Nov 26, 2013

Why can't bridesmaids come in one size?

Why can't bridesmaids come in one size?  When there's no dressmaker available and a wedding in 4 months, Helen W. from Australia needed to sew the bridesmaid dresses herself.  And of course, each of the 4 attendants were of different height and shape.

Helen combined the best of both worlds.  She used the commercial pattern for the pleated skirt styling, but the SFD Dress Kit bodice came to the rescue for the fit on the bodice.  She drafted the bodices from the Master Pattern and then used the SFD Sleeve pattern with an adaptation for the specific sleeve design from the commercial pattern.

Helen was a proud mother.  Her beautiful daughter looked lovely and she received many compliments on the bridesmaid dresses on the way they fit so well.  Let's take a closer look. all look lovely!
Helen, thanks so much for sharing your well-deserved compliments with all of the SFD readers.

Nov 19, 2013

My Pathetic Posture!

Too many hours at the computer! And too few at my sewing machine though the result would still be the same!  I think my posture is getting worse by the day.

I started to become aware of this when I began noticing the 'odd' drag line from my neck point to my shoulder bone.  That entire ball of the shoulder seems to be coming forward as evidenced in this photo.

When I stand straighter, that nasty drag line disappears...but who remembers to stand straighter all the time.

So I drafted a new pattern with a shoulder seam tune-up.  I took my bodice blueprint, moved the front shoulder point forward 1/2" (truing to the original neck point) and then the back shoulder point also was rotated forward.  Here is the result, which I'm happy with.

I didn't sew a muslin test because I knew this is what I needed, but if you're unsure, definitely sew a test muslin.

Also, I designed in a simple princess line going up into the shoulder seam and used the 3-thread cover stitch on my new BabyLock Evolution serger to apply the decorative stitching.

Here's a full photo of the blouse.

And this is a short video showing you how to rotate the shoulder forward.

Now, I'm doing exercises to hold my shoulders back where they belong but oops...I'm slumping again.  Oh well...the effort is being made!

Nov 12, 2013

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany's (with the doorman)...then on to a day of fabric shopping in New York's Garment District.

This district is also now referred to as the Fashion District, since the days of clothing racks being rolled down the street are a thing of the past.  It's simply to costly to compete with Asian knockoffs.

This information kiosk, with the giant-sized needle and button on top, welcomes you and provides maps and listings of what fabric stores are where.  And though I didn't take this photo because the entire corner where this is situated is currently under scaffolding (which much of NY seemed to be), here's what it looks like.

Just beside this kiosk, is this bronze statue - treadle sewing machine (you get just a hint of the scaffolding around it too).  Yes, I'd already completed my first stop at Paron Fabrics.  It's a small store, but fabric was well displayed.

Then on to the Spandex House.  For anyone sewing swimwear or dance costumes, this would be a must-do stop.  And though I didn't purchase anything that first day, I did go back for some stretch leather.  R-T-W is showing all kinds of diagonal zipped jackets like the one below.  My intention is to make a downloadable Fashion Leaflet for a design similar to this one.

Ah yes...did I say that it was October 31st?  Next stop Mood Fabrics with everyone dressed in costume.

Many of you know Mood Fabrics and Project Runway.  Here's what a couple of the aisles look like.  Thousands of bolts of fabric, and though the staff were helpful, you really needed to know what you wanted as I didn't think they were that well displayed.  And what I wanted wasn't

Then on to B & J Fabrics.  I found this store much easier to browse and shop in.  They carry thousands of fabrics, carefully organized by type (like silk, cottons, wool), then by print theme and finally by color.  All are well swatched, clearly labeled as to fiber content, and priced.  They may be a little more spendy than some of the other stores, but it was easy to browse because it wasn't cluttered and chaotic.  I was too busy shopping to take any photos, but I did end up with a great piece of Italian 'denim' with an interesting fiber mix of silk, cotton, nylon and lycra.  Sorry I can't photograph it - it's on its way home via UPS - my carry-on was too full already!

And if you can't find your specialty trim in M&J Trims, it's likely not made!  Walls of trims, ribbons, sequined appliques, buttons and closures could be found here.  Their window display is shown below - a tiered, rotating 8 ft. high trim 'cake'.

No NY trip would be complete without browsing the high-end stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Lord & Taylor, Eileen Fisher...and the list goes on.  Believe it or not, we saw countless jumpsuits - now called rompers.  Remember, they used to be popular in the mid-80's?  The only problem for women is they need a trap door!  If you're so inclined, you'll find jumpsuit instructions in the SFD Children's Kit The concept is the same for women - just join your pants to your bodice and leave some lengthwise ease for movement.  Here's a photo, and I can assure you, we saw lots of them.

You might be interested to see how one designer, Kiya Tomlin, used SFD to design and sew a couple of stunning jumpsuits.  They are featured in the SFD Photo Gallery, but I'll also drop the photos in here too.

Though our sewing business (SFD) has taken us to many international countries where the fabric shopping was fabulous, I'd not been to NY before.  It was a great trip!

Nov 5, 2013

What a beautiful smile and flattering!

Doesn't this blouse just fit and look great on Lu?
Lu is a beautiful, tall, and yes, full-busted woman.  She also happens to be a friend of Joy's (Joyful Expressions).  And if you know Joy, you know she loves sewing and loves using Sure-Fit Designs.  Since Lu doesn't sew, and since Joy decided these fabric colors better suited Lu than her, she offered to sew this SFD blouse for her.

First, Joy did a 'muslin' test.

Obviously not muslin, but a test nonetheless, just to make sure the SFD bodice pattern was fitting Lu to perfection.  She decided that the 'E' cup dart shape from the SFD Adjust-A-Bust template wasn't quite wide enough.  So she then widened the dart shape to an 'F' cup width.

For any full-busted women, and particularly those of you beyond an 'E', you'll find an informative video showing you how to make the Adjust-A-Bust template larger for your special needs.  For the article telling you how to do this, click here to the SFD Article Library and look for article F.5 Beyond-E - Darts for Large Busts.

Also watch this Sure-Fit Designs video: 
I know you'll find this a simple and successful process.  For really full-busted women, it certainly beats the necessity to chop your pattern all up with a traditional full bust adjustment (FBA).

Here's Lu looking happy and sassy in her great-fitting blouse.
If you'd like to read the full account in Joy's blog, just click on over to Joyful Expressions.
Of course, at the end of this successful blouse story, Lu asked if she sewed pants too?  I think you likely know the answer to that one!

One other little tip I'd like to give you is that for those of you who have fairly full bustlines and a relatively narrow back in comparison, you can always use one dot larger in the front of your pattern, and one smaller in the back bodice.  As an example, if you were 46" in total bust circumference, you could use the 47" dot on Bodice Front at Underarm Pt. #2 and at the top leg of the bust grading dots and use the 45" dot on Bodice Back at Underarm Pt. #2.  You end up with the same amount of total bust ease, but you've distributed more to the front and less to the back...and the front is where you need it.  You'll see this instruction on Page 6 of the Dress Kit Instruction book - for Larger/Smaller Front or Back.

Joy and Lu - thanks so much for sharing...