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How to Finish the Neckline & Armholes with a Facing

Hey Everyone… The countdown has started!  Two days until I drive off to Orlando to teach at the National ASG Conference.  I’m super excited because I have two new classes… pattern grading and adjusting a non-stretch pattern for stretch fabric.  I didn’t realize how much I loved these two topics… Plus, I though I knew everything about adjusting a pattern for stretch, but I learned so much while I was working on this class 🙂   For my grading class for home sewers, I decided to make a deluxe kit with pretty heavy paper half scale sloper pieces and designed my own grading ruler that I’m printing clear plastic to go with the New Grading Workbook.

I’m leaving a few days early so I can spend time with my good friend Becky.  She’s been such an inspiration and has had so many amazing ideas to help grow J Stern Designs.  If you stop by the booth at ASG, it will be like a double bonus, you can meet her, and check out her spangle designs that she puts on Tees and such.    If you’re coming the the ASG Conference in Orlando, FL… Please come visit us <3

Anyway, I’m super happy that I had time to do a video to show you how to finish the top of the Abby Dress.    Please let me know if you have questions.  And, If you haven’t gotten your free copy of this pdf pattern yet… Join us in J Stern Designs Fitting and Pattern Perfection to get the coupon code 🙂


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Trouble Shooting the Chain Needle Thread Guide on the Baby Lock Ovation Serger

Hey Everyone,   Before I get to this quickie topic… I just want to thank everyone for all the excitement about the Abby Dress PDF Pattern.   If you’ve joined us in the JSD Fitting and Pattern Perfection Group, welcome!  ..and I encourage you to post questions, comments and photos on the discussion board, I’m there to help.  Monday I’ll be doing a Facebook Live Tutorial showing how to do a FBA on a Dartless Bodice @ 3:00 est… hope to see you 🙂

…and on to the quickie topic for today. I’ve gotten several questions about threading the Chain Needle Thread Guides on the Baby Lock Ovation.  I decided to do an up close and personal inspection of this guide.  I’ll show you an easy fix to make threading it a snap.   Enjoy 🙂


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4th of July Pattern Sale and Free Abby Dress PDF Pattern for JSD Fitting and Pattern Perfection Members

Hey Everyone… Happy 4th of July 🙂  Celebrate Independence Day with me (a little independent pattern designer).  I’m offering all my pattern for 25% off until July 5th at 11:59 pst.   Plus I’m super excited to offer The Abby Dress PDF Pattern to members of the J Stern Designs Fitting and Pattern Perfection Group for FREE!   This is a comfortable knee length sundress. It looks great with the Cardi from the Tee Twin Set.

The JSD Fitting and Pattern Perfection Facebook Group is where you can get help with fitting, garment construction and lots of other stuff.  I’m going to start a weekly facebook live video that will be a behind the scenes peak at what I’m working on plus sewing and fitting tutorials.  I hope you’ll join us! 

You can find the coupon code in the pinned post at the top of the J Stern Designs Fitting and Pattern Perfection Group.  Please do not share this coupon code with non-members 🙂

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Entrepreneur Insight with Two of My Favorite Ladies

I hope everyone had a great weekend,   I took some time Sunday morning to watch some stuff on YouTube that I had on my list.   One of the videos that I watched was a play back of a live interview Angela Wolf did with Janet Pray.  Angela has started a new series called Entrepreneur Insight.  When I saw the preview video for their interview, I couldn’t wait to watch the rest.  Both Angela and Janet are amazing ladies.  Not only are they successful at what they are doing, but they are also leaders in the sewing education industry.  I love it when we end up at an event together and we have time to visit and catch up.  

I’m busy working toward goals I’ve set for J Stern Designs.   This interview made me stop and think about where I started, how far I’ve gotten and where I still want to go.  It was really fun listening to Janet talk about how she started out.  I always assumed that she started working with her Aunt at Islander Sewing Systems.   But she actually started doing craft shows …just like me 🙂   (And, we both came to the same conclusion about them too.)    From there she eventually did start working with her aunt to take Islander Sewing to a new level.   I was very inspired by her journey and learned some things that will help me grow my business. 

