synthetic blend linen? I think I’m actually going to have to sew a muslin/prototype first.

Wish me luck!


recent pins

by Lara on July 26, 2011

in beauty,decor

Here are some recent things I’ve pinned. Are you on Pinterest yet? Need an invite? Let me know.

I gotta get busy with the scotch tape – via

I really want this cat/mushroom print for my kitchen – via

I want all of this happy happy summer celebrating gear via Let’s Die Friends. You know I love her!


Painting on sketch paper by Blue McRight cracks me up (should go in my bathroom) –  via Drollgirl. Are you following her yet? You should be. She’s rad.

video tutorial on how to sew an elastic band skirt in an hour – measured to fit YOU! via