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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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!
Yasmeen is the first pattern that we formally tested before releasing it. For the occasion, we added new testers to the group and we are super happy we did, because they sewed some gorgeous skirts and provided a lot of great feedback!
We are so glad to release our fifth sewing pattern just before the end of the year, the Yasmeen Skirt! This skirt is one of the garments we absolutely wanted to release when we started Just Patterns. We love the shaped seam lines that enhance all curves in the right places and make it a super flattering option for when you need to dress up. With a Yasmeen in your handmade wardrobe, you are guaranteed a show-stopping outfit but with the versatility of a skirt rather than a dress.
To keep celebrating the relaunch of our Linda Wrap Dress, we want to give a shout out to the amazing seamstresses that are part of our Pattern Development Group. Running a pattern business can be tough sometimes and even if there are 2 of us, we often come up with questions we don't have straight answers to, such as "Do people want to have seam lines printed?", "Are the instructions clear enough?". This is why having a sounding board is so great! We currently have 24 people taking part in our group and their input is not limited to sewing the gorgeous version you will see below. They are full of insights and strong opinions, which we love!
But let's look at their Linda Wrap Dresses for now. One thing we really love about this pattern is that it looks great on so many figures. It's a dress that will do an amazing job at showcasing a fancy wool or silk crepe! Since the testers have sewn their dresses we have updated our grading, I will therefore refer to the new size. For instance, the first dress below was old sizing 38 but now it would be considered a 40, so let's just say size 40!
First up is the gorgeous work of Anneloes! Unfortunately she doesn't have an online sewing presence, which is too bad because her sewing is amazing! She used size 40 and a cupro crepe with a nice drape. Drape is super important for this pattern, we cannot emphasize this enough... She made no adjustments except switching the buckle for a D-ring and adding 6" of length at the hem because she's 6'2. Hello #sewingtall friends!
Another lovely dark version is the one sewn by Kirstin from Small Bobbins. You can find Kirstin on Instagram and on her blog. She’s already sharing pictures of our next pattern that she’s currently testing, so you can get the scoop! She used size 40 and a black shirting fabric. She didn’t make any adjustment except for the length since she wanted her dress short!
Sue of Beautifull Handmade made this very nice version in size 36 and she also changed the buckle for a D-ring. You can find Sue’s sewing on Instagram and she also recently launched sewing patterns! She wore her Linda Wrap Dress for a job interview and she got the job, congratulations Sue!! She wore her Christy Slip Dress underneath and the result is perfection!
Hilde can be found on Instagram as Hi.Hilde. She used size 46 in a gorgeous blue peachskin and made no changes to the pattern except for the closure. She’s also wearing our Kate Bias Top underneath!
As you are starting to see our testers seems to have been struck by the same inspiration lightning. Tara of Five of Hearts Studio is very close to Hilde’s. She sewed size 40 in a mystery fabric from her stash with no modifications to the pattern. She also changed the closure to a D-Ring.
Moving on to our testers who elected burgundy as their color of choice, we have first Jess of Jess Sews Clothes. You can find her on Instagram and on her blog. She used size 46 for the bodice and 44 for the skirt. She removed some fullness at Center Front and used a poly-crepe that unfortunately gave her trouble but we think the final dress looks fab!
Anna of Ompele Oma Onnessi sewed this rich looking dress in size 40, she didn’t make any changes to the pattern and she looks great! You can find her on Instagram and on her blog (but that one is in Finnish so we just look at the pictures!).
Georgia of Ginger Stitch used size 40 for the bodice and size 42 for the skirt portion. She used a wool flannel and didn’t make any other changes to the pattern. You can find her on Instagram and she wrote a blog post about her Linda Wrap Dress!
And last but not least is Shauni from Magnificent Thread. Shauni made size 44, and her experience pushed us to update the grading. We were already hesitating but her version ended up so big that she couldn’t wear it as a dress for the wedding she was attending. However, we think she had a stroke of genius when she decided to wear it open like a coat over her jumpsuit. Seriously, how chic does she look?? You can find Shauni on Instagram and read the story of Linda becoming a jacket on her blog!
We cannot say how amazed and grateful we are for the amazing ladies part of our development group, they did an amazing job!! We hope that you'll agree with us and don't forget to get your pattern!
We are improving the presentation of our sewing patterns. We want them to be easier to remember and identify so they now have names! The latest one to be updated is our popular pleated skirt pattern, now called the Stephanie Skirt.
We took the opportunity to do some redesign of the information package, the cover is has changed a little but more importantly we now include more information on the style and fabric recommendations. The pattern itself is still exactly the same!
We clarified certain areas and added a PDF layout for the print at home options to make is easier to tape together.
Don't forget to check the Resource Page, where we gather tutorials to help you complete your skirt.
Little by little we will be updating the packages for our 3 other patterns and we have some exciting new patterns lined up for fall. We will be back very soon to show you more! All the changes were based on the feedback we received from our customers so let us know what you think, we are listening and striving to improve your experience!
