Sewing: Sequence

ruconstruction 3As a strong proponent of teaching pattern and draping to the beginning sewer, I often am asked: where do I start to sew? How does it all go together and in what order?

There is a method to the madness of sewing any garment together.  Of course it all starts with your cutting and marking. It’s crucial that you clip in to all your notches as well as the dart legs and use a tracing wheel and pattern tracing paper, or tailor tacks, or drill holes to indicate darts, pleats, pocket placements, gather markings and zipper placements before you separate your pattern pieces from the cut pieces.  These are your street signs of where you are going and what matches to what other piece.

Always the very first stitches you do should be on a test piece of fabric to make sure your stitch is balanced, make sure you have the correct size needle as well. If you are stay stitching   ( necklines) this is your first step. Darts are your second step. Open ended darts are backstitched and either tied off on the dart point, or backstitched into the dart, invisible from the front.  Pleats such as on a waistband or shoulder would also be one of your first steps.

Typical and traditional sequences are:( there are always exceptions to the rule as well!)Tops and shirts:

Simple tops and Tees

  1. Back to fronts at shoulder
  2. Put ease stitch if needed in sleeve cap
  3. Insert sleeve to armhole on the flat
  4. Close on the side seam/underarm
  5. Attach collar ( tee shirt)
  6. Cover stitch sleeve and bottom hems

Blouses and Shirts

  1. yoke to back
  2. join shoulder and “bag” out yoke
  3. Fuse placket and collar and cuffs
  4. attach cuff to sleeve and make sleeve placket
  5. Ease sleeve cap
  6. Attach sleeve on the flat
  7. Make front placket
  8. Set Collar
  9. Close side seam/underarm
  10. Hem
  11. Buttonholes and buttons

Simple pant

  1. Front to back at out seam
  2. Front to back at Inseam
  3. put one leg in the other , right sides together and close through the rise( crotch) seam
  4. set  standard zipper ( if it is not a pull on)
  5. Make elastic casing on top or set waistband
  6. Hem
 I hope these simple explanations will help you when assembling your original designs! Feel free to post a question and stay tuned for more construction tips and tricks to come!

 

 

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What I learn from my Sewing Class Students

well, it’s been a short time since I have started MIA FASHI studios and Miami sewing classes but it has been an eyeopening experience!  I must say that there is a dire need for my services here in southwest Miami Dade county!  Many people from all walks of life are looking to pick up sewing skills and that leads to wanted to experience more!  In many cases it has led to exploring pattern making for clothes and accessories!

I have found that many persons already own sewing machines but don’t know how to use them so I will teach the student on their machine, in some cases they don’t know what to buy so they work on my machines. Brother is the brand I currently am endorsing for a home sewer. I have had moms, teens, adolescents, young men and couples all come to learn

It has been said that to be a teach is also to be the student!  That is so true!  I have been blessed to have some fabulous students that share their lives and experiences with me. Our journey together gives us both the opportunity to learn new trick and skills and to make new friends. I am always amazed by the creativity and multi talents of those I meet and teach.

 

 

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Sewing Machine Selection

Many students ask me what sewing machine should I buy. I want to learn to sew swimsuits or knit fabrics. Do I need an expensive sewing Machine?  Ask yourself what do you want to sew and how serious of a sewer do you want to be?  

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Learn Fashion Design Now in Miami

Many of we teachers of fashion and lifetime garmentos have seen that there is a real need in South Florida for an alternate training venue for sewing, fashion design, pattern making, swimwear and general vocational classes for aspiring designers and apparel professionals

Because of this, you will be seeing new programs creep up in Miami and I am happy to say that I will be involved with two of them.  Now I would like to tell you about a new and improved program for Miami Fashion Classes .com and Mia Fashi Design studio.   I will continue to serve the lay person and casual students but I am excited to tell you that I will also be adding  classes designed to be taken in modules and geared to persons who sincerely desire knowledge about the industry, starting their own line, understanding production, and to train for other jobs in the industry. These classes are designed to be the” first generation” in what I hope will eventually become and alternate training facility or school.

Currently there are only two and four year commitments available to students and although these are accredited institutions, they are very expensive and many students have shared with me that they are overcrowded and they come out with big debt and low understanding of what there were supposed to be learning.  With more closely supervised instructions, it is my feeling that students can move quickly once their special method of learning is met and nurtured.  Yes, this had to happen in small classes, but there is a beauty in that. One can move along more quickly while honing their vision and dream for a future in fashion and apparel business.

Please watch for new updates on my webpage and blog and I hope to meet many of you fashionistas in the future.

