Hello and welcome to a new installment of the Stephanie Skirt sewalong!
Today I’ll be showing you the preparation of the pleats and how to insert a perfect and pucker-free invisible zipper at center back. I know that zippers, and in particular invisible zippers are still a source of stress for many sewists but they really don’t have to be!
Welcome back for the third part of the Stephanie Sewalong! In my previous posts, I covered inspiration and fabric choices and cutting the fabric, so it’s time to start sewing!
The updated version of the Stephanie Skirt pattern now includes fully illustrated step-by-step instructions. I decided to use alternative construction options so that it’s less redundant. If you follow the pattern instructions, the seams are simple and seam allowances are either serged (or zig-zagged) or bound. In this post, I’ll be showing you how to sew the side seams and the in-seam pockets with french seams.
I thought I might interrupt the Stephanie Skirt programming around here to show you the latest garment I made: a gatherless version of the Burnside Bibs by Sew House 7 and to share my changes in case you want to try it out for yourself. I usually have 2 ways of planning my sewing projects: 1/ I find an inspiration garment in RTW and look for a suitable pattern (or draft it if I have to) or 2/ I like a pattern and decide to make it as is or with minimal changes. This time was different…
Welcome to the second part of the Stephanie Sewalong!
I hope that my previous post inspired you and help you pick your fabric! Remember that you only have until tomorrow to enjoy 20% off a selection of fabric from Selvedge and Bolts (check out the blog post for more details). Today we will start slowly by preparing the pattern and cutting fabric and the fusible interfacing.
To celebrate the re-release of the Stephanie Skirt with an improved size range and illustrated instructions, I am hosting Just Patterns’ very first sew-along! I hope that it can help beginner sewists to feel more confident and encourage more experienced makers to try new techniques. Don’t forget to grab your pattern in the shop and let’s start look at some inspiration to help you choose your fabric. I’m very happy to be collaborating with my friends Dibs, who just launched her online fabric store Selvedge and Bolts, and she is generously offering 20% a selection of fabric that would be amazing to sew Stephanie, check out the code at the bottom of this post!
This is a long overdue Tidbits post! If you are new to this blog, Tidbits is a random list of sewing related things that I’ve been thinking about, reading or listening to. You can read past Tidbits editions to get a better idea of what it is!
Today I’m happy to show you the lovely versions sewn by our tester group for the extension of the Stephanie Skirt. Since we completely regraded the pattern, we tested across our entire new size range, from size 34 to 56. Let’s jump right in!
We are so glad to announce the re-release of one of our bestsellers, the Stephanie Skirt with our newly extended size range and fully illustrated step-by step instructions.
Welcome back for the second part of my thoughts on our second year selling digital sewing patterns! You can read the first part with the income report if you haven’t already. Today’s post goes beyond the numbers, it looks at lessons learned and changes being made to implement them.
The question we most often get regarding our Kate Bias Top and the Christy Slip Dress patterns, is how to create those barely-there spaghetti straps. We have good news! They are easy to make and we will be showing you how in this post.
Have you ever wondered how many units of each patterns are sold by Vogue? or Simplicity? Or a popular Indie pattern business? I don’t have the answer to those questions. I always loved reading behind-the-scenes posts of other indie pattern makers but they hardly ever includes hard figures. So I thought that the best way to understand how it works was to sell patterns too! In fact, I initially wanted to start Just Patterns because I am almost as interested in the businesses of our community as I am in the technical aspects.
I am not a particularly meticulous sewist. I do take my time but there is usually a moment when I start rushing. The context is almost always the same: I am in the "sewing zone", everything is going well and I suddenly decide that I want to wear what I'm working on, THAT night! And instantly, things start going all wrong... I make mistakes I would normally never make, the machines act out, the little human wakes up, you name it... Of course, I never get to wear the garment that night and my next sewing session will be dedicated to fixing mistakes. Sounds familiar?
Compared to previous years, 2018 was relatively calm for me. I didn't move across any ocean and I didn't birth any human! But I did experience significant changes, some that were to be expected and some that were completely unexpected. On the expected side, my quiet and smiling baby turned into a determined, not to say very stubborn, toddler committed to climbing onto everything (especially me). On the unexpected side, two major changes of responsibilities in my day job have have considerably increased my workload.
One of the issues of blogging only sporadically is to remember to give some contexts to whatever I'm about to say. Over the last few months, I have mentally wrote several posts so I feel like you are up to date with my train of thoughts when in fact, not at all! So let's recap a little.
