Quick Tip Thursday l Dress Bodice Fit Update …and…

how to match prints.  Hey everyone… I’m on a roll today finished sewing up the bodice of my new dress and I love it!  The contour fit adjustment made a big difference.  So as soon as I press “Publish” I have to switch gears and get into Sweet 16 mode.  Abby’s party is just two days away, and I have a designer volleyball cake to bake and decorations, favors and other fun stuff to deal with.  Today is also the kick off to Anna’s trip to DC for the History Bowl Finals… So exciting, wish I could go with her too!

Anyway, back to business.  I cut out my dress bodice pieces and basted them together… did a little fine-tune fitting (I had to take it in at the side seams and I’m still playing with the length of the straps.  Then I used a very “technical” method for cutting out the band of fabric that I’m going to use to edge the bottom of the bodice before I attach the skirt.  I cut a piece of the cotton print on the bias and wrapped it around my mid-drift so that I could just trim it to the length I wanted.  Then I measured the length of the back bodice edge and marked the fabric band where the side seams would be. (The bottom edge of the back bodice measured 9″… So I marked in 9″ from each end of my strip.)

I pinned the band to the bottom edge of the bodice, aligning the side seam marks with the side seams of the bodice…. Then I gathered up the lower front edge to fit the center portion of the band.   It went together perfectly!  And, the unfinished edges of the bodice do not gap anymore.

…Let me know what you think!  Also, there is a tip for matching prints (very easy).   Have a great weekend, and next week we will finish this dress up!


Quick Tip Tuesday l How to Prevent your Bodice from Gapping

…And, it’s still Tuesday!  I swear my life is full of all sorts of action adventures… thrillers… disasters… etc.  My puppy dog Maggie was feeling sick yesterday (and alllll night long).  I was really worried this morning, so I brought her to the vet.  Turns out that she had gas in her intestines and it got twisted and sort of stuck up a little.  (Luckily she didn’t eat the corn cob that I thought was lodged in there somewhere.)   After spending the day at the vet, she was able to come home :)  … So all is right in the world again.  We just need a little chicken and rice, antibiotics and Pepcid AC for the next few days.

I was able to finish my quick tip when I got home (Yay)… I’m excited about this one because I’m working on a fun new dress.  And, I have the day off from my Jean Fit Workshop in Rhode Island tomorrow, so I’ll be able to finish my first version.  Today I want to show you how to deal with a really common fitting challenge when you’re working with a bodice that has a V-Neck… or a cross over neckline…or even a scoop neckline.  (Really any neckline edge that is lower than a crew neck.)

Have you ever noticed that the neckline of your v-neck gaps away from you when you’re wearing it?   That can be caused by the fact that the space above your full bust is sort of concave shaped… (hollowed out).  Let me show you how to get the edges of your neckline to hug in vs. gap out!

This quick tutorial shows you how to take out the excess length along the edge of a neckline to keep it from gaping away from you.  Check it out and let me know what you think!


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Quick Tip Thursday (on Friday)

A Different Design Idea… Hey Everyone. The past couple of days has been a comedy of errors… that were not funny. My husband got asked to do a last minute shoot today… I managed to shoot part 2 of the sundress bodice yesterday. However, I didn’t download the footage before he snapped the card up and took it to his shoot today (pretty sure it got erased :( ) I think things happen for a reason… I did shoot some more fun stuff about the dress, but I didn’t get the pattern where I wanted it to be, so I’m going to work on it some more and do a more complete post on Tuesday.

Happily I have a really cool design idea to share with you instead (old school pics). One of the ladies in my Jean Workshop brought in a Tee that she made using The Tee Pattern. …It’s so cool for a number of reasons.  First of all, I love it when someone take one of my patterns and changes it up!   Here’s the front view… Notice the center front seam…That’s not the original pattern piece.  The original lower bodice piece is one piece.  I love that Mickey cut it in half to take advantage of her striped fabric.
photo 1(5)Then of course, there is the striped fabric itself… Perfect for this tee!  Look how nicely she matched up the stripes along the CF and side seam.

photo 2(3)The back of the pattern was altered as well… Mickey split the upper and lower pieces in half to add really cool interest to the back view….  I love the X affect!

