Hi Everyone! I invite you to check out all the useful step-by-step tutorials that can be found in my blog. It’s my place to share pattern fitting, sewing and construction tips… as well as lots of other fun stuff!
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Hey Everyone, I have so much going on! I’m almost finished cleaning out my studio so I can transform it into a set to shoot my design videos!! I’m also busy making new jean samples for an upcoming article… and of course, new perfectly fitted shirts are also on my short list… You’ll get a peek at all this upcoming stuff soon…including a shirt made by one of the students in a recent perfectly fitted shirt workshop! But first, I want to share some jeans made by one of my pattern review students!
Carol was so kind to send me pics of her jeans… and the process of making them. Recently, she signed up for Blue Prints to Blue Jeans. This class has an extensive pdf lesson… and lots of videos to guide student through the process of adjusting, constructing and finishing a pair of jeans. Even through I can’t be right in the room with students, there is a lively class message board where pictures of progress and questions can be posted. I’m excited that it gives women the opportunity to take a class in the comfort of their own home! I have a lot of fun working with women from all over the world. This unique experience is very inspiring to me because of the diverse creativity…
The message board becomes the classroom where the students interact with me by asking questions and sharing photos of their projects. I interact with them by answering their questions and posting photos. The students also have the opportunity to interact with each other… inspiring and encouraging each other… I love it.
Here’s Carol’s back view.
…Let’s rewind back a little bit. Here is one of Carol’s first muslins.
In order to get the front of the muslin to fit better, we made room in the tummy, and shortened the front crotch length right above the curve. These two adjustments got rid of most of the wrinkles pulling from the CF in the pic above.
To pull up the front crotch curve, so that it’s positioned where you are, pleat out the excess amount of vertical length at the CF. Create a horizontal dart from the CF to the side seam…. gradually pleat out less and less until you are pleating out zero at side seam. For example, if you need to raise the front crotch 1″… pin out 1/2″ pleat at CF and progress to 0 at the side seams. To test this adjustment, sew along the pins to create a horizontal dart. If it doesn’t improve the look of your fit muslin, you can take it out… you can also adjust how much you are taking out.
If your fit muslin is tight across your tummy, you can let the side seams out a little bit. You can also add a small about of room (no more than 1/2″) to the CF edge. In addition to adding width, you can add some length as shown below. This adjustment adds ease to the center front where you may need it…. Use it in combination with adjusting the side edges. (The red area is what was added to the original pattern. I usually cut off the zipper seam allowance before making this adjustment. Then I add the zipper seam allowance back on at the end after all the adjustments have been made.)
If you have questions about any of this, please post a comment or shoot me an email. …. Next up…. The Fitted Shirt! I’ll show you how I matched the printed pattern on one of the beautiful fabrics I got from Sawyerbrook.com …(if you click on the link, you can peek at the fabric!!) and see some shirt made by some of my students! (They did such a great job, very inspiring!) Stay tuned.
Hey Everyone, Hope everyone had a great weekend… like I did! I spent the weekend with the CT ASG teaching the Perfectly Fitted Workshop… by the Cupful! I want to take a minute to thank Ruthe, Barbara (our gracious hostess) and all the ladies who attended this workshop… They really did a nice job with their patterns, it was a fun day!
I started the class by showing them what I’ve been sharing we you… the progress of getting my own muslin to fit me properly. Then the ladies started trying on muslins. When everyone had a good starting size, I evaluated the fit of each muslin and filled out a customized fit worksheet.
When everyone had a plan of action, we started adjusting patterns. Some of the common adjustments involved changing the slope and length of the shoulder seam and raising the fullness of the bust. When all the adjustments were completed, we used the adjusted pattern to cut out a custom fit muslin. It’s interesting to note that due to an error in ordering, I did not have my shirt-weight muslin… so we used the heavy weight muslin (that I use in the jeans workshop) to make the fit muslins in this class.
Here are my thoughts about using heavy muslin to fit a torso sloper. Because of the weight of the fabric, and the fact that it has zero give and drape, it amplified every wrinkle. This made it easy to see fitting challenges! … On the flip side, it was a little more difficult gathering and setting in the sleeve.
and the back….