The information we include with our patterns may be less detailed than what you are accustomed to, but they should provide enough information for an intermediate sewer or an adventurous beginner to complete the garment. In this post we'll show you where to locate the most important elements and use the layered PDF functionality. When you buy a pattern in our store, you receive a link to a zip file containing the following :
Below is the cover of our Christy Slip Dress:
In the following pages you will find information about the style, fabric recommendations and the cutters must. It summarizes how many of each pattern pieces you need to cut in each fabric (self, lining, fusible, etc.). As well as other pieces for which paper pieces are not provided, such as bias strips. It also includes the technical drawing of the garment and an estimation of fabric requirements. We currently do not include cutting layouts because of how much they can vary depending on the size you are cutting and the width of your fabric.
The Christy Slip Dress is currently available in size 34 to 46 and the pattern includes negative ease. We recommend choosing your size based on your bust measurement for this pattern.
Next is the printing layout that will help you put together the pattern after printing it.
The following table is a suggested order of operations. This is the order we used to sew the samples shown on the cover. But if you are making changes to the pattern, for instance you decided to make the pattern single layer and finish the edges with bias binding, then these operations will be quite different. The table is designed for you to check at a glance the width of the seam allowances and type so you don't have to rummage through pages of text to find it.
In case you need more help, links to tutorials, videos, etc. are available in the resource page of each pattern. Finally, you'll find the hashtags to share your work on social media. For the slip dress it's #christyslipdress and for the camisole it's #katebiastop (there is another Kate Top sewing pattern out there by Tessuti, so don't forget to add the bias!).
Now let's have a look at the pattern files! The layers are enabled in every printing format. When you open your pattern in the Adobe Acrobat Reader, use the layers tab on the left of the screen and select only the size you need but keep "print marks" and "all sizes" activated. As you can see above, the pattern pieces extend beyond the cutting marks. This should make it easier for you to put it together. You will also notice that the seam lines are printed on all pieces. This is why we strongly recommend you use the layer function. Otherwise it can get quite busy, even for a simple pattern.
We hope that this post was useful and we will be back soon for some actual sewing posts! Don't hesitate to reach out in the comments or anywhere else if you would like more information! Do you see a Christy or a Kate in your near future?
First, let me thank you for your reactions on my last post. I received lovely messages in the comments, on Instagram and by email. In addition to people volunteering to become part of the Just Patterns Development Group, I had some great discussions about sewing, patterns and fashion!With over 70 volunteers for the development group, it has been very difficult to restrict the selection to 20 but we managed and now everybody is hard at work and already providing great feedback!
To offer an alternative to those who want to ask questions while they sew our patterns or post their finished makes we also created a Facebook Community Group. I'm not much of a Facebook person myself but I'm surprised already at the fluidity of conversation it enables...
But let's talk about today's dress! This is my first version of our latest pattern release, the Linda Wrap Dress. I have been obsessed with this dress since Eira drafted it and It's for garments like this that I originally wanted to launch Just Patterns. I am thrilled that it has finally joined of my closet!
I could go on and on about this design because I love everything about it! I think it has great details, such as the collar, the metal buckle and the big pockets. It also has a kind of uniform vibe that makes me feel extra confident on days I have to attend important meetings. A little like a man suit, but more interesting that its traditional female counter part, the sheath dress.In case you are wondering, the only closure is at the waist. I recommend wearing a slip underneath unless you like to live dangerously! The skirt overlap does generally a good job at revealing only an attractive yet appropriate amount of leg. But I've been caught in some crazy NYC winds and luckily I was prepared!
The biggest disclaimer of this post is that I did not sew the pattern as is. I used size 34, I removed 1" to the skirt length and 2" to the sleeves length. I could have sized up for the skirt to have some extra ease in the hips area. For future samples, I will also skip shortening the skirt and remove only 1" of the sleeve length. When we reviewed the fit and measurements of the final garment, we decided that it would be too small on most people. We moved all of our grading up one size as a result. But in case you are not into the relaxed look, sizing down is a great option.
Fabric - Wool from Mood Fabric, I believe it was Rag&Bone
Notions - The 35mm buckle, eyelets and snaps (inside the belt) are from Botani in the NY Garment District.
Of course I am biased, but I find the construction of this dress very straightforward. I love that using french seams and sandwiching the bodice and the skirt between the 2 layers of the belt provides clean finish on the inside, no serging or binding required!You may have seen on Instagram that I bought a Dual Compensating Raising Foot for my industrial machine and it really made the double topstitching easier. Since buying it I keep looking for excuses to double topstitch ALL THE THINGS!
The belt buckle is probably the only unusual part of the construction but I posted some pictures of the process and if you take your time it shouldn't be hard to figure out.
I used our bias slip dress pattern to create a lingerie style slip. I needed a V neck to match the wrap dress plunging neckline, so I used the neckline of our bias top pattern. And since I was going to cut some silk I decided that I may as well make a lingerie tank too!
I used a single layer of fabric instead of 2, finished the edges with bias binding and made adjustable lingerie straps instead of spaghetti ones. I wouldn't say that it is a very quick sew because of the time it takes to cut properly but the construction is relatively fast. I always find my slip/tank projects very rewarding. The garments feel luxurious and get worn a lot (including just to sleep!!) and the time involved is reasonable.
I really love those 3 additions to my handmade wardrobe and I can predict that the wrap dress is going to remain a favorite for the years to come.
After all, isn't creating pieces that will last longer than some cheap fast-fashion option what we try to achieve as sewers? Which of your handmade garment(s) has endured the test of time? I would love to hear your thoughts on creating a wardrobe that lasts!