Mar 31, 2012

Let's Not Forget our Men!

I just love this system! Everything turns out great and fits so well. I opened the Shirt Kit and made my husband two shirts. This one is even easier to draft than the dress pattern - less measurements and no darts. It took no time to crank out the shirts. My husband loves them and says they are so comfortable.

James has narrow, sloping shoulders that don't fit well with the rest of his body. Shirts usually fall off of him at the shoulders. Not so with these shirts. I see more of these in his future, especially dress shirts. The shirts I made are 100% cotton, which should be nice and cool for summer.

Mar 27, 2012

The Importance of Accurate Measurements

I have set aside my first attempt to draw my personal bodice blueprint pattern.  I listed the mistakes that I made my first time around and this time I am using the Sure-Fit Designs How-To DVD and following along Glenda step by step as she walks me thru the process.

What a big difference using the DVD made for me, I am definitely a visual learner.  It was very fun working thru the steps to draw my personal pattern.  I have my computer in my sewing room and I was using the doors of my room to tape and draw my patterns, just like Glenda was drawing them.

I now have my bodice, skirt, and sleeve drawn out and tomorrow I will begin to cut them out to craft my test garment.

What have I learned? Accurate measurements are really really important.  I thought, gee how hard can it be to measure yourself, but my first attempt I was off by two sizes.  So be sure to follow along with the directions in the Sure-Fit Designs How-To DVD or the Instruction Book.

Dear Rebecca...I (finally) realized that many women were finding blank wall space or backs of doors to use as a flat surface to draw off their patterns.  Honestly - it is so much easier on a horizontal surface - like a table top (if you've got a table big enough).  The only reason I demonstrate (in the videos) using the wall is that it is so much easier to video the process.  If I were working on the table, my videographer-husband would need to be glued to the ceiling to get a good shot of what I was doing on the table.  So please...use a flat table top.

P.S. In later videos, I started saying to use a table surface - but sometimes I forget to say that.  What can I say?

Mar 24, 2012

Joy's Pink Favorite

Joy has an entire closet full of SFD blouses.  She says, 'This is one of my most favorite blouses of all.  I made four little pleats in the sleeve to take in the fullness, and it is so cute, I think.'  It doesn't have any bust darts, which indicates that the Sure-Fit Designs Shirt Kit was used as the basic pattern.
Joyful Expressions

Mar 21, 2012

My big, fat, soft Eraser

Why am I writing about this?  I just want to make sure you have at least one on hand…that is – a BIG, FAT, SOFT eraser!

You are going to need to erase.  It’s just that simple!  Oops…I marked the dot in the wrong place.  The ruler slipped and now my line is crooked.  I used the Armscye template upside down and the armhole curve doesn’t look right.  Any number of ‘things’ can happen when drawing off your (Sure-Fit Designs) patterns.

Prior to a local fitting class I taught, I’d sent out the Supply List.  Of course it asked for everyone to bring a big, fat, soft eraser.  As we started drawing the patterns…and of course, erasing…I asked ‘Do you have your eraser handy?’  She produced the tiny little eraser on the end of her pencil.  We know what happened to that – don’t we.  By the end of the second hour, the eraser was totally used up and flattened to the end of the pencil!  The next week came and when she walked into class, she so proudly held up her new, big, fat, soft eraser.  We laughed about that ever since!

Please draw in pencil.  And have a nice, big, fat, soft eraser handy.  I have about 3 in my sewing studio.  When I’m drawing patterns, I get stuff going in every which direction, things – the essential things like my ERASER – get covered up and hidden just when I need it.  Thank goodness, I’ve got a couple more in obvious places that are easy to grab.

And don’t worry about the Sure-Fit Designs tracing vellum.  You can erase and erase to your heart’s content, and it will not shred or go into holes like many other tracing mediums.  I know you’re really going to love this stuff if you’ve never worked with it before!  Here's a short video on using the tracing vellum. 

I already know there are a lot of perfectionists out there.  And I know you want your pattern to look totally perfect and clean after you’ve drawn it.  But believe me, you want to work with pencil (not pen) when drawing off your Sure-Fit Designs™ patterns.  I know your Designing Stylus will end up with pencil smudges on it, but they should easily wash off with some mild soap and water.  Here's a short video to watch on using the Sure-Fit Designs™ Designing Stylus.

Mar 15, 2012

Drawing My First Dress Kit Bodice

Well, here it is 10:39 pm and I have finished drafting my first personal bodice pattern from the Sure-Fit Designs system.  What a fun experience!

At first I was a little intimidated, I have had such bad experiences from trying to figure out commercial patterns.  But the Sure-Fit Designs Dress Kit Instruction Book is very well laid out and clearly illustrated.  Still I struggled at first trying to get the exact placement for the neck line, so I pulled up the Dress Kit How-To-Videos and watched the three part series on how to draft the bodice for the Dress Kit.  And hey, is it me (being so late and all) or does Glenda Sparling look like Annette Funicello?

At any rate as soon as I turned on the videos and followed them step-by-step along with the instruction booklet I was really having a happy time, and what a sense of accomplishment.  I feel like a grade school kid grinning from ear to ear as I show off my own personalized sewing pattern.  The whole process took me about two hours which includes measuring myself and taking the puppies outside for a little exercise.

