BabyLock Ovation Serger Manual: How to Secure Seams (Pages 72-73)

Hey Everyone, I received a few questions about how to secure the ends of a seam that isn’t finished by an intersecting seam or hem.  Instead of using a bodkin or large eye needle to thread the tail back through the looper threads, give this method a try.  You can secure the beginning of the seam by bringing the tail around and stitching over it… At the end of the seam, you flip the fabric end to end and stitch back over the seam, kinda like a back tack on your sewing machine.    I’ve been using this method of finish the side seams on some of my knit tops when I decided to leave the hem raw.   It’s a very cool technique, quick and durable in the washing machine.  Let me know what you think!  (I know some of you are thinking that you would never leave the hem raw… that’s another story for a different day 🙂

Make a Pattern for Jeans Part 2: How to Trace the Pieces

Hey Everyone, I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season.  I’m anxiously waiting for my new software to arrive… Lenny got me Grading Software from Telestia for Christmas.  I’m so excited because even though I’ve gotten pretty good at using Illustrator to grade my patterns, this will make the process so much quicker.  Super Happy!   So, while I’m waiting for that, I’ve decided to finish up some projects that I started before the holiday.   Today I want to show you how to transform cut apart jeans into pattern pieces.   While I was filming today’s video, I realized I made a boo boo when I cut them apart.

Let’s talk about flat fell seams.   In Part 1 of this project, I showed how to measure and add a seam allowance along the side of the flat fell seam (so I wouldn’t have to add it when I traced the pattern).  I measured 1/2″ from the folded edge of the flat fell seam across the seam to the opposite side.  Then I cut the jeans apart on the guideline I marked.   The problem with this is, the width of the flat fell seam is actually part of the width of the leg that I cut apart! The width of the flat fell seam is 3/8″ …so in reality I only added 1/8″, not the 1/2″ seam allowance I original thought I did!    So, if you’re cutting along the base of the flat fell seam, both sides need a seam allowance.  If you cut along the folded edge of the flat fell seam, include the width of the seam when you add seam allowance (measure from the base of the seam).  The side that does not have the flat fell seam needs the width of the flat fell seam you cut off + seam allowance.

Join me for all the details, if you have questions, please let me know.

How to Cut Apart Jeans to Use to Make a Pattern

Hey Everyone,  I’m working on a little project for a friend.  Her favorite jeans have been officially worn to death.  I decided to try to make a pattern from them because she cannot find  another pair  that fit and feel like these.  Part of the problem is that the fabric that jeans are made from has gotten very stretchy.  Really stretchy jeans are not comfortable to wear when they get wet… they feel like you’re wearing a gross plastic bag.   This is a problem for my friend because she wears these jeans while she’s riding a horse, participating in hunt tests and field trials with her dogs.   It’s hard to find good “non-stretch” cotton denim jeans now, but I have yummy non-stretch denim in my stash 🙂   So, I need a pattern!  Instead of starting from scratch to fit her, I’m going to try making a pattern from these jeans.

The thing about using a garment to make a pattern is that the condition of the garment can affect the fit of pattern.   Join me as I show you how I’m going to deal with this pair of jeans that are being held together with patches and darning…     (I’m always up for a challenge!)

Easy Fit and Sew Raglan Sleeve Top

easy-raglan-cover-photo-for-post This new pattern is part of the Easy Fit and Sew Pattern Collection featuring easy to follow step-by-step instruction. If you’d like to check out the instructions before you purchase your new favorite raglan pattern, click here.

Available in a printed pattern or you can instantly download your pattern after purchase by Clicking on “Return to Merchant”.   Sizes XS – 5XL.

To Buy the PDF Version 8 1/2″ x 11″ Paper| The Easy Fit and Sew Raglan Sleeve Top $12.00 $10.00  On sale for the month of December.
“Once you finish checkout choose the Return to Merchant to Download your Pattern”

To Buy the PDF Version A4 Paper| The Easy Fit and Sew Raglan Sleeve Top $12.00 $10.00  On sale for the month of December.


