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The Anna Dress and Top – And Pattern Sale

Hey Everyone, I’m so excited to launch the newest pattern in the Easy Fit and Sew Collection – The Anna Dress and Top.   I want to take a minute and thank my wonderful pattern testers.  They did an amazing job and put up with a couple boo boos on my end.   Based on their comments and photos, I decided to include two front bodices… one with bust darts and one without darts.  That way, it’s flattering and easy to fit no matter what your cup size is.  This pattern goes together really fast and would make the perfect dress for the Holidays!   (I’ll be wearing my when I host Thanksgiving this year). 

To CELEBRATE the Anna Dress Pattern… All patterns are 25% off until Sunday night!

 

You can shorten the skirt to make a top or tunic… Very cute!  This pattern is available in an Downloadable PDF  or a Printed Version.  The instructions are complete with links to Video Tutorials… I’m very excited about this new feature.  If you get the PDF version, you can click on short links right in Adobe Acrobat and check the video tutorial out on your computer.  Of if you have a printed version, you can get a QR Code Scanner App for your smart phone and watch videos right on your  phone. 

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How to Sew a Cover Hem

Happy Saturday Everyone.  Today I would like to post a tutorial that’s been on my list for a little while.  I received a couple of questions about how to sew a cover hem on the serger.    During this quick tutorial I will show you how to do a wide cover hem on both a straight piece of fabric as well as how to do it in the round  (like if you’re going to hem a tee or pant legs.) If you’re not sure how to thread your serger for a cover hem, check out  How to Set-up for a Cover Hem.  

In this tutorial, I will be using a wide cover hem.  This is when the needles are in the C1 and C3 positions on the Baby Lock Ovation.  Other brands of sergers may refer to “left and right” cover hem needle positions.    The process of sewing a cover hem would be the same if you wanted to use a narrow cover hem (C1-C2 or C2-C3 needle positions) or a triple cover hem where you would insert needles into all three positions.  There are a few sergers on the market that only have two needle positions for cover hem stitches.  In this case, you would only be able to do wide and narrow cover hem stitches.  If you have any questions about needle positions for cover hems, please let me know. 

Having said all that… there is one other cover stitch called a Chain Stitch.  This stitch is created with a single needle.   In addition to only using a single needle, it’s a little different from a cover hem because the tension settings need to be a little tighter.   If you own a baby lock, you’re probably used to selecting your stitch and not giving much thought to setting tensions.   When you’re working with the cover stitches there are tension adjustment dials so you can make things snugger for the chain stitch… and more relaxed for the cover hem.

If you have question about working with your serger, please let me know and I’ll put it on my list of upcoming tutorials πŸ™‚ 

 

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How to Finish the V-Neckline of the Anna Dress

Happy Saturday πŸ™‚  I’m getting really excited about the Anna Dress.  It’s going to be a go-to pattern for every body.   My wonderful pattern testers have really helped fine tune the pattern pieces to make it an easy to fit and sew pattern.    The original pattern included the front and back bodice, a 3/4 Length sleeve and a skirt pattern piece.   Based on the experiences of my pattern testers, I raised the front bust dart and adjusted it to create a little more length to the center front bodice.  This will create a nicely shaped pattern piece for Cup Sizes D and above.   Because I’m adding a little more room to the dart, it will be too big for smaller cup sizes, so I’m also going to include a dart free front bodice.  

I also made some significant changes to the pattern instructions to make them clear and easy to follow.  Because this is a stretch knit pattern, the fit can vary depending on the fabric that’s used.  The instructions will guide the sewer to try on the bodice and baste pieces together to check the fit before finally sewing the skirt on. 

Finishing a V-Neckline can be a little tricky and I wanted to include a technique that would look fabulous and be easy to do.   The instructions for this technique proved to be a little lacking..    One of my pattern testers asked if I could make a video showing how to do this technique.  I am so grateful to my pattern testers, I started working on this tutorial right away!   Basically, if you know how to sew a corner seam this technique will be super easy for you.  If this is this is new to you, this video will show you how to mark stitching lines on the end of the knit strip and the neckline to make sewing a corner easier.  The video tutorial will be mentioned in the pattern instructions.  