 

 

 

 

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Fashion Design Divas Sewing it into Your Own Design

custom dress

custom dress

So you may be wondering, why should I learn to sew?  There are so many readily available and cheap clothes today and you love to shop? Well sewing is not just for your grandmother anymore. It gives today’s girl a new twist on an old skill to creatively express herself & give a great degree of satisfaction that it is her effort and passion to show the world her own unique style.  Besides just fashion there is also a whole world of sewing that can be used to create purses, accessories, and a bevy of things for your decorating heart and home.

Being the fashionista that you are, of course you have kept up with the latest trends, your favorite celebs and what they are wearing. Hopefully you even keep a scrapbook of your favorite styles, looks and designers to use as a shopping dream book or even better: to be you inspirations for your own looks. This book can also serve as a “tearsheet” to use as a short cut to be able to draw out your designs with out having to be a great artist.   You may even be like me and get lost for hours looking at fashion shows on You Tube and Style.com:) So now that you have chosen a pattern at the store that is somewhat close to your dream look and brought it all home.. now what?

You may find that the style on the cover of the pattern isn’t  exactly what you wanted. Maybe you want it a little shorter, a little longer, a little looser or a little tighter or a short sleeve vs. a long sleeve. These are all easy fixes!  Somethings the neckline can also be an easy change. You will find that many time, what you see in the media, is fairly easy to replicate with a little creativity and style savvy. Miraculously inside that little envelope are instructions for everything you need. Even how to make some of the adjustments I just mentioned.  I’m not going into minute detail here, suffice it to say that you need to read it completely, go slow  and follow instructions.  If you make a mistake in cutting, there is not a lot you can do to fix it. I will tell you the most important things to watch out for.

  • Check your key measurements against the pattern pieces.
  • If you need to make personal adjustments to match your measurements make all change BEFORE pinning down your pattern.
  • If you make changes to pattern remember that the shoulders, side seams must match in length to sew together . Inseams and out seams must match in length and curve. Sleeve underarms must match in length.
  • Be sure you are on the correct grain and even on that grain with your pattern pieces
  • Transfer all markings to the wrong side of your fabric BEFORE you unpin it. use a tracing wheel and transfer paper
  • Clip in 1/4″ at those little triangles vs. cutting around them. You notches are your road map to construction
  • If you wrong side and right side look very similar, mark the wrong side with chalk or wax to know the difference.

So now you are on your way. So wind your bobbins, plug in the steam Iron and get ready to create!!

 

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Sewing Boot Camp: Beginning to Sew Tips for Fashion Designers

Machines & Tools

It is said that the longest journey starts with the first step. So it is true for those who want to learn to sew or embark on their first sewing classes.

Many places you don’t even need to have your own machine, but once you begin, you will find that you want to work on your projects on your own time and will soon find yourself seeking out a sewing machine that is right for you. Your first sewing machine may come to you as a hand me down or you may purchase a new one.

Electronic machines with a lot of options are available at a very reasonable price( under $200) and it’s not necessary to purchase a premium brand or anything high end if you are just beginning.Either way you will want to have the instruction book if possible, if  you don’t, you  may be able to find it on line.

You will also need a few needles in several sizes (9,11,14,16) and a couple of extra bobbins.  Other materials you will need to begin with are a sewing box. Tackle boxes work well or almost any type of plastic craft box with compartments, a secure closure and  a handle will work.

In your sewing box, you will need to have a pin cushion, straight pins, a tape measure, needles for hand sewing, basic colors of thread, black, white and natural, a fabric scissors or you may even opt to add a rotary cutter, a paper scissors, a small nippers for at your machine, a seam ripper and a tracing wheel, preferably with spikes or at the least, serrated.  Your collection of materials and tools will grow as you learn.

Finding a Teacher

Finding a place to learn is your next quest. Sewing has become a bit of a lost art that is in the midst of a revival as bad economic times is leaving a space to create a renaissance of sorts for all of the skills that our mothers and grandmothers had before we became a throw away society.

Many community colleges offer adult education classes  and there are also small sewing instruction companies popping up all over…. Of course, you may say, why should I pay when U Tube is free? Well of course it’s free but the snippets are short and often broken up.  You will probably find that you can only get so much for free, and then it will take you to a page to sign up for on line classes.

I never learned from an online class so I can’t comment as to how well it could work for you. I can tell you that in the beginning, you will need a patient, experienced instructor to hold your hand, encourage you and teach you not only the in and out’s of your exact machinery, but to also put you on the right path to develop good sewing habits so your projects will look professional, fit, and make you feel good about your creation!

Your Measurements & Pattern Selection

So, you are ready to start sewing something. But what?  There are many simple projects like purses that you get online, but lets talk about commercial patterns.

As you get ready to march to your local fabric store, go armed with your basic measurements.  These critical basic measurements are your bust, your waist and your hips.

