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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!

 

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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!

 

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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 :)

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Quick Tip Thursday l How to Sew a Button Vent

Hey Everyone… Sorry about the delay in getting this post up… Yesterday was Anna’s graduation from East Catholic High School.  It was a really nice ceremony, held at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hartford.  Such a proud mom moment :) …now it’s time to start getting ready for College!!!  Anna is very excited to start at Simmons College in Boston (I’m excited because it’s just far enough away for her to get the “Going away to College” experience… But it’s close enough that I can go visit any time I (she) wants!

meandannaHappily, I finished my quick tip and my long shorts!   I ran around town on Wednesday doing errands sporting these shorts before I even put the waistband on!   (…don’t worry, I was wearing a longer shirt that covered the raw edge of the top of my shorts).  While I was sewing the waistband in place, the tension on the needle thread was yucky.  I didn’t notice it until I finished sewing.  I suspect it’s because my needle was too small for the weight of the fabric.  So, over the weekend, I’m going to figure that out and fix it.  I’ll let you know what happened with that next week.  I briefly mentioned the waistband.  If you didn’t see my tutorial showing how to sew the waistband facing… check it out here.  Even though I didn’t use a waistband (the facing finished the waistline edge), the technique for sewing the facing is the same.

Anyway, I’m going to be working on producing this shorts pattern… which will include a long and short leg style, and my “grown up girl’s shortie short pattern too!   Check out this tutorial showing how to sew a button vent (which is featured on the long version of the shorts).  Please let me know if you have questions!  Happy Weekend :)

 

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Quick Tip Tuesday… Let’s talk about those crotch points

Hey Everyone.  Working on the shorts pattern, and I started thinking about the shape of the back crotch point.  It’s more noticeable when you’re working on shorts with a 3″ inseam than pants because you can see the angle of the short inseam from point to hem.  When the point is less than a 90 degree angle, it causes the inseam to point toward the front… I decided to try to “straighten” the inseam out to form a perfect plus sign…  Partly because I thought it might be a more “proper” draft and partly because I was curious if it would make my back view look any cuter in my shorts :)   As it turned out, it created more wrinkles (probably because adding the the width of the angle of the crotch point involved lowering and shortening the back crotch edge).

Anyway, after a trip to the mall to get Anna a dress for graduation with a little crotch research on the side, I decided to keep the point as is…  Let me know what you think!

 

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Quick Tip Thursday l Shorts Pattern Update…

…and how to topstitch the fly with creating a pucker when you’re working with stretch woven fabric.    Phew, that was a long title!   I’ve been working on my shorts pattern, and now I have two new patterns in the works.    My original shorts pattern could not be easily lengthened, so I decided to keep that as-is (because I love the fit of them) and I started over to make a shorts pattern that can be adjusted into whatever length you like.  Happily, that new pattern fits well too!  Check out today’s quick tip for all the details on that.  Plus I used stretch fabric and I cut my pieces out with the grainline of the pattern aligned with the cut edge of the fabric, not the selvage… So the stretch would go up and down the pieces instead of across.  This worked well, and I’ll show you how to stitch the fly detail without pushing the fabric toward the base of the fly and creating a pucker.

My other exciting news is that I’m working on a second Craftsy Class :) … To celebrate, I want to offer you guys a discount on my first class… Flattering Jeans, Fitting Techniques for Every Body.   So, click the link below to receive $20.oo off..  That’s Half off the price of the class!   You’ll notice that I said I was giving a $10.00 discount link in the video… but I decided that I love  you guys and I want to show my appreciation for your support!

5117_300x250I’m going to offer this discount for the entire month of June :)  If you have any questions about this class, or my shorts pattern, or anything else, please let me know!  Hope you Enjoy today’s quick tip!  Jen   (Ps…I’m hoping to have both new Shorts Patterns available before the end of June too.. “Shorter Shorts -Longer Shorts  & The Grown-Up Girl’s Shortie Shorts Pattern:) )

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J Stern Designs l Behind the Scenes: Shorts Adventure

Hey Everyone… Happy Memorial Day Weekend! I’m getting ready to spend the next three days watching Abby and her team, The Inferno, play volleyball. (Love it) I’m also super excited about today’s video. It’s a behind the scenes peek at what goes on when I’m working on a new pattern. Part of it is sewing samples… Usually I’m not super happy during this step in the process because I want to get to the pattern production part of it, but in this case, I’m thrilled. I LOVE these shorts. I’m actually wearing them right now as I do this post. They are so comfortable. I can’t wait to get the long short version finished.

As a “special treat”, I didn’t edit out the mistakes that I made when I was constructing my shorts. When you are designing your own pattern, it doesn’t come with instructions, so my first couple of samples are trial and sometimes error. Nothing tragic, but I think my mishaps are good examples of things to be thinking about when you’re working a your own shorts (or pants). First, I’ll take you through the finishing of the waistline. There isn’t a separate waistband, just a facing. After it’s sewn on, the topstitching will create the look of a waistband. Then all share a few details about the button fly, buttons and holes… this is where a had some trouble….no spoiler, you’ll have to watch to see my boo boos!

The original plan was to show you some back pocket construction as well… I mistakenly purchased STICK on sew on velcro. It was awful to work with. I had to break out the Sewer’s Aid to get four little square of it sewn to the flaps of the back pockets… So, instead of a step-by-step, you get to see the finished pocket. Anyway, I hope you enjoy… and I hope you have a great holiday weekend too :)

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Quick Tip Tuesday…On Wednesday

Hey Everyone, Well I managed to get the computer to start up this morning (It’s days are numbered though….)   Today’s quick tip is included with a peek at my new shorts pattern.  You’ll have to watch to see what it is :)   I’m excited about this pattern because I think I made a back crotch curve breakthrough.  I spent a lot of time trying to fit the first version of it on to my butt, but I couldn’t get it right.  So I stepped back and thought about it for a few and then I started a second draft.  Based on the fitting issues I was having, I made some adjustments to the shape of the crotch curve…  Then I traced a copy and started the fitting process again.  So happy I took the time to work on the design, the second version was so much easier to fit.  And, I got a stamp of approval from Anna (which is very difficult to get… she’s brutal with her honest opinion).  Anyway, check it out and let me know what you think!

 

 

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Preview of the Perfectly Fitted Shirt…and a Little Man Sewing!

Hey everyone, Hope you’re all having a nice weekend. My girls are actually bobbing around in the pool (It’s still a little nippy for me :) I’m going up to work on my new pattern “Long Shorts – Short Shorts” and I decided to do a quick post about some Man sewing and my new class on Patternreview.com… The Perfectly Fitted Shirt.

First let’s get the men out of the way. During my Jean Fit Workshop last Wednesday, I was telling my class about two excellent men sewers who have excellent websites with excellent video tutorials. First there is BrianSews. He does very clear tutorials on how to put in tac buttons and rivets (plus much more). Next I discovered ManSewing with Rob Appell. He does lots of stuff… some sewing, some cooking … very interesting. Check out his tutorial on how to shorten jeans… the best I’ve ever seen!

Now onto my new class for Patternreview.com It was truly a labor of love. I started working on in in September of last year and just finished it up a couple of weeks ago. Of course there was lots of fun in between working on it, but I’m glad to finally be finished. I think it’s a great class for sewers who may be new to shirt making. It takes you step-by-step through many common fitting issues and construction from cutting out to popping the buttons on. In this class I’m working with my cup sized Perfectly Fitted Shirt Pattern. Of course, if you’ve got a favorite already in your stash, you can work with it too. Here’s a quick preview video that takes you though what’s cover in this class… Please let me know if you have any questions!