JSDTV Episode 6: Ponte Knit Jeans, A Little Knitting and a How To!

Hey Everyone,   Sorry about the delay in getting this week’s episode of JSDTV up.  My husband and I have been in competition for the lighting and audio equipment.  Every time he need them for a shoot, it takes me 1/2 hour to take everything down and pack it up…Then it takes me 45 minutes to set everything back up.  In addition to the Ponte Knit Jean Pattern… I’m very excited about my new knitting adventure.    …I met Lorilee Beltman at the Craftsy Instructor Summit… She had on an amazing knit skirt.   …Look how cool it is.

IMG_0523-1I was so inspired that I signed up for her class on called “Continental Knitting”.   … I’ve watched the first Lesson a couple of times, and I think I’m getting the hang of how to hold the knitting needles. Your left hand holds the yarn and your right hand formed the next stitch….opposite of how my grandmother taught me!   I’m discovering that taking the time to try something new has actually invigorated my regular “thing”…. weird huh?  If you want to check this class out, click on the photo below :)   ….Maybe it would be fun to start a little “closet knitter” club :)

titleCardI’ll keep you posted on my progress… my plan is to keep knitting until I can make a block of rows that look perfect.  Then I’ll try the Purl Stitch!  As you can see, I have a long way to go!


Now on to my regular “thing”.  The Ponte Knit Jeans are almost done!  I’ve gotten wonderful feedback from a few of my pattern testers.  The set of fit muslins are all cut out and ready to sew together, and the instructions just need a revision based on what my pattern tester noticed.  I’m hoping to launch them before Valentine’s Day <3…    To get you guys ready, I want to show you how to prepare the front leg pattern piece to cut out a fit muslin.  The trick is to use the pocket facing/bag to draw in the waistline and side seam where the front pocket opening is.  Check out this week’s episode for all the details.   If you have questions about sewing a fit muslin, please let me know!!  and if anyone wants to start knitting with me… Please join me!!


Quick Tip Thursday l How to Sew Knit on the Sewing Machine


Hey Everyone.   It’s story time.  I want to share an experience I had when I was a new sewer and I didn’t know what I was doing (This was quite a few years ago when I was in my 20s).  I went to a fabric store to buy some fabric to make some clothes.   I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make, but I was really interested in this sewing thing and I wanted make something.  My experience up to this point was my experience in Home Ec (as it was called when I was in 8th grade).  I learned how to sew a straight seam and my final project was a jump suit (Were those even in style in the early 80?)

All I remember about the entire project is that I was so proud of it that I ran all the way home to show my Mom (Who was also a Home Ec teacher).  Apparently she was very distracted the thread tails streaming behind me as I ran up the driveway because when I told her that I received an A she just opened her mouth and then shut it…   (I learned later that not clipping threads was my Mom’s biggest pet peeve.  I think she was trying to figure out how I could have gotten an A on a sewing project that featured so many long threads it could almost be called fringe.)

Anyway between then and my trip to the fabric store I had dabbled in “remaking” some of my clothes and I was ready to start from scratch.  I was so excited about all the choices of fabric, I spent hours browsing until a nice sales lady asked me if I needed help.  I told her I wanted to make a dress and I showed her the pattern that I picked out of the McCall’s catalog.  It looked like an easy to make knit dress.   She asked me what kind of machine I had and I proudly told her I was using my mother’s Viking sewing machine that she got as a wedding present when she married my Dad.   She took one look and me and said “Well you know you can’t sew knits on a sewing machine.”  I felt so deflated… and I left the store without purchasing any fabric…

Well the good news is, since then I learned that you can sew knit on the sewing machine and get a nice smooth seam that has some give!    Let me show you how!


