Nov 25, 2014

Can you believe this??

Can you believe this...jumpsuits are back again!?!?
This news article is from a recent Wall Street Journal newspaper (10-16-14).  I could hardly believe my eyes.  I realize the WSJ isn't exactly the hippest fashion authority, but for the last 2 - 3 years they have been expanding their reach to women readers and now regularly have fashion articles in their Style & Travel section.

As Elizabeth Holmes says, 'The jumpsuit, the former territory of toddlers, auto mechanics and clowns, is becoming what was once unthinkable - and item women will buy.  Bloomingdale's has a "jumpsuits and rompers" category on its website.  Neiman Marcus and Net-a-Porter give the style similar play.  Contemporary online retailer Shopbop offers more than 350 choices, from rompers for less than $75 to designer jumpsuits selling for several thousand dollars.  Retailers and designers are heralding the "all in one" as the jumpsuit/romper is also know, as an alternative to the perennially popular dress.  Many Spring 2015 collections, which wrapped up earlier this month, were an ode to the 1970's, the jumpsuit heyday.'

Says a NY-based designer, Rebecca Taylor, "I thought it was a trend but I actually think it is a staple now".  She has added more jumpsuits to her recent collections.

If you're leaning in this direction, it is so easy to design your own well-fitting jumpsuit with Sure-Fit Designs.  Years ago, I added this design and how to directions into the SFD Children's Kit.

The basic premise is that you will be joining your pants pattern, from your SFD Pants Kit, together with either your bodice (from the SFD Dress Kit) or your SFD Shirt pattern.  What you need to remember is that you must leave at least 1" of ease at the waist line.  This is your lengthwise ease.  Otherwise, you won't be able to sit while wearing it.  Depending on your frame and figure, you might want to increase this amount to 2 to 3 inches.

The only thing we need now is a trap door.  Taking a trip to the ladies room becomes a little inconvenient when you need to almost disrobe to use the facilities.

Mine is sewn with a crinkled polyester.  The shirt (kit) top, from the SFD Shirt Kit, has a double-breasted front opening with a contrasting fabric facing.   You'll notice that the cuffs are piped with the red contrasting fabric.  PS - this fabric travels so well.  It literally never shows a wrinkle.

These next 2 jumpsuits were designed by Kiya Tomlin - a Pittsburg, PA designer.  These romper/jumpsuits were 2 of her first SFD projects.

Comments welcome!  I'm sure some of you will love 'em and others would never dream of going back!  All is good.

Glenda...the Good Stitch!

Nov 18, 2014

Asymmetrical Zippered Jacket - Fashion Leaflet

It's finally done!  I know a lot of you were excited to hear that this new jacket design would be available to you.  It's one more unique design that you can draw from your SFD Dress Kit.  You can purchase this Fashion Leaflet from this page - Downloadable Fashion Leaflets.
Exposed zippers are ever so popular.  This jacket features a separating exposed zipper, a shoulder yoke that wraps from the front over the shoulder to the back, and of course, ever-flattering princess lines in both front and back.

The collar is super easy.  I used the Mandarin Collar pattern piece from the new SFD master pattern Collar Collection that is now found in the 5th edition Dress Kit.  If you don't already have the new Collar Collection, you can order it from this page - Collar Collection & 5 edition Dress Book.

I also used the basic Sleeve pattern (with elbow dart).  I wanted to keep this part simple, but if you were so inclined, you could always draw the 2-part, more tailored sleeve featured on pages 34 & 35 of the new 5th edition Dress Kit Instruction book.

 Wear open or closed.  It works either way.  Most of you already know I sewed this from a stretchy, squishy, sticky, spongy fabric...I wouldn't do that again.  It looks like leather but isn't.  Though in sewing, I needed to treat it like leather.  I got one chance to sew it right as the needle left holes in the fabric just like real leather.  This is a jacket I definitely recommend sewing a test mock-up of.
Remember I showed you this jacket on Imogen Lamport (Inside Out Style).  I don't know what fabric was used.  It's possible she didn't sew it.  But you can see that it's a style suitable for any season.

You can get your downloadable copy of this new jacket - Asymmetrical Zippered Jacket - on this page - Downloadable Fashion Leaflets.  $5.99.

Have fun...
Glenda...the Good Stitch!


Nov 11, 2014

Oct 2014 Fit & Sew Retreat Photo story

What a wonderful way to end the 2014 Fit & Sew Retreat schedule...with 5 lovely ladies!
The 6 days flew by and a lot of fitting and sewing happened in Our Sewing Room (the Studio where I teach these workshops).
Everyone had their personal space, meaning high cutting table, sewing machine and any tool or piece of equipment required.  I feel very fortunate to have this studio so close and so well-equipped.

