Jul 25, 2017

Animal Print Slinky

Last week I talked about working with slinky and some of the challenges you'll encounter as well as ways to best deal with the fabric.  Here's a cute outfit where the skirt is designed and sewn with a 'slinky' type of fabric.  The top is sewn from a very stretchy 2-way knit jersey, though it isn't slinky.

The hem of the skirt is simply finished as a rolled hem sewn on the serger with wooly nylon.  Sorry it's hard to see up close when it's been stitched in black thread.  The waist edge is pull-on and has been finished with 1" wide elastic. Directions to design and sew this style of waist edge are found in the Pants Kit Instruction Book on page 24.

For the top, I used my Dress Kit bodice blueprint, though I'd previously removed the dart for a T-Shirt type of style.  Since I'm so small busted I can get away without having the dart.  For these directions, go to this article - http://www.sfdlearningcenter.com/T-Shirt-Tactics.html.

Here's a close-up of the sleeve detail.  This is a 3/4 length sleeve and I added shirring at the middle of the sleeve near the hem level.

Shirring instructions can be found in the designing book Sew Sensational Shirts.

The top features a V-Neck embellished with strips of the animal print criss-crossing the V-neck opening.

This criss-crossing process went like this.
1. Copy both sides of the V-neck shape on tracing vellum.

2.  Then draw where you want your strips to criss-cross.  I've highlighted the approximate positions in pink and yellow highlighter tape.

3.  Prepare the strips.  I interfaced directly down the center.

4.  Then I stitched and turned the tubes/strips.

5.  Lay the strips criss-crossing one another using the drawing as a guide.

6. Hand or machine baste the strips at the cross points.

7. Staystitch the neck edge and clip to the V point.

8. Using the vellum diagram as a guide, place the strips to the neck edge.  Baste in place.

 Inside view

Right side view

9. Then finish off with the facing.  I cut a 2 part front facing (meaning there was a seam at CF) so that it would be easier to stitch up to the V.  It still wasn't that easy, but with persistence and fiddling, it all went together.

I'm sure there is likely an easier way to attach these strips to the front.  Perhaps someone who has previously sewn this type of insert would like to leave a comment as I'm sure it will be of benefit to all reading this blog.  I invite your comments and do appreciate them.

Happy Fitting & Sewing!

Jul 18, 2017

Slinky Issues!

At a recent Fit Retreat, we got into a discussion about sewing with Slinky.  Or should I say 'fitting with Slinky'?

Here's my black Slinky shell.

I rarely wear sleeveless tops/dresses, so I stitched up this diagonal hemmed cardigan to go over top of it.  If you're interested, directions for this lacy cardigan can be found in the bodice designing book - Beyond Bodice Basics.
And if you've ever sewn with Slinky, you know it can present some stretching, fitting and sewing problems...or should I call them 'issues'?

Slinky is an elastic acetate knit.  It's available in different weights and stretch and is sometimes combined with spandex to help eliminate the bagging that can occur.  It is really soft and comfortable to wear, has a supple hand and really drapes well.

For the pattern design, keep it simple with few design lines, minimal seaming, elastic casings, loose sleeves or sleeveless.  Avoid real close fitted styles.

Let me pass on some tips on working with Slinky.
1.  Pre-treat Slinky in cold/warm water (no bleach) and throw it in the dryer - cool/warm temp.  When washing after wearing, wash in cold  water and line dry.
2. You can definitely sized down your pattern at least 1- 2 dots in all circumference areas.  Everything is going to stretch - both horizontally and vertically - so you're likely safe to 'dot-down' at all points on the SFD master pattern.
3.  Add 5/8" seam allowances.  This width will make it easier to handle.  Then after you've basted and adjusted the fit, serge/trim to 1/4" allowance.
4. When cutting, make sure that none of the fabric hangs off the cutting table.  It will definitely stretch out of shape.
5.  Treat Slinky as a napped or one-way fabric with all pieces headed in the same direction.
6. Cut with extremely sharp fabric shears or rotary cutter.
7.  Decide which side you want as the 'right' side and mark with a visible marking pencil or place a piece of plastic tape on the 'wrong' side and write 'wrong' on the tape.
8.  Use a 'walking foot'.
9.  Test sewing on remnants.  Stitch horizontally, vertically and diagonally.  Use long embroidery pins.  Since the fabric does not feed evenly, stop periodically, raise the presser foot, smooth the fabric then continue stitching.
10.  Baste - baste - baste with the longest stitch possible!  Test the fit.  There is no way to gauge how much your Slinky is going to stretch vertically or horizontally until you put it on.  Adjust the fit to your comfort level.  If the Slinky is a very dark color, baste with a bright contrasting color thread.  It will make it much easier to pick out.
11.  Always stitch directionally i.e. from the hem up.
12.  Then when you are satisfied, to complete the seams use a long straight stitch but not necessarily a stretch stitch, trim or serge/overlock the seams.
13.  If you're sewing pants, the length of the crotch seam WILL stretch vertically.  Stabilize with a narrow flat, clear elastic as you stitch the seam.  This allows the seam to have a little give, but not stretch excessively.  Shoulders, necklines and long side seams can also be stabilized with clear, flat elastic.
14.  To bind the neck and armhole edges, as I have done on this tank top, cut the ribbing and binding strips on the crossgrain approximately 25-30% shorter than the edge to be finished.
15.  Hemming.  They say you can use fusible webbing, but I couldn't get mine to 'melt' and adhere the 2 layers together, so I simply top-stitched the hem in place.  But since Slinky isn't going to ravel, you could just cut and leave the hem as a raw edge.