We addressed wrinkles, adjusting the custom fit muslins before setting in the sleeve. To gather up the sleeve cap I recommended stitching two rows of gathering stitches…. one 1\4″ from the edge of the sleeve cap and a second 3/4″ from the edge. This way, there is a row of gathering stitches holding the gathers perpendicular to the seam allowance… making it easy to stitch over the gathers smoothly. …Here’s a sleeve that’s been set-in… You can see the gathering stitches on either side of the seam.
The goal at the end of the workshop was to have a pattern that’s ready to go in fashion fabric….I’m happy to report that we had success all around! Here’s Barbara, the owner of Barbara’s Sewing Studio, sporting her perfectly fitted shirt!
…btw, if you’re local to CT, and you’re looking for a great place to hold a sewing class, Barbara Deane’s Sewing Studio is a really nice space to hold a class…. And, If you’re looking for someone to help with fitting a gown or dress, definitely give Barbara a call!!!
…If anyone has been wondering, I still love jeans too… My next post, is spotlighting one of my students on Patternreview… Carol made a wonderful pair of jeans that fit great… I asked her if I could share her success with you. She emailed me some great pics… stay tuned~~
Hi Everyone, …I have tested the theory that “playing with the wings” on the sleeve cap can make more room to move.
Ok, Let me tell you what this adjustment did for me… and what it didn’t do. It didn’t keep my shirt from pulling up when I raise my arm. There are less wrinkles when I raise my arm when I compare it with the muslin before I did the adjustment. If having more room to raise my arm up over my head was my only goal… I would not be satisfied with the results I got.
But, this muslin feels significantly more comfortable than it did before I adjusted the sleeve cap. I was surprised at how much more room there was to more my arms around. In addition to having more room in the shoulders, there is more room in the bust and across the back. I’m also happy with the way the sleeve looks when my arm is down. There isn’t any extra fabric hanging around the armhole… (Wondering if I add more… maybe I can raise my arm more comfortably… but would there be extra fabric when my arm is down??? … a test for a later date)
Here’s the order in which I fit a shirt pattern… and when I would do this adjustment:
- Adjust pattern so that all key areas are in the correct spot vertically (slope of the shoulder, bust, waist, hip)
- Adjust shoulder (length of shoulder, forward shoulder)
- Adjust the muslin for fit in the bust and across chest (fba, or take in or let out depending on how the fullness at the bust fits)
- Adjust for ease across back
- Adjust for ease in middrift, waist and hip
- Adjust pattern for any body-specific challenges like high round back or asymmetrical features.
After these adjustments have been completed, sew a custom fit muslin to test the fit.
Adjust fit muslin to smooth wrinkles (wrinkles generally point to the problem.) For example if you have wrinkles from the armhole to the bust, you may need more room in the bust (or the fullness is not in the right spot).
…After all the wrinkles have been smoothed out, if your shirt feels snug when you move your arms (or when you hug yourself), I think this adjustment would be a good fix.
Here’s how to do to adjust the sleeve cap to make more room to move your arms… and achieve a more comfortable fit if your muslin is feeling snug around the bust level.
I decided to make a copy of my sleeve so that I’d have the original (just in case I wasn’t happy with the results!)
The firs step is to extend the underarm seam up about 1/2″.
Then, fill in some of the curve in the “wings”. I don’t have my French curve handy, so I’m going to dash in a new curved line that fills in the curve.
These two steps have to be repeated on the front side of the sleeve cap. Make sure to extend the underarm seam the same amount as you did at the back of the sleeve cap.
After dashing a new curved line to fill in both sides of the sleeve cap… and I”m happy with the new shape, it time to commit to the new curve by drawing it in “like I mean it!”
The process of dashing the initial shape of a curve, then committing to it with a solid line is an easy way to test a shape, without burning through your eraser….
I find that it’s easier to get a curved shape without a ruler by dashing along… vs drawing a solid line.