As many of you know, we begin with pants fitting/testing and sewing from Sunday through Tuesday.  Then end the 6 days with bodice fitting/testing and sewing from Wednesday through Friday.  Each attendee had their own unique fitting issues, but each one of them went home with well-fitting patterns and projects (almost) totally completed.  They were an amazing group of ladies.

Here's some photo highlights of the Retreat.  To see all the photos, please click here - Oct 2014 Fit & Sew Retreat.

Perhaps you'd like to join me next year.  Watch for 2015 dates both on the website Sure-Fit Designs and in a forthcoming newsletter.  And if you'd like to see a few more photos from this past retreat, please click here - Oct 2014 Fit & Sew Retreat.

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

Nov 4, 2014

Squishy, Spongy, Stretchy!

Topstitching a fabric that is squishy, spongy and stretchy is no fun!  And on top of that, the fabric I was using was a leather-like stretch, which meant once the needle pierced the fabric, it left distinctive holes.  And on top of this, the fabric would not press flat, which made it very difficult when turning and pressing seams.  No second chances on this project!

Here's what the finished jacket looks like.

It's a Sure-Fit Designs knock-off of a jacket I saw in NYC.  Exposed zippers are ever so popular.
Mine of course, being all black, doesn't have quite the bizazz appeal like the black & white ready-to-wear, but it's still a stunning jacket.  And the SFD version does have a shoulder yoke - just not as deep in toward the armscye area.

This blog is going to focus only on the topstitching process and tips that I'd like to share with you if you ever come across this type of situation.  Since I knew I had one chance only to get it right, meaning evenly spaced, straight, no skipped stitches and no puckers, testing prior to the final topstitching was definitely required.

Yup!  This fabric is great to look at, but it sure did have it's challenges.  It just simply wouldn't feed well when the leathery side is face up.  I'd purchased both a solid black as well as a perforated patterned piece.  I got them both in the Stretch House during my NYC excursion.

I combined both these fabrics in this jacket.  With a traditional seam, if right sides were being sewn together, it wasn't a problem, but if you needed to topstitch...well - watch out!  It has kind of a leather-like look and a little bit of a sticky feel.

The feed dogs didn't like it.  The walking foot didn't help feed the under and upper layers equally.  Perhaps a roller foot would have worked, but since I didn't have that machine attachment another solution needed to be found.

After much testing, I settled on a paper-like tear-away stabilizer.  I had 3 different ones to test and ended up using this Sulky Tear-Away.  It's years old and I'm sure the price is more than  $1.99 now, but for this project, it worked the best.
What did I test before sewing the one and only chance I was going to get?
First, I recreated a seam scenario as close to what the finished jacket had - meaning the solid black fabric was on the underside of the lapel.  The perforated fabric was on the top side.
Then I tested:
  • the best needle choice to prevent skipped stitches.  Of course, new is always preferable.
  • stitch length - what would look the best on the finished edge.
  • which stabilizer tore away the easiest without too much pulling and stress on the stitches.

This is just a photo of the test sample.  I did about 3 different swatches.

After choosing the most appropriate stitch length, best needle and stabilizer, I prepared the stabilizer.  It had to be cut in the exact shape of the neck line curve so that I could lay it in place and see the folded edge of the seam.  I used the pattern's neck edge for this.

Then I took a deep breath, centered my thoughts and began topstitching.  Remember, I had only one chance at this - this fabric was so unforgiving that I couldn't pick it out if I happened to sew crooked.

Here's a close-up of the stitching before the stabilizer was torn away.

Next came tearing the stabilizer away.  Even this needed to be done with control - one side at a time for both the upper and under layers.

When it was all said and done, I was quite happy with the results, but I'd been agonizing over this final process for the last few days, knowing that it was one chance or the whole thing would be ruined.

Here's a close-up.

I am happy with the results.  Feel free to comment or add your opinions of how you would have tackled a similar challenge.  Also, watch for a new downloadable Fashion Leaflet describing how to modify your SFD bodice blueprint to achieve this jacket.  I hope to have that available for your soon.

Glenda...the Good Stitch!

P.S. Although this next jacket isn't quite the same (nor is it a Sure-Fit Designs jacket), when I saw it on Imogene Lamport from Inside Out Style - I thought it was so similar in design with the exposed zipper offset on one side, that I wanted to show it to you.  And what a difference it makes to sew it in white for a summery look...also notice the shorter hip length...more like the NYC jacket in white and black.