These tips should help you out on your next Slinky project.
Glenda...the Good Stitch!

Jul 11, 2017

SFD June Fit & Sew Retreat

Happy ladies...lots of work...happy results.

The last week of June saw ladies from N. Carolina, Texas, California, Oregon and Canada attend yet another Sure-Fit Designs Fit & Sew Retreat.

This first photo shows all of us as we begin their 6-day Retreat adventure.  All of them arrived with individual personal goals for their fitting success.   You'll see Sherry, my assistant standing to my left.  And the lady second in on the right is our new Canadian distributor - Anna Espindola - here for her practicum training.

Closing event occurred on Wednesday evening.

And the above photo is all of us squished in together.

A student from the June Fit & Sew Retreat - designed the yoga pants project but sewn at home - the yoga pants are found in the designing book Pants that Mix n Multiply. Don't you just love the happy fabric. Her husband calls them her 'happy pants'. And she's happy that they fit so well. Thanks for sharing Shelley!

Here's Anna - our SFD Canadian distributor - in her Retreat project - Yoga Pants and Tank Top.
They fit so well and look just great on her.

Thanks to all of you for attending and working so diligently to achieve the best fit possible for your body shape.

Happy sewing,

Jul 5, 2017

Setting Secrets...the Set-in Sleeve Master Class!


Do you struggle trying to sew a perfectly smooth set-in sleeve?  If so, read and follow the instructions for the Set-in Sleeve Master Class. 

This master class is totally free and is found on our newest website - www.SewFitAcademyOnline.com.
There you'll find 2 video lessons, the actual text lesson, as well as a downloadable PDF file of the lesson.

You'll build your sleeve setting skill by following these techniques for setting in the classic sleeve.  Just follow along as I show you a process that I've used for years to achieve a beautiful outcome when sewing the set-in sleeve.

Happy Sewing!

Jun 27, 2017

A shaped Back Shoulder Yoke

Vest Success continued...
In case you are wondering what to do with your back shoulder dart (if you have one)...see how to transfer it into a back yoke.  One of our SFD ladies designed the Reversible Vest (a relatively new SFD downloadable Fashion Leaflet).  This particular lady had a back shoulder dart that she needed to deal with.  She needed the back shoulder dart for her slightly rounded shoulder blades, but didn't want the dart appearing in her vest.  When drawing the vest pattern, she simply transferred this dart into the armscye and the resulting slightly curved seam took care of the dart and she ended up with a yoke detail in the back of her vest.

Because her photos were somewhat dark, I simply outlined the stitching lines that she designed.  Now you can see where the back yoke is.

First, let's review how to add a back shoulder dart.
Step 1: Draw line A to B as illustrated.  This line should be at a level where the most rounding or protruding fullness is on your back/shoulder blades.  Then draw line C to D as shown.  This line does not have to be at a right angle to A-B, but the angle that you choose will affect the final position of the dart, therefore, it should be at a pleasing angle for your specific body shape.  You may need to sew a couple of tests to make sure you're pleased with the results.
Step 2: Cut from A to B and from C to D, leaving a paper hinge at the armscye point B and at point D on line A-B.
Step 3: Spread the shoulder area of the pattern open as shown always maintaining the paper hinge points.  This will open up a small dart shape in the shoulder seam line and will automatically lengthen CB.  Often people with rounded, protruding shoulder blades also have some rounding at the upper back and this extra length will help the bodice back to sit more comfortably.  Additionally, depending on how rounded your entire back is, you may also want to add a CB seam which is shaped/curved to suit your body contours.

Step 4: The more you open/lengthen CB that results in a wider dart, the more the upper and lower center back line becomes 'jogged'.  To maintain CB on the fold of the fabric, simply draw/true a new CB from the back neck point to the waist point.  Also re-establish a parallel straight of grain marking.  Depending on how accurately you measured your CB waist length and where this length is actually needed, you may now need to shorten CB at the waist edge and gently true from CB to the side seam.
Step 5:  This technique for adding a shoulder dart shouldn't distort the armscye significantly.  However, if the armscye appears to angled at the armscye hinge pivot point, make sure to blend/true to create a smooth curve.
This is what it looks like in 'real life'.