To take these measurements, wear a good support bra, bring the tape measure around your back even with your bust and take a relaxed measurement at the fullest point.

Do the same with your waist ( your true waist is about 1″above your belly button, NOT where your jeans rest!) and finally, your hip at it’s fullest point which is between 7-8 ” below your true waist.

Most fabric stores like Joannes, have large catalogs of all kinds of patterns. Simplicity brand is just as it state, although the fit is not always the best, McCall’s  is a little better, Butterick is generally a good fit and was the very first paper pattern available way back in the late 19th century!

Vogue patterns tend to be very expensive and more difficult. Watch for a sale to stock up on your patterns.  Look for a style that will flatter your body shape, is rated as “easy” and is made from a woven vs. a knitted fabric.

Compare the measurements on the envelope to yours to know what size to buy. Just because you buy an 8 in the store, does not mean you need an 8 pattern.

If your measurements don’t match the envelope exactly, go with what is the closest.The patterns are kept in the drawers under the catalogs and you may need a clerk to help you find your choice.

This envelope contains the full size tissues pattern in three sizes, full instructions of how to sew, how much fabric to buy, what notions you will need like inter-facings, buttons or zippers and fabric suggestions.

Fabric Selection

On the back of the envelope you will also find suggested fabrics.  If you don’t know very much about fabrics, hopefully, the staff at the store can point you in the right direction. Most of your woven fabrics will come 45/48″ wide.

Follow the back of the envelope to know how much you need to buy. If there is a sale table, or a remnant table that is often a great way to get discounts on fabric. Fabric is rolled onto bolts with the ends draped over so you can see the pattern.

Look under the draped part to find the price per yard, the content and the care. Look for something machine washable, not too see sheer, medium body weight and of a comfortable fiber like cotton or cotton rich.   Don’t forget your matching thread and zippers or buttons!  To match the thread, unroll a little bit and hold against your fabric to find best match. I recommend dual duty in a 50 or 60 weight. This is a poly core with cotton wrap so it’s strong but holds great color and does not shrink.   You will also need to purchase an interfacing. That is an unseen layer that you will apply to certain area to give them strength and body.

So now you will be ready to learn to sew with baby steps. Watch for my next blog to know how to get started!

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Beginning Designers Q & A

Can I learn to sew and design if i have never sewed before?

Yes, we will teach you the very beginner basic. If you already have portable machine you are welcomed to bring it with you and we will instruct you on it’s care and use, or you can use our machines at Mia Fashi Studios.

Do I need a lot of expensive materials and how do I know what to buy ?

There is an initial investment in any hobby, craft or avocation. You will need to buy a few things to start out with but many of them you will accumulate as your progress moves forward. For sewing you will need  something to hold your supplies. Tackle boxes and craft boxes work great. Inside you will have:

  • Pincushion and straight pins
  • Hand sewing needles
  • Black, white and beige threads
  • A nippers to use at the machine
  • Beeswax for hand sewing
  • Tape measure
  • fabric scissors and a paper scissors
  • Tracing wheel
  • a Binder or note book for notes and hand outs

These as well as patterns are all available at your local fabric store and coming soon we will have some “kits” that you can purchase from us to get you started.  As you progress, you will discover other materials that you may need.

Can I learn pattern making with out knowing how to sew?

It is necessary that you have basic sewing skills to be able to sew together for your fit shells from pattern making.  Start with Sewing  if you are a true novice.

Is it easier to just change around a commercial pattern vs. making a pattern from scratch?

It has been our experience that you need to understand basic pattern making and fitting principles before you can understand how to adjust someone else’s pattern.

Yes, lengthening, shortening is simple and sometime just taking  in the side seams are simple however more complicated fit issues like small shoulders, wide hips, hollow backs, sloped shoulders, heavy arms, all  effect more than one point and take a clearer understanding of pattern basics to achieve.

How long does it take to learn how to sew or to make a pattern?

Everyone learns at a different pace and the more you already know the faster you should be able to learn new skills. You should be able to sew a simple top in your first class!

Pattern making takes a little longer as it is more complicated. depending on the method you use you should be able to start constructing your first original simple garment after 6-12 weeks of instruction depending on how much time you work with it away from class.

Do I have to be an artist to be able to draw so I can illustrate my designs?

No you do not have to be an artist. we will help you and give you easy instruction and shortcuts to be able to get your ideas on paper!

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How To Use Basic Knit & Purl To Create A Wide Variety Of Beautiful Stitch Designs

In my last teaching experience of Knitting, I learned that not only can I teach a beginner or seasoned knitted how to read a pattern, but apparently after all my years of pattern design, I can also teach you to create your own original patterns!

All you need is a few body measurements, chose a stitch pattern, a yarn, an appropriate needle and establish your gauge.

