Apr 29, 2014

Self-faced Patch Pocket

As I’ve previously commented, pockets can be decorative, functional or decorative and functional. In this blog, I’ll deal with the patch pocket. These directions focus on functionality and construction of the self-faced patch pocket.

As a general rule, patch pocket dimensions are the size of your hand plus ¾” – 1 ½” (2-4cm) all around for ease.

After cutting the pocket of your desired shape and fabric, mark the hem fold line either with a fabric marking pen or by clipping on either side of the hem line.

Finish upper edge of pocket.

For pockets with rounded corners, ease stitch (baste) the curved edges 3\8” (1 cm) from raw edges and notch the seam allowance around the curved edge.

With right sides together, fold the hem to the outside along the fold line. Stitch ends. Trim seams.

Turn upper edge and seam allowances to inside, pressing in place. For pointed corners, fold corners diagonally. For rounded corners, pull ease stitches to ease fullness, notch curves if you have not already done so. Press.

If desired, topstitch or use a decorative stitch along top edge of pocket before applying to garment or leave plain.

Place pocket on garment matching placement lines and markings. Edgestitch or topstitch pocket in place, leaving top edge open.

Tip: To hold pocket in place while sewing, us a thin strip of lightweight fusible webbing. Place it under the sides and bottom edge of the pocket and gently press to secure it.

Apr 22, 2014

Pick Your Pocket!

(My apology...I'd give credit to the original source for this cute sketch, but can't find a reference.  
If anyone knows, I'd be happy to give full credit to the illustrator.)

What would we do without pockets? Any time I design anything without a pocket, I know I'll usually regret it. They're a storage and carrying facility for tissues, keys, cell phones, important notes (that we simply can't lose) and all kinds of other important odds and ends. They can be both decorative and functional – pockets serve both purposes. Personally, I don't like pockets that are purely decorative. They're deceiving - you think you've got that receptacle, but alas it goes nowhere. My philosophy is, if you're going to the effort to design, sew and decorate it, you may as well be able to use it. And when it is functional, I like the inner bag deep enough that those important 'things' won't fall out of it.

Depending on the fabric, garment style and intended purpose, they can lend a look to your garment that is either casual or professional.

There are two main types of pockets: Patch pockets and Bag or “inside” pockets.

And within each category there are a number of variations and alternatives. We’ll take a look at a few of these options.

1. Patch pockets are typically a shaped piece of fabric, finished on all sides, and applied to the right side of a garment. The size and shape of the pocket depends entirely on the look and function you desire. Patch pockets are commonly found on:
Shirts/tops/blouses/jackets at chest level
Jackets at hip level
Front and back of pants

  • 2. Bag pockets, also known as “inside” or “inseam” pockets are sewn on the inside of the garment with access on the outside. In general they are designed to be hidden from view. They can be cut out as part of the garment (lightweight fabrics) or attached to the seam allowance of side seams (heavy fabrics).

    Within the bag pocket category, there are three common bag pockets.
    a. Inseam pocket – means it is not visible from the right side of the garment.

    Inseam pockets are typically located on skirts and pants at hip level and along the side seams on coats and jackets. 

    b. Wedge or slant angle pocket – where the under pocket is exposed on the right side of the garments. The actual slant or angle of the wedge can take on many different 'angles' and can also have a gentle curve for the opening.

    c. Welt pocket – This type of pocket is made by slashing the fabric in the desired pocket location and adding the pocket bag to the inside of the garment. The slashed opening is finished or bound similar to a bound buttonhole.
    Or you can insert a zipper as shown in the following illustration.

    In the next installment, we look at each type of pocket more closely and how to design and sew it together.

Apr 15, 2014

April Fit & Sew Retreat: Photo Story

The Sure-Fit Designs April Fit & Sew Retreat has come and gone.  We had ladies from Canada, southern California, Washington, Utah and Iowa.  And what a lovely mix of ladies they were. 

During the first 3 days they worked on Pants fitting, drawing of the pants pattern, and sewing the test pants. If there was time, they moved on to drawing and sewing the Yoga pants project.  It's a good way to learn about working with knit fabrics in relation to the SFD master pattern and how to size down depending on the stretchiness of the knit.

All of the Sure-Fit Designs Fitting Retreats are held in 'Our Sewing Room' in Springfield OR (sister city to Eugene OR).  Our Sewing Room is a wonderful studio to teach and work in.  Lots of daylight, high ceilings, great lighting, cutting tables - enough for everyone to have their own - and has available sewing machines if you can't (or don't want to) bring your own.  Our Sewing Room was one of the sewing studios featured in Vogue Sewing magazine a couple of years ago.  There's only about 10 of these specialized sewing studios across the USA.  I'm so fortunate that I have this fabulous facility to teach in.

