Monday, April 21, 2014

You Asked ~ SMF Tells!! April 21, 2014

Once again, Thank You for all the new emails and questions!  I appreciate so many of you taking the time to write and I'm more than happy to answer!

You Asked:  I own the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 and love it!  How do I edit the letter  and number stitching to make them larger?

SMF Tells:  The letter and number stitching is programmed into the machine at the size mentioned on my video part 5, The ABC's and 123's.  Unfortunately, the size can't be edited any larger.

You Asked:  Why is it so hard for me to determine what size pattern I need to purchase to sew for myself?  I wear a size 14 in ready to wear, but if I try to use a size 14 pattern, it never works out for me?  What am I doing wrong?  Help, I'm always so disappointed.

SMF Tells:  The problem is that the pattern companies work with different measurements than RTW manufacturers work with.  To further complicate matters, each individual pattern company uses there own standards as well.  It makes it very difficult to determine your sizing.  Part 3 in my pattern fitting series, Selecting the Right Size Pattern, will help you determine your correct sizing by using your measurements.

You Asked:  I never seem to have luck when using fusible interfacing.  I ends up being lumpy and not smooth and makes the right side of my fabric looked "bubbled up".

SMF Tells:  Make sure you're following the manufacturers directions properly for each individual fusible as well as the correct suggests for your fabrication.  Each company prints their directions on a piece of plastic rolled inside the bolt. Make sure to ask the cutting counter employee to include a complete section of the directions for you to read and follow.  It's also important to not slide the iron as you press on your fusible interfacing. Pick the iron up between sections and press. Sliding the iron can stretch your fusible and as it bonds with the heat. Later after the fusible cools, it may shrink back taking your face fabric with it.  This will create bubbles.  Also make sure your heat is set at the proper temperature for your fusible and fabrication.

Thanks again for all the kind support of my new blog feature!  Please keep all the great questions coming.

Have a Happy Creative Day!!


DISCLAIMER:  All of my advice is given as my own opinion from my professional experience as a Fashion Designer, Textile Drafter, and Production Pattern Maker.  Keep in mind that there's more than one way to approach any sewing technique, sewing equipment, or construction process. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Picture Tutorial: DIY Easter Wreath!!

Hi Everyone and Happy Easter! 

I've wanted to make an Easter Wreath for the longest time and this year I finally did it!  I purchased a wire frame and used ribbons to attach the sparkly mesh to the frame.  This is a simple, no sew project that can be made by any beginner.


1/2 yard of each color sparkly mesh.  I chose to use 4 different colors.  Pink, Aqua, Lavender, Green.

24 pieces of 1/2" wide white double faced satin ribbon cut into 10" sections.

1 roll white wired ribbon for bow

1 12" wire wreath frame

1 package of glittered Easter Eggs

glue to attach Easter Eggs

a few small rubber bands

1.  Cut the 1/2" ribbon on the diagonal into 10" sections.  Tie at intervals around the wire frame. I staggered the ribbons around the frame.  This will create a basket woven effect with the mesh.

2.  Select the first color and finger gather the mesh into sections and secured it to the frame with the pre-tied ribbons.  Tie each ribbon into a knot to secure the mesh.  Continue working your way around the frame with each color mesh until finishing 4 colorful rows.  Pull mesh ends to the back of your frame for a clean finish.  Cut extra mesh and secure with rubber bands.

3.  Nestle the glittered eggs into the mesh around the wreath and glue them into place.

4.  Create a focal bow for your wreath out of wired ribbon.  I used an organza ribbon with satin edges.  I chose a plain white because the rest of the wreath was very colorful.  Wrap the bow ends around your finger tightly and pull down gently to create the curly cues.  

There you have it!  A simple DIY Easter Wreath full of Color and Cheerfulness for the Holiday!  It's a quick project that requires minimal fabric and supplies.  I hope you give it a try and personalize it to fit your taste and style.

Have a Happy Creative Day!!


Monday, April 14, 2014

You Asked ~ SMF Tells!! April 14, 2014

Hi Everyone!  Thanks for all the nice messages about my New Weekly Blog Feature:  You Asked ~ SMF Tells!

It's exciting to me that you're loving my new feature and feel it will be helpful to you.  It's a little like opening the flood gates for some really interesting questions....hummmm......Keep them coming!!

You Asked:  I love fashion and would like to become a Fashion Designer.  Do I need to go to school or can I do it on my own?  I don't know how to sew or draw either.  Will that be a problem?

SMF Tells:  It's always a great idea to attend school for anything you'd like to learn and plan to pursue make into a career. The Fashion Industry is extremely competitive, so I will caution you about that.  You will first need to ask yourself a few questions.

