Jan 31, 2012

Rebecca's Journey

I’d like to share with you my good fortune of having met Rebecca.  Rebecca is a true novice, a beginner seamstress with very limited sewing construction skills and a challenging body.

As we all know, there’s no point in spending any amount of time preparing a pattern and then sewing it up, to have it not fit properly in the end. No matter how competent the seamstress, those mis-fits often get tossed aside never to see the light of day again, or worse cause the frustrated seamstress to stop sewing all together.

In one of her online searches for HELP, Rebecca stumbled upon Sure-Fit Designs™.  As Rebecca and I communicated, it became obvious that she needed help with her sewing and fitting skills…and I needed support on my blog, which she loves to do.  Rebecca expressed a strong desire to not only learn how to sew and improve her very limited skills, but since she has a number of shape challenges, she also wanted her clothes to fit.  Who wouldn’t?  Her goals were to increase her sewing knowledge and pattern skills and achieve a wardrobe of well-fitting clothes.

She offered…and I offered.  This chance meeting occurred this October past and since then she and I have been assisting one another - she helps with the Sure-Fit Designs™ blog and I help with her sewing and fitting challenges.  This arrangement is mutually beneficial and rewarding.

As you begin scanning and reading some of these blog entries, you’ll read Rebecca’s journey.  She shares her frustrations with all the new challenges she faces from getting the bobbin wound to getting the shoulder point on her pattern in the right location.  You’ll read my responses and how I’ve guided and encouraged her.

I’m sure some of you who are beginner seamstresses will totally understand the floundering and frustration that Rebecca is experiencing.  And those of you who are more confident will remember some of your first sewing and fitting challenges.  We’ve all been there – none of us were born with the golden needle in our fingers – but thank goodness we all keep helping one another and learning new skills.

You'll see in the first few posts that Rebecca has struggled with regular commercial patterns.  As the blog continues, you'll read of her challenges and triumphs as she makes her way through her very first fitting 'muslin'.

Thank you Rebecca for all you’ve taught me about blogging. 

And…I hope you all enjoy the ongoing entries of Rebecca’s Journey.

Jan 30, 2012

Joy's Joyful Yoga Pants

Some of you may remember that back in June 2011, Sure-Fit Designs™ released the first in a series of new designing books.  This particular book featured designing with the SFD (Sure-Fit Designs™) Pants Kit and was called - Pants that Mix 'n' Multiply.  One of the new designs featured in that book was how to design draw yoga pants from your Sure-Fit Designs Pants Kit.  From my point of view, these are truly the most comfortable pants you could ever own and wear either in a Yoga or Pilates class, but also just around. 
Downward What??

Here I am in my fleecy yoga pants.  I wear them for all my gym classes, and I do Pilates once a week and these are soooo... comfortable!

Joy's Comfy Yoga Pants
Enter Joy...one of my new friends and sewing enthusiast.  A few months prior to writing this pants designing book (Pants that Mix 'n' Multiply), Joy bought most of the Sure-Fit Designs fitting/sewing kits.  She was a newbie to using SFD, but found that this fitting system really helped to solve her fitting issues (as we all have).  Joy has since become my book editor as she is a perfectionist and extremely detail oriented (and picky)...I love you Joy!  She, as the editor, sees things I'd likely never see as the author.  I'm way too close to the project.  She tells it like it is from typos and construction errors to sewing directions (if I haven't been clear enough in telling you how to do something).

But back to the Yoga pants.  Joy has recently begun her own blog.  She writes about her sewing adventures and mis-adventures, as well as other events that happen in her daily life.  She has recently written a blog about her SFD yoga pants.  Just click here - Joyful Expressions - to see all of her yoga pant pics as well as read of her other adventures.  Thanks for sharing, Joy!

Snazzy, perfectly fitting pockets!

Jan 28, 2012

Rebecca Discovers the Sure-Fit Designs Introductory Video

My journey into sewing has seen my fabric stash grow, but not in the right place.  I would not say that I sew, but rather I buy fabric, use a commercial pattern to cut out the fabric, try it on, and then throw it into the fabric scrap bag (which by now is getting pretty big). It's the fabric scrap stash!  Nothing I sew fits me!!!

I gave the search over to Google and input different phrases and search terms in hopes of finding a pattern drafting system that would give me the perfect fit.  During my browsing, I stumbled upon this Sure-Fit Designs Introduction video.  I was impressed and perhaps you might be too, since it gives a very clear explanation and I could see how this fitting system worked for many different body shapes and sizes...including mine!


Jan 26, 2012

The Plumb Line - Pros & Cons

Your crotch length!  Taking this measurement can cause a lot of grief in getting your pants to fit you properly.  Of course, taking this measurement accurately should be easy enough to do, or at least one would think.  Just tie a strip of fabric around your waist (that identifies your waist level) then measure from center front around and through your crotch up to center back.  Allow for some sitting ease…and you’re done.  The Sure-Fit Designs Pants Kit instructions tell you how to then take this measurement and divide appropriately so that you end up with a back crotch length that is 2” longer than your front crotch length.  For many body shapes, this technique works perfectly.

For some, you know from experience that you can use a plumb line where the plumb hangs down between your legs and then you measure only what you need in the front, and only what you need in the back body.

CAUTION!  Getting that plumb line to hang exactly where your inseam should be is the issue, particularly when doing this yourself.  Your posture and where you hold the tape will dramatically affect accuracy.  It’s important to have a measuring buddy help you with an accurate reading.  It’s a good idea to do this measurement 2 or 3 times and see if you always come up with the same measurements.  I recommend using the measuring technique only if you know you are substantially longer than 2” different between front to back crotch lengths.

