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! :)



Quick Tip Tuesday l How to Smooth the Wrinkles Behind the Leg

…When you’re fitting a jean or snug pant pattern.  Hey Everyone, it’s Quick Tip Tuesday…and I’m still trying to get use to the time change.  Is it me, or does it get  harder to “spring forward” as you get older???   …I think so :)

Anyway, I’m excited about today’s quick tip because I’m hoping it will help lots of ladies get a better fit when they are working on their jean patterns.  There are a few ways to get rid of excess vertical length along the back leg…  This particular method has been really successful in my hands-on fitting workshops.  So, when Kate sent me a picture of her butt, with permission show everyone, I decided that it would be a perfect quick tip!!

Basically, you pin out the excess length in the back by creating a diagonal pleat from side seam to the inseam.  The amount you pin out is the amount you need to get rid of.   I’ll start by showing you how to pin out the excess… Then I’ll show you how to transfer this adjustment to your back leg pattern piece.   Take a look at the video tutorial and let me know what you think!


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Follow-up to Thursday’s Quick Tip… Shorten the leg above the knee

Hey everyone, I want to thank Kathy for asking a great question in response to Thursday’s Quick Tip….   She wanted to know about the position of the knee… and how it would be affected (or not affected) if you shortened the leg pattern piece at the hem.   I forgot to mention that if the knee was hanging low, you could shorten the leg above the knee to get it in the right position.   So, I decided to do a follow up tutorial… Check it out!  Let me know if you have more questions.  Enjoy!


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Quick Tip Thursday l 2 Ways to Shorten a Jean Pattern without Losing the Flare at the Hem

Hey Everyone,   …Hope we suffered the last of the snow last night… of course my driveway is a nice sheet of ice because everything melted and froze solid again :(    That’s ok, I just won’t go out, I have so much going on… super fun.  First, I’m finishing up the editing on my new fitted shirt class for And, I’m prepping for a new class with Craftsy too…   I love it <3…

Today’s quick tip is the answer to a question I got from one of my sewer girls.  I’m going to show you how to shorten a jean pattern two different ways… so you can keep the boot cut or flare at the hem.  This works great if you are working with a skinny jean or tapered leg pattern as well.  The reason why I am offering two different ways to shorted the pattern is that it depe on how flared (or tapered) your pattern is.  The first way involves slashing the pattern under the knee and taking the excess out there.   This works great if you are working with a boot cut (not a lot of flare).   If you have a wide flared hem or a tight taper, this method can cause more work than it’s worth because it will be challenging to true-up the side and inseams after the excess length is removed.

The best way to decide of you should use this method is to look at your leg pattern pieces and see if there is a portion of the pattern where the side and inseams are running parallel to each other. The most likely place is right under the knee.  If it looks like the seams are running in opposite diagonal directions, try the second method.

Instead of slashing the leg and taking out the excess under the knee, you can chop it off the bottom.  Once the excess length is removed, you can re-draw in the flare in the hem by comparing the measurement of the original hem with the new hem.  Simply add (or for a tapered leg, take away) the difference.  This is a great method to use if you want to change the amount of flare or taper you have at the hem too.

I’ll show you how to do it both ways…. Please let me know if you have questions… or, even better, if you have a question that you would like to see on a future QT :)


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Quick Tip Tuesday l How to transfer fit adjustments to the back yoke pattern piece

Hey everyone… Yup, it’s snowing again in Connecticut :/.  I apologize for getting this post out so late… I had to drive Abby to volleyball practice–a trip that normally took 20 minutes took over an hour!    So, in addition to a new quick tip, I’m working really hard editing the Perfectly Fitted Shirt for Patternreview… good times :)  You can look for this new class on in April!

A couple of weeks ago, I showed you how to cut apart a fit muslin to use the adjusted yoke to make a new pattern piece.  Today I want to show you how to transfer the fit adjustments to the paper.  In addition to that, I’m going to show you how to “uncurve” the back yoke if you think it’s too curved to sew neatly to the straight edge of the top of the back leg.    If you have a really defined waistline or a swayback, it may be necessary to take out a bunch along the back waistband and yoke.   This can transform the back yoke so that it has a wicked curve.    Good news, you can relax the curve without changing the measurement of the pattern piece :)

Check it out and let me know if you have questions!  Happy Tuesday…  and stay tuned for more jean pattern adjustment tips on Thursday!