Also as a note, I used a pencil to draft my pattern which is a good thing and a bad thing.  Good because I needed to erase and redraw my lines several times. Bad because the pencil is really dirty and messy on the vellum tracing paper.  So if you are a big baby beginner like me use pencil for your first pattern, but switch to a nice pen for nice clean lasting patterns.
Hi Rebecca, Of course, the bright, fat markers I use are for demo only -- using pencil doesn't show well in the videos.  But I will caution that I always use pencil for all my patterns - definitely not pen.  Pen doesn't allow for errors and we all tend to do a little (or a lot) of erasing.  Just make sure you've got a nice big, fat, soft eraser.  I own about 3 of these and wouldn't be without them!

Mar 10, 2012

Fast & Easy Oversize Blouse

Hmmmm...Glenda, What do you think of this style and design for plus size?

Hi Rebecca,   Depending on fabric choice, color or pattern in the fabric, this is a lovely, comfy flowing design, that would look great on many different figure types.  Actually, it is very similar to the Comfy Cardigan with Diagonal Hem, which is Style 4 in the new Beyond Bodice Basics (BBB) design book.  The variation I've given directions for in BBB is sleeveless which is similar to one of these options.  You could always re-shape the CF point detail to stop at any level and then swoosh down to meet the side seam.  If would be fun to experiment with changing the shape of the hem.


Mar 7, 2012

I even Loved my First Apron!

My mother didn’t teach me how to sew.  She did some sewing when we were toddlers, then later on it was mostly repair work – fallen buttons, ripped seams or mending socks.  But even though she didn’t teach me how to sew, we always had the old black Singer with the gold writing on it in our home. (I'm sure many of you reading will go 'Ah Ha - I remember that machine' which of course is now a valuable antique).  That was given to mum by my father’s mother.  It was one of the original Singer treadle machines.  Unfortunately, at some point, my dad had the treadle taken off and had it motorized.  I actually remember sewing a little on it.

But, back to my first project.  The first time I sewed anything of substance was in Grade 7.  I had the best Home Economics teacher. Mrs. Carmichael was her name.  She was so patient and calm.  I loved her.  Our first project was 'the Apron’.  All the girls knew they had to make it and groaned, but not me…I even loved making the apron.  I remember being so proud of myself.  I wish I had a picture of it today, but alas, the best I can come up with are the aprons I made for myself and my husband a number of year’s ago.  Here’s mine.  They were fun and easy.  I heard a new term…feasy!  Fun and Easy. 

Mrs. Carmichael instilled in me a love of seeing something being created and being a part of that creation process.  I will forever remember her.

This is my husband, Wes.  He wears his apron a lot because he cooks a lot.  I am so grateful that he enjoys cooking.  He always makes enough for an army, but then we (I) don't have to cook for days! 

Mar 3, 2012

My Dress Kit Order Arrived!

Wow Wow Wow!  My order arrived today!  I ordered on Tuesday afternoon and my order arrived Saturday... Wow!  I didn't expect anything til next week.
I opened my order from Sure-Fit Designs and found:
  • 10 yds of vellum tracing paper
  • Designing Stylus (which is very impressive at first glance)
  • Waist Darts Template
  • Adjust-A-Bust Template (Bra cup sizes A to E)
  • Armscye Template (Sizes 48" - 62")
  • Master Patterns for Dress Front (Bodice & Skirt)  Dress Back (Bodice & Skirt) Dress Sleeve (Woven) Dress Sleeve (Stretchy)
  • Dress Kit Instruction Book
  • Mixing and Matching Patterns & Instructions
  • My invoice with a personal note from the President, Glenda Sparling
  • Product Price List and Order Form
  • Flyer on "Pants that Mix n Multiply" very impressive......please don't bother me for a few days while I explore all my treasures.  In fact, here's a short video that Glenda produced showing the Dress Kit Contents.  You might just be interested in watching it.

Mar 1, 2012

Where's My Waist?

Where's my waist?  I'm asked this question so frequently that I decided to create a video on this topic.  Whether it be for fitting your pants properly at the waist line, or for establishing the correct hem length for a bodice/top, knowing where to measure your waist is so important.

I had one lady tell me that once she finally made the 'pretend' waistband (which you'll see in the video) and tied that around her comfortable waist location, the crotch length of her pants changed and the result were pants that (finally) fit. 

I'm sharing with you the essence of her story...
'The first pants were the beginning of the problem for me (well too much cake was the real beginning!).  They used to fit fairly well, but then I lost some weight.  I didn’t realize how much that can affect the pattern fit. When making these pants I did take them in a little on both side seams. At first I thought the problem was that I had made them too short (which I had) but after wearing them for a day at work and constantly hitching them up, I knew that they were also too big.  It seemed to be mostly in the crotch and across the back.  (There's no photo of these pants in this post.)

I decided then to make a new blueprint. I mostly wear pants at work and all my pants are now a little big. I also really wanted a pair of your yoga pants. I think there is no point spending my precious spare time sewing if I don’t like or won’t wear the outcome.  So I thought I had taken my measurements correctly – and I did have to take them myself this time. All my measurements had changed with the exception of my height (no surprise there) and crotch. I did think this was a bit unusual, but carried on regardless! I made a toile and it was awful! There are no photo’s!

Then I emailed you.  I discovered that it is better to tie a piece of fabric around your waist. I have always used a thin piece of elastic. Following your suggestions and re-reading the Pants book I re-measured. What a difference! I have laid my latest blueprint over the top of the previous one and the differences are so obvious.

Tonight I have completed a toile using the new blueprint and I have attached numerous photos of front, back and side.  They feel very comfortable to me. I can’t see any obvious wrinkles or smile lines.  I can sit, bend and wriggle!  What a difference the 'pretend' waistband makes!

Thanks so much for you help and guidance.'

(This lovely (private) lady prefers to remain anonymous, though I will tell you, she lives 'DownUnder')