May 26, 2015

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.
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!

May 19, 2015

Comfortable Culottes

Yes, that's right, culottes are back.  Some never really stopped wearing them, simply because they are so comfortable, but now they are officially back.

 I first read this article in the Style & Travel section of the Wall Street Journal (by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan), but in doing research about culottes and their comeback, my guess is that it's appeared in other publications.  She says that they're back in a big way for the first time since the 1980's.  You all know that if we wait long enough, the fashion cycle just goes round and round.

This style typically features a  wide, and often voluminous leg that extends from a cinched waistline.  The hem can be anywhere from an inch below the knee to a couple of inches above the ankle.  What makes them so comfortable is that for a really good fit that doesn't bind and pull in the crotch, the crotch point needs to be dropped and extended.  The hang of the leg improves, they won't crawl up between your thighs, and they can give the look of a drapy skirt.

The photo below shows culottes that I designed and sewed for an article featured in Dressmaking with Stitches (an Australian publication).  Of course, the cross-over wrap blouse is also an SFD creation designed and sewn from the Dress Kit.
What to consider when wearing culottes?  Well obviously your height and shape make a difference.  Here are 5 tips that I'll share with you from the article.
  • Shorter women will no doubt need heels (shoes or boots) with culottes; taller ladies can wear flats, sandals or fancy sneakers.
  • Keep the top slimmed down if you have particularly voluminous legs.
  • For evening wear, choose a dressier fabric like silk, or drapy polyesters.
  • High-waisted culottes are the most flattering; low-waisted versions can make you look short legged.
  • For fall and winter, turtlenecks and knee-high boots work best.
  • Steer clear of fabrics that are too stretchy or clingy (such as jersey).

Here's a few of the featured culottes and though I'm not excited about the ones with the hemline boarder trim, they do show you alternative examples.

From (Imogen Lamport) (who I've recommended many times for dressing for your body shape), she's just written a recent blog on how to dress and accessorize when wearing culottes.  Make sure you take a look at her blog since she offers lots of great photos and excellent accessorizing alternatives. (PS - I should also mention that Sure-Fit Designs is not associated with InsideOutStyleBlog in an way either for personal or business relationships.  I simply happen to believe that Imogen does an excellent job of all the information she presents on her blog).

And, aren't we lucky that with SFD, we don't have to rely on ill-fitting ready-to-wear.  We can sew our own and know they'll fit properly.  Fashion Leaflet #2 gives you all the details you need to design your own from your SFD Pants pattern.  Click Here.
You can choose this version with a 'gaucho' style of leg treatment, or the directions will also tell you how to add a pleat that drapes directly out of center front.  Either way, you win with comfort and fashion.

Glenda...the Good Stitch!

May 12, 2015

Best Pants Styles for your Body Shape

I've recommended InsideOutStyle blog to you a couple of times...and here is a good reason why.  When you're looking for information on what styles look best on your body shape, Imogene Lamport, from InsideOutStyle, is the lady to ask.
 Here's a great and very informative chart on how to recognize what your body shape is and what style of pants would suit you best.
If you'd like to read more about how to analyze your shape, please click through to this page.
And from there, you know how easy it is to get the best fit possible when drawing and designing it yourself from your SFD pants body blueprint.

Aren't you glad you don't have to rely on ready-to-wear to supply you with well-fitting clothing?

Glenda...the Good Stitch!

May 5, 2015

New - SFD Gift Certificates

Sure-Fit Designs Gift Certificates are now available!
I had recent requests to have Gift Certificates available for when your loved-ones are looking for that special gift for you.  They are finally here.  And now they are available just in time for Mother's Day.

If that special someone is always wondering what to get for you, this is a perfect place to direct them.
Just click here - SFD Gift Certificates

They are available in a variety of denominations from $50 to $400...there's an option for everyone and all budgets.

And, as an introductory special, if the Certificate is purchased up until May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day in the USA), you will receive an extra Bonus Certificate.

For all $50, $100, $150 Gift Certificates purchased, you will receive a $5 Bonus Certificate.

For all $200, $250, $300 or $400 Gift Certificates purchased, you will receive a $10 Bonus Certificate.

Just click here - SFD Gift Certificates

My best wishes to all you mothers...a very Happy Mother's Day!

Glenda...the Good Stitch!