I'm slowly climbing out of the overwhelmed single working mom hole although I have to acknowledge that I may fall right back into it at any time. Life has a thing for intently proving me wrong every time I start feeling like things are under control. But before that happens, I'm trying to get as much sewing and photographing done! The skirt I am showing you today has been on my mind since November.
After a period of involuntary hiatus and regrouping we are gearing up to our next pattern releases! It's been great to interact with our customers on Instagram and by email the mean time. We also received great feedback from our development group and other members of the sewing community so you can expect to see some changes around here in the coming months.But before we go more into all of that, we thought we would share some of the visuals that drive our aesthetics these days and the direction we are taking!
We hope that some of those inspire your sewing as much as does for us! If you want more Ready-to-Wear inspiration for each our patterns, you can follow us on Pinterest where we keep a board for each of them!
After almost a year of activity in our PDF sewing pattern endeavor, I thought it would be a good time to gather some of our early findings and lessons learned.
Happy New Year!
2017 was our first year of releasing sewing patterns to meet your high-end handmade wardrobe needs. We have learned a lot already and we are so grateful for your patience and your support while we keep figuring things out! In this post we are sharing a quick recap of each month main happenings and we will be back next week to talk about our inspiration and plans for 2018!
Just Patterns Layered PDF
At the beginning of the year we mostly spent our time trying to figure out how to get from a digitized paper pattern to a PDF that would include all the information you needed. We also spent time figuring out our approach to selling sewing patterns and how it would be different/similar to what is currently available in the sewing world. You can read our thoughts in this post: Why we are Just Patterns?
We released 3 patterns that month! The Kate Bias Top, the Christy Bias Slipdress and the Stephanie Skirt. We didn't have names initially for your patterns but we then realized that Christy was a lot easier to refer to than 2101.
Just Patterns Christy Slipdress by Beautyfull Handmade
While we worked on preparing the release of the Linda Wrap dress, we saw the first versions of our patterns appearing on blogs and Instagram. Here is the first Christy, made by Beautyfull_Handmade
Having three patterns in the wild brings a lot of self-doubt, no matter how much you believe in your product. This is why having a blogger whom we love the work praise our Stephanie Skirt meant so much to us! If you missed it, go check out the blogposts of Leisa at A Challenging Sew!
It was all about getting the Linda Wrap Dress ready, as our most involved pattern to date, we absolutely wanted to get it right. It took several sewing sessions to figure out the all the steps that needed to be explained.
But our efforts finally paid off and we released the Linda Wrap Dress. We were really happy to see that you loved the design as much as we did. It's truly a big favorite in both our closets!
We were able to share the versions of Kate and Christy sewn by the members of our Pattern Development Group. We are super thankful to this group of talented ladies for dedicated their precious sewing time to helping us make better patterns! This Kate Bias Top was sewn by the lovely Anneloes...
We decided to redesign our pattern covers, and provide more information in the information file. For each of our patterns we now include more details on fabric recommendations, picking your size and printing layouts. The first pattern we updated was the Stephanie Skirt but since then we managed to go through all of them!
We spent a good part of the month working on compiling the feedback we had received on our Linda Wrap Dress, updating the grading for a truer-to-size fit and creating illustrations for the trickiest part of the pattern. You can review them on Linda's resource page!
While most of our time was dedicated to working behind the scenes on our next pattern release (and more one of us, moving overseas!!), we had fun taking part in #sewphotohop on Instagram. It was a great opportunity to connect with others and a reminder of how great the sewing community is!
We released our latest pattern to date, the Yasmeen skirt. We loved to see all the different versions sewn by our testers and our customers. It's a dramatic design that can be enhanced with precious fabrics or played down with more casual ones. Having released 5 patterns is a great achievement for us, considering that we have both demanding day jobs and other side projects/life commitments, and we couldn't have done it without your support and encouragement. And for that we want to say THANK YOU!
We look forward to hearing what you thought about this first year of Just Patterns since your feedback is crucial for us to make 2018 an even better year!
It has only been a week since I last posted here, so this should give you an idea of how much I am boiling inside, waiting for my sewing machines! This year I sewed 23 items, which is a pretty good output for me:
17 garments for myself. I'm happy with that number. I try to keep my wardrobe a manageable size and it wouldn't make sense for me to aim for more. The big lesson here is that I probably shouldn't buy sewing patterns anymore... This year, 9 garments were from patterns we released under Just Patterns, 4 were self-drafted, 1 was Burda, 2 from Indie designers (both free) and 1 is an mash-up of indie/Big4/self-drafting.