Quick Tip Thursday l Tips for Easy Pattern Adjustments + Ponte Knit Jean Update


Hey Everyone,

Sorry I didn’t get this up yesterday… I was working on the Ponte Knit Jeans and time got away from me… Today I want to share a couple of quick tips that will make working with patterns that need fit adjustments easier.  First, I broke my own rule and worked on Anna’s pattern without tracing a copy.  All of the sizing lines around the edges of the pattern were confusing.  …Plus when adjusted the leg to be straight instead of boot cut, I had to check three times to make sure it was straight!  There are also a couple of other cool tricks in there…

On a separate topic, I also realized that I asked for pattern testers…so I have to let them test the pattern before I release it!   Check it out and let me know if you have questions!

Happy Weekend! (I’m going to be at Winterfest.  It’s a 3-day volleyball tournament.  There will be lots of college coaches scouting players… very excited for Abby!)

JSDTV Episode 5 l First Look: Ponte Knit Jean Fit Workshop and Test Fit – Size 20

jsdtv01122016Hey Everyone… I’m having so much fun this week!  I got to spend a lot of time with my daughter, Anna, while test fitting the Ponte Knit Jeans.  Anna is my older daughter who is a Freshman at Simmon’s College.  She doesn’t have my love of sewing and design… but she graciously agreed to be my fit model :)   It’s a win-win, because I can now make her some really comfortable knit jeans to take back to school.  They fit great and I think they’ll be perfect to dress up for her work study job on campus and well as for a night out with her girlfriends.

Ponte Knit is a stable knit that has some stretch.  Because it is so stable, it’s perfect for fitted jeans.  But, it’s not like working with a super stretch knit that would be more appropriate for leggings or yoga pants.  I was surprised that many of the adjustments that I use to fit non-stretch jeans work well for this pattern as well.   Having said that, I found them much easier to fit than the non-stretch muslin.   Each Ponte Knit Fit Muslin has a non-stretch comfort panel built into the front.  This panel is created from the one piece trouser style pocket bag/facing.   I included it so that the muslin would provide a realistic idea of how the Ponte Knit Jeans will fit and feel when they are constructed with these non-stretch pocket bags.  (Making it easier to fit.)

Part of what I’m working on while test fitting is to determine the amount of stretch so I can finish the sizing for the pattern.  We started with the size 20 because it measured an inch less than Anna’s full hip and waistline.  I think the non-stretch comfort panel came into play, because the waistline fit almost perfectly, while the hips and thighs needed to be taken in.

I think my biggest challenge is going to be finding Ponte Knit that I love for the finished pattern.  The fabric I purchased in NYC a couple of weeks ago is polyester — nice for fit muslins and kits, but not what I would want to wear.   …Does anyone know where I can find some?

Let me know if you have questions about this pattern, workshop or fitting.  And, stay tuned for Quick  Tip Thursday… I’m going to show you why it’s not a good idea to fit a pattern using the graded nest


Quick Tip Thursday l How to Adjust the Sleeve Cap for a Forward Rotated Shoulder

Hey Everyone…. Happy Thursday!  You know how somethings just work out great?  Well, I set up to shoot this video and I did it in one take, with almost no editing (out my uhmmms) :)  I love it when that happens. Today’s Quick Tip is a companion to Episode 4 of JSDTV when I showed the difference between a “forward shoulder” pattern adjustment to get the shoulder seam centered on your shoulder and a “forward rotating shoulder” pattern adjustment where you are adjusting the pattern to accommodate a shoulder that’s rotated forward.  Phew that’s a mouthful!  Anyway, if you need to adjust the bodice for a forward rotating shoulder, you also need to adjust the sleeve cap!


I’m also working on a test fitting for the ponte knit jeans.  My daughter Anna has graciously agreed to be my fit model for the Women’s sized pattern… and be the star of next week’s episode of JSDTV!    Anna’s going to model the fit muslin as it fits right out of the envelop… then after I’ve adjusted it to fit her.  If you’ve ever wondered what goes on during one of my jean fit workshops, here’s a peek.

