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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! 

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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 πŸ™‚   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 πŸ™‚


 

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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 πŸ™‚

…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 πŸ™‚

 

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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 πŸ™‚  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 πŸ™‚

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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 πŸ™‚   (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 πŸ™‚ 

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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 πŸ™‚    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 πŸ™‚  

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 πŸ™‚

 

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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!