To Buy the Print Version | The Easy Fit and Sew Raglan Sleeve Top $15.00

The Easy Fit and Sew Yoga Pants Pattern

yogapatternphotowebThe Easy Fit and Sew Yoga Pants Pattern features a 1 piece leg design.  Simply choose your size using your body measurements and cut out the pants pattern piece on a double layer of knit.  Then create a custom waistband for a comfortable fit.  If you’d like to check out the instructions before you buy the pattern, click here.  Available in sizes xxs-3xl.  Choose from a Downloadable PDF Version (US paper size only, A4 size paper will be available soon) or a Print Version.

The Easy Fit and Sew Yoga Pants Pattern PDF Version  $12.00 $10.00 Sale Price for the month of December.
Once you’ve finished check out click on “Return to Merchant” to download your pattern

The Easy Fit and Sew Yoga Pants Pattern Print Version $15.00





This Polish Girl Can Make a Pretty Good Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup :)

Hey Everyone… I’m having fun with so many projects right n0w (not sure I have time for Thanksgiving this year 🙂   The Raglan Sleeve Top is almost ready to go and my Jean Sew Along in the Fitting and Perfection Group on Facebook has really helped me leap forward in my understanding of how to make jeans and pants fit…  I’m fine tuning all the new information I’ve gleaned and I’m going to update my Jean Fit Workbook.  In the kitchen I’m on my way to mastering the art of making Pho (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup).   I’ve tried to make it many times in the past…ending up with faintly flavored broth, not yummy at all 🙁  My husband and I go and have it at least a couple of times a week… It can get expensive, plus I was a little worried about how much salt we were consuming, so I was really motivated to figure out the secret!    If you’ve never heard of this soup, let me tell you, it’s amazing.  Because Vietnam was ruled by the French many years ago, this soup has French influences… The Vietnamese people really didn’t eat meat until the French came in and started sacrifacing their cows for meat.  They were left with all the tough cuts of meat.  So, they started using it to make soup.

Pho has a really unique flavor… star anise, fennel, black peppercorns, casia bark (cinnamon stick), cardamon pods, blackened onions and ginger with the skins peeled off, beef bones, ox tail and some sort of roast simmering at the bottom of the pot… Yum.

I noticed that Craftsy offered a class called Vietnamese Classics: Pho, Noodles & Beyond,  so I signed up and started watching it.  I learned so much in this class (including the history of Pho)…  Then I played with the recipe from class and finally started to get soup that smells and tastes similar to what I enjoy at Pho Restaurants.

img_2605Here’s how I make my Pho.  First I rinse the bones (leg bones 6″-8″ long) and put them in a big pot of water and boil them to get rid of all the scum that comes off of them… Yup, it’s pretty gross… Here’s what it looks like.

img_2608I skim off the scum and gently boil the bones until the scum stops forming.  I’m using about 7 or 8 pounds of bones for this soup. It takes about 10-15 minutes for this step.

img_2609Then rinse bones.  Here’s what my bones look like after they are rinsed off.

img_2610Then the bones go into a clean pot (this is my 40 quart pot that was gift from a friend).  You don’t need to use such as large pot, or make such a large recipe.  Maybe try half this recipe.   You need a rump roast, flank steak, chuck or some other cut of meat to simmer in the broth that will be sliced up and served with the broth (about 2″ pounds for a half recipe).  In this batch I’m using some chuck steaks that were on sale.  The idea is to have a piece of meat that’s approximately 2″ thick so you can cut nice slices out of it later.  Nestle this meat under the bones so it doesn’t float to the top of the pot.

img_2611Here are my bones with the chuck steak nestled under them.   Then I added 4 gallons of water and put that on to boil… this takes a while.

img_2606While I’m waiting I’m blackening up 5 onions and a 3″ piece of fresh ginger.  I use a cast iron pan and cover them.  Turn frequently so they get nice and burnt all the way around.  The onions and ginger get peeled and put into the pot

img_2613If you browned the ginger long enough, the skin will just peel right off.

img_2615Then I cut the ginger into slices and peel the burnt skin off the onions… Here’s what they look like right before they go into the pot

img_2614The spices that are used to flavor the pho are toasted first.  They go right into the cast iron pant and I heat them until they become very aromatic.  I used about 20 star anise, 3 cardamon pods, about a tablespoon of cardamon seeds, 1/2 tablespoon of fennel seeds, 1 1/2 tablespoon of black peppercorns and about 3 inches of casia bark…if you can’t find that you can use a cinnamon stick.   After they are toasted, I throw them in the pot (I don’t bother to put them in a muslin bag because I use a double mesh strainer to separate the broth from everything else later.)