Because I do not want to adjust the armhole to accommodate a sleeve cap with a different measurement, I’m going to extend the new curved line so that it is the same measurement as the original curve.
Start by measuring the original curve. The original curve of my sleeve measures 5″.
Then measure the new curve to determine how much it needs to be extended to equal the original curve. The curve that fills in some of the sleeve cap will measure less than the original curve.
The new curve needs to extend 3/8″ past the underarm edge to be an equal length (5″) to the original curve.
The final step redraw the underarm seam. Starting at the end of the new sleeve cap, blend the underarm edge into the original underarm edge at the wrist.
Here’s what the completed sleeve looks like.
Please let me know if you have any questions about this adjustment! Thanks…. Have a great weekend! Jen
….If you were wondering, my new trunk made safely back from St. Louis! Getting ready to teach for my local ASG… So excited!! Connecticut may be a small state, but there are a lot of talented ladies living here :) I’m busy putting the finishing touches on the Perfectly Fitted Shirt Workbook and, of course, I’m making a cool shirt to wear! Last night my good friend Eric came over for a visit. It was so nice to see him. We caught up on what’s been going on… then I couldn’t help but pick his brain on some of my ongoing fitting/drafting projects.
One thing that I’m working on is reducing the amount a shirt pulls up when you raise your arm… Last week, Marie and I were working together to get the perfect fit for our shirt muslins. After fitting the bust and shoulder, I started to effervescing about how much the shirt pulled up when Marie raised her arm. I had her scoop out the front armhole curve, fill it in… and a few other things that ended up having NO effect on the overall look of the shirt when her arm was raised…
So, I showed my pattern and the photo to Eric. He had a solution that I have not tried yet. Instead of adjusting the shape of the armhole, he showed me how to adjust the shape of the ”wings” of the sleeve. … Yup, I’m learning new terminology too. Wings are the side edges of the sleeve where the sleeve cap and the underarm edge meet. I’ve circled the wings in the illustration below.
To show me how to adjust the sleeve, we worked with my fitted muslin and pattern. Basically, to make more range of motion, Eric added to the length of the underarm seam, and filled in the wings like this.
I’m excited to try this… but sadly, I don’t think there is a perfect answer. Eric explained to me that it’s a choice between the look of the shirt vs. the range of motion you need while wearing your shirt. Essentially, the fabric that’s added to the sleeve will be visible when your arms are not raised. …So if your priority is a great looking fitted shirt… range of motion will be limited. …. That being said, while my shirt lifts up a little… it’s still comfortable to wear!
Stay tuned for some before and after shots using this pattern adjustment!! Happy Day, Jen
I had such a great time with the ladies from the St. Louis ASG. After getting off the plane, I was met by Jodell, my wonderful hostess for the weekend. We went right to Sew It Seams to set up for the trunk show. Cindy, owner and instructor at Sew It Seams, and Carole, the chapter president, were ready for us when we got there. After unpacking my new crate (which I was so happy to see), we went to Chevy’s for dinner. (yummy)
I love doing my trunk show, because it’s like a walk down memory lane for me–in reverse. I kick it off with my most current designs and then progress back to the days of the Bernina Wearable Art Fashion Show (when I made beautiful custom embroidered garments!) I love adding new things to my trunk show… (For example, the rest of the month is going to be dedicated to the Perfectly Fitted Shirt.. I have a pile of fabrics waiting to be cut out!)