photo 3(2)I’m so inspired to get out my tee pattern and make some striped tops!!!  ….Did anyone use striped fabric to make this top (Send Pic Please!!!!)  Here’s another example of super stripe matching + some neckline alteration tips and a pic of home made beer… (I had soooo much fun with Liz and the Chicago ASG)

Ok, so I hope that holds you over till I get the dress pattern going on Tuesday (sorry about the delay!)  Jen

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Quick Tip Tuesday l How to design a dress bodice…

Using a fitting sloper…  Hey everyone!  Happy Tuesday :)  It was Anna’s Birthday Dinner tonight… I had to take a break and celebrate with her (18 years old… yikes!!!!!!) ….Anyway, here’s this Tuesday’s Quick Tip: Part I of designing a dress using your fitted sloper.  Check it out and join me in creating your go-to dress for summer!
Let me know if you have questions or comments…and I’ll be back Thursday to continue this creative project :)


Quick Tip Thursday l Denim and Notions

Hey Everyone… I almost tossed my computer out the window!!!  My editing software (premier) totally sucked… getting caught up, crashing etc.   (I think I’m having my first blog temper tantrum)

Anyway, I’ve finally finished the QT for today… It’s a review of how to treat your denim before you cut it out… and which needles and threads will help you get great results.   I’ve also added a few tips for interfacing pieces so they stay in shape when you top stitch them.   Check it out and let me know if you have questions!




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Quick Tip Tuesday l How to true-up your pieces…

Before you start cutting out your denim. Hey everyone! Happy Tuesday. I’m so happy to be home and back on schedule :) I had so much shooting my Craftsy class last week… then I came home to a really nice family get together for Easter. Hope everyone had a nice holiday.

This week we’re going to get ready to cut out our jeans. But before you lay out that denim, take a minute to make sure that your adjusted pattern pieces are trued-up and ready to go! I know that it’s a lot of work to get a great fit when you’re working on jeans…and during the process of transferring fit adjustment to the paper things can get messed up. It’s easy to forget to make like adjustments to both the front and back legs causing the side or inseams to not agree in the end. It’s even easier to forget the little pattern pieces that need to be adjusted if you take in/let out the side seams or if you needed to lengthen/shorten the rise. Check out today’s quick tip for a step-by-step guide through the process of checking your pattern pieces…

Thursday I’ll give you some tips on denim, thread, needles and other notions and tools that can help you get professional results when you’re constructing your jeans.

Next week I’m starting a new adventure… Between leafing through the latest Vogue Magazine and getting frustrated with a certain dress in my closet, I’ve decided it’s time to start using my fitted sloper to create garments that not only scream “Yes, I love that look!!!” But also… “Yes, I can wear that look”…. We all have features that make fit a challenge (I have a few)… I’m going to start with my ample bust :) and the maxi-dress I actually bought from Ann Taylor two summers ago… I’ve only worn it in front of my mirror for about 2 minutes before deciding to take it off… (I really thought it fit when I tried it on in the store) Anyway, I think this is going to be a lot of fun, and I hope to inspire you to use the patterns that you’ve spent time fitting to create something new :)

Anyway, back to it… If you’re working on fitting jeans… check this out!  Please let me know if you have questions :)


Quick Tip Thursday l How to Organize your Fit Muslin Pattern Pieces…

…For easy (and accurate) construction.  Hey Everyone… I had a great class yesterday in Rhode Island… The ladies are doing an amazing job :)   One thing that stood out as an obvious topic for a quick tip was Fit Muslin Construction.   I’m pretty surprised at myself for never doing a blog post about it before.  I think it’s because I take it for granted that it’s an easy thing to do.    When I looked at some of the fit muslins that came to class, I realized that there are a few tips that I can give to make the job easier…. So, here we go!

