Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I Made A Skirt!

I've never been great at sewing. Probably because I've never really sat down and tried to learn. Over the years, I've sewn simple things - curtains, pillows, a Nook cover, a stuffed animal here and there - and I've done alterations on existing clothing, getting them to fit me right, but make something from scratch? Nope.

But I did it!

I've always admired Pinup Girl Clothing's "Just Desserts" dress in pink, yellow, and black, but I've never been able to locate one in my size. Being the impatient person I am, I decided to make a replica skirt, but put my own twist on it.

So, earlier this month, I ordered a bunch of fabric from 5 yards of black cotton, 4 yards of blue cotton (because I have plans for something else), three yards of pink cotton, and a yard of yellow cotton. The fabric got here a couple weeks ago, and I have been planning this project ever since. If you look at the Pinup Girl Clothing dress, you'll notice that the stripes alternate pink, yellow, black, all the way around. On mine, I decided to alternate them pink, black, yellow, black, instead. Then, I also decided that I wanted a gathered skirt, so I sat down and did some math and figured out what I wanted.

I first cut the panels out, accommodating for a generous seam allowance, since I am a beginner seamstress. I made the top of the panels 6 inches wide, and widened it out to 13 inches wide at the bottom. I made 16 panels: 8 black ones, 4 pink, and 4 yellow.

Yes, I do just sit around the house wearing these fancy dresses.
Next, I pinned them together in the right order, and then cut the waistband, cutting it 4 inches longer than necessary, you know, just in case.

Then, I sewed all the seams together on my machine, making one large piece of fabric. Then, I gathered the top, pinned it to the waistband, and sewed that together.

Next, I hemmed the skirt, going one panel at a time. I hemmed all the black panels first, then switched thread colors to pink, and hemmed all the pink panels, then switched again to yellow thread before hemming the yellow panels. I think this gave it a real finished look.

The final step was inserting the zipper. I measured and pinned where the zipper would be, then sewed the back seam of the skirt together up to where the zipper bottom would be. Next, because I am 'fraidy cat and didn't want to chance the zipper getting off somehow while I sewed, I hand stitched the zipper into place, then went over the stitches on the machine, both reinforcing the zipper seam and making it look more finished... AND I changed thread colors before sewing to the pink panel in the back so that the stitches on zipper seam can't be seen, either!

And that's it! I am thinking of adding a detachable ribbon to the back, but we'll see. My next project will be a similar skirt, but in black and the aqua blue fabric I bought. After that, I have plans for a wiggle dress using satin with a harlequin print and a back detail piece that I can't wait to share with y'all!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Pin Curl Setting Lotion Reviews

In this post, I'll be comparing four setting lotions I have used, how they worked on my hair (long, fine, lots of it), their holding power, scents, ease of use, and more.

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I have a LOT of very fine, long, straight hair that resists being curly the way a toddler resists liver and onions. I have to force it to have any curl whatsoever, and, even if I do, I literally get one day out a roller set. Curling irons don't work on my hair. I recently discovered setting lotions, remembering that my Grandma and Great-Grandma used setting lotions back when I was a kid - they used Nestle Superset Wave Setting Lotion, which smelled like a combo of Mentholatum and floral perfume - that they would dip combs into and then through their hair, roll onto sponge or plastic rollers and into pincurls, and let dry overnight. Being that I was 4, I don't remember how long their curls lasted.

Anyway, I have been on the hunt for a setting lotion that works for me. In this review, I will discuss four types that I have tried so far: Lottabody Texturizing Setting LotionLottabody Setting Lotion Concentrate, Jane Carter Wrap & Roll, and Suavacita Grooming Spray, which says on the bottle can be used as a setting lotion.

Below, I have rated the products for Ease of Use, Scent, Drying Time, Curl Production, Hold, and Length of Set.

I should note here that no person or entity is paying me for these reviews. I am just your average user who is looking for a product that works and I am sharing my experience with y'all. The following reviews reflect my experience with these products.

This is a photo of my hair when I do nothing to it:

As you can see, my hair is straight as a board. It lays flat on my head, has ZERO curl or wave.

Here's a Control Set, done with nothing but water:

A plain water set might last me a few hours, if I am lucky. Honestly, pincurling my hair while it is damp from a shower or swimming is pretty much a waste of time. After a few hours, my hair has a slight wave to it, the ends are probably frizzy as all hell. Not cool. Here's a pic:

Okay. so, now, on to the setting lotions.