I decided to post this tutorial for everyone to check out… Feel free to use it with your favorite V-Neck pattern.  The Anna Dress will be available next week to kick of my Veteran’s Day Sale.   I think I’m going to make one to wear on Thanksgiving πŸ™‚

 

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What’s Coming Up Next + Stitches United 2018

Hey Everyone,  I can’t believe it’s already November 1…  I think this year is breezing by because I’ve been so busy working on so many fun projects.  The Anna Dress is almost ready to launch.  I have a wonderful group of pattern testers working on it πŸ™‚     I’m also developing a bunch of new classes that I’ll be debuting at Stitches United in March 2018.  I’m super excited about the Yoga Pants Class… I literally live in yoga pants because I work at home and I’m on the treadmill or off to the gym most days.   I’ve been working on a new yoga pants pattern that features  slimming vertical seams and a cool hem treatment.   I’m going to pair this new design with a wonderful compression sports knit that will smooth all your curves.   In class, you’ll be able to work choose between the two different patterns and fabrics.

I’m also going to Pattern Hack the Tank Top Pattern.  In this new class, I’ll show you how to add a sleeve to the tank top pattern and transform it into a tunic or dress.  This is really fun for me because I love playing with pattern pieces.  I’ll show you how easy it is to take a basic pattern and use it to design new looks.  

In addition to these new classes, I’m also teaching a Tee Fitting Workshop and a Skirt Drafting Workshop.  Last year the Skirt Drafting Workshop was an all day class, drafting in the morning and sewing it up in the afternoon.  The Tee Fitting Workshop was just pattern work with no sewing.   This year, you’ll have the opportunity to sew this projects in the new class – Garment Sewing 101.  I’m really excited about this class because it brings me back to the days when I used to teach skill building classes at Manchester Sewing Machine Center.  You can take this class and sew any of the projects you worked on with me at Stitches United!   The best part is that I will have fabric for you to working with so you don’t have to worry about bringing it with you.

Stay Tuned for more details and behind the scenes as I work on all the new stuff! 

 

 

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How to Adjust a Pant or Jeans Pattern for an “Athletic” Front Thigh

Hey Everyone, …I’m busy working on the Anna Dress Pattern with my Pattern Tester Group.  Plus, I’ve had it on my list to answer a question I received from a few different ladies about how to adjust a jeans pattern for an athletic thigh.  Happily, I had time to do it today.   Phewww… I have to admit my younger daughter’s college volleyball schedule makes me pretty busy. (I only have 3 years left for “girl activities” before both of them fly off into adulthood….   There’s only a week left to the regular season, I’ll miss it, but I’ll also have a lot more time.

One of the tricky things about adjusting pants or jeans is that the shape of your crotch curve is affected by more than the shape of your crotch.  This is especially true for the front crotch. If you get the position of the front crotch right based your shape… you may still get wrinkles and pulling.  Worse, some of the wrinkles in the back may be caused by the front crotch curve.

The good news is that it’s easy to see if you have an athletic front thigh.   You’ll be able to see the shape of the front of your leg from the  side view.   If the curve of your front thigh appears to start at the base of your abdomen and end near your knee, you have an athletic or “prominent” front thigh.

This causes wrinkles that radiate from the front of your leg diagonally across the side seam to the back of the leg.  Your side seam may pull forward at the fullest part of your front thigh as well.  

Let’s take a look at the front leg pattern piece.  The vertical line from the waist to the inseam is positioned at center front.  The red section of the pattern is the part that wraps around your inner thigh.  To make room for an athletic front thigh, this area needs to be wider.  

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial showing how to adjust your front leg pattern piece.  Let me know if you have questions.  πŸ™‚

 

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Free Back Pocket Embroidery for Jeans

Hey Everyone,   I’m so excited to tell you that I finally have my embroidery software problem sorted out.  It’s been a couple of years that I have been without software to work with because my Mac died and all of my programs were too old to load onto my windows 10 computer.  I sort of put it on the back burner while I worked on other things.  Recently, I got the bug again.  At the same time, a good friend of mine checked with me to see if I was interested in Pfaff Premier + Embroidery Software because  she knew someone who wanted to gift her embroidery software to someone anonymously.   I feel so blessed!

So, after installing my new software, I spent some time reacquainting myself with it.  (I started with Pfaff Software way back when…)  It’s amazing.  I also had a couple of “favors” to do.  I was surprised how fast it all came back to me.  There are things about the New Pfaff Premier software that I have to discover… but I’ve got all the basics down.  

I have been getting requests for my signature back pocket embroidery design that I offered for free with my Misses’ and Women’s Jeans Patterns… way back in 2007.  Honestly, I did not get any requests for this embroidery design until very recently… and when I did, I couldn’t find it because it’s almost been 10 years! 