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Quick Tip Thursday l How to Keep the outside of your Washing Machine Clean :)

Hey Everyone… We are having one of those weeks.  My studio is almost set back up (I have to admit I’m actually going into video withdrawal!!)   But, I have to give my husband a break, he’s working a ton and finishing up his taxes.  So, I’m going to offer another blog style tip!  It features a different kind of machine…The Washing Machine.  And actually, this tip comes from my good friend Gail (Gail Patrice Designs).  We were talking about doing laundry and I was sharing my  love of the Method Pump Bottle because I can squirt the right amount of detergent into the machine without dripping all over the place.    photo 5My washing machine has never been so clean…I used to have blue dribbles all over it from spilling as I poured the detergent from the cap into the dispenser in the machine!

photo 4Anyway, Gail told me that she pours the detergent into the cap and then throws the cap with the detergent right into the machine with the clothes.   That is so brilliant!

photo 3This works out so great because there is zero mess from dripping detergent on your machine and you don’t waste a drop because all goes into the machine…The best part is that the cap is also nice and clean at the end of the wash cycle…Ready to measure detergent for the next load!

photo 1…Alright, if you’ve been doing it this way forever… Yay!!!  If you haven’t definitely give it a try, your washing machine stay nice and clean…And, you’ll save money by using every drop of detergent!   (Let’s face it, laundry detergent is really expensive, I like to make it go as far as possible.    Hope you enjoyed this clean tip and I promise to return to video tips next week… I can’t wait actually because it’s really good practice for when I fly away to Denver to shoot my new Video Class for Craftsy at the end of March :)  … If you click on the link above for Gail Patrice Designs, you can check out her Craftsy Class… 40 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know!!   Have a nice weekend everyone!


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Quick Tip Tuesday l The Easy Way to Transfer Adjustments to your New Pattern Pieces

Hey Everyone,  Happy Tuesday :)  I’m just back from Atlanta where I taught workshops for the wonderful ladies of the Atlanta ASG.  We had a super fun weekend!  It was the perfect combination of fitting jean muslins and getting creative with our old jeans while designing new skirts!  I want to thank Julie, chapter president, for being the perfect hostess, and to everyone for making me feel right at home.    So, today is Quick Tip Tuesday and my husband is off on a shoot with all of his (my) equipment.  I went upstairs to shoot a video and when the single light  (that was left in the room) flicked on, it was leaning against the wall because the light stand was at my husband’s shoot…along with the camera and a few other essential things like the microphones.

Between you and me I’m a little tired today :) …so I didn’t have the strength to shoot my QT with my iphone.  But, I could take a photo with it!   One of the most popular questions I get when I’m teaching fitting workshops is “How to I transfer these adjustments to my pattern pieces?”     Happily, in some cases you don’t have to.  If you have made a lot of changes to your fit muslin, it may be easier to use the muslin itself as the new pattern pieces.

Specifically if you’re working with a jean muslin and you needed to take in the back waistband and yoke, it’s easier to use the muslin pieces to create new (adjusted) pattern pieces.  Here’s how to work with the back yoke.

When you’re fitting the back waistband and yoke, the excess fabric is taken out by sewing darts from the top of the waistband to the bottom edge of the back yoke.  Below is a photo showing a waistband/yoke that has been fitted.



The first step is to use a seam ripper and remove the waistband. You will be able to use the fitted waistband to make a new pattern piece too (I’m working with the yoke in this tutorial because it’s a smaller piece, making it easier to photograph… but the process would be the same for the waistband.) 

After the waistband is removed, cut the back yoke out of the muslin.  Yes, literally take a pair of scissors and cut out the back yoke.  Cut right along the stitching line along the side, lower edge and center back edges.  Then trim off the 1/2″ seam allowance along the waistline edge.  Press the darts flat and pin it to a piece of pattern paper.


photo 2Then trace around the edges of the yoke.  I like to use my French Curve.

photo 3After you trace, you can fine-tune the shape of the yoke by smoothing out the curved edges.  Mark the Center Back (CB) and the side seam edge (S).

photo 4Finally add the seam allowances back on… and you have a new fitted back yoke pattern piece :)

photo 5Notice that I marked what the seam allowances are.  I also recommend labeling the pattern piece  and adding   the date you worked on it.      ….Hoping for my studio to be back in commission for Thursday’s Quick Tip!

Please let me know if you have questions.  Happy Day.