Thursday, September 21, 2017

Eureka!-And Ponte Knit Pants!

Thank you so much Cari for sharing your tips on fitting pants.  They look awesome!  I'm seeing more ponte knit pants in your future....:)  You can follow Cari on Instagram @carikim.

Flat - Curvy - Generous - Which one would you say describes your bum?  Mine is curvy - so let me share why this is so important when it comes to fitting pants.  It’s all about the crotch  - which coincides with your body curves and the length you need in the back - Yep - if you get the crotch fitting your unique body structure just right you can create perfect fitting pants every time. 

Hi — I’m Cari and I’m a licensed pant fitting professional with the Eureka! Pants That Fit pattern by Fit For Art Patterns.  I sew  - but I love fancy and love to sew fancy which is a disconnect because fancy isn’t really a need for this farmgirl so pants are my mainstay.  Even though I live in jeans I’ve never had the perfect pair - Didn't believe they exist for me!  To fit my hips - I have to belt them.  Low rise means really saggy front crotch but the back is usually okay.  Mid-rise is just uncomfortable because the belt wants to jab my tummy when I sit - midlife probs.  My natural waist is so high - most clothing designers don't make any to sell off the rack.  So if you want something to fit — you have to make it yourself! 

Five years ago Connie Crawford came to town - aka teacher - author - patternmaker for Butterick patterns etc. - she told me my crotch depth was 2” longer than the “average.”  That gave me hope - at least I knew what the problem is now! 

So I set out to achieve the perfect fit.  I drafted a pant pattern from Suzy Furrer’s book Building Patterns: The Architecture of Women’s Clothing.  I had great success …. mostly - I added the 1” to the front and back between the waist and the crotch - as Suzy instructed - which totaled the 2” I was told by Connie I needed - except - now they were too baggy under my bum - while crawling up my …. in the back at the same time.  I didn’t quite know how to fix that so as my sewing buddy Mary would say, ‘they’re a wadder!”  Ugh  

Then I learned about the licensing training for Eureka! Pants that Fit.  I signed up - hopped a plane to Baltimore and spent an entire week learning and using their system with hands-on practice from volunteers everyday. 
No more wadders!!

I was sold!!  You might be too if you give this pattern a try.  Especially if you're looking to unlock the secrets to fitting great pants.   We all know secrets don’t make friends so these gals have developed a grid system for fitting where the lines - grid - let you see what you need to do to achieve a perfect fit.   That’s why this pattern offers 3 back pattern choices too!   Start there  - then they’ll walk you through what to look for and how to remedy the problem(s).   

So let me share with you the 3 most important secrets to achieving pant fitting success with Eureka!:

Choose your bum shape - Flat - Curvy - Generous.  Your 3 different back pattern options.  Choose only 1 of the 3.  Different lengths for different curves! 
  ✅ This is all about the length of the crotch area. 

Choose your size based on your fullest circumference.  It’s most likely your full hip but I’ve had several clients where it’s their abdomen.  Use the larger of the two measurements - Abdomen or Hip. 
  ✅ This is all about the rise front to back - covering not crawling either.  

Make a mock-up with the grid marked on it so you can “read” the lines first.  
  ✅This is about you finally getting that perfect fit.  It will be SO worth it! 

Everything is completely outlined for you with a detailed instruction booklet that’s included with the pattern to help walk you through every step - from mock-up - to fitting issues - to your customized finished pant.  The pattern is available from XXS = 32” hip to an XXXL = 60” hip.  The size range comes in two different packages: XXS - L  and  L - 3XL  each $25.00 plus postage.  If you want to give this pattern a try send me an email  and I can get one out to you asap!    

I know you’re thinkin’ just show me the pants — My latest make was a challenge to my sewing group which I needed more than the rest of them!    Sad but true - I sew for other people and rarely make anything for myself so I challenged myself and my group to make something for our annual sewing expo which was last weekend.  

Me in my pants!  I apologize the lighting isn’t better with this dark color.

I choose to make ponte knit pants in Graphite Grey from Roz at Sew Much Fabric.  I’ve tweaked my Eureka! pattern to fit just right in woven fabric so decided I would cut them out of the ponte knit without any modifications for stretch.   The ponte knit fabric is dreamy - stable - a little weighty ( which I like ) and a breeze to sew.  It behaves much like a woven although I did use a stretch needle for construction.  

