Thursday, August 1, 2013

bell bottom blues - a tutorial on how to rock your lola bells

2 blogs in 2 days. whoa nelly ladies. getting a little crazy here. :)

for those of you that have grabbed your candy carousel dress and lola bell pattern during the fall promo, rock on! for those that haven't nabbed it yet...check out the details here and don't miss out! seriously 2 way fun patterns for your little girls!

okay - for the first of hopefully many tutorials hosted on the BG blog. how to add a side strip to your lola bells for this look.
 i mean...if your lolas weren't already awesome enough...now you can kick them up a notch. these are my personal faves. you all know how i feel about those robert kaufman chambrays, and well...add in a little joel and i just fell off my chair.
 ps - i totally wanted to make lou another pair just like those above today, but i pulled the "cool mom" (i am hardly EVER the cool mom, just ask lou) and told her she could pick out the strip fabric. she headed striaght for the pink section of my fabrics (duh). but i will give her credit that she did pick out one of the cooler pinks and she brought it to me and said, "i want this, but i want it ruffly." and with that...i added on another option for this tutorial (see gathered strip info at the bottom). thanks lou! put that child on the payroll! oh wait, she already is.


so let's get started!

disclaimer first: this is a free tutorial, so i will not be discussing construction of the lola bells. if i am doing anything different from the pattern itself, i promise to tell you here! and this is just like my patterns, go ahead and read through this whole tutorial before you cut. promise, there are methods to my madness.

first things first. go ahead and cut your 2 front and 2 back panels just as you would in the pattern. now, we need to take some width off the sides of both panels (front and back) so that you can add a strip to the middle without messing up the measurements of your pants. if you don't do this, you will wind up with crazy-wide pants. you need to have your design planned so we can do some math. groan, groan...i heard that. but don't get too bored, this is way easy. this is your formula, the strip is the fabric you are adding down the side of the lolas.

width of your strip/2 = how much to cut off each side panel

see, that wasn't bad. now, for the photo above where lou is wearing the chambray bells with with yellow joel on the side, i went for an easy formula/design. i cut each yellow strip 2" wide, so therefore i needed to cut 1" off each side of the lolas.

however, for these mustard lace fancy-pants, i had to factor in width for my lace for it to look right, so i needed a strip that was 2.75" wide. so, plugged into my formula i need to cut 1.375" off each side of the lolas. 

so, it is easiest if you keep each set of panels pinned together so you only have to make 2 cuts instead of 4. you want to measure in from the side of your lolas per your formula and make a mark. so for my case, i needed to mark 1.375" in from the side edge. now, the side edge of the lola isn't straight, so line drawing will not be easy. i suggest marking many places along the side and then matching up your marks so you get a line that is parallel to the original side. connect the dots, la, la, la la. i bet you are still singing it the second time you read this. :)
repeat on the other panel (i started with the back, shown above) and then go and cut the strip off the sides of your lolas.
okay, now you want to measure the length of your side edges so that you know how long to cut the strips. in my instance, the length is 27", so i know that i will need 2 strips that are at least 27" long.
according to my formula (remember yours may not be the same, don't let my measurements confuse you), my strips need to be 2.75" wide. so, i will cut 2 strips that are 2.75" wide by 27" long. (pay no mind that my photo only has one strip. i was preoccupied listening to the fight going down between a 6 year old and a 2 year old over my striped kitty. with the escalating meows in the background, i was slightly distracted and forgot to photograph both strips. :/)
 now for the fun part. construction. :) grab one of your back panels and place one of the strips right sides together lining it up on the side edge of the panel starting at the botton. pin in place and sew with a 3/8" seam allowance all the way down the side edge.
open that seam up, and grab the corresponding front panel and line it up, right sides together, with the other edge of the strip starting at the bottom of the pant. pin in place and sew together with a 3/8" seam allowance.
repeat with the other strip and 2 panels lining up with the side edges starting at the bottom and using a 3/8" seam allowance. finish all 4 of the seams however you please and then for the best part...head over to the iron and press those seams out and if you are like me...swoon at the gorgeousness that is lace and linen.
 wait...did i just say best part? i was totally kidding...NOW for the best part. top-stitching! top-stitch all 4 of your seams making sure to take your time so that it looks as awesome as it is!
and ladies...guess what? that is all. now you just finish your construction as you would in the pattern, except this time - you will have the complete opposite of bell bottom blues with your fantastic new lola bells!

for the gathered strip: you are going to do the same exact thing with the exception of the length of your strip. when you go to figure out the length of the side edges of your panels - multiply it by 1.5 or 2, depending on how gathered you want your strip to be. for my instance, i used 1.5 for my multiplication, so i cut 2 strips that were 2.75" wide by 40.5" (which is 27 x 1.5).

once cut, run a gathering stitch down each long side of your strips. i don't recommend your gathering foot or gathering with elastic thread here only because i did that and both times i ended up ripping it out since the gathers weren't even on each side (gathering foot) and the elastic pulled the pants panel (elastic thread, see below). this is one of those times where the old fashioned method proves the test of time.
take your time and gather each side of your strip evenly with the other side. if you don't, these gathers will cause your pants to lay funny and that would NOT be cool after you spent the time to do all of this. someone speaks from experience. once you have the 2 strips gathered, construct just as i discussed in the tutorial above. 

thanks lou for the idea! as you can see, this is just one panel pinned to my dress form that i was too lazy to undress (see that is the lazy susan from the sew along last week that is still waiting for the buttons to be sewn on, told you it would be a while) just to make sure it would hang right, hence no top-stitching. :)


ps - i have been asked what the fabric is that i used for the strip on my mustard linen lolas, so i thought i would share my secret here. :) i used the robert kaufman chambray (told yall i loved that stuff) in mocha and sewed 2 pieces of scalloped lace back to back. lots of work, but you know i am a fool for a detail!


okay ladies - have fun with your lolas and don't forget about the awesome promo deal with molly blossom designs! i should have the lolas graded up to a size 12 and in the shop next week. i will do an upsize option for $1 just like i did with the summer sailors for those of you that already have the pattern up to a size 7 and just want the larger sizes. i will announce on the blog, no worries. :)

we are going camping this weekend, and to say i am excited is a MAJOR understatement. we haven't been in over 2 years and this will be nash's first time. i haven't even started to pack or make a list, so i have my work cut out for me the next 2 days trying to locate all of our camping gear and seeing what needs to be replaced!

peace out geese and thanks again for all of your continued amazing support!

1 comment:

Erica Marsh said...

I love both options!!! Enjoy your camping trip!