The first thing I want to point out is that muslin fabric does not have an obvious right and wrong side… This makes it really easy to mistakenly sew two lefts or rights when constructing the back leg pieces.  While doing this is not tragic, you would end up with seam allowances showing on one side of your muslin, but not the other.  An easy way to prevent this from happening is to lay the left and right back leg and back yoke out on your work table side by side… That way you can see that you have one crotch point facing left and the other facing right.   Then put the back yoke into place above the top of the leg pieces, as if they were sewn together.   That way you can pin the back yoke to the top of each back leg the right way…   Here’s something that happened in class.  In the muslin below, the back yoke was sewn on wrong… the shorter side seams are meeting up at the center back of the muslin.   In this particular case, the more important issue (that the back was way too low) could be easily corrected by taking the yoke pieces off and switching them, so the longer CB edges were meeting in the middle!photo(7)In addition to laying the pieces out to make sure you have a right and left leg ready to sew, it’s a good idea to mark the edges with the actual seam allowance you need to use.  For example, the top of the back leg/yoke needs a 3/4″ seam allowance while the front crotch curve only needs 3/8″.  Marking them on the fabric itself makes it easy to remember what you’re doing as you stitch along!

There may be a few other tidbits in the video… check it out and let me know what you think!   Also, I want to remind everyone that I’ll be in Denver next week, so no Quick Tips :( …  (I’ll make up for it when I get back :)


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Quick Tip Tuesday l How to Raise the Rise…

on a Jean or Pant Pattern :) Hey everyone, I don’t have a lot of time to chat with you tonight, so I’m keeping this one short. (Getting ready to leave for Craftsy to shoot my new class on Sunday) + I’m teaching in Rhode Island tomorrow…Can’t wait to see how the ladies did with their custom fit muslins… I’ll post a fitting tip from this class on Thursday (for the Quick Tip!)

Today’s tip is how to raise the rise of your jean pattern… I want to send out a thank you to Susie for checking in at j stern designs with a great question! So, check out this tutorial… and please let me know if you have questions!! Thanks for watching :)


Quick Tip Tuesday l How to Play with the Flare (or Taper) at the Hem of a Jean Pattern

Hey Everyone…Sorry the QT is coming late tonight… I was so organized this week.  I shot my tips over the weekend and I even had Tuesday’s tip edited and ready to go yesterday….  Then my computer acted up (my husband and tech expert insisted it’s because I’m going on the internet on my “work station”… It’s so hard not to.   But, after today, dealing with “corrupt” files I think I’m going to have to follow the rules.   I had to edit my tip twice before I could get it to render (The process of turning the file that I edited into and MP4)… Happily I finally prevailed.

Tuesday’s Quick Tip shows how easy it is to convert your straight leg pattern into a different style…  Get ready to play with the flare or tapered hem of your jean (or pant) pattern.



Quick Tip Thursday l Use Your Fitted Jean Pattern to Make a Pant Pattern

Hey Everyone, Happy Sunny Day!!  After yesterday’s 50 degree weather, I’m ready for spring :)   …I’m getting so close to finishing my shirt class for  and today is the due date for all my class hand-outs for the Craftsy Class I’m working on.  Happy to report that I can check things off my list!

I received a question from Kim, one of the ladies who took my Jean Fit Workshop in Atlanta… She wanted to know how to create a pant pattern from the back leg and yoke pattern pieces.  I decided that would be an excellent quick tip… (Thanks Kim!)    If you like fitted khaki or slack style pants, then you can really get a lot of mileage from  your fitted jean pattern.   I’m going to show you how to reattach the back yoke to the top of the back leg.    …Notice I said “reattach”, that’s because jean patterns are drafted from a pant sloper.    Basically, a back leg jean pattern piece is drafted by designing the shape of the back yoke along the top edge of the leg.  Most of the waist darts are included in the width of the yoke.  After the yoke is cut off the top of the leg, the darts are closed and a seam allowance is added to both the bottom edge of the yoke and the top edge of the leg.   The closed darts create the curved shape of the back  yoke… Technically, the dart has been rotated from the waist edge to the side seam edge.  (The curved shape of the yoke is sewn to the straight edge of the back leg creating a horizontal dart.)  That’s why jeans don’t need back waist darts :)

The resulting pant pattern piece in the tutorial has relatively small darts.  This is because the original jean pattern was designed to be worn low on the hip (because the difference between the waist and hip measurement was very small.)  If you have a defined waistline, you will end up with larger darts.  If they are more than 1/2″ each,  draw your darts 4 1/2″ long (instead of the 3 1/2 shown in the video).

Check out the tutorial and let me know if you have questions! :)