1.  What is it about "fashion" that I love?  If it's that you love to dress and shop for latest fashions, that may not be enough.  You will need to have a drive to develop your own style.  It's also important to believe in that style and envision others wearing your designs.

2.  Am I willing to do what it takes to learn all facets of the industry?  This will involve learning a basic knowledge of sewing, construction and sketching. It's necessary to know at least basic sewing construction to be able to understand the principles of garment construction. Sketching is essential to convey your ideas to a pattern maker or draper to create your vision.

3.  Am I open minded and able to take criticism.  The industry can be harsh.  It will chew you up and spit you out if you are weak. You will need to stay the course until your in a position to lead the way to your vision.  Be tough!!

4.  Really ask yourself "why" you want to become a Fashion Designer. There are many television shows that glamorize this industry in a way of making you think it's all about a party.  Hard work, determination and creativity are all parts of what you will need to work towards to reach your goals.

You Asked:  I've been trying to hem a lightweight knit top I made.  No matter what I do, the hem keeps twisting.  How can I prevent this from happening?

SMF Tells:  Many lightweight knit's on the market currently are finished off grain.  This means that the fabric isn't blocked perfectly, during the finishing process.  Unfortunately this causes any area that's folded on it's self, like a hem, to twist.  Ironing in a narrow piece of fusible tricot interfacing helps avoid this problem.  I used this technique on the hem of a knit top I made recently. Animal Print with a Twist, shows pictures of how I used fusible interfacing to control my hem.  Try it!

You Asked:  I have trouble staying motivated and completing projects.  I always start out excited about a new project, then somewhere along the way I lose interest.  How do I stay focused and not lose interest?

This is a question I received several times in varied forms. Creative individuals get scattered sometimes. It's just a fact.  We sometimes are overly focused on a project and get into a groove and then other times, we see something else that intrigues or excites us and we're off track.  It's important to just work through it and keep in mind how great it feels to a finished and be satisfied with a project. If losing motivation is due to your project not turning out the way you envisioned, that happens from time to time too. Don't get too hung up over disappointment, that disables you into not trying again.

Thanks again for all the kind support of my new blog feature!  Please keep all the great questions coming.

Have a Happy Creative Day!!


DISCLAIMER:  All of my advice is given as my own opinion from my professional experience as a Fashion Designer, Textile Drafter, and Production Pattern Maker.  Keep in mind that there's more than one way to approach any sewing technique, sewing equipment, or construction process. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

New Blog Feature: You Asked ~ SMF Tells

The time has come for me to add something NEW to my blog!

I've decided to do a weekly post answering sewing related questions!!  I receive more and more emails and Facebook messages every week on a variety of sewing topics from many of you out there.  Up until now I have been answering them individually, but that has become more and more difficult and time consuming for me.  I've decided to start answering them in a weekly post.  Sort of a "Dear Abby" for sewing related questions.  I receive many of the same questions over and over so it just makes sense to share them with everyone.  Someone once told me, "For every  1 question you receive, 10 people thought of the same question, but were too afraid to ask."  Now I don't know if that's really accurate, but here we go anyway.

You Asked:  How do I determine how much ease I need to allow for, on my winter coat pattern?

SMF Tells:  I received this question several times.  I can only wonder if it has something to do with the long extended Winter many of you are having.  It's a great question.  Part 2 in my pattern fitting series, Ease: When~Where~How, covers  basic information on adding ease. For determining the amount of ease to allow for on an outer wear garment, I suggest that you dress up in whatever you plan to wear under your coat and measure. Wear several layers of what you normally wear under your coat to get a set of very accurate measurements.  This will give you a better idea of how much ease to allow for and what feels most comfortable.

You Asked:  I love your video series on the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 but have heard not such great things about Singer.  What do you really think of their machines?

SMF Tells:  My video series featuring the Singer 9960 is of my actual experience with a machine I own, love and purchased.  I'm not compensated in any way by the Singer brand for any of the information I share about the machines I own and use.  I've even been very honest about issues I've had along the way with my Singer Quantum L-500  and will continue to share my honest opinions and show machine sewing techniques.

You Asked:  I love to sew, however I hate cutting and pressing.  Is there a way to get around doing the parts I dislike?

SMF Tells:  These are all just parts of the sewing process, however I have some suggestions to make the process quicker, easier and possibly more pleasurable.

Cutting:  Many people dislike cutting because it usually requires a large space to layout the fabric properly.  This requires using the floor in many cases or the dining room table which isn't always easy.  I own a folding cutting table in my sewing studio so it can be closed and moved out of the way if need be.  If the actual process of "cutting" is the part you dislike, try cutting with a rotary cutter or a different pair of scissors.  Sometimes it's the tool that can be improved upon.