This is actually the second video in the series.  Angela interviewed Reen Wilcoxson of Embroidery Garden a couple of weeks ago.  I’m definitely going to go back and watch that one too.  …Even though I don’t have to to work on my embroidery/digitizing anymore, I’m very interested to hear Reen’s story.  I’m sure it will be very inspiring too.  

…Now I’m off to work on my new class… “How to adjust a non-stretch pattern for stretch fabrics”.  I’m having lots of fun with this because it gives me the opportunity to sew for myself.  I’m making all the samples in my size, which is the only way I have time to sew for myself! …Something I learned that I have in common with Angela 🙂 

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Prom Gown Sew Along 2017 – How to Design Your Own Dress

Hi Everyone… It’s Prom Season and I’m working on Abby’s Dress and doing a few “Random Acts of Kindness” Hem Jobs 🙂    This year the Prom Gown Sew Along is going to focus on how to design your own pattern.  I started with one of my bodice slopers  and created a princess seamed plunging V-Neckline.  Then I designed the skirt using the waistline shape of one of my flared skirt patterns and a long ruler to draft the rest.    I’m shooting video of my progress and I’ll be posting a new episode every few days (Yup, I’m going to Draft, sew, fit, shoot, edit and upload all at the same time 🙂  

The game plan for designing your own dress starts with deciding on the style of your dress and pick out pattern(s) to work with.  Abby fell in love with this trendy plunging v neckline style paired with a gathered fit and flare skirt.  I didn’t have a princess seam sloper to work with,  so I decided to start by showing you how to draft one from a bust dart.    In this episode I’ll show you how to rotate a bust dart to create a princess seam.  The Princess Seam Style is a Large Bust’s best friend.  It’s much easier to create a nicely fitted bodice compared to working with bust and waist darts.   

Once I had my princess seam bodice pattern, the next step was to create the Plunging V-Neckline… You can check out all the details in the second episode.  I’ll show you how to create the shape of the neckline edge, straps and armholes.  When you’re changing edges of the pattern it’s important to make sure they will still sew together properly.  I’ll show you how to make sure the front and back straps and side seams agree with each other in the end.

 After the seams and neckline are finished, it’s time to make a fit muslin  Coming up next… I’ll show you how to transfer fitting adjustments to your pattern pieces – Stay Tuned 🙂


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Using the Neutral “N” Differential Setting with Knits

Hey Everyone, I’m busy getting ready for Stitches United next weekend.  I’m super excited about the classes I’m teaching.  Today I finished the kits for my Yoga Pants Class.  …I LOVE the performance knit fabric I’m using for fit samples and the kits.  It’s a double brushed polyester that’s super soft.   I made all the sizes up so students can try them on before cutting out their yoga pants.  It’s also really easy to sew on the sewing machine… So if you don’t own a serger and you want to try sewing with knits… this fabric a perfect beginner fabric for pull overs and pants.

Today I want to share my stitch quality experience with you.  I always stitch a sample before I start constructing garments.  Usually I’ll cut a 6-8″ rectangles of the fabric I’m working buy generic hydrocodone online with and fine-tune my settings before I get going.   I did this today, the 4-Thead Stitch looked perfect with a differential feed setting of 1.3.  So I started making the samples.  After making a few pairs, I inspected my work… and I realized that the raw edges of the fabric was curling back down on itself under the looper threads.   I tried increasing the DF setting… This made it worse.   So, I set it to N or Neutral… Meaning the front feed dogs are going the same rate of speed as the back feed dogs.  The stitch was perfect!  

So this story has two morals…  First, a short sample may not tell you the whole story… and Second, sometimes the DF setting for a stretchy fabric may be N or even a setting below that!

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Get Tanked!! New Easy Fit and Sew Tank 2 Ways

Hey Everyone… happy day after Easter (I hope you all had a really nice holiday with family and friends… I did 🙂       Today I’m releasing a new pattern that’s near and dear to my heart…. The Easy Fit and Sew Tank 2 Ways.  It’s near and dear to me because I’m not a lover of sleeves 2/3 of the year.   This tank has two different necklines.  The traditional scoop neckline is perfect for the gym… plenty of freedom to move + no cleavage.  Plus, the back view will conceal your sports bra whether you wear one with racer back or traditional straps.