I was really surprised to find out that many of the adjustments I had to make to Anna’s pattern were the same as those I would make for a non-stretch jean pattern.  The proportions and measurements are different, but the adjustments themselves are similar.  I’m going to finish sewing the fitted muslin together after I finish this post, I’m dying to see how they fit.  I will fill you guys in on Tuesday next week.  …If all goes as I hope they will, I think I may be announcing their availability too!!!

Finally, Deepika at Patternreview.com has put Fit your Tee to a T on sale for $19.99 until January 12th… If you’ve been waiting for a good sale, here you go!  I’ve you’ve purchased this pattern and you haven’t had a chance to make it up yet… Let’s go!!  I’ve moved on to designing new necklines for the Tee.  It amazes me that some of the designs look like completely different patterns.  If you’ve fit your tee pattern and want more, check out the New Tee Neckline Workshop  or  Beyond the Boat Neck on Patternreivew.com…

I think that’s enough excitement for today… Have a great weekend :)


JSDTV Episode 4 l How to Adjust a Pattern if Your Shoulder Rotates Forward


Hey Everyone,  Today I want to give a detailed answer to a question I received in one of my online classes (The Perfectly Fitted Shirt on Patternreview.com)  A couple of students asked questions about the Forward Shoulder Adjustment.  In the class I show how adjust a shoulder seam that is forward of the center of the shoulder. (Hence I call it “The Forward Shoulder Adjustment)…  The students pointed out that a forward rotating shoulder is also a body type.  The adjustment for this fitting challenge is the opposite of the one I showed in class, so it was confusing.  Their questions got me thinking about it…  This is why I love teaching and I love my student.  I’m always learning new things :).

I was aware of this body type and adjustment, but I never worked it out for myself… so this is the perfect opportunity! The front shoulder is easy to adjust because you just need to adjust the slope of the shoulder seam (by lowering the tip of the shoulder end).   …The back proved to be a little more challenging. It’s not just a matter of adjusting the slope of the back shoulder the opposite amount as the front.  More room along the arm hole also needs to be created to accommodate the forward rotation of the ball of the shoulder.    Because you need to add to the shoulder seam in both directions, it makes the shoulder seam longer…   An easy way maintain the length of the back shoulder seam is to use a pattern that has a shoulder dart.  That way you can transfer the excess into the dart.  …So that’s what I did!

On a separate note, I announced that I will be in LA teaching workshops in March.  First I get to spend the 11th and 12th with the LA Chapter of the ASG.  The Jean Fit Workshop is full, but there are a couple of spaces left in the Tee Fit Workshop…so if you’re local to the area and have The Tee on your list… check that out.  Then I’m off to Baron’s Sewing Center to teach The Ponte Knit Jeans Workshop on the 13th and 14th.  It’s going to  be super fun!

Anyway, let me know if you have questions about today’s Episode of JSDTV :)


Quick Tip Thursday l How to Unbox your New Sewing Machine or Serger

Happy New Year Everyone!!   Today, I want to show you how to take a new sewing machine or serger out of it’s box… the right way :)    I’m working on a new Decorative Fashion Serging Techniques Class for Pattern Review, and I’m going to use the Babylock Ovation in the class. thurscover SplashWhen the serger arrived on my doorstep the other day, I almost ripped open the box I was so excited.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had the opportunity to open a new machine… I almost forgot myself!  I’ve worked at a sewing machine dealer for almost 10 years… I know you never damage or throw away the box.   So I decided that it might make a good quick tip to show you how to unbox a machine.  Since I shot this video, I’ve also had the chance to play with the serger…I’m in love.  After I have the opportunity to put it through it’s paces, I will do a video review. Plus, some quick tips showing my favorite features.

…I’m really excited… I have a lot of fun things going on to start the New Year.  I want to take a moment and thank everyone who follow, support, and cheer me on.  I really feel like this is going to be a big year for J Stern Designs, and I look forward to offering you guys all sorts of creative new patterns, workbooks, workshops and other fun stuff.

