Dec 30, 2014

Think Beyond Size

Do you realize how irrelevant the term 'size' is when it comes to women's clothing?  In one store you might wear a 'size 8' and in the next store you might need a 'size 12'.  It all depends on the manufacturer and and the standards that they use for the expression of their clothing.  And if you have to choose the larger 'size', psychologically this could have a negative impact because you've had to choose the larger size.

It's a very provocative question isn't it when someone asks 'What size are you?'  This can mean many different things to different people.  So chuck those labels out the door and just be who you are!

Isn't it great that with the Sure-Fit Designs fitting system, size is totally a non-issue.  I've had many ladies email to tell me how wonderful it is to finally be liberated from even thinking about what size they might be.

Think 'measurement' not 'size'!  Many of you know that the Sure-Fit Designs master patterns offer measurement ranging from 28" (71 cm) to 62" (157.5 cm).  I know that in this photo you can't see all the measurement dots, but in every strategic location, there are a series of dots with the measurement numbers (both in imperial and metric) beside the dot.  All you do is mark in your unique measurement dots, then connect your dots together with the SFD Designing Stylus.  It's a great tool to use for drawing your personalized body blueprint with all the SFD master patterns.
Women have such unique shapes and Sure-Fit Designs provides such a great alternative to achieving the absolutely best fit for your body the way it is now.  Enjoy being who you are and the way you are right now.  Sewing well-fitting garments can only enhance how feel about yourself.  When your clothing simply feel better.  Enjoy this new-found freedom.

If you're new to Sure-Fit Designs and this blog, I'd encourage you to click on over to the SFD Learning Center Video Library to see the actual process of how to blueprint your body shape.

So as we say goodbye to 2014 and welcome in 2015 let's simply say 'adios' to all those stigmatizing labels and just be who we are.

Happy New Year,

Glenda...the Good Stitch!
(PS) Color blocking is coming!

Dec 23, 2014

An Australian Wedding

I just love it when you send me photos of your SFD creations and now I have an Australian wedding to share with you.  And for a little history...many of you know (particularly our Aussy customers) that way back when, we traveled extensively in Australia introducing the Sure-Fit Designs fitting system to our friends and fellow seamstresses Down Under.  In one of those Queensland seminars, mum and daughter (Gayle) attended the event.  Gayle was then a teenager.  Mum and daughter loved using SFD.  As can happen, throughout the years their sewing activity ebbed and flowed.

Fast forward to 2014, with Gayle now being a mother whose daughter was getting married in November 2014.  Gayle decided she was going to sew her daughter's wedding gown as well as the dresses for the bridesmaids and junior bridesmaids.  As you all can guess, these young ladies were all different shapes and measurements.  Then she remembered the flexibility of sewing with Sure-Fit Designs.  Throughout the months preceding the wedding, I periodically gave advice to Gayle as she designed, tested and sewed the finished bridal party dresses.

Gayle has done a wonderful job and has so kindly shared her creations with me.  It's truly a delight to see the results of her efforts.  Here's the bridal photo story:

Even the men's ties where custom-sewn.

And here is Gayle - the Mother of the Bride.  Here dress was also custom sewn, actually by her neighbor who also uses Sure-Fit Designs.

Gayle, you must be extremely proud of yourself.  Many months of effort paid off handsomely in your custom creations.  What a beautiful wedding party!

Thanks so much for sharing!  I know everyone reading will appreciate seeing your stunning results.

Glenda...the Good Stitch!

Dec 16, 2014

All my patterns...

During my Fit & Sew Retreats, we always discuss how and where to store all your SFD patterns that you end up drawing.  Over a year ago, I did write a blog on this very topic, but since we have a number of new members, it's a good idea to share this information once again.

From one of my recent Retreat attendees, this suggestion was offered.  Barbara (from Utah) sent this idea and these photos.  First, get a couple packages of Velcro cord ties and Key Tag labels.

And you'll need on over-the-door fabric stabilizer organizer - which she thinks she purchased from Nancy's Notions.

Each pocket holds a different group, ie. personal body blueprint, bodice patterns, pants patterns, shirt patterns.  Just roll your patterns, use the colorful Velcro ties with a key tag (write on the tag what the pattern is) and into its home over the door it goes.  Since this organizer bag is designed for storing stabilizer, it's wide enough for the widest roll of SFD 24" wide tracing vellum.

