Dec 30, 2013

Help me out - Your suggestions welcome! and...Happy New Year!

As we officially close 2013 and open up 2014, first, I'd like to wish you all a Happy New Year. 2013 has gone way too fast, but it's been a great year. 

Second, I'd like to request your suggestions.  You all know that we post lots of complimentary, tutorial-type of videos to help you with your fitting, designing and sewing success.  To date, Sure-Fit Designs now has over 120 instructional 'helps' up on You Tube.  We intend to keep that number growing throughout 2014.

During the past 3 months, we've knocked off a number of them that were on my 'Video To-Do List', so now I need your help and suggestions.  Usually, the tutorials stem from suggestions and requests you ask for, issues I see happening with our customers as they are drawing off their patterns and some of the topics come from what I see occurring in my fitting retreats.  When I see something happen more than 2 or 3 times, I figure there might be a few others out there that are experiencing the same issue.

What would you like to see explained or addressed in new videos?  Please take a few minutes to leave a comment on this blog page.  When you're commenting, please be specific.  Remember, I attempt to focus on only one single topic at a time and something that can be dealt with in no more than about 10 minutes of video time.  And...if you can't get the Comment Box on this blog page to work properly, simply drop me an email at

As you are contemplating your input, think of topics relating to drawing out your body blueprints, fitting and minor tune-ups and adjustments, designing questions and/or sewing issues you might want information on.

And before I close this very short, end-of-the-year blog, I must give credit to my ever-resourceful and creative husband (Wes), who, as many of you know is our videographer.

We've graduated from our humble beginnings of a friend's borrowed camera, to top-of-the-line movie production video cam and cameras, equipment, and complex editing software.  Everything now is shot in HD (and uploaded to YouTube in HD too), so that you receive the best clarity possible.

It's been a creative learning experience for both of us...we've loved the challenge...and there's more to come.

I really do want your input, so take a few minutes to offer your video topic suggestions.  And don't be afraid to offer more than one suggestion - I will appreciate and evaluate all of them.

Thank you all for a great 2013!  We wish you all the best in the coming year and may you have many hours of rewarding sewing.
Happy New Year,

Dec 24, 2013

What's a French Dart?

Sometimes seamstresses get confused about exactly what a French Dart is.  Research states it quite simply.  A regular dart is straight.  A French dart is slightly curved.  Also, a French dart usually begins near the waist line or a little above or below, but typically, it is a long, curved dart as shown in the following illustration.

In a recent Fit & Sew Retreat, Lynda chose to change the bust-fitting dart into a French Dart for her Tank Top project.
You'll find complete directions for designing this French Dart on page 23 of the Dress Kit Instruction Book.

Notice that the bulk of the fabric for the folded part of the dart has been removed and that you end up with a cutting line that curves up toward the dart tip.

When stitching this dart, you may want to add a stay tape, like a narrow clear elastic/plastic tape, since you are stitching the bias of the fabric and this will prevent the dart from stretching out of shape as you sew.  Make sure to press this dart over a tailor's ham.  And if the fabric frays a lot, you can always serge/overlock the raw edge of the seam allowance.

Everything about this tank top fit so nicely when she was finished.  Well done, Lynda!

Dec 17, 2013

Clever Clover Clips

A lot of you likely already know about these Wonder Clips, but since I'm not a quilter, they were new to me.
They look like miniature clothes pegs - boy that sure dates us when we remember clothes pegs!

When I send out the Supply List for the SFD Fit & Sew Retreats, I always tell the ladies they can bring whatever sewing supplies they want...whatever makes them happy and comfortable.  Our Sewing Room - where I teach - comes equipped with most everything you could need (and we are welcome to use their supplies), but when ladies drive in, they often bring those little extras.  It's fun to see everyone's different sewing habits, and when Barbara started clipping her seams together (rather than pinning), a couple of us were intriqued.

 Here Barb has clipped her pants legs together in preparation for sewing.

And here she's used them to clip the sleeve into the bodice.  This sure saves getting stuck by pins.

If you're interested, you can find them at Nancy's Notions or at Amazon.  They're actually called 'Wonder Clips' and are manufactured by Clover.  They have a great holding capacity.  Each clip opens wide to hold layers of fabric and the clip's base is flat so it rides flat on the throat plate.  Each package contains 50 clips.  This would be a great stocking stuffer (when you're stuffing your own stocking - or if you get your request into the 'Stocking-Stuffer' elves ahead of time)!

It was great to have you in class Barbara...thanks for sharing.

Dec 10, 2013

Circle the Dots

Is this like circle the wagons?  Not really - just another helpful tip - contributed by Kathleen S. from Eugene, OR.

You all likely know by now that I always recommend drawing your personal patterns in pencil.  I know I use brightly colored pens in our SFD videos and DVD's, but that's only so that you can see what I'm doing.

I'm sure a lot of you know that when you are drawing with pencil, those gray, graphite dots kind of get lost on the vellum when your dot is directly on top of one of the Master Pattern dots.

Sure you can use erasable colored pencils, but in the recent October Fit & Sew Retreat, one of the ladies was drawing small circles around her dots.  I thought, 'what clever idea'!  Why hadn't I thought of that??

Well, thanks to Kathleen S. I'm now sharing this tiny little tidbit of info...just to make all your SFD experiences more positive.

So simple, yet so effective!  Thanks Katheen.

Dec 3, 2013

Princess-Seamed Pants

I still hear lots of ladies groan every time I suggest using a seam up the center of the pants leg.  For some reason or other, they must think there is some stigma attached to using a seam up the center of the leg of the pants pattern.

But when you have quite a flat backside, or when you have a large high hip or abdomenal circumference (meaning a large waist and stomach area) going to a flat backside or pencil thin legs, this center leg seam is truly a life-saver.  With this seam, you can deepen the stitching curve under your backside and you can use it to help taper the legs.  Those of you who have seen this process and the results being pants that fit so well, are true converts.

But have you thought of using this same seaming concept up the front of your pants leg?  In this photo, you'll see pants front - with one 'regular' leg and one 'seamed' leg.
Please keep in mind these are 'test' pants - hence all the other wrinkles - but you can likely see the remarkable difference between the leg with or without the center seam.  It simply fits so much better.

Here's the completed side and back views.

 Do you remember my NY trip blog?  Well, while 'shopping' those famous 5th. Ave stores, another design I saw LOTS of  was pants with seams - down the back and front of the pants leg.  Designer's simply know you can get a superior fit when you incorporate these leg seams for shaping.  Here's a photo of the front of a pair of pants (sorry I wasn't holding them totally upright), but you can still see the front leg seam.  By the way, these exposed zippers are very popular too.  (FYI - These pants were priced at $249.00).  How simple are these for us talented seamstresses!

Now, to make this happen, I suggest watching this video.  This concept of adding seams to the interior of both the front and back legs of your pants pattern is significant enough to have made a video on the process.  Please take a few minutes to watch.

(Well, this is crazy, but I'm having great difficulty accessing this video from YouTube and putting it in this blog.  So until I get that figured out, please just click on this link and it will take you directly to the video on the YouTube site.  It's called

Just give this a try to see how simple and effective the pants princess seam can be to help refine your pants fit.