I decided to digitize a new version of this design.  It’s created using a candlewick decorative stitch.  This is a circular shaped stitch that is formed by little crisscrossed stitches.   I also added a basting stitch around the design to help with placement.   It’s easier to embroider the design before you cut out the back pocket piece.  I like to trace the pocket and add guidelines.  Then after I’m finished embroidering, I can cut it out and turn the edges under.  The goal is to position the embroidery so that the ends of the design extend into the allowance that’s turned under to finish the sides of the pocket.

One of my favorite threads to use with this design is Sulky Holoshimmer Thread.  This thread is is a thin, flat, ribbon-like, (holographic) foil that is laminated with polyester.  It sparkles like diamonds when it’s combined with the candlewick stitch in this design.   Normally I use a size 14 Metallica Needle, but I didn’t have any on hand so I used a size 14 Topstitch Needle and a vertical spool pin.  It stitched out great!

I’ve also used this thread with beautiful floral and paisley embroidery that I designed for the Bernina Wearable Art Fashion Show. 

Working on the back pocket design and a few other things this week has reminded me how much I LOVE embroidery.   I think the first thing I’m going to do is release a couple of the embroidery collections that I have … including “The Oscar Goes Too…” collection that I used on the silk velvet coat above.  I’m also itching to create some new designs too!  So, stay tuned for details about that.  

In the meantime, If you would like the back pocket design… Click Here.   πŸ™‚

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Sewing for Beginners: How to Sew a Centered Zipper

Hey Everyone,  I’m back from teaching at Stitches Texas.  It was a really fun time… If you’ve never attended a Stitches Event, consider next year.  There’s something for everyone… Knitters, Crochet, Fiber Arts and Sewing!   I’m a want-to-be knitter and I was super excited to hang out with Lorilee Beltman.  She was one of the knitting teachers at Stitches Texas and she teaches on Craftsy…. Yes, I’m taking her Continental Knitting Class and I love it!!

The students I had in my sewing classes came with a variety of sewing backgrounds.  Some were experienced and others didn’t even own a sewing machine…  It was very cool.    My student in the Skirt Drafting Class did such an amazing job on her skirt sloper.   After taking measurements, we used them to draft a pattern customized to fit her. 

Then we sewed a fit muslin.   It fit perfectly πŸ™‚ 

We had time in class to draft a custom waistband and complete the pattern so she could go home and sew her first skirt.  One of the questions she had was how to sew a zipper.  We talked about a variety of zipper techniques.  Because this is her first skirt, we decided that a Centered Zipper would be the easiest one to do.  I told her I would do a video on my YouTube Channel for her.

It’s my favorite thing to see students who have little or no sewing experience catch the bug!  I decided that I’m going to start a new series of tutorials for beginner sewers.   If you have something that you would like to know how to do, please post a comment and I’ll add it to my list!  Here’s the first video in this new series:  How to Sew a Centered Zipper.  Please let me know if you have questions!  

 

 

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Make Your Point with The New Point Perfect Point Turner & Mini Clapper

Hey Everyone… I feel like a movie star because I’ve been shooting video all week!    Super excited about this one.   Let me show you how to Make Your Point with my new Point Perfect Point Turner & Mini Clapper.    In addition to showing you how to use this new pressing tool, I also have a brand new tip to make your collars look more professional.   I had the opportunity to take apart one of my husband’s dress shirts that had seen better days.    I don’t want to give you all the juicy details, so you’ll have to watch the tutorial to see what I found when I took apart the collar.

I debuted The Point Perfect Point Turner at the National ASG Conference in Orlando this past July.  In the first batch of tools there were a couple that may have been a little too thick.. or the point may not have been sharp enough.  If you have one that fits that description please email me at jsterndesigns37@gmail.com and we’ll make it Perfect!  

if you would like a Point Perfect… Click HERE.   I hope you enjoy this tutorial.  Please let me know if you have questions πŸ™‚

 

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How to Sew Yoga Pants with Eloflex Thread