So, if you need a reminder on how to open a new sewing machine or serger… check out today’s video.  If not, stay tuned, I’ll be back next week for more fun stuff.  I’ve been keeping a list of Quick Tips that are answers to email questions and other things that occur to me.  If you have a sewing, fitting or design question, please let me know, and I’ll put it on the list!


NYC Garment District Adventure

jsdtvcoverHey Everyone… I hope everyone had a Wonderful Holiday.  I had a very Merry Christmas this year, lots of family time <3.  During the past week, we’ve also been dealing with our internet connection problem.  My husband realized that something was really wrong when he couldn’t upload a TV commercial for broadcast… We had the cable guy here twice.  And, after rewiring the house and checking all sort of things it still wasn’t right.  Finally, one of the techs was able to help us over the phone.   So, after spending the day in NYC on Monday, I thought I would have no problem editing and uploading my video adventure.  When I started editing, I started to get sea sick from looking at the footage from the var.  My husband gave me a tutorial on how to stabilize my footage.  Happily, I was able to use “warp stabilizer” to fix the footage, the problem was it took a long time… each clip had to be analyzed before it stabilized.  After that, I decided that I needed some music in the background for the scenic bridge sequence…  Another tutorial…  Finally, a little color correction so I didn’t look too frightening (I was so excited to get to NYC, that I forgot about wardrobe, hair and makeup… yikes!)

Anyway, I want to share one of my favorite NYC fabric stores with you.   Fabrics for Less is a great source for nice silks, suiting and linen for really great prices.  I went there looking for Ponte Knit that I could use to make up my fit muslins for the new workshop that I’m developing to go along with the pattern.  Happily they had a nice blue ponte that I think will do the trick.  Check out today’s episode of JSDTV for a tour of this cool fabric store, plus a little siteseeing along the way.   …I didn’t show you the ponte knit I  found, but don’t worry, I’ll share it with you after it’s been washed and tested!

I forgot to mention in the video that I’ve started a new group on facebook…J Stern Designs Pattern and Fitting Perfection.  This group is dedicated to you.  It’s a place to post photos of your garments for inspiration and to get fitting help.  It’s just getting started, but as we get going, I’ll be offering exclusive patterns (some will be free), plus exclusive vidoes and other fun stuff!  Check it out…and post some photos of your Tees, Jeans, Shirt or whatever you’re working on!

… and on a totally unrelated topic, did anyone get a new sewing machine or serger for Christmas?  If you did, check out Quick Tip Thursday this week.  I’m going to show you the “proper” way to open up that box!




How to Make Decorative Pattern Weights

Hey Everyone, …we’re almost down to a week before Christmas, and my studio is humming with gifts!  This week on JSDTV I’m going to show you a couple of different ways to make pattern weights from flat washers.    I went to Home Depo to get some of the supplies for this project.  They had assorted sizes of flat washers and a pretty large selection of Duck Tape.  The rest came from my stash… Batik fabric and buttons from my Grandmother’s collection.    Before working on this project, I didn’t have any “fancy” ones… I used used each single washer as a weight.  Sometimes they were not heavy enough to get the job done…So I’ll be gifting myself with a set of these little beauties :)   The reason why I picked this project to share with you is that I’ve been very inspired by the different versions of these pattern weights that I’ve seen while teaching hands on workshops.  Most recently, I was in Titusville FL, and one of the ladies had weights that were embellished using a yo-yo technique… very cool.   JSDTVcoverThe first step to making these pattern weights is to create short stacks of  3-5 washers.  I was going to glue stacks of washers together… but I forgot to do it the night before.  They take a long time to dry, so I came up with a plan B – Instead of glue, I used thin strips of Duck Tape to hold the stack together…. Worked great, and no mess!

After you have your stacks of washers ready to go, you may decide that they are all done.  I’ve seen plenty of pattern weights that were simply stacks of washers that were glued together.  If you want to get a little more creative, try one of the ways I’m going to show you in today’s episode of JSDTV.