After a great night sleep, Jodell and I were up early to get back to Sew It Seams by 8:30 for the Ribbon Skirt Fit Workshop. We talking about the nature of bias fabric and the different kinds of fabrics that could be used to make a Ribbon Skirt. I brought three different sets of fit muslins–Firmly woven fabric with little drape, Loosely woven fabric with lost of drape, and knit fabric. The goal of the class was to see how bias skirts made from different fabrics fit. Everyone had the opportunity to try on all three fit muslins. Based on how the skirt muslins fit, we determined which size pattern to start with. After adjusting the pattern for length, it was time to cutting out the pattern pieces ….on the bias! The ladies all brought different fabrics…. Here’s are a couple of pictures of fabrics being cut out. Notice that we didn’t let the fabric hang off the edge of the table… the weight of the fabric hanging over the edge can stretch and pull the fabric off grain…
It’s really important to lay out fabric so that the grain is running straight with the cross and lengthwise grainlines. You can use the selvage edge as a guide along the lengthwise grain. On the cut ends of the fabric, you can tear the fabric to find the straight edge… or you can pull a thread to find the true crossgrain. One of the ladies brought a very cool, very loosely woven fabric. The threads were pretty heavy, so it probably would not have torn easily. Here’s a close-up of the cut edge of the fabric as a thread was being pulled across the crossgrain. You can see from the picture that the threads are pretty hefty!
One of the fun things I like to do is show how easy it is to match stripes when you are cutting out a ribbon skirt on the bias. One of the ladies brought a fabulous black and white striped knit. Look at the perfect results she achieved!!
It looked great on her too! … This skirt reminded me of the wonderful job Liz did matching her stripes on a Tee during a workshop I did in Chicago earlier this year!
I want to thank Jodell for taking such good care of me. And, Cindy, the owner of Sew It Seams, Carole, the St. Louis ASG Chapter President and all the ladies who attended the Trunk Show and The Ribbon Skirt Workshop. It was such a fun weekend… I feel honored to have the opportunity to share!
It is really easy to pull a thread to find the crossgrain if you’re working with loosely woven fabric!
Hope everyone had a Happy Easter! … We had a nice day with the family Flying to St. Louis on tomorrow to teach the Ribbon Skirt Fit Workshop… very exciting! Another exciting thing is that registration for the National ASG Conference starts on Monday, April 8th! I’m doing a quick post about this because I’ve already received emails from wonderful ladies who are hoping to get into my classes! Click on the link and you can check out all the cool classes that they are offering this year. I love teaching at the National Conference, and I feel honored to be included in this year’s line-up of excellent educators!! Besides my Jean Fit Workshop, I’ll be teaching two new classes. To follow-up the Fit Workshop, I’m offering a new class… Restyle your Jeans. Spend the day adjusting your pattern to create new jean styles. We’ll be playing with waistband treatments, pocket shapes, topstitching details, different flared legs and lots of other designer details!
I’m also teaching a special class for large busts I’m super excited about this class because I have a super sized bust and working on this class is giving me the opportunity to really investigate how to make a great fitting sloper that fits me . Using the my new cup-sized shirt pattern, I’m developing a bust fitting class for DD-Cup and larger. I’ve been fitting some of my generously endowed friends… and I’m getting really good results.
In addition to taking classes at the conference, it’s a great time to connect and reconnect with people who share the same love of sewing that you do… so consider attending!
I plan on using my custom fit sloper to design all sorts of new things… Dresses are top on my list… Please stay tuned for more exciting designs coming…. and take a minute to check out the asg national conference class list… There’s a lot of great stuff to take part in! Hope to see you there! Jen
Shipped my trunk show to St. Louis in my new case yesterday… Here are some shipping tips. Don’t take your shipping to the UPS store… They will charge you for everything, causing your shipping cost to go way up!! I went on UPS.com… It was really easy pay for and print my shipping label… and shipping insurance. The “hard” part was leaving my trunk show at the UPS store…. When I got there, I handed over my case and printed label… The nice UPS man gave me a receipt and said “you’re all set….” (in 30 seconds…) I had a moment of panic… This is the first time I’ve sent my entire trunk show somewhere by itself. I almost felt like I was sending my daughters somewhere without me (almost!) …I’m ok The UPS man assured me they would take good care!
On to more exciting stuff… In addition to my trunk show, I shipped out the fit muslins for The Ribbon Skirt Workshop… I’ve added a knit muslin to the woven fabric muslins… Students will have the opportunity to try on get fit evaluations for three different bias cut skirts… one in muslin, one is a loose weave cotton that’s soft and drapy and one in a bias cut knit! I think I’m going to rename this workshop and call it “Bias Bliss!”