Because I’m the designer - another perk of using this pattern - I did a flat front - 2 darts in the back, a tapered leg to the ankle (for something different) - right side invisible zipper (I’m a rule breaker pretty much always) - used a fusible interfacing to stabilize the zip and finished with a faced waist.  Seams are stitched on a regular machine and I clean finished the edges with the serger.  Simple - easy - quick and super comfy! 

Okay - so as I confessed earlier - I break the rules all the time and I don’t always follow my own wisdom.  I have to share this with you so you don’t do as I did …. I should've made a mock-up in the ponte knit first …..  because I want to make more ponte knits pants …. Here’s why - -  I did have to take in the side seams and I did have to scoop the back crotch a little more to stop most of the baggy bum thing from happening.  Which is secret #4 - every fabric is going to react / hang differently so give yourself some fitting room in the fashion fabric when you cut if out.  Always try them on and adjust!

Here I’m wanting you to see the extra scooping I made in the back crotch blending to the front to pull the saggy-ness in to stop the wrinkling on the back legs.  I had already clean finished the edge so I didn’t bother to trim it out and do it again.  

Pants don’t have to be hard to fit.  You just need to know a couple of measurements - make a mock-up - understand why they're fitting like they are - know a couple of secrets to perfect the fit - and make the adjustments.  The Eureka! Pants That Fit pattern people have done all the work for you and graciously offer their system so you can create perfectly fitting pants too.  I want to end pant fitting fear - It worked for me so I know it can work for you too!!  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

September Song

  • Oh the days dwindle down to a precious few… We are grateful for Autumn with crisp mornings and cool evenings.
  • The change of seasons inspires us to think about sewing an outfit that is versatile and trendy.
  • Let’s look at some of the choices from Sew Much Fabric.

The concept: 
A jacket, trendy skirt, classic pants, and a blouse to complete the look. Maybe two tops just for fun!  The idea is to be able to mix and match these pieces that will go perfectly for daytime/work into late evening or dinner. And for the weekend, more relaxed looks can be mixed and matched.
Color Palette #1
1. Black with Ruby Flecks Wool Blend  2. Jasper Red Floral Print Rayon Challis  3. Chamois Wool Calvary Twill  4. Scarlet Red Lace  5. Cardinal Red Stretch Denim  6. Egyptian Cotton-Venetian Red 
Versatile pieces 

Pieces to complete the look

Make a trendy mid-calf skirt using Cardinal Red Stretch Denim and Vogue 9209.  Pair with Burda 06/2017 103A using Jasper Red Print Rayon Challis or Egyptian Cotton Venetian Red for a shirt to pull the look together.

Color Palette #2
1. Heather Brown Wool Flannel  2. Navy Floral Print Rayon Challis  3. Silk Charmeuse-Apricot  4. Elegant Navy Blue Tropical Stretch Wool  5. Smokey Taupe Sequin Stretch Lace  6. Classic Brown Tropical Stretch Wool  7. Tan/Walnut/Black Lightweight Interlock Knit
Pull this look together using warm colors and a variety of textures.

Elegant Navy Blue Tropical Stretch Wool works great with the Vogue 9172 pattern and pair it with Navy Print Floral Rayon Challis for the blouse with Vogue 1509.
Make the pants in Classic Brown Tropical Stretch Wool while you’re at it. Heather Brown Wool Flannel works beautifully with this Vogue 1562.

Evening or Weekend
Smokey Taupe Sequin Stretch Lace works with Butterick 6299 or McCalls 7653. Wear the brown jacket with the dress.

Use Classic Brown Tropical Stretch Wool for the Burda wrap skirt 08/2017 #101  and Tan/Walnut/Black Lightweight Interlock Knit for the Neckband Shirt 08/2017 #112A.

The beautiful colors of Autumn are so inspiring and you can find them all at Sew Much Fabric!  Head over to the website and see all the fabrics in Color Palette 1 and Color Palette 2. Whatever your favorite colors are, make them work for you and extend your wardrobe for the season!