[gallery ids="3727,3725,3726" type="columns"]
3 items for the little human: a spring coat, a white special occasion dress and a summer hat. I'm terrible at documenting baby sewing outside of Instagram. Actually, let me rephrase: I'm terrible at baby sewing. I find it really difficult to find clothes that would be 1/comfortable for Little Tidbits, 2/ are interesting to make and 3/ not too time-consuming because she outgrows them so fast. Or maybe I'm just a Selfish Seamstress (TM) and that even motherhood could not change that!
1 Just Patterns sample in our fit model size (to be released next month).
1 fabric basket to gather toys from Sanae's lovely book: Sew Happiness. I very rarely do home sewing, but this was quick and it looks pretty!
1 unusual item, I made a sample for a friend who runs a gender queer underwear business. She showed me a picture of a lapel to accessorize her line and I made the first sample. You can see it on the Play-Out website!
For the sake of accountability, here are the garments I included in my #2017MakeNine post. I sewed 4 out of the 9 garments below:
I did finish the white Blazer (it's the pattern mash-up mentioned above). I haven't managed to blog about it but I have a few pictures I used for Instagram. The Balmain blazer on the other hand saw no progress. It's in a box and well advanced. I hope to complete it in 2018.
I made 2 out of 3. The white pencil skirt was my submission for the first round of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee Contest. I also finally got around sewing a Stella Jean inspired skirt from one of the pieces of African wax I have in stash since leaving in Zambia. This one is un-blogged, but you may have seen it on Instagram. I sewed 3 more skirts but not the one included in the Makenine.[gallery ids="3723,3610" type="columns"]
I did sew my own sample of the Linda wrap dress. Actually I sewed 2 more variations. One sleeveless I posted on Instagram and one for Sew News that I will show you next year. I wasn't sure about the Capital Chic sheath when I made my plan and I didn't get even close to sewing it.[gallery ids="3724,3259" type="columns"]
I sewed 4 tops and 2 Tshirts this year, but nothing I had mentioned in the 2017Makenine. Oops...
What are the lessons for 2018?
In my last post, I did mention that my realization that I wouldn't be able to document all my sewing in blog posts but when I counted how many garments I blogged vs sewed, I realized that out of the 17 handmade garments for myself, I only blogged 5. That's really low in my opinion. Even if 5 of the 12 un-blogged items are samples for Sew News that I cannot blog them before the issue they are featured gets published, that still leaves 7 garments that could have made it to the blog. I will try to post some of them in 2018 and I hope it won't bother you. Let's just pretend that I'm super professional and I plan my content in advance!
I will not be making a #2018Makenine plan for several reasons. First, i don't think that the #2017Makenine helped me focus my sewing. I sewed what I already knew I would make and, unsurprisingly, didn't sew the ones I wasn't sure about. Just for the sake of making a plan, I tend to include clothes that I'm not 200% excited about. There is no value in doing that. Secondly, in my experience, when moving to a different country, it takes some time to reevaluate what you need and want to wear. So I'm going to take some time thinking and maybe doing some planning. Just like everyone else in the sewing world, I've been reading the Curated Closet, and I also did a round of the 10x10 Challenge (you can read about it here and I'll post more in details about it later). I want explore the intersection personal style and a handmade wardrobe and I will try to document the process.
In order to plan be more mindful of what I sew and what I wear, I need to be realistic about my average sewing productivity. For 2018, my assumption is that I'll sew between 15 and 20 garments for myself. 6 technically already decided on since I have a commitment with Sew News for 3 samples and we have already made plans for 3 pattern releases with Just Patterns. Ideally, everything I make this year will bring cohesion to my closet and contribute to a decrease in my fabric stash!
I'll be back soon with my thoughts on a year of selling PDF sewing patterns but in the mean time I would love to hear your thoughts about wardrobe planning and sewing plans! Did you manage to follow-up on your 2017 plans? Are you taking part in the #2018MakeNine? Happy new year!
The last quarter of the year just seem to have been on fast-forward. Life has been busy at Tidbits HQ! The main reason behind my silence is that I traveled to France for holidays (Yes, I saw the Dior exhibit and yes, it is absolutely amazing!!). Upon coming back to New York, I learned that I would be moving back to Haiti (on Thanksgiving weekend...) less than 2 months later. Things were hectic… I had to break my lease, sell all my furniture in New York, organize the shipment of the rest of my belongings aka the sewing room ;-), find a place to live in Haiti and start my new job!