Now I’m working on more samples to bring with me to St. Louis. One of the new fabrics I found is a printed panel. They seem to be very popular this wear… I had a few to pick from. So I decided to go way outside my box and go with a huge, bright magenta flower!! The fun part of working with a panel like this is decided how to position the skirt pattern pieces on the print to end up with a cool layout… Because the colors are soooooo bright, I decided to keep them way from my waistline! So, I cut out the front skirt pieces so that the flower took up about 2/3 of the skirt…starting at the hem.
I flipped the pattern piece and aligned it along the cf edge of the right front skirt piece. Then I marked a little guideline along the edge of the pattern piece. When I positioned the flipped pattern piece on the fabric, I matched the guideline with the printed fabric… Here’s how the front of the skirt looks like when it’s sewn together… very bold for me
When I’m working with a big print, I always leave my options open as I work along… I originally thought I was going to make a symmetrical design… cutting out all the pieces so that the skirt had an even amount of color all the way around… But after putting the front together, I felt like that was a lot of color … I decided to go with less is more when I cut out the back skirt pieces… Here’s how I positioned the back pattern piece…. To match the print along the side seams, I used the position of the print along the side seam of the front pattern piece to mark a guideline along the side seam of the back pattern piece before I positioned it on the fabric. (Exactly like I illustrated for the CF)
Just a little bit of color… I didn’t try to match the amount of color on the left and right sides…. When I put the skirt together, I loved the way the design came together along the side seams! Very fun..
I’m having such great week… I got to spend my 45th birthday in NYC with my fashion students. I have been working on my Ribbon Skirt Workshop… Very excited to have both knit and woven fabric muslins for students to try on! And, I solved a problem I’ve been dealing with for a while now. My J Stern Design Schedule has exploded this year…. Thinking about adding more events to my schedule has made me double think my shipping situation. … When I do a trunk show or an expo or other event, I’ve been sending my stuff in cardboard boxes. I decided to ask my husband about a more permanent option.
My husband is a wonderful film maker now (cinematic wedding story), but back in the day, he was a rock star! So, when I asked his opinion about how I should ship my stuff…he started looking online at Calzone cases. They make shipping containers for musicians… It was an option. We called them on the phone to see what sizes they had in stock… nothing that would work to ship my trunk show. Then my husband got the brilliant idea to drive over to Guitar Center to see what they had in stock.
…Here’s what we found… This is a travel case designed to transport drum accessories. It measures 40″ long x 18″ wide and 18″ deep. I was in heaven. We took it home with us. It’s made of hard molded plastic and it has two straps to keep the lid on. The best part is that there are wheels on one end, so it doesn’t have to be carried… You can lift if by one end and roll it around!
…Here’s the moral of my story… I would have never thought to check out stores like Guitar Center to look for shipping boxes for my trunk show if my husband had not suggested it. … It pays to think outside the box! (in this case I got a great box because of it!) :) I thought this might be helpful to anyone looking for a creative option for shipping…. They have a lot of other size and shaped cases … I almost bought a Kick Drum Case….
Hey Everyone, I’m freshly back from a weekend at the Sewing Tree in NH. It was such a nice trip. I took my mom with me… We took our time driving up on Friday… making a few quick stops along the way. We arrived at the Sewing Tree, in Dover New Hampshire around 4:3o pm. I was greeted by Janith Bergeron, one of the owners. We got set up and settled for the workshop on Saturday… Then we went out to dinner with Janith and her friend Kathy, who had come for the workshop. After a yummy bowl of macaroni and cheese, it was off to the hotel… I think my mom and I were sleeping by 9:00!
It’s rare that I get to work with such a small group… 8 registered participants, Janith and her partner, Christine. It was amazing. We got all the muslins fitted before lunch. After lunch we worked on the custom muslins… Many of the ladies were achieving a great fit in record time.