For a more dressy look, the tank with a gathered neckline and band to finish the hem can go from work to dinner out.  It also makes the perfect partner for the Cardi from the Tee Twin Set.  

It’s available in sizes 2xs – 5xl.  If you have questions, please let me know 🙂


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How to Get an Accurate 5/8″ Seam Allowance with a 5-Thread Stitch

Hey Everyone,  I had a little fun with this today’s video.  Anyone watch John Oliver?  He did this fun story about people directing traffic in Bolivia wearing Zebra costumes…  Apparently the traffic is so bad there, they came up with the idea of slowing drivers down with dancing Zebras…  Sort of like crossing guards without the reflective vest.  Well while shooting an episode of The Baby Lock Ovation Serger Manual one of the zebras decided to visit my studio.    So, while I’m showing you how to get an accurate 5/8″ seam allowance using the 5-Thread stitch on your serger, this little guy is busy helping me.

Seriously, if you have questions about how to get an accurate seam allowance, please let me know 🙂



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New Pattern Launch – The Easy Fit and Sew Tee Twin Set & Pattern Sale :)

Hey Everyone,  I’m so excited to tell you about my new pattern – The Easy Fit and Sew Tee Twin Set.  It is available in Print and PDF Download   This pattern includes both a Tee with long or short sleeves and a Cardi with an asymmetrical hem.  Because I paired it with a tee instead of a sleeveless top, it’s perfect cool weather twin set!  (If you’re a hottie like me, you can pair the Cardi with a sleeveless version of the tee, or your favorite tank top.)  I really had an amazing time working on this pattern because I had a wonderful group of pattern testers.  They really went above and beyond testing this pattern.  Because of their attention to detail, I was able to fine tune the instructions and the fit of the pattern.   You can also see how the Tee Twin Set fits a variety of shapes because of the beautiful photos that testers submitted.  . If you always have to do a full bust adjustment before you can work with a pattern, I think this tee will be a pleasant surprise.   Because I made room for a bust, you may actually need to take in the side and underarm seams.  This is really easy to do after you’ve sewn the tee together.  If you would like to check out all the pattern tester’s photos, I have uploaded them to the Gallery.

To celebrate the launch of The Tee Twin Set… and my New Website, I’m having a sale.  All patterns will be 20% off this weekend (until Sunday at 11:59 pm PST).   So, if you’ve been thinking about trying one of my patterns, now is a good time to snag it.  I’m excited that I can now do sales because of my e-commerce website.  Going forward, I think I will have a sale on PDF versions of my patterns when I release a new pattern.  In addition to offering sales, another new feature of my website is that you can leave a review of a pattern or class.  If you have a favorite pattern, consider sharing your thoughts about it 🙂

I just want you guys to know that I couldn’t do what  I love to do without all of your support… Thank you so much.       If you have an questions, please let me know.  Happy Sale Sewing Weekend!

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How to Become a Pattern Tester at J Stern Designs

Hey Everyone,  When I first starting making patterns… I tested them myself.  I thought that was working great because it gave me a chance to double check everything and work with all the sizes.  Then one of my good friends suggested that I use pattern testers to test my new patterns.   So, when I was working on the Ponte Knit Jeans, I tested the theory of pattern testers….  I quickly realized how valuable pattern testing is and how much better my patterns would be if I worked with pattern testers instead of doing it myself (on myself).   I want to send out a big thank you to the ladies who helped me with the Ponte Knit Jeans, Raglan and Yoga Pants Patterns.   🙂

Here’s what I learned from my pattern testers.  Everyone is not shaped like me 🙂   Only kidding… but I did learn how my pattern would fit on a variety of different shapes and sizes.  I can use that information to fix anything I think needs tweaking before I release the pattern, plus it helps me when I’m drafting the next pattern.  I really want to make patterns that are easy to work with and need minimal fit adjustments.  Plus, I think it’s really nice for you guys to see how a particular pattern will fit you… If I test them myself, you get to see  very nice and somewhat boring photos of the finished garment on dressform or one of my relatives.  With pattern testers, I can share their photos with everyone.  That gives you the opportunity to see how a garment will fit you because chances are, one of my pattern testers is practically your twin!  

