Quick Tip Tuesday l How to Work with Cut and Sew Elastic

Hey Everyone… it’s a hot one here in Connecticut!  I decided to do a quick tutorial on how to customize the width of Cut and Sew  Elastic. I received an email from one of my student in “Put it on the Bias” on patternreview.com.  The student wanted to know where she could find Cut and Sew Elastic… like the kind I used in the class.  Well the answer is, I have it sitting on my shelf :) So, I decided to do a little tutorial showing how to cut it into different widths.  I love this elastic because I can use it for practically everything.  It doesn’t ravel or fray after you cut it, and you can sew through it without killing the elasticity.    You can also get a peek at another neckline that I’m working on for my new Tee class too!

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Quick Tips Thursday l Use an Invisible Zip as a closure …and how to put in a Snap!

Hey Everyone… This was a fun one for me.  I love working on creative projects.  Check out the invisible zipper that I used for a closure.  It’s kind of tone-on-tone (aka boring??)… Now that I sewed it in, I’m thinking that an orange invisible zipper  might have been more fun!  Let me know what you think…or if you have questions :)… Happy Day (Going to Float in the Pool :)

Check out this tutorial that shows how to use an invisible zipper as a closure in a concealed pocket in a lining of a bag. Plus, how to put in a magnetic snap. Tips for reinforcing the fabric


Quick Tips Tuesday l An assortment of tips for bag lining, interfacing, zippers and magnetic snaps

Hey Everyone,  Happy to be home :)  (But I do wish it wasn’t so hot… I think I almost melted yesterday!)   The first weekend in Augu Add Mediast I’m off to Kansas to teach a 2 day Shirt Fitting Workshop with my friend Karin at the Bernina Sewing Center and the Kansas City ASG.   Before I leave, my goals are:  Finish the new class I’m working on for Patternreview.com and get the instructions for the shorts patterns finished.  (Plus, the bag lining!)…   I think I can do it :)

I’ve got the new bag lining cut out and I want to share a few tips with you before I sew it together and put it into the bag.  Let me know if you have questions.  …and I hope you’re staying cool if you’re in the hot zone like me!

Check out this quick tutorial that shares some tips for cutting out lining and interfacing, using an invisible zipper instead of an all purpose zipper for a pocket, and putting in magnetic snaps



Quick Tip Saturday l If your posting a Video Tutorial…

WATCH it before you press publish :(  Hey everyone, welcome to a special edition of Quick Tip Saturday.  After getting a couple of comments about not being able to see what I was talking about in Thursday’s QT,  I thought my camera angle was too high, and I chalked it up to being lazy (not lowering my B camera) because I was in a hurry and I didn’t feel good.   It didn’t occur to me to go look at the video to see what the problem was until I got another excellent comment…about it being unedited.  Yikes.  So, feeling better today, I sat down and actually watched my video. Turns out camera angle wasn’t the issue… Somehow, my QT got screwed up when it was encoding or uploading… I’m not even sure how that happened because I edited the footage, cutting out all the extra stuff… like the opening scene of me talking to myself as I turned on the second camera and got into my chair  (I didn’t save the original unedited footage on timeline).  So, my quick tip for today is ….Watch your videos before you publish them!   (Of course, one of the few times I didn’t check it.. was one time I should have).

This is especially funny to me because I was busy being concerned that my lovely blue bra strap was showing and I looked a little bit worn out!    I’m going to check to make sure the video I’m uploading now is edited… and then I’ll press publish… Sorry about that!!!



Quick Tip Thursday l Coach Bag Zipper Fix…

…and how my hobo bag restoration is going.  Hey everyone,  I have a really bad cold, so if you watch today’s QT, please pardon me (I didn’t realize that my blue cozy foundation strap was sticking out of my black tank top :(   I picked up the Coach Bag from the Shoe Repair Guy…He didn’t fix it the way I thought he was going to (or the way I really wanted it to be fixed… because I wanted it to look like the original w/leather binding)  But, it is fixed, and it’s another way to have a  zipped opening in a bag.  In this case, I can see that it made it easier work with instead of fussing with the leather binding.  … Let me know what you think!




Quick Tip Tuesday l Pins vs. Binder Clips and DIY Hair Ties

Hey Everyone,   So happy to be home…  I’m trying to catch up with everything before I leave for vacation next week!  This week I have two quick tip topics.   First, we’ll look at using clips instead of pins.  I’m super excited that I have a reason to take out the lining in my favorite bag (which is falling apart from all the love and use).  I’ll show you on Thursday how I use clips instead of pins.  In the meantime, I’ll run through a variety of clips that can be used instead of pins…  And, I have a quick DIY Hair Tie Tip for you!