This is a great idea if you don't have shelf space for your patterns.  And the tags make it easy to read what each pattern is.  The vellum doesn't get creased - your patterns are easy to grab and re-use.  Personally, I'd likely also roll the patterns on an empty paper towel tube - just to make sure there are no unnecessary folds or creases.

To see the other pattern storage ideas, Click Here.

Barbara...thanks so much for sharing!

If you have other techniques for pattern storage, please comment and or send a photo.

Glenda...the Good Stitch!

Dec 9, 2014

Sally's Back

Remember Sally Silhouette?  She's your convenient croquis to use when drawing the garment designs you'd like to sew.

After I gave you Sally Silhouette's front view back on April 8, 2014,  I had a number of you ladies ask for the back view.  And doesn't it just make sense.  Often times there will be design details that carry through to the back of the garment as well as the back may just simply have unique design features you won't want to forget.

As a Christmas gift to all of you, here is Sally's Back.
As I mentioned before, the great part is that you don't have to have artistic abilities.  Just sketch the style lines you're seeing in the garment directly on Sally's silhouette.  Plus there's space at the bottom to jot down those special design notes.

Why sketch when you can simply take a photo with your phone?  You can do that too, but with the process of actually sketching the lines you're seeing, you help to reinforce the process of what you will need to draw on your actual pattern.  Go ahead...take the photo...but don't rely on it completely. 

Sally's Back come in a full size of 8.5"x11" (or A4 for our international customers) and a Purse size Sally, which is great to tuck in your handbag when out browsing ready-to-wear.  Just go to this website page - Sure-Fit Designs Learning Center Free Stuff - to download both sizes.  They are in PDF file format.

Enjoy this complimentary gift...and Merry Christmas to all of you!
I hope you all have a joyous holiday season with your family and friends.

Glenda...the Good Stitch!
(PS - You're welcome to make as many copies of Sally for your own personal use.  But if you want to share 'Sally's front or back' on your own sewing sites or blog, please acknowledge the source by giving a link back to Sure-Fit Designs Learning Center Free Stuff).

Dec 2, 2014

Small Waist to Full High Hip

I know I covered this topic a few months ago, but I just had to show you another example of how adding a second dart at the waist line of your pants pattern can really improve the fit.

If you go from a relatively small waist to quite full high hips, I highly recommend adding a second dart to the waist edge of your pants pattern.

This lady attended one of my recent Fit & Sew Retreats.  She has a pretty dominant swayed, dipped center back (at the waist edge), and a small waist in relation to high hips that become quite full about 2 1/2" (6.4 cm) down from her waist level.  She is so curvy from waist to high hip, that I recommended she add a second dart at the waist edge of her pants patterns.

Here's the result:

She's always had difficulty getting any pants (or skirt for that matter) to fit in the high hip without being excessively big in the waist.

Keeping in mind these are test pants that are pinned closed, you're seeing a near to perfect crotch, perfect fit at the waist and in the hips and a beautiful hang on the leg.  From a side view you're seeing a perfectly straight side seam.

In the above close-up, you're seeing the position of the 2 waist-fitting darts.  They shape her hip shape beautifully.

She did a great job of drafting her pattern and the results as so worth her effort.  Well done...and great fit!

To see how to add this second waist-fitting dart, please watch this short video tutorial.

For any of you ladies who might fall into this category, you'll want to give this a try.

Glenda...the Good Stitch!

Nov 25, 2014

Can you believe this??

Can you believe this...jumpsuits are back again!?!?
This news article is from a recent Wall Street Journal newspaper (10-16-14).  I could hardly believe my eyes.  I realize the WSJ isn't exactly the hippest fashion authority, but for the last 2 - 3 years they have been expanding their reach to women readers and now regularly have fashion articles in their Style & Travel section.

As Elizabeth Holmes says, 'The jumpsuit, the former territory of toddlers, auto mechanics and clowns, is becoming what was once unthinkable - and item women will buy.  Bloomingdale's has a "jumpsuits and rompers" category on its website.  Neiman Marcus and Net-a-Porter give the style similar play.  Contemporary online retailer Shopbop offers more than 350 choices, from rompers for less than $75 to designer jumpsuits selling for several thousand dollars.  Retailers and designers are heralding the "all in one" as the jumpsuit/romper is also know, as an alternative to the perennially popular dress.  Many Spring 2015 collections, which wrapped up earlier this month, were an ode to the 1970's, the jumpsuit heyday.'

