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Sewing Tidbits

Sewing Tidbits is the sewing blog written since 2013 by Delphine, the co-founder of Just Patterns.

Filtering by Tag: sewing patterns

Just Patterns - Moodboard #1

Sewing Tidbits

Dear readers,

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!

2017 Review: Just Patterns first year!

Sewing Tidbits

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!

January

Just Patterns Layered PDF

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?

February

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.

March

Just Patterns Christy Slipdress by Beautyfull Handmade

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

April

Just Patterns Stephanie Skirt by A Challenging Sew

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!

May

4048ffb5-6b97-41b8-81ed-9e5868467712

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.

June

Linda wrap dress by Just Patterns

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!

July

195

We created a couple of tutorials on how to use our PDF patterns and how to make a "real" spaghetti strap. Many of the tutorials you will find online produce a flat strap. If you wanted a rounded strap that keeps it shape, the secret is to not trim the seam allowances!

August

Just Patterns Kate Bias Top by Anneloes

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...

September

Just Patterns - Stephanie Skirt Cover

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!

October

Just Patterns Linda Wrap Dress Instruction Diagram Step 23

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!

November

Just Patterns Sewphotohop sewing space

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!

December

Just Patterns - 1102 - Yasmeen Skirt Information-page-001

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!

Getting started with Just Patterns

Sewing Tidbits

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 :

  • The information file

  • The pattern in print-at-home format (A4 and Letter)

  • The pattern in copyshop format (A0 and US Copyshop 36”x48”)

Below is the cover of our Christy Slip Dress:

Just Patterns - 2101 - Christy Information-page-001.jpg

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.

Just Patterns - 2101 - Christy Information-page-002.jpg

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.

Just Patterns - 2101 - Christy Information-page-003.jpg

Next is the printing layout that will help you put together the pattern after printing it.

Just Patterns - 2101 - Christy Information-page-004.jpg

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.

Just Patterns - 2101 - Christy Information-page-005.jpg

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.

Just Patterns Layered PDF

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?

My Just Patterns samples - Linda, Kate and Christy!

Sewing Tidbits

linda-dress-and-slip-4.jpg
linda-dress-and-slip-1.jpg

Dear readers, 

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!

Linda dress and slip-5.jpg
Linda dress and slip-3.jpg

Pattern

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. 

Linda dress and slip-4.jpg
Linda dress and slip-2.jpg
Linda dress and slip-6.jpg

Making

  • 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.

Just Patterns Bias Slip dress by Sewing Tidbits
Just Patterns Bias Slip dress by Sewing Tidbits

Pattern

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!


Making

  • Fabric - Nude Silk Charmeuse from Mood Fabric

  • Notions - Gold lingerie strap hardware from Botani.

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. 

Linda dress and slip-10.jpg
Linda dress and slip-11.jpg
Linda dress and slip-12.jpg

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!

Tidbits #5

Delphine (Sewing Tidbits)

Welcome back for a new edition of Tidbits, where I gather links of what I enjoyed reading, watching and listening lately. This week is all about inner conflict and my naturally french contradictory spirit. You can blame it on my on-going binge watching of In Treatment. That show is seriously addictive!

Read More

New Named patterns!!!

Sewing Tidbits

I have no idea why my blogroll is not full of them already but FYI the new Named patterns are out!!I never tried them before, mostly because I believe that they are designed with tall (Finnish) people in mind. And obviously 5'3 dark hair me does not qualify (not because of the hair). But I love that we have more edgy pattern designers around. Honestly, I am not a retro girl, so even if I find a lot of indie designs cute, I will never wear them. Unfortunately for me, a lot of the designs don't fit my lifestyle. I don't know winter, or even fall (Yes you can hate me now), and I have very little activities that require wearing overalls or fringed sweaters... So I had to go with a basic design.Even though I could have found it in a burda magazine/hacked my nettie/drafted it, I decided to give the company a try with the Shadi Knit Skirt pattern.IMG_4188.JPGIt was just bought and printed, I will report back asap!
You can see the whole collection on the Named website.
What do you think? Do you plan on making some of the designs?

Franken-Pattern Making for faster/better sewing

Sewing Tidbits

20131212-091256.jpg

If you are not familiar with the concept of Franken-Pattern Making (you can read about it here and here, unfortunately the original post from Sew-4-fun is no longer accessible), it consists of using sewing patterns for the design details only and mix them with a pattern you already know fits well (your personal blocks/TNT patterns if you want). It's actually very close (if not the same) to what Carolyn does with her Pattern Sandwich method. It particularly suits my sewing style because 1/ my sewing time is limited and 2/ I don't always have the courage to make a muslin. I also tend to spend a lot of time on the pattern. Taking classes at FIT (draping and patternmaking) really taught me patience when it comes to working on the pattern.  I remember reading one day on Fashion Incubator that you could break up time like this :

1 hour of pattern making, 1/2 hour of cutting, 1/4 hour of actual sewing.

It was enlightening! I drafted blocks in the past, trust me! I started early, by the time I was 15 I decided that pattern companies had it all wrong (haha, teenage overconfidence... I also thought that sleeves were stupid because they could not fit in armholes, STUPID SLEEVES!). As a result I got books and I started drafting, some of the result were TERRIBLE (this was my first book, not good...), some were good (with this book, this one, or this one). But at the end of the day, where are those drafts ? I DON'T EVEN KNOW!! I spent looooong  hours making them and turning them into usable patterns. I want to start from something that is already a pattern!

