Jan 28, 2014

Cowl Collection

Everybody's loved the cowl neck blouse designs in Beyond Bodice Basics.  For those of you who have this Dress Kit designing book but haven't undertaken a project yet, let me inspire you with these cowl neck blouses.

This is Style 3, Variation #1
Let's just call this one the regular 'vanilla version'.

One of my Fit & Sew Retreat students, Kathleen, chose to draw this pattern as her bodice project during the workshop.  At first she said that she was a little intimidated by the instructions, but once she got into drawing the pattern, she realized that the instructions were very clear and logical.  It all came together just like it was supposed to.  Here's what Kathleen's pattern looked like.

 And here's a happy student in her finished blouse.   A drapy, soft knit is a good choice for this pattern design.

And from Kentucky, we also have Cowl Neck blouses contributed by some of the members of the ASG Fit & Style group.
Shelby Smarte chose to design and sew a sleeveless version. Nicely done, Shelby.

From Kathy Wille, we see her lovely finished blouse.  Looks fabulous.  I bet it looks even better on you, Kathy!

Cowl necks - different body shapes...all look lovely.  Thanks for the group photo ladies!

Another Kentucky contribution from Marilyn Neel in her summery sleeveless cowl neck dress that she called 'Summer Breezes'.  She loved it so much, Marilyn sewed the same dress with 3/4 sleeves, which she called 'Shades of Autumn'.  That's gorgeous fabric in both dresses, Marilyn!

This is Style 3, Variation #2
This particular design variation features curved shoulder detailing. It's based on the same drawing technique for the drapy cowl front, but before you begin the neckline drape, you cut away the curved shoulder shape.

And this last photo contribution is from Gudrun K. from Germany.  She's sewn a coordinating outfit of pants and blouse.  Good job with the shoulder detailing!

Thank you, ladies for sharing your work.  If any more of you have sewn the cowl neck blouse and would like to send a photo, I'd love to see your accomplishments.  You likely know the address: info@surefitdesigns.com.

And for those of you who need a more 'visual' nudge, remember that your Beyond Bodice Basics designing book comes with its own how-to DVD.  You be able to see exactly how these cowl neck designs are drawn from your basic Dress Kit bodice.

Jan 21, 2014

SFD Super Index by Sara

Way back when in the fall of 2013 - (doesn't that just seem like ages ago?) - in one of the SFD newsletters, I let all of you know that Sara Gray (www.sewtogether.net) indexed the entire SFD fitting system and resources.  Bless her heart...she felt she couldn't go ahead with her first muslin test until she knew where everything was located in all the SFD books, kits and leaflets.

Years ago we used to have an SFD Easy Find Index, but when we updated and digitized everything in 2010, that index was no longer relevant.  Sara set about indexing the entire SFD fitting system for herself.  She used a spreadsheet (Excel), categorized, labeled and numbered every little piece of information and design aspect of SFD where it was located and what kind of information you'd see if you went to that particular page/book.  And when she was done, she offered it to me to share with all of you!  Of course I proofed it to make sure everything was in it's proper home, but the bulk of the work is all thanks to Sara.

Here's what it looks like:
The reason I'm bringing the Super Index to your attention once more, is that recently a customer told me she didn't understand the index, what it was about, how to use it etc.  So for those of you reading this blog, who perhaps don't yet have this valuable resource, this is just like trying to find a recipe.  You want Potato Salad - you go to the index and look up 'Salads' then follow alphabetically until you get to the 'P's'.  Your cook book either has a recipe for Potato Salad or not.

It's basically the same with the SFD Super Index (Sara's great name).  As an example: if you want to design and sew Yoga pants, you go to the general category 'Pants' then go alphabetically to 'Yoga'.  the Index tells you what resource to look in - in this case you'd go to the designing book - Pants that Mix n Multiply page 14.  If you want information on adding pleats to a skirt, go to 'Skirts', then to 'Pleated' and you'll see all the options available.

Another reason I'm bringing this up is because when we introduced the new Collar Collection and 5th Edition Dress Kit Instruction book (Jan 1, 2014) Sara was willing to modify the Super Index to reflect the new designs and page changes.

So here it is again and well worth your time to download this Index.  This really is a fabulous resource that is completely indexed and categorized for your easy reference.  There's a Color Key, Source Key and Info Key, which Sara explains on page 1.