This does not have to be a complicated design and you don’t have to know a lot of fancy stitches. A basic Knit & Purl can yield an extraordinary amount of stitch design. In the photos attached you see a simple 5X5 box stitch, a simple stockinette stitch and a variation of a Like Lace stitch.

You can really choose any yarn that strikes you and you may want to try your choice of stitch and a couple of different size needles to discover the look you want, then you need to knit a 4×4″ square to determine your gauge.

Your Gauge tells you how many stitches per inch and how many rows per inch. Once you know that you can develop your pattern. The green and white samples shown use Lily Sugar N Creme or Lion Cotton both 4 ply worsted and a pair of 7 1/2 straight needles and a size 7 Circular needle. Our gauge was 4 stitches per inch more or less depending on the stitch pattern. 5 rows = 1″

Example:
3/4 length sleeve 15″ long total
Fore arm: 9″ (9×4=32 stitches)
Upper Arm: 12″ (12×4= 48 stitches)
across shoulders at back:=15″ (15×4=60″)

So cast on 32 stitches, work in pattern for 9″ then you start your increase: 48-32=16/2=8 You need to increase 8 stitches on each side to create your upper arm measurement. 5 rows = 1″ so if you increase 1 stitch at the beginning and at the end of the next 8 rows (48 stchs) work in pattern for 1 ” more ( 5 rows) and start your increase for back (60-48=12/=6) increase one stitch at the beginning of each of the next 12 rows keeping to pattern (60stchs).

You should have about 12″ in width at this point Stitch marker. Knit in pattern for your across back measurement of 15″. Then you just follow your increase backwards to make your decrease. Use your stitch markers to act as a visual measurement comparison.

Block your piece after binding off with a steam iron to even up any skew and curing edges. Using a tapestry needle sew together your sleeve portions.

Try on to make sure you can get into it. Then you need to measure from behind your CB neck across your front and around the back ( outer edge of shrug) this will tell you how big your edging or collar needs to be. Lets say it’s 54, so you will need to pick up 216 stitches all around the neckline. Do this with a circular needle and work in chosen pattern to meet your design requirements for collar or trim. Bind off.

This is all easier than it sounds and once you learn this principle you will find it easy to more forward and create more complicated patterns and styles. Watch for another block on how to block them out on graph paper! It should keep you in stitches!!!

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Notes From A Fashion Diva & A Garment Goddess…

I’m Jill Odermann, head instructor and owner of Miami Fashion Classes @ Mia Fashi Studios in Miami. Starting this business and web page heralds a turning point in my personal life and my professional path! I’d like to share my tale and passion for fashion with you the other fashion divas in Miami and the world. First, a little about my background:

The creative process of clothing design, embellishment and creation started at an early age. It seems I was draping clothes and sewing them on my dolls so young, I only can say I did it as my Mom saved them all!

As soon as I was old enough to learn the sewing machine, I also learned knitting and embroidery techniques and used them all together to copy the fashions I saw on the pop Icons of the day to state my own outrageous style statement .

This lead to writing and illustrating the fashion column for the my high school newspaper. While enrolled in advanced art classes, and started entering original pieces to jewelry shows where I won awards for my designs. I started receiving and accepting invitations from prestigious art camps where I explored spinning, weaving and natural dyes.

While working my way through fashion school In Chicago I worked at one of the largest fabric stores in the  Midwest ( Vogue Fabrics), learning volumes about sewing and creating looks for the home while I also freelanced as a costume designer for entertainers of all sorts. That ultimately acted as a spring board for me to my first job as a recital and dance wear costume designer.

That opportunity allowed me free reign creativity by designing, pattern making, sourcing,  costing, working with the factory and assisting in creative direction on catalog photo shoots as well as designing the entire 85 page color catalog , copy writing and selecting the shots.  I had a lot of fun in this job and was allowed to be super creative!  But alas, life stepped in and booted me to the “big leagues” as it were…

The next ten years found me working for fortune 500 companies namely The May Company and the now defunct, Eddie Bauer. I was also fortunate to be able to participate in bring to market a  private labels like Valerie Stevens  from conception to finished production. This is how I learned to trouble shoot at the factory level  and be involved with meeting compliance standards and monitoring quality assurance.

As that episode of my life ran it’s course, I found myself looking within and was a bit unsure of the future. At this point fate stepped in causing be to accept the belief that when one door begins closing, another is opening. One just has to pay attention.

Fate had a hand in my becoming an instructor at Miami International University of Art & Design for the past five years, and it was kismet manifesting once again compelling me to share my knowledge and enthusiasm with those of you who share my passion!

I know without a doubt that my techniques and knowledge will inspire and more importantly help each of you to let your Inner Fashion Diva shine!!!

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