Lotta Body Texturizing Setting Lotion
Ease of Use: 4/5 Curls
Scent: 5/5 Curls
Drying Time: 4/5 Curls
Curl Production: 4/5 Curls
Hold: 4/5 Curls
Length of Set: 4/5 Curls
Overall Rating: 4/5 Curls
Comments: Probably my favorite one. I use this by spraying my combed out hair before I start, and then again at the end before I put on a scarf for the night. Smells like a tropical drink, which is nice, lots of coconut scent, which lasts a long time. I've used this setting lotion with pin curls, magnetic rollers, and sponge rollers, and the curls all turn out about the same: lots of spirals, not crunchy, light and bouncy. At the end of the day, my hair will still look the same as when I styled it after taking the set out, which is what I want. Even after sleeping on the curls, the next day, I'll pretty much have the same look. I can usually get three good days out of a wet or dry set using this setting lotion. Drying time on a wet set is the biggest downside - as it is with all the setting lotions I have tried - but this one dries the fastest on a dry set and holds the longest. To use, I pour it from the bottle into a spray bottle and spray at the beginning and end of a set; that's it.
BOTTOM LINE: If you've got long, fine hair like I do, this is the product to choose. Smells great, works well, and, most of all, the curls last a long time. Even with having to find a sprayer to put it on my hair, still my choice.

Lotta Body Setting Lotion (Concentrate)
Ease of Use: 3/5 Curls
Scent: 2/5 Curls
Drying Time: 3/5 Curls
Curl Production: 3/5 Curls
Hold: 3/5 Curls
Length of Set: 3/5 Curls
Overall Rating: 3/5 Curls
Comments: Related to the setting lotion above, this version must be mixed prior to use, and I think the addition of water adds troubles to the whole process. To use, I fill the spray bottle partially with the setting lotion and then fill the rest of the way with water, using the mixing instructions off the bottle. After mixing, I use the same process to apply: through hair at the beginning and spray over curls at the end. Curls on wet set with this product tend to be a little flat. Also, the drying time is just unbelievable. I have left a wet set with this product in for 22 hours and it was still wet at the back of my head while I was unrolling it, which meant that my hair - instead of being sweetly curled - was just frizzy with a little wave here and there. On a dry set, it isn't a bad product and works like it's supposed to; however, sometimes, the curls are a little on the crunchy side - occasionally, glued together - which makes the brush out very difficult. Why 2 out of 5 Curls on Scent? I dunno. It doesn't smell like anything.
BOTTOM LINE: Works pretty well on fine hair; inexpensive option.

Jane Carter Wrap & Roll
Ease of Use: 3/5 Curls
Scent: 4/5 Curls
Drying Time: 5/5 Curls
Curl Production: 4/5
Hold: 2/5
Length of Set: 1/5
Overall Rating: 2/5 Curls
Comments: I had high hopes for this one, as it was recommended to me by a lady whose hair looked freaking amazeballs and whose set lasted a full week. I wanted that, so I got some. So, it's a mousse, you spritz some in your hand and spread it through your combed hair, then curl as usual with sponge rollers and pin curls. It smells like floral shampoo, neither overtly pleasant nor unpleasant. My hair dried pretty quickly with only slight dampness at the back of my head after sleeping with the set in my hair, about 10 hours. The resultant curls were very "spring-y" and coiled and very soft. However, the curls tended to come out as soon as I started brushing my hair to style it, and, by the end of the day, my hair was just wavy; hardly any curl at all. By the next day, the curls were gone completely and I had to do an up-do. That night, I re-curled my hair with the mousse doing a dry set, and it was pretty much the same story: gorgeous curls that lasted a few hours, only a little bit better than a plain water set. Also, I have noticed that the product made the ends of my hair really dry and it's breaking some at the ends, which hasn't happened in a long time.
BOTTOM LINE: I don't think that I will use this product again; I just don't think it works well on fine hair. It's probably a product that works best on thicker hair, or some type other than mine because it really doesn't work for me.

Suavacita Grooming Spray
Ease of Use: 5/5 Curls
Scent: 5/5 Curls
Drying Time: 4/5 Curls
Curl Production: 2/5
Hold: 2/5
Length of Set: 2/5
Comments: This comes in a handy pump sprayer that produces a fine mist, so I don't have to mix anything or use my hands to get it in my hair, which is a major win, in my book. Also, it smells like sweet watermelon, which is also a major win. It dries quickly in wet or dry hair, but the resultant curls - using this as a setting lotion - are a bit lackluster and didn't last. However, this product's strength isn't in its curling prowess: it's in smoothing hair as you style it! Right before I spray with hairspray to set my style, I spray some of this on my hair and use my smoothing and teasing brush to get a really smooth hair style on top. Big win. Using it as a curling agent, I didn't get curly, long-lasting hold out of this product, but it works great in other applications, so I will definitely be buying more.
BOTTOM LINE: A better grooming spray than a setting lotion, but well worth the money for vintage hair styles; makes for a beautiful, smooth finish on fine hair.