Says a NY-based designer, Rebecca Taylor, "I thought it was a trend but I actually think it is a staple now".  She has added more jumpsuits to her recent collections.

If you're leaning in this direction, it is so easy to design your own well-fitting jumpsuit with Sure-Fit Designs.  Years ago, I added this design and how to directions into the SFD Children's Kit.

The basic premise is that you will be joining your pants pattern, from your SFD Pants Kit, together with either your bodice (from the SFD Dress Kit) or your SFD Shirt pattern.  What you need to remember is that you must leave at least 1" of ease at the waist line.  This is your lengthwise ease.  Otherwise, you won't be able to sit while wearing it.  Depending on your frame and figure, you might want to increase this amount to 2 to 3 inches.

The only thing we need now is a trap door.  Taking a trip to the ladies room becomes a little inconvenient when you need to almost disrobe to use the facilities.

Mine is sewn with a crinkled polyester.  The shirt (kit) top, from the SFD Shirt Kit, has a double-breasted front opening with a contrasting fabric facing.   You'll notice that the cuffs are piped with the red contrasting fabric.  PS - this fabric travels so well.  It literally never shows a wrinkle.

These next 2 jumpsuits were designed by Kiya Tomlin - a Pittsburg, PA designer.  These romper/jumpsuits were 2 of her first SFD projects.

Comments welcome!  I'm sure some of you will love 'em and others would never dream of going back!  All is good.

Glenda...the Good Stitch!

Nov 18, 2014

Asymmetrical Zippered Jacket - Fashion Leaflet

It's finally done!  I know a lot of you were excited to hear that this new jacket design would be available to you.  It's one more unique design that you can draw from your SFD Dress Kit.  You can purchase this Fashion Leaflet from this page - Downloadable Fashion Leaflets.
Exposed zippers are ever so popular.  This jacket features a separating exposed zipper, a shoulder yoke that wraps from the front over the shoulder to the back, and of course, ever-flattering princess lines in both front and back.

The collar is super easy.  I used the Mandarin Collar pattern piece from the new SFD master pattern Collar Collection that is now found in the 5th edition Dress Kit.  If you don't already have the new Collar Collection, you can order it from this page - Collar Collection & 5 edition Dress Book.

I also used the basic Sleeve pattern (with elbow dart).  I wanted to keep this part simple, but if you were so inclined, you could always draw the 2-part, more tailored sleeve featured on pages 34 & 35 of the new 5th edition Dress Kit Instruction book.

 Wear open or closed.  It works either way.  Most of you already know I sewed this from a stretchy, squishy, sticky, spongy fabric...I wouldn't do that again.  It looks like leather but isn't.  Though in sewing, I needed to treat it like leather.  I got one chance to sew it right as the needle left holes in the fabric just like real leather.  This is a jacket I definitely recommend sewing a test mock-up of.
Remember I showed you this jacket on Imogen Lamport (Inside Out Style).  I don't know what fabric was used.  It's possible she didn't sew it.  But you can see that it's a style suitable for any season.

You can get your downloadable copy of this new jacket - Asymmetrical Zippered Jacket - on this page - Downloadable Fashion Leaflets.  $5.99.

Have fun...
Glenda...the Good Stitch!


Nov 11, 2014

Oct 2014 Fit & Sew Retreat Photo story

What a wonderful way to end the 2014 Fit & Sew Retreat schedule...with 5 lovely ladies!
The 6 days flew by and a lot of fitting and sewing happened in Our Sewing Room (the Studio where I teach these workshops).
Everyone had their personal space, meaning high cutting table, sewing machine and any tool or piece of equipment required.  I feel very fortunate to have this studio so close and so well-equipped.

As many of you know, we begin with pants fitting/testing and sewing from Sunday through Tuesday.  Then end the 6 days with bodice fitting/testing and sewing from Wednesday through Friday.  Each attendee had their own unique fitting issues, but each one of them went home with well-fitting patterns and projects (almost) totally completed.  They were an amazing group of ladies.