Hey Everyone… Happy Day!  Especially for Janet Lowry – She is the winner of the sample pack of Eloflex Thread…  I’m super excited for her because she’s been waiting to make her first swim suit and she thought Eloflex Thread would be the perfect thread to use.  (I think she’s right πŸ™‚     Coats and Clark is having a grand prize drawing, so you still have a chance to win this wonderful thread!  The Grand Prize is the full collection of Eloflex Thread (all the colors) and a 50 spool assortment of Dual Duty XP.   I haven’t really talking about this thread, but I want to tell you that it’s not the old Coats and Clark I remember my Mom sewing with.  Dual Duty XP is a nice smooth thread that holds up to some of the other European thread on the market.  I’ve been using it in class kits and it works great across a wide range of machines and sewers of all abilities.  So… Click HERE to enter to win the Grand Prize!   (I went to Joann Fabrics to check out the full collection of EloFlex Thread… Here are all the pretty colors.  If you don’t have a Joann Fabrics near you, you can find Eloflex Thread at createforless.com

Just between you and me, I felt honored when Coats asked me to be part of the Blog Tour that is part of celebrating the launch of their new thread.  There are a bunch of other talented bloggers that are working on special projects.  If you want to follow along and visit other blogs on the tour, here is the schedule (I apologize that I didn’t get this list up before the start of it.)

August 24            The Sewful Life

August 29            JStern Designs

August 31            Sew Sophie Lynn

September  7     Goodbye Valentino

September  11   Sew Can She  

September 14    Professor Pincushion 

September 18    Simple Simon and Co.

September 21    Sew Mama Sew

September 25    Sew Liberated 

September 28    The Mahogany Stylist  

And if you want to go check out Coats Official Blog click HERE.

…And, now for my project.   I decided that the Eloflex Thread would be a perfect companion to my Performance Sport Knit Fabric to create amazing Yoga Pants.   Before I started working on the tutorial, I made a pair to wear to the gym.  I wore them for a few weeks… trying to pop seams.  I’m absolutely in love with them.   All the seams still look great!  The Eloflex Thread is really strong, and the built-in stretch allows the seams to give we me when I’m working out.   I’m actually wearing them right now… look how nice the inseam is (and I didn’t even take the time to topstitch).

A few quick things about the Yoga Pants Tutorial.  I used a light gray Eloflex Thread so you can see the details, normally I would pick a thread color that is darker than my fabric.   I used a size 11 Stretch Needle.  And, I’ve gotten some questions about winding the bobbin.   I did not find that I had to slow it down when I wound the bobbin.  I’m guessing that the bobbin thread was slightly stretched as the bobbin filled up.  But, my seams came out perfect, so I don’t think it’s necessary to slow it down to wind a bobbin.  Please let me know  if you think you’re having trouble with this, or if you have any other questions.  I hope you enjoy the video tutorial! 

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Introducing the Point Perfect Pressing Tool and Mini Clapper

I’m so excited to add this new tool to my store.  I debuted them at the National ASG Conference in Orlando last month, where it was well received.   I designed this pressing tool while filming The Perfectly Fitted Shirt Class for Patternreview.com. While I was working on collar samples, I was not completely happy with my traditional bamboo point turner. I thought if it could be a little wider so that it was more similar to the shape of the collar points, it would work better. I sent a sketch off to my Dad and he made me a couple samples to play with.  I found that I could turn the collar right side out and manage the seam allowances all in one step. I positioned the tool against the wrong side of the collar facing at the point, with the trimmed and graded seam allowances folded down under the tool. Then I turned the collar over the point of the tool to the right side. The tool ends up inside the collar when it’s turned to the right side. The point of the collar was almost perfect. This tool works create to turn all kinds of points and corners. If your project is too small for the spade shaped end of the tool, the handle has a pointed end that you can use to get into tight spaces.

The Point Perfect Pressing Tool is also an amazing mini clapper. It works great to press seam allowances flat and to create creases. Use it like a traditional clapper. Steam the fabric and press down with the spade shaped end of the tool to trap the heat and steam. Plus, it’s unique shape allows you to press small areas where a traditional clapper is too large.

I didn’t want to ask my Dad to start producing the tool for me. Happily, I met a very talented wood artist at Stitches United in Hartford, CT this past March. Dan Tracy, of Dan Tracy Designs, handcrafts a variety of beautiful wooden tools that are used for knitting, crochet and other fiber arts. When I showed him my tool, he offer to make them for me. We collaborated on the final shape of the tool to end up with The Point Perfect Pressing Tool.
Point Perfect Pressing Tool.  This Point Turner & Mini Clapper is Handcrafted from a variety of beautiful woods by Dan Tracy Designs. 

Stay Tuned for a Video Tutorial showing how amazing this new tool is!