Sewing machines are supplied, but you can certainly bring your own.  And if you forget a supply item such as shears, rotary cutters, tape measures, rippers, tracing carbon and tracing wheels etc. are available for your use.

We had one lady with obvious asymmetry.  It was an easy refinement by using elastic at the waist to help identify and mark the low hip.

I know lots of you resist the thought of using a center leg seam to help contour the fabric to your body curves, but once done this and you see the difference in the fit, you'll become a convert.

As you look at these photos, please be realistic about some of the wrinkles you are seeing.  Poor lighting, wrinkly fabric, stitching techniques and lack of pressing are often the culprits.

Then we moved on to bodice fitting, drawing and sewing.  As you would suspect, there were a variety of body issues to address from very full busts, broad back, sway back, rounded back and large upper arm...

...to sloping shoulders and necklines that needed a little more breathing room.

And last, but certainly not least, a few of the almost completed yoga pants.

Everyone accomplished a lot based on their ability and on their particular fitting issues.  And though some projects weren't completed, for the time that was allowed, everyone did an excellent job.  Well done ladies!

If any of you are interested in attending a Fit & Sew Retreat this year, there is still 1 space available in the May 18 - 21 Pants Fitting Intensive (a 4-day workshop) and there are 2 spaces available in the October 19 - 24 Pants & Bodice Retreat (a 6-day workshop).  For more details on fees and other important information, please click - SFD Classes & Events or call me directly at 541-344-0422 (OR - PST)

Apr 8, 2014

Introducing Sally Silhouette

Going shopping?  Let Sally Silhouette tag along.

Sally is a well-proportioned silhouette illustration.  She's extremely useful when copying fashion designs and garment styles from ready-to-wear, pattern catalogues or magazines.

Just fold her up and tuck a few copies of her in your handbag.  You just never know when you'll see that next exciting design you'd like to copy, design and sew for yourself.

And this is the best part...you don't have to have artistic abilities with Sally as your sketch buddy.  Just sketch the style lines you're seeing in the garment directly on her body frame.  Make any special notes in the space provided.  

If you also happen to have a small, retractable tape measure in your handbag, make sure you measure design details, like strategic seam placements, hem lengths, color combinations or anything else that is unique to that garment.  Remember to check out the back of the garment and jot those details down too.

From this handy sketch, it's easy to replicate the design with your Sure-Fit Designs body blueprint.

Years ago, we used to carry a Sketch-A-Style notepad in the Sure-Fit Designs product line, but now with digital everything, we'd like to offer this to you as a complimentary gift...simply because we very much appreciate each and every one of you as our customer.

Just click through to the Sure-Fit Designs Learning Center Free Stuff.  It's the first item shown.  There are 2 links - one for FULL size Sally, which is great to use at home, and one for PURSE size Sally, which is perfect to tuck in your handbag.

Please take a few minutes to watch this short video introducing you to Sally Silhouette!

(PS - You're welcome to make as many copies of Sally for your own personal use.  But if you want to share 'Sally' on your own sewing sites or blogs, please acknowledge the source by giving a link to Sure-Fit Designs Learning Center Free Stuff)

Apr 1, 2014

5th Edition Designs Come Alive

You all know that in early January 2014 we released the 5th edition Dress Kit Instruction book.  Two of the new designs offered in this edition were the funnel neck (featured on a jacket) and the high/low hemmed Swing Top.

 I'm always appreciative to see the results of my efforts.  And these are the first (I hope of many) photos that you will send to show off your work.

This first photo shows Gudrun (from Germany) in her funnel neck pull-over variation.  You'll notice she faced the neck and CF opening with a contrasting fabric.  Not only that, she combined the instructions for the empire design line which is one of the designing instructions featured in the designing book Beyond Bodice Basics.

Next, she's whipped up the high/low hemmed swing top, which she sewed from a stretchy jersey.
The sleeve design she chose to finish this top is the Flounce Sleeve from style #1, which is also featured in Beyond Bodice Basics.
Gudrun says it's still winter weather in Germany, but when the temperature is higher she says she will 'pull on the swing', but prior to that she'll be sewing a matching pair of SFD pants with narrow legs.  Needless to say, she thoroughly enjoys fitting, designing and sewing with Sure-Fit Designs.

Thank you so much for sharing your sewing projects with all of us.  You've done an excellent job.

And of course, I invite more of you to send finished garment photos.  Everybody always likes to see what other have designed and accomplished.