img_2616I also throw in about 2 pounds of ox tail… don’t they look like flowers?  (I know that “ox tail” sounds a little gross, but they really add to the super yummy flavor of this soup.)   I add them to the fresh water and rinsed leg bones.

img_2622Finally, I add about 2 tablespoons of salt.

img_2628When the pot comes to a boil, I set a timer for  1 1/2 hours so I can pull out the chuck steak.  The rest is going to simmer over night.  The idea is to get a perking simmer, not a roiling boil, but not a whimpy simmer either.

After I’ve simmered this all night, I’ll share the rest of the steps with you.

One Tip for cleaning the pot used to get all the scum out of the leg bones…

img_2626I keep a big box of baking soda by the sink in the kitchen.  It’s my favorite to clean almost everything… img_2627After scrubbing the inside of the pot with baking soda, here’s what it looks like.  Notice the pot is starting to get “seasoned” from repeated uses… I think this will be one of my Pho pots.     Stay Tuned for the rest of the process 🙂

How to Make a Tummy Control Panel for the Ponte Knit Jeans

Hey Everyone.   I’m so excited to share with you that my Ponte Knit Jean Pattern was featured in Threads’ Magazine’s Pattern Review.    You can check it out right here.  🙂t188_pa_reprint

In addition to the Misses’ sized pattern, there is a women’s sized Ponte Knit Jean Pattern too.  Check them out here.

In today’s video, I would like to show you how to how to make a tummy control panel for pull on jeans with a faux front fly.  This pattern has a 1-piece pocket bag, and if you’re making a traditional pair of jeans with a front fly, these pocket bags also provide tummy comfort.  If you want to make a pull on pair of knit jeans, you can create a one piece panel that extends from side seam to side seam.   Check it out and let me know if you have questions!

How to Embroider a Tee: Working with Sticky Tearaway Stabilizer

Hey Everyone.  Today I want to finish up How to Embroider a Tee with a few tips when you’re working with Sticky Tearaway Stabilizer.  I have found that when I am faced with a big project that involved doing multiples of the same thing, that’s when I can fine-tune my techniques to be really efficient.  Things like hooping the stabilizer once and then carefully tearing way the embroidery so it can be patched and winding multiple bobbins before I get started so I don’t have to take the time every time I run out of bobbin thread really help get the job done faster.

During this project, I’ve also learned that the benefits of working with sticky stabilizer can be cancelled out by the challenges of working with sticky stabilizer 🙂    The stickiness allows you to stabilize fabrics while easily positioning them in the hoop.  The same stickiness can cause tension problems because the needle and thread has to pass through the thin layer of adhesive on the surface of the stabilizer.  The needle gets sticky and fibers from the fabric and stabilizer cling to the needle.  This can cause thread tension problems.  Good news, the solution to this problem is very simple… Use a little Sewer’s Aid on the needle.

Check out today’s video to see how my embroidery designs looks before and after I started using Sewer’s Aid.    If you have questions, please let me know… Happy Embroidery!

How to Embroider on a Tee

Hey Everyone… It’s all about embroidery here at j stern designs this week.  I’m working on Tee Shirts for the Seniors on the East Catholic Volleyball Team.  Abby’s graduating along with 9 other girls… That’s a lot of embroidery 🙂  I decided this was an excellent opportunity to show you how I embroider.  In today’s video tutorial I’ll talk about how to stabilize knit fabric,  get it in the hoop, get the hoop under the presser foot and protect the surface of the fabric while embroidering.  After the embroidery is complete, I’ll show you how to get the hoop off the machine and remove the stabilizer.

The overall design of this tee is made of two different embroideries on the back and one on the front.  If you’re working on multiple shirts with the same design, I have found that it’s easier and more efficient to embroider the first design on all the shirts before moving to the second design (instead of finishing each tee individually).  In the next video tutorial, I’ll show you how to perfectly position the second embroidery to complete the back of the Tee.

…and speaking of embroidery, the Bernina 200e that I have for sale is still available.  It comes with everything you need to start embroidering the moment you get it out of the box… plus 25 extra presser feet!  If anyone is interested please email me at    🙂