Let’s face it, I’m a plain Jane when it come to picking out colors, if it isn’t black, gray or navy… I don’t have it in my stash.  I am always amazed at the beautiful fabrics that my pattern testers use.  Look at this cool fabric that one of my pattern testers used to make yoga pants 🙂

It’s also important to me that my instructions are really easy to follow along with.   While I try to write steps in the clearest way possible, I discovered that sometimes, there are better ways to put it in words.   Getting questions and comments from sewers of all skill levels has really helped me make my instructions even better 🙂

Do you think you would like to be a pattern tester for J Stern Designs?  Let me tell you what goes on before releasing a new pattern.

Before I send patterns to testers, I’ve already tested it with a few ladies who help me work out anything that’s not right with the pattern pieces.  At this point, I want to make sure all the seams sew together properly and that there isn’t any major fitting issue that will affect the majority of sewers.  While it’s impossible to make a pattern that will fit everyone right out of the envelop, I want it to be as close as possible.    So, in addition to checking the pieces, I work with a variety of fabrics to make sure the results are good.  In the case of a knit pattern, I’ll try a few different knits that hover around the recommend percentage of stretch.   After  we’re happy with the pattern, I get it ready to send to pattern testers…

This is where you come in.

I am forming a group of j stern designs pattern testers.  When I develop a new pattern, I will offer the opportunity to test the pattern to members of the group. If I need more testers, I will advertise outside the group for more pattern testers.  The total number of testers needed for a pattern depends on the variety of style options in the pattern. 

I am now creating color, multi-layered pdfs that allow you to just print your size.  This saves a ton of ink and makes it easy to work with.  If you are selected as a pattern tester, I’ll email you the instructions and a pdf of of the pattern pieces.  There is a 1/2″ margin around all the pieces that is marked with a dashed line.   You can accurately print this pdf on US or A4 paper sizes.  Here’s an example of what one of the pages of my new Tee Twin Set looks like.

The instructions include photos of the garments so you can see what you are making and a “scale check” that you can measure to be sure that the pieces will be the right size before you start printing out the pattern pieces. 

Once you receive your pattern, you’ll have week to complete the garment and submit photos of you sporting your new garment.  I’m going to start a Facebook Group that is just for ladies testing the pattern we’re working on.  That way you’ll have a place to ask questions, post photos and share your progress with other pattern testers.  I will be available in the group to answer questions and help you with your patterns.

Cutting out, sewing the garment and using the instructions is the first part of the pattern test.  The second part is taking photos of you sporting your completed garment.  This photos do not need to be professional, just clear so they show the fit and style of the garment.  Pattern tester photos are going to be used to promote the pattern and may even end up on the cover of the instructions. 

Here’s an example of good pattern tester photos:  I need at least 3 good quality photos of you wearing your garment.  These photos give the pattern testers the opportunity to show off their sewing skills. 

After testing is complete I’ll launch the pattern with a sale price for the first week.  I will be using the pattern tester photos to promoting the pattern on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and my YouTube Channel.  If a pattern tester loved the pattern I would love it if they posted their photos or wrote their own review and posted it in their blog or Facebook page.  As I’m writing this post, I feel like I’m asking a lot from my pattern testers.  It’s a voluntary job and I wouldn’t be able to make great patterns without you… So, I want to thank you in advance  xoxo.  Pattern Testers will receive the final pattern (complete with any pattern or instruction changes). 

If you would like to participate, please fill out the  application  below the photo of the pattern I’m working on now.  I will send you an email to let you know that I’ve received your information.  When I have a pattern to test, I email you the dates of the test week and all the specifics for that pattern.  


Currently I need pattern testers for the The Gathered Neckline Tank Top/Traditional Tank Top.    This tank top pattern has two views.  Version A is has gathers at the neckline and a band at the hem.  Version B is a traditional tank (no gathers, no band).