Here's some photo highlights of the Retreat.  To see all the photos, please click here - Oct 2014 Fit & Sew Retreat.

Perhaps you'd like to join me next year.  Watch for 2015 dates both on the website Sure-Fit Designs and in a forthcoming newsletter.  And if you'd like to see a few more photos from this past retreat, please click here - Oct 2014 Fit & Sew Retreat.

Happy fitting & sewing!
Glenda...the Good Stitch!

Nov 4, 2014

Squishy, Spongy, Stretchy!

Topstitching a fabric that is squishy, spongy and stretchy is no fun!  And on top of that, the fabric I was using was a leather-like stretch, which meant once the needle pierced the fabric, it left distinctive holes.  And on top of this, the fabric would not press flat, which made it very difficult when turning and pressing seams.  No second chances on this project!

Here's what the finished jacket looks like.

It's a Sure-Fit Designs knock-off of a jacket I saw in NYC.  Exposed zippers are ever so popular.
Mine of course, being all black, doesn't have quite the bizazz appeal like the black & white ready-to-wear, but it's still a stunning jacket.  And the SFD version does have a shoulder yoke - just not as deep in toward the armscye area.

This blog is going to focus only on the topstitching process and tips that I'd like to share with you if you ever come across this type of situation.  Since I knew I had one chance only to get it right, meaning evenly spaced, straight, no skipped stitches and no puckers, testing prior to the final topstitching was definitely required.

Yup!  This fabric is great to look at, but it sure did have it's challenges.  It just simply wouldn't feed well when the leathery side is face up.  I'd purchased both a solid black as well as a perforated patterned piece.  I got them both in the Stretch House during my NYC excursion.

I combined both these fabrics in this jacket.  With a traditional seam, if right sides were being sewn together, it wasn't a problem, but if you needed to topstitch...well - watch out!  It has kind of a leather-like look and a little bit of a sticky feel.

The feed dogs didn't like it.  The walking foot didn't help feed the under and upper layers equally.  Perhaps a roller foot would have worked, but since I didn't have that machine attachment another solution needed to be found.

After much testing, I settled on a paper-like tear-away stabilizer.  I had 3 different ones to test and ended up using this Sulky Tear-Away.  It's years old and I'm sure the price is more than  $1.99 now, but for this project, it worked the best.
What did I test before sewing the one and only chance I was going to get?
First, I recreated a seam scenario as close to what the finished jacket had - meaning the solid black fabric was on the underside of the lapel.  The perforated fabric was on the top side.
Then I tested:
  • the best needle choice to prevent skipped stitches.  Of course, new is always preferable.
  • stitch length - what would look the best on the finished edge.
  • which stabilizer tore away the easiest without too much pulling and stress on the stitches.

This is just a photo of the test sample.  I did about 3 different swatches.

After choosing the most appropriate stitch length, best needle and stabilizer, I prepared the stabilizer.  It had to be cut in the exact shape of the neck line curve so that I could lay it in place and see the folded edge of the seam.  I used the pattern's neck edge for this.

Then I took a deep breath, centered my thoughts and began topstitching.  Remember, I had only one chance at this - this fabric was so unforgiving that I couldn't pick it out if I happened to sew crooked.

Here's a close-up of the stitching before the stabilizer was torn away.

Next came tearing the stabilizer away.  Even this needed to be done with control - one side at a time for both the upper and under layers.

When it was all said and done, I was quite happy with the results, but I'd been agonizing over this final process for the last few days, knowing that it was one chance or the whole thing would be ruined.

Here's a close-up.

I am happy with the results.  Feel free to comment or add your opinions of how you would have tackled a similar challenge.  Also, watch for a new downloadable Fashion Leaflet describing how to modify your SFD bodice blueprint to achieve this jacket.  I hope to have that available for your soon.

Glenda...the Good Stitch!

P.S. Although this next jacket isn't quite the same (nor is it a Sure-Fit Designs jacket), when I saw it on Imogene Lamport from Inside Out Style - I thought it was so similar in design with the exposed zipper offset on one side, that I wanted to show it to you.  And what a difference it makes to sew it in white for a summery look...also notice the shorter hip length...more like the NYC jacket in white and black.