I said it before, I believe that Lekala patterns are particularly suited to play the role of starting blocks (haha, pun intended) or be used for a Focus on Fit approach, because :

  1. I'm very happy with the fit of the made to measure feature. It fits almost perfectly without alterations
  2. They have a wide range of styles, so I can start from something already close to what I want
  3. They are relatively cheap, they don't add much to the overall cost of the project.
  4. I can print them with or without seam allowances. If I'm going to do a lot of changes I prefer to have none.

But let's take a practical case so that I can explain myself better!For Thanksgiving, amazing Jen of Grainline Studio organized a sale. I really admire the level of professionalism she brings to home-sewing patterns but I only made the Scout tee in the past. After seeing all the praise on her work (specially Archer), I decided to go ahead and purchase the Portside Travel Set, the Archer shirt, the Maritime shorts and the Moss mini skirt. Over the last few weeks I came to the conclusion that a short chambray skirt was THE basic that I was missing. To be with fair, I have this type of thoughts quite often, sometimes it's legitimate (a white shirtdess, black slacks, a pencil skirt, etc.), sometimes it's more questionable (a shiny midi skirt, leather shorts...). Anyway, my heart is currently set on a chambray mini skirt so I. NEED. ONE. NOW. The technical drawing of the Moss skirt is exactly what I want, but after looking at the size chart and Pattern Review, I know that there are very little chances that this pattern fits me right out of the enveloppe printer. My hips are size 4 and my waist is size 0...So I  went on a search on the Lekala website, looking for something as close as possible. I set my heart on number 5430.Grainline Studio - Moss SkirtA comparison of the 2 drawings shows the design changes that I'm going to make to the Lekala pattern. But in addition, I like to embed construction in my pattern as much as possible. This means often changing the zipper parts, reducing seam allowances, etc. For this case, I settled on the following changes:Design :

  1. eliminate the back dart for a yoke
  2. chop off the top of the waistband
  3. and add a back seam

Construction

  1. The Seam Allowances are dependent on the type of Seam Finish. I will serge and topstitche all visible seams on the inside. This means 1/2". The seam between the skirt and the waistband will be encased so I will use 3/8". But the top seam of the waistband will be only 1/4 to eliminate the need for grading it later. Hem will be double-folder : 3/4"and 1/2".
  2. Pockets : i read how pleased people were with the pockets being attached to CF on the Moss skirt and how deep they are so I want to keep this feature BUT I also liked the 1 piece pocket bag from the Jedediah shorts by Thread Theory I just completed so I will incorporate that too!
  3. Fly zipper : I know everybody has it's favorite technique, and people seems to feel very strongly about them. My best fly zipper of all times (and it was not only luck since I used it several times) was completed using this amazing book : Design Room Techniques by Laurel Hoffman. I know it's pricey but it's worth every penny. I promise!! Otherwise, I think this one by Notes from a Mad Housewife looks great too!

Now for the visual people out there, I took pictures of the process. First this is what a Lekala sheet looks like for a pattern without seam allowances :20131212-091117.jpgI started by drafting the yoke and closing the dart (TIP: close the dart first, which is not what I did on the picture below so I had to redraw my curve completely...)20131212-091139.jpgThen I added seam allowances on the back pieces and compared with the Moss pattern :20131212-091151.jpgMy yoke is a lot curvier than the Moss one, which makes sense since I have a bigger hips/waist differential (please not that I should have aligned the straight grains before taking this picture)20131212-091210.jpgThe Waistband pieces have been modified to be thinner and to have the extension needed for the fly zipper. There for there are 2 pieces fro the front and one is longer than the other.20131212-091336.jpgFor the front, I added seam allowances and drafted the zipper pieces from Laurel Hoffman's book, using a 5" zipper instead of 7".20131212-091201.jpgInterstingly enough, it seams that although the back are almost exactly the same width, my Lekala is considerably larger in the front.20131212-091227.jpg20131212-091236.jpgThe key of this zipper method is that right side and left side are NOT identical pattern pieces. I will remove 1/4" on the one of the sides but only after cutting since I'm cutting double layer this time.20131212-091256.jpgA better view of the zipper set :20131212-091307.jpgNow the pockets : I did not change the pocket shape from the Lekala pattern as I find it close enough.20131212-091243.jpgBut I redrafted the pocket bag, so that it's deeper, it reachs the middle (Grainline Instructions) but it's 1 full piece of contrasting fabric (I like to use muslin) to be folded and with "facings"  of self fabric (Thread Theory Style). The result is this :20131212-091250.jpgAn essential step after all this work is to WALK ALL THE SEAMS and check/correct the notches. This is what will make your sewing really fast because everything will match seamlessly (haha, again).For the fabric I had a very small leftover of chambray from an old old UFO (which I think I finally tossed). The limited amount of fabric will not allow extra for mistakes, all the more reasons to be extra careful with the pattern.20131212-091313.jpgAs you can see on the picture below, I like to cut my waistbands with the grain parallel to the longer side. I think it makes them more stable. You can see all the fabric I have... It's not much!!20131212-091322.jpgI hope this process post was helpful, as I said in my blog anniversary post, I'm trying to bring more substantial content and not only final results pictures. So I would love to hear your thoughts about franken-patterns, fly zippers, etc. !!