So if you haven't already downloaded your complimentary copy, just go to Free Stuff in the Learning Center and click on through to get your Super Index.  It will take the guesswork out of trying to find something you may just be looking for.

P.S.  And while your at it, if you feel so inclined, take a moment to send Sara an email thanking her for diligence in producing this index and in sharing it with you. sara@sewtogether.net


Jan 14, 2014

Radiant Orchid - Is it Hot?

Pantone Color 18-3224 may not mean much to some of you.  All you want to know is that this is supposed to be the hot 'It' color for 2014.  It's kind of a pinky purple known as 'radiant orchid'.   According to Pantone, the company that claims global authority on color trends, recently revealed radiant orchid as a captivating, magical and enigmatic purple.

Pantone says radiant orchid's multifaceted hue is "seductive" when combined with red and it pairs well with its "sister shades" of lavender, purple and pink. It also can be paired with olive and hunter greens, turquoise and teal, light yellows, gray, beige and taupe, the company says.

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, in a news release said, "it's an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, radiant orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health.  It is a captivating purple, one that draw you in with its beguiling charm."
Photos by Contributed Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press 

 Photo by C.B. Schmelter
And you can expect to see it used for clothing to make-up to appliances.  Maybe you'll even see it on someone's hair, but not mine!
Pantone, which is in the business of selling color, gives advice to industries from clothing companies to cars and home decor.  They watch the runways at Prada, Chanel and Dior and many of the spring collections featured an abundance of pinks and purples.
And though there might not be an 'It' hem length anymore, they say there is definitely an 'It' color and as Neiman Marcus says, 'It's this pink'.  Sephora (the make-up, skin care company) says the color is widely flattering.  It's vibrant and inviting yet has enough warm tones to look good on most skin types. Nail polish and lipstick are a natural. And it's already popping up in Converse and Nike's shoes.  On the runway, Cynthia Rowley was among many designers using the color in their spring collection.  No doubt we'll see it in our fabric choices.

Jan 7, 2014

Whew...It's all done! Let's Sew (easy) Collars!

'What's all done?' you ask.  The last 3 months of 2013 producing the Master Pattern Collar Collection, the Fifth Edition Dress Kit Instruction book, and a web site face-lift kept me off the streets and out of trouble!

First - the Master Pattern Collar Collection has been added to the Dress Kit master patterns.  Now it's very simple to draw collars for your bodice neckline.  This Collar Collection is now part of the Fifth Edition Dress Kit.  Side 1 gives you the collar shapes.  Side 2 gives you detailed instruction on how to use and draw your personal shape.

I know you're going to love working with these collar patterns.
Here's a short video introducing the collection.  
After you've watched the video, I encourage you to comment, 'like' and/or subscribe to the surefitdesigns YouTube channel.  You'll receive immediate notification when a new video is published.  Also, please share this with your sewing buddies on your FaceBook page, sewing blog or forum.  One of my 2014 goals is to increase our SFD subscribers so I'm asking for your help to  'spread the word'.

Second - the Dress Kit Instruction book has been expanded from 48 to 52 pages.  The Fifth edition now has new designs and instructions for the set-in cap sleeve, the two-part sleeve (used primarily in tailored jackets), the funnel neckline design and a really pretty and comfortable high/low hemmed swing top...along with other instruction updates and clarifications.

To see a quick video explaining the Fifth Edition Dress Instruction book, watch below.  (Sorry...the video is not embedded in this blog.  For some strange reason this blogger software can't find the video, even though it is definitely on YouTube.  So the next best thing is to click on this link and watch it on the web page.  http://www.surefitdesigns.com/WhatsNew.html

If you would like to add either (or both) the Collar Collection or Fifth Edition Dress Kit Instruction book to your SFD kits and supplies, please just click here.  http://www.surefitdesigns.com/WhatsNew.html

Third - and last but not least, the main surefitdesigns.com website has undergone a face lift!  The Home Page has been totally transformed to make it easier for you to get to where you want to go.  Now you'll see descriptive icons to take you to their respective pages.  You'll see images like the following:

I hope you find it easier to select what you're looking for.  Once you've taken a browse around SureFitDesigns.com, I would appreciate your comments and feedback.  We want this to be a better experience for you in obtaining the information and getting to where you want to go quickly.  Everyone has opinions about what they like and don't like, so please leave a comment on this blog - or if you can't get the comment box to work - just sent me an email to info@surefitdesigns.com.   I seriously want your feedback - all kudos and constructive criticisms regarding the website are welcome.