First let’s look at the clips:  These are my favs… binder clips.  They hold really tightly, and I love how you can flip the handles (that open and close them) away from your project or toward your fabric.  If I need to hold down gathers or volume, I clip them on so I can lay the handles flat (black clip)…. If I just need to hold layers together, I’ll clip it on with the handles pointing away from my project (gray clip).


I also like these clips.  You can find them at home depot or video supply websites and stores.  They are very strong and work well for heavy leather, canvas, denim and  quilting projects.  I found these in the video room at Craftsy :)

vidoeclipsNext up is a hair clip.  These work great when you’re working with something light and airy like organza or gorgette.  They will hold the fabric together without ripping it.  I researched hair clips like the one below.  Check out the variety of clips you can find!hairclipWonder Clips are wonderful… but they are expensive.  They are light weight and perfect for holding all sorts of layers together.

wonderclipsAnyway… I talk about clothespins too… maybe in a pinch :)

Now onto today’s topic:  DIY Hair Ties.  As I’m typing along, I’m feeling less clever than when I started this little project.  It’s my guess that it’s not a big secret that you can use elastic to make hair ties… It just blew my mind to see a package of 5 hair ties for sale at Joann Fabrics just a few aisles away from the same elastic by the yard!

hairtiesThis package of hair ties advertises “Ribbon Elastic”.. but it’s really fold over elastic!   Check out Tuesday’s Quick Tip for all the details :)


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Quick Tip Thursday l Draft a Cover for Your Pillow

Hey Everyone… This is really more of a short tutorial than a quick tip…and as I was editing it, I occurred to me  that it may seem a little off topic for j stern designs.   I’m showing you how to draft a pillow cover for a U shaped pillow.  …It’s a random act of kindess for the guy who does my printing.  He and his wife just had a baby.  (Her name is Madison and she’s very cute :)   Then I realized that all the techniques and things I’m thinking about as I worked on this fun, simple project are the same techniques and things I think about when I’m designing a garment.   So, if you’re new to working with pattern pieces or garments to make new designs, they would be a good intro!

Specifically, I show how to add to the edges of the back pattern pieces to insert a lapped zipper.  After I finished the pattern, I folded the paper pieces on the fold lines and added a zipper so you could see how it would fit together.   I tested the pattern in some soft mint green fabric… but I already gave it away.   I’m going to make another one out of flannel for the winter… so when I do that, I show you how to do the lapped zipper in fabric.

Anyway…  Next week I’m going to Denver to shoot my second Craftsy Class.  While I’m there I’m going to try to do my first video post away from home.  The topic is one that I got as a comment from Tuesday’s Quick Tip.   (Thanks Kyle for the asking about the pins vs. clips!)  …I’ll explain my self next week :)    If you have questions about today’s quick tip (that’s really a 20 minute tutorial) please post them below!  Hope you have a great weekend.  Jen


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Quick Tip Tuesday l Replace the Broken Zipper in a Coach Bag

Hey Everyone,

Happy to be back… Not happy that I had several shooting boo boos.  I didn’t realize that my Canon Camera was set for standard definition and other was set for HD…  Sorry if I look less than crisp in this video.  Chalking it up to a character builder… I’ll check the settings before I shoot my next video for sure!!!!   The big take away in this tutorial is that sometimes it’s better to defer to the expert (or the one with the sewing machine that will do the job!)  I quickly realized that my sewing machine would not sew through the layers of leather… Check out the tutorial to see who I got to help me finish this project!


Thursday QTcover

Quick Tip Thursday l Watch Those Stripes!!!!

Hey Everyone.  This may be an “obvious” tip, but since I experienced the dismay of having cut out my shorts with one leg coming out crooked, I though I would just remind everyone :)

When you fold your fabric in half, aligning the selvage edges, take a minute to make sure the stripe (or print, or obvious grain) is also aligned.  I didn’t even think about it because the fabric I was working with was very stable.  So, when I looked at both my back legs, I was surprised that one of them was not straight!

…and I guess that’s  all I  have to  say (because I really want to float in the pool before the sun goes down :)  Happy Day!



Quick Tips Tuesday l Get Good Tension…

…Check your bobbin! (and a couple other tips too).  Hey Everyone.  Busy times here at J Stern Designs!  Working on two new classes and shorts and Anna’s Graduation Party :)    I worked on the shorts over the weekend, and I realized after much experimenting that the yucky stitching on the bobbin side of the waistband was caused because I put my bobbin case in backwards!  So, I fixed that, sewed buttons on to finish the vent at the hem and unzipped my front fly zipper so that the pull fell off :(

After putting the pull back on, I stitched a bar tack near the base of the zipper to prevent that from happening again… So check out today’s quick tips to see the details.  Abby crashed my shoot at the end, so you can hear how she’s doing in Spanish Class :)