Fabric ideas posted by Beverly Gatterson, who teaches fashion design at the Art Institute of Houston.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Haute Summer Sewing – July 2017

Prints are a fun addition to your wardrobe especially when you combine two together.  Thanks Eileen for sharing how you are working prints together and apart!
You can follow Eileen on Instagram @johnson.eileen 

This haute summer sewing completed in July 2017 was inspired by the picture in the May 2017 Burda style magazine (page 18) of a beautiful combination of prints for a blouse and skirt. 

I broke out of my usual solids approach to life and found two complementary prints at Sew Much Fabric.  A floral silk charmeuse and a printed cotton ikat (Both Sold Out).  The floral silk charmeuse is vibrant and either side can be used.  I chose to use the matte side out.  Wearing the blouse feels wonderful with the smooth side next to your skin.  The fabric can be hand washed in cool water and a mild soap.   Air dry and use a silk setting to press.

Burda Style 5/2014/137 is a plus size pattern of a similar blouse in the May 2017 magazine.  Imagine that.  Who knows Burda may have been inspired by the plus size to scale it down to size three years later?  The blouse has darts, bias binding neck edge and ties and a flounce on the front.  I got to practice my narrow machine hem on the flounces and French seams for the construction.  The pattern includes pockets; however, I shortened the blouse and did not include the pockets.

The pencil skirt was made using Susan Khalje’s skirt pattern.  The cotton ikat print was pretreated by washing in warm water and drying in the dryer.  It presses very well.  The skirt was constructed with a cotton batiste underling, handpicked zipper and china silk lining.  The waistband is a grosgrain ribbon.  As you can see the blouse and skirt can be work together or combined with other solids in your summer wardrobe for a complete resort casual ensemble!

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Burda Style 9/2017

 To purchase, go to

All Styles at a Glance

Line Drawings

Love the shirred collar!


Little Black Dress

Change up your fabric choice and this jacket can be dressed up or down!

Plus Size
This dress has lots of diagonal seaming that is figure flattering.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Seasonal Shift

It's still summer but it's time for Sewing fashionistas to start thinking about what to sew to transition their wardrobe into fall. Andrea, from Sew To Fit, came up with a pair of soft, wide leg pants and a cold shoulder bodysuit.  The airy look says summer but the neutral color will work for fall!  Thanks Andrea!

The pants are a wide leg, pleated trouser with pockets and an invisible zipper inside the side pocket, from the March 2017 issue of Burda Style.  I used the lovely, Ecru/Black Palm Leaves Rayon Crepe from, which is actually on sale right now!  I put a facing in the hem and will most likely be uploading the video later on how to do the faced hem to my subscribe so you will get notified whenever it goes up.  The top is a bodysuit by Kommatia Patterns that I hacked into a cold shoulder. The Sew and Tell video for this outfit is here.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Passion for Prints

  • Printed fabrics are showing up all over the runway for Fall 2017 and Spring 2018!
  • They can be found in a variety of colors, floral themes, and fiber content. 
  • Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities for adding to your season transitional wardrobe.
  • Images from Dolce & Gabbana collection for Fall 2017

Embrace those pre-fall days with cool looks such as Butterick 6308 made with Floral/Stripe Rayon Matte Jersey Knit or Butterick 6481 with Navy Floral Print Rayon Challis.

Opt for a smashing top (McCalls 7601) or a trendy jumpsuit (Butterick 6320) using Blue Sky or Poppy Red Hummingbird Rayon Jacquard to add to your weekend glam!  

Labor Day is coming and these 2 looks from 1 pattern are a great way to dress up or go causal for the unofficial last weekend of summer.  Use Ecru/Black Palm Leaves Rayon Crepe or Mustard Daisy Rayon Crepe with Vogue 9253.

Go glamorous for a late afternoon lunch or early cocktails with In Vivid Color Cotton Stretch Sateen and Burda Style 09/2013 #129.

A boho chic vibe is a fun way to step out for evening with McCalls 7350 made with Jasper Red Floral Print Rayon Challis.
Stay on top of the bold print trend this fall and be sure to email us ( pictures of your fashionable makes with these prints!  

Fabric ideas posted by Beverly Gatterson, who teaches fashion design at the Art Institute of Houston.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Perfect Marriage!