During the afternoon, I worked on a specific body type challenge… Prominent inner thighs. Women with curvy figures have a variety of silhouettes. Legs can have full inner thighs, outer thighs or both. Barbara, one of the ladies in the class has had gastric bypass surgery and lost over 100 pounds. As a result (she looked wonderful!) … Barbara explained to me that when you have this type of surgery… and dramatic weight loss, you can end up having pockets of loose skin. In Barbara’s case, this happened along the inside of her thighs. Here’s a close-up view.
One way to adjust the pattern to fix this is the same adjustment I illustrated in a post I did last week (inward rotating knees.) If you missed this post, check it out for the details on how to adjust the pattern. Essentially it’s necessary to move fabric over toward the inner thigh and take it away from the side seam. (The total measurement stays the same.) So, I slashed the pattern at knee level and shifted it toward the inner thigh… adding 1 1/2″ along the inseam and taking it away from the side seam. here’s the muslin before making this adjustment. You can see that there is enough ease… but the muslin is hanging up along the inner thigh. In addition to causing lots of wrinkles along the back leg, this causes the muslin to not hang straight below the knee.
… When I first looked at this picture, I was surprised at the amount of wrinkles that showed up. When I looked at the muslin, many of the wrinkles you see in the picture were not obvious. Still, you can see that there are is an improvement. There are less wrinkles, and the muslin is closer to hanging straight.
… In addition to all of this pattern fun, I picked up a couple of really cool sewing notions that Janith and Christine had at the Sewing Tree. As you may have seen in some of my pattern adjustment posts, I have wonderful “Armani” leucite bars that I use as pattern weights. They are perfect for big projects. … But when I use them for smaller pattern pieces, I have to slide them around to cut. Well, I’m happy to say that problem is solved! I got this really nice solid brass pattern weights… Packaged in Altoids tins. They are surprisingly heavy…
And, last but not least, I also got a beautiful seam ripper and matching awl. They have wood handles… that are carved from a block of dyed birch laminate. And, it’s not just beautiful… The blade is very sharp… and if it ever gets dull, I can sent it back to get the blade replaced!! LOVE it! (I had a little photoshop fun with this pic… so you could see all the colors in the wood!)
Thanks to everyone who ordered my new pattern! (I have to admit, folding it up and fitting it into an envelope is almost an Olympic sport, the pattern sheet is soooo big :) …I’m off to New Hampshire this weekend to teach Jean Fit Workshop and Profession Construction Techniques for the Sewing Tree. Super excited because my Mom is going with me…we are going to make a weekend of it!
When I get back from The Sewing Tree, I have three short weeks before I leave for St. Louis to teach the Ribbon Skirt Workshop. I love this workshop because there are so many design options. My goal for this workshop is to give everyone the opportunity to leave with fitting information for a knit Ribbon Skirt and a woven fabric (cut on the bias) skirt. Today I worked on a full set of knit muslins in sizes 6-20!
… The great thing about working with knit is that it’s very forgiving and easy to fit! I cut the knit muslins on the bias too, because even though the knit stretches across the crossgrain, the 45° angle is so much more interesting!! As I worked on my muslins, I collected a few tips that I want to share with you!
I want to talk about the selvage edges. First, the basic info… The selvage runs along the lengthwise grain. This is the edge that’s as long as the amount of yards of fabric you purchased. The selvage is used as a guide to make sure that you are positioning fabric straight on the grain (or in the case of bias, an accurate 45° angle from the selvage!) Pattern pieces that are cut on the straight of grain should be positioned on the fabric so that the printed grainline on the pattern piece is parallel to the selvage edge. An easy way to tell if you’re straight is to measure the distance between the printed grainline and the selvage at both ends of the pattern piece… They should be equal! The selvages are woven really tightly woven and sometimes they can cause the fabric to pucker along the edges. Here’s a close-up picture of the fabric I was working with to make my knit muslins… notice how the fabric close to the selvage edge puckers.
This can make it hard to cut pattern pieces out accurately… especially when you’re trying to cut along the bias grainline. It’s also interesting to note that the fabric curls to the wrong side of this fabric… That’s helpful to know when you’re trying to decide how to finish a hem or neckline!
If you trim off the selvage edge, the fabric will lay flat! (Much easier to cut accurately on the grainline!