Here are 2 videos showing you were you need to measure for accurate pants fit and how to then create the front and back crotch length measurements for your body.  Take a few minutes to watch and learn.

Jan 24, 2012

I Need One Perfectly Fitting Pattern

Today I am standing in a pile of discarded scrap fabric, I have cut and sewn my Laura Ashley Zhivago Peasant shirt at least four times and I have sewed my Butterick Connie Crawford bodice shirt at least seven times. I can't get the size right. I can't get the fit right.

And don't even get me started on the sleeves. I just want to cry.

But I am also feeling more stubborn...like I can get this, I just have to figure it out. I just have to think about it.
I don't need a bunch of patterns, I am a simple girl, with crazy taste. I just need one perfect pattern.

That's it!!!! By George, she's got it!

I need one perfect pattern...to fit me on the top...and one perfect pants pattern.

OK. How do I do this?

Jan 20, 2012

First Commerical Pattern

I cut out my first pattern last night and I sewed all night in my sleep. The next day, I pinned the top together to try it on and it is huge......doesn't fit at all.......I mean I could go camping in it.........

I checked the pattern and it is one of those multi-sized patterns and I didn't want to ruin the pattern so I cut on the largest size.........hmmmm not sure what to do........I really hate to ruin my pattern by cutting off a couple of sizes. What if I pick the wrong size and what if my body doesn't match the patterns sizes?

And since life isn't fair, my upper body is a couple of sizes smaller than my lower body.  I think I'm a pear shape.  And I don't really match the sizes on the back of the envelope.  What to do?

Jan 18, 2012

Why did I Retire?

I know some of you don’t know that I (we) left the sewing business for a period of time.  Quite recently, a loyal customer from years ago asked why I ‘stopped’ during these years.  I thought, ‘Hmm, that’s interesting!  I wondered how many others of our long-time customers had the same question.”

So here it is.  I wasn't getting any younger (no surprise there) and we'd been traveling (worldwide) by then for close to 20 years.  I was quite tired of living out of suitcases, eating in restaurants, and sleeping in uncomfortable hotel beds.  So we 'retired' - well, at least semi-retired. I always kept busy doing one thing or another, but after having re-painted all the rooms in our home, ripped off dated wall-paper, did a kitchen remodel and 2 bathroom remodels, my husband had had enough.  Next I wanted to rip out a couple of walls and convert 2 rooms into a main-floor master.  He didn't want to.  That was no surprise either.

What to do with myself? Some of you who know me, know I’m always busy doing one thing or another and I’d rather have it be a ‘productive something’.  I decided it was time to give some of my talent and skill back to the community, so I started offering fitting/sewing classes.  You know what happened.  One thing led to another, the ladies wanted the SFD kits/products and of course it all just started to snowball. 

We started investigating how best to get the patterns and books printed.  Of course, the entire industrial printing scene had changed dramatically since even 6 years ago.  Now we could Print on Demand instead of buying 1000's and 1000’s of units. Small quantity purchases now became very reasonable...as long as the product was digitized.  That was the kicker!  After deciding to go forward, we then spent literally months digitizing the books and all the accessory items. 

Also by then, the entire face of the internet had changed as well.  Wes, my husband, has always been ahead of the curve.  Years ago, he used to say to me, ‘Wouldn’t it be fabulous if our ladies could see you over the computer and you could work with them right from here?’  That was long before Skype.  It was also long before YouTube was so readily available and so widely used.  Now we've got these fabulous resources, and I can literally stay at home in the comfort of my own office and sewing studio, and let the Internet reach customers worldwide...and that is exactly what has happened.  I get to sleep in my own bed, eat my own food and I really don't need to travel unless I want to.
Though I miss our month-long winter sojourns to warmer climates, I am thoroughly enjoying being back in the saddle. 

Thanks to all of you, our loyal customers both ‘old and new’, for being a part of our Sure-Fit Designs™ family.

Jan 16, 2012

First Enterprise

First, I have to pick a project to sew as my first test. Then I need to practice and experiment with my machine and do some test runs. My crisis is that the fabric that I chose will probably be ruined so I have laid out my stash to see which piece would be my "test victim".  To my surprise and dismay I find that I have become attached to most of the fabrics and I didn't want them to be tested mistakes.

Why can't I just sew and sew perfectly each of my pieces then we would all live happily ever after.

Finally, unhappily, I chose a scrap piece of fabric that I had bought at the thrift store. I liked the piece because of the color but I didn't like the pattern, so it has become my test piece and I have named her "Enterprise".
I have settled in, all ready to sew but the bobbin is empty, no thread (oh no)!  So with the manual out, I now have a threaded bobbin after one failed attempt (I had the thread turned upside down and it choked and broke the thread).

Now I have threaded the machine...not so hard after you've done it once. And now I have run stitches all over the Enterprise. She has been straight stitched, zig-zagged, and basted all over. Now...to choose my first project.

Jan 9, 2012

I am Going to Sew

Hi Glenda,
My sister sent me a Janome Magnolia 7318 Sewing Machine and I am going to start sewing.  She encouraged me to start quilting, but I don't want to sew squares, I want to design and sew my own clothes.

I saw your website Sure-Fit Designs and I keep coming back watching the videos and reading your blog.  I'm intrigued that I might even be able to fit and sew my own clothes.