Now, on to changing this back shoulder dart into a back shoulder yoke that is slightly curved.  It really is a simple process.  Please watch this video to see how to accomplish this technique.

Just click on the forward arrow to begin play.  It's a short video and a simple process.  I know you'll find it easy to do.

Glenda...the Good Stitch!

Jun 20, 2017

Raglan Sleeve Fleece Jacket


What am I doing on hot summer days sewing with cozy fleece?  Making a raglan sleeve bomber-style jacket to wear to the cold group exercise room at our gym.  I'm always cold particularly during my yoga classes and I've wanted to sew this ages ago but could never seem to find the days to do it.

It's done...it's cozy...it's comfortable and warm.

If you're interested in drawing a raglan sleeve from your Sure-Fit Designs Dress Kit bodice blueprint, just follow the directions from Fashion Leaflet #1 for Raglan Sleeve DesigningJust click here - it's an easy download for just $1.49.  This particular raglan sleeve is called a one-piece raglan even though it has the shoulder dart.  A two-piece raglan sleeve splits the sleeve open to the sleeve hem and consequently conceals the shape of the shoulder dart in the seaming.

I wanted a bomber-style of jacket, so here are the modifications I made to the pattern:
1. Drop the CF neck line 5/8".
2. Drop and widen the bodice underarm 5/8".
3. Drop and widen the sleeve underarm 5/8".
4. Continue the extra side seam width (from widening the underarm) down to the hem level.
5. Add ribbing 2 3/4" wide at hip level and to finish the sleeve 'cuff''.
6. Add a curved, patch-style of pocket and finished the opening with 1" wide ribbing.

7. Use the CoverStitch machine to topstitch significant seams like the raglan, the bust dart, the shoulder dart and to attach the pocket to the jacket.

8. Then finished it off with an exposed zipper at center front and used the Mandarin Collar pattern from the Sure-Fit Designs Collar Collection to complete the neck edge.

The fit is comfortable over a regular T-Shirt, but if I wanted to wear it over top of something heavier (like a sweatshirt), I'd recommend widening the underarm approximately another 1/2" (1.3 cm) and lowering the underarm an additional 5/8" (1.6cm).  It all depends on how bulky the garment is that is being worn underneath.

Happy fitting and sewing!

Jun 13, 2017

Adding a Bust Dart to the Shirt Front Pattern


Most of you ladies with a full bust are going to achieve a better fit with the Shirt Kit pattern if you will add a side-fitting bust dart to the pattern.  And even though this process is covered clearly in the Shirt Kit Instruction Book - see page 13, it's always beneficial to see exactly what the steps look like in a real life example.

So here 'ya go...a step-by-step photo tutorial of adding a bust fitting dart.

Step 1 - Draw the appropriate slash/cutting lines as labeled in the above illustration.

Step 2 - It's difficult to see in this photo, but you need to cut from D to A, leaving a pivot point on the seam allowance at Pt D.  Then cut from A down through point B.  Also cut from C to A, leaving a very tiny pivot/hinge point at A.  From there you want to spread on the A-B line the amount required for your cup size.  You are spreading the side wider to allow for the dart width.  The following table tells you how much to spread open for your bra cup size:
C cup = 1/2" (1.3cm)
D cup = 3/4" (1.7cm)
DD cup = 1" (2.5cm)
E cup = 1 1/4" (3.2cm)

Step 3 - Then back the opening with additional tracing vellum.  Tape it down well.  Measure the width of the dart opening on the side seam.

Step 4 - Draw a line perpendicular from A through the side seam.  Mark this as E.  From E, measure down the side seam the width of the dart and mark as G (sorry you can't see G on this photo).

Step 5 - From G draw a straight line up to point F, which is positioned about 1" (2.5cm) away from point A.

Step 6 - Back the openings with tracing vellum, tape well and then 'perfect/true' the dart extension point by folding the bottom leg of the dart up to the top leg of the dart. 

Step 7 - Temporarily tape (using Removable Tape) the dart in position.

Step 8 - Then cut on the seam line. 

Step 9 - Remove the tape and when the dart opens up you will have created the exact dart extension shape.

That's the process.  If your shirt tends to hike up in the front due to a full bust, you'll appreciate having this dart to give better fit and shape for your body.

If you'd like to see the video process of adding this side seam dart, just watch this short video below.  You may need to watch it on your tablet or desktop computer if it doesn't open up in your email message.

Happy fitting & sewing!
Glenda...the Good Stitch.