What a perfect marriage-11oz Rayon Jersey Knit and the Misty Top from Sew To Fit!  Samina choice a great color, cobalt blue.  Read more about her experience making the Misty Top.  You can follow Samina at Sew Everything Blog.  Thanks Samina!
I am adding the romantically named Misty Top to my favorite pattern list.  The designer, Andrea Davis of Sew To Fit, put her heart and soul into this design and ended up with a pattern sized for, and flattering to, “normal” women. Plus, we have help from designer Andrea via YouTube.  She did a recent sew along for the Misty. 

Should you decide to buy this pattern, there are a few things to remember;

  1. It is digital only, and you will have to do the needful to print out and tape it together.
  2. The fit is exactly how Andrea describes; close fitting at the bust and flares out below the bust.
  3. Prominent features of the pattern are: First, the collar. It’s drafted as a shawl collar, but turned inside at the back neck and side front neckline. It sort of stands up on your back neck in the most wonderful way. Two, there are sleeve details which one can customize many different ways. Third, there’s a band sewn in the front neckline which is not included in the pattern – well, its just a straight folded band of fabric. Four, the hem is curvy.
  4. Fabric: the pattern is designed for 11 oz rayon knit, which I used for my top in a cobalt blue, bought from Sew Much Fabric. It’s drapey and stretchy and very flattering and comfortable. If you don’t have a whole lot of knit-sewing in your repertoire, choose a more stable knit, in which case you will have to use a larger size pattern.
  5. Here’s the most important thing to remember. The Misty pattern has no written instructions. You can be guided by Andrea’s videos; find them on her YouTube Channel, Sew To Fit.  They are long videos, but you can fast forward what you don’t need. I never did fast forward for fear of missing something.
  6. Sizing: as the designer said, it is close fitting in the bust and she means it. Based on the sizing chart and the finished measurements (included in the same chart), I chose a size 14. I haven’t sewn a size 14 in, like, decades. It fit well, but I think I need to go back to 16. Why? The back of the collar needs to stand up and hug my back neck. A 14 does not hug my back neck; it is too small for me in the back and the shoulder seams are pulling towards the back.  Somehow, the front is OK, but does cling, therefore outlining my “muffin top” and the pant waistband.  Therefore, the next Misty will be a size 16.
  7. I added 3 inches to the length, and now wish it was even longer. I’ve left the hem edge raw because a shorter top will not make me happy. On second thoughts, I will make a very narrow hem in this one.
  8. Generally, I’m finding the Misty top quite flattering and I feel good in it. Ideal thing to wear to view the solar eclipse ….

Now, for my favorite part: adding the Misty top to my closet! I take that back –  wearing it for the next trip out the door.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Ebony and Ivory

Black Guipure Lace and Ivory Eyelet

  • No longer are we bound by the cultural restrictions as to what time of the year or to what events, certain colors must be worn. 
  • For example: not wearing white after Labor Day or before Memorial Day
  • Another example: wearing black to funerals; not weddings
  • We had these rules of society known as sumptuary laws but they are no longer valid in our post-modern world. So the beautiful fabrics in black and white combinations shown at Sew Much Fabric will meet all your needs in creating beautiful modern garments.

Casual Days and Nights
Ecru/Black Palm Leaves Rayon Crepe will transition you into fall made as a sassy maxi dress!  Pattern-Burda Style 04/2017 #122

Making an unlined coat in black and white will work for early fall and early spring. Use Ivory/Black Abstract Oval Stretch Cotton and Butterick 6491.  

Workhorse fabrics-
 Fabrics that sew up well for professional, trendy looks!
Black and white in reversible graphic prints like dots, stripes or squares gives a very professional look at the office.  Pattern- Butterick 6316.

After the work day or on the weekends it's time for a little fun!  A classic black and white pantsuit will just about cover any causal or work related event.  Use Black/White Double Faced Suiting with Vogue 1560.

For more formal events, a slip dress in an Ivory/Black Pinstripe Stretch Silk Charmeuse will work for the holidays and a spring wedding.

Whatever your wardrobe needs are, remember that black and white combinations are versatile and timeless.  Head over to Sew Much Fabric to see the black and white and black and cream fabrics!

Fabric ideas posted by Beverly Gatterson, who teaches fashion design at the Art Institute of Houston.