Pressing:  For a professional looking finished project it's necessary to press as you construct your garment.  Using a good quality iron is important.  One that has consistent heat and steam to achieve the correct results.  Ironing shouldn't be difficult and if it is, it may be due to your iron.  To make the process less painful, try stitching all your like seams at the same time so you press as much as you can at one time.  This will eliminate running back and forth to the iron.  You always have the option to take your finished project to the dry cleaners for a professional looking press.

I hope you've enjoyed my first "You Asked ~ SMF Tells" post. Please keep all the great questions coming and I will get to all of them in my weekly posts.

Have a Happy Creative Day!!


DISCLAIMER:  All of my advice is given as my own opinion from my professional experience as a Fashion Designer, Textile Drafter, and Production Pattern Maker.  Keep in mind that there's more than one way to approach any sewing technique, sewing equipment, or construction process. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

My First Round Up!!

Hi Everyone!!  It's another First for Me!!  I'm doing my first "Round Up".

Last year when I decided to participate in the Ready to Wear Fast Challenge hosted by Sarah from Goodbye Valentino Blog, I made my own month by month plan as my own personal challenge. a free lance pattern maker, writer and producer, it's not always easy to stick to specific goals I set for myself when I don't always know what assignments will come my way or "Strike My Fancy".  Even with my work load, I was able to stick to my January goal of sewing knits by completing two garments.  In February, I decided to start a new video series featuring the Singer Pro Finish Serger, so my goal of sewing an item made in the shade of the year, Radiant Orchid didn't happen.

It never feels good to me to not follow though with a personal goal I set for myself.  Life happens, though.  So, since this month was shaping up to be busy once again, I chose to fulfill my monthly goal in a brand new way.  By doing my First Round Up!!  A "Round Up" is a collection of similar items that I share from other designers or bloggers with their permission, links and "how to information". My March goal was to create an Upcycled item so I'm featuring some Upcycled items created by some terrific bloggers as well as sharing one of my most popular Upcycled items, the Flower Power Purse, Picture Tutorial!!

I've selected a variety of items for this Round Up.  There were many great submissions from all the bloggers, because so many people are Upcycling and Recycling items these days.  I love the fact that people can look at something unuseful and transform it into something useful!!
Here we go:

This is my Picture Tutorial:  Flower Power Purse.  Even though I designed, created and wrote the picture tutorial over a year ago, it's still viewed over and over again on my blog.  I use it quite often to carry books and my net book back and forth from the library and get complements all the time on it.

The first Upcycled item that I'm sharing is from Julie from Sum of their Stories Blog.  She wrote a tutorial she calls the Stripy T-Shirt Refashion.  She's an avid crafter and comes from a family where many enjoyed dressmaking, sewing and the arts.  To create this garment, she shows how to take 2 t-shirts and upcycle them into one garment.  I think this top is very attractive, current and simply adorable.  Great project Julie!!

What do you do when you find a dress that you love, but is just a little bit too short?  Add a trim to the hemline to add some style and extra length.  Heidi from One Creative Mommy Blog wrote a nice tutorial called, How to Add Length to a Dress or Skirt-Tutorial.  If you're looking for something creative for your kids, home decor or interested in getting organized, please check her out.

The last upcycled item I'm sharing in this round up is a fashion forward accessory that includes a tutorial.  Kara is a crochet blogger over at Petals to Picots Blog.  She wrote a tutorial called, How to Make Wrist Warmers from and Upcycled Sweater.  This is a very nice practical tutorial that can be used to create many different looks by selecting different knit's and colorful yarns.  Lots of "Possibilities".

So there you have it!  My first ever Round Up.  I hope this post gave you some great ideas for upcycled projects and will get your creative juices flowing.  If you need more inspiration, please check out my Upcycled Clothing and DIY Wearables boards on Pinterest.  Many of these pins are tutorials and FREE patterns for great garments that you can make yourself.

If you'd like to learn more about Upcycling, BurdaStyle is offering a Live Web Seminar this Monday, March 31, with Instructor, Beth Huntington.  The course is called, Refashion:  Inspiration and Projects to Revamp and Recycle Your Wardrobe.  This looks like the perfect place to begin if you ever wanted to try refashioning for yourself but didn't know where to start.  Check out the link above for all the details, fees, class schedule and techniques being covered in the online training seminar.

Special THANKS to Julie from Sum of their Stories BlogHeidi from One Creative Mommy Blog, and to Kara from Petals to Picots Blog for allowing me to share your wonderful Upcycled items with my readers.  Please check out all their blogs for more great ideas and inspiration!!

Have a Happy Creative Day!!