Ode to the Sleeve, but that is just the icing on the cake.

I am really enjoying seeing the variety of sleeves being presented by Fashion designers for Fall/Winter 2019. And this is being carried through to sewing patterns for those of us who love to sew. As a DIY individual, we have the advantage of a custom fitted garment. This is usually available to those who can afford it. But as a DIY, a Sewer, you can be equipped with the knowledge to alter for a custom fit. 

Pattern Alterations – using your measurements, learn how the quickly alter your sewing patterns. Saturday Pattern Alteration Classes are offered throughout the year.

Our next pattern alterations Classes focuses on bottoms- jeans, pants and skirts. This Saturday, July 27, 2-4pm $45 covers the process using 1/4 scale patterns. The following Saturday, apply those alterations to full size patterns and test, cut out a muslin or wearable muslin to sew. 3rd class, continue to sew and check the fit. 

The next Pattern Alterations Classes will focus on the Upper Body Patterns. Practice on 1/4 and 1/2 scale patterns. Apply to full size patterns, test. 

2019 Designer Inspirations

As I study the new fashions, I am inspired by the details, the colors and fabrics and the designs themselves. I may not be interested in wearing that design, but I may use one feature at a latter date in something I will sew.

Many Fashion Forecasters claim too many trends are “In.” And so many trends are basically repeats of former seasons with a new name. But then you will see the “gems” of fashion design. A new twist on an old design. A new introduction of fabric choices as our textiles become more innovative.

If you follow a number (8 or more) of prominent designers, the ones you like, you will see the trends. Or at least the trends you may like.

It’s upsetting for me to hear and read comments “I wouldn’t wear that” or I hate that color” or “I don’t’ like that.” I usually can find one thing I like about every garment. If not, I move on.

I want to post my Design Inspirations on my blog to return over and over to study them. I hope you enjoy them too.

I call it a Success!

I find it fascinating, challenging, and just plain fun to create a project that could teach one many of the basic construction techniques in one project.

 My latest success project – I have designed simple bags that not only are practical and useful, they are completed in a short 3 hour Learn to Sew class.

  1. Beginners experience pinning, pressing, operating a sewing machine and serger, stitching seams, finishing seams, making pockets, topstitching and hemming all in one bag.
  2. Experienced sewers learn new sewing techniques and tricks and  break bad old habits.

Sewing a bag is stress free. It does not need to fit and it does not matter if you don’t sew straight. The bag is just a “practice exercise” that turns out well every time and is useful.
Once the bag is completed, there is still time to measure and determine everyone’s pattern size. Fabric types and fibers are discussed and the places to find them. Even shopping tips are given to help buy the right size retail clothing.

Behind the Tailoring

It was a tailoring class that turned my life around. After serving in the US Army I returned to Central Washington University to pick up a masters and/or another degree to be more employable as a teacher. I talked my way into the Tailoring Class without having taken any of the prerequisites. I was told I had to “cut the mustard” in the first class or I would be asked to withdraw. I knew in the first half hour I wanted my Instructors job! I wanted to teach adults Clothing Construction at a university level.

I was fascinated to learn how to create shape, reduce bulk in seams and define details in this Tailoring class. I was able to apply the fundamentals behind Tailoring to all my sewing.

Mrs. Schactler, now Dr. Schactler, warned us not to use a plaid, corduroy or denim fabric for our first jacket. A wool tweed is easier to tailor. She made a jacket along with us, in plaid, sharing the additional steps she needed to take planning the layout, matching the seams and pockets perfectly.

I learned to pretest my sewing techniques and interfacing applications before constructing a garment.

I was young and thin, unaware of fitting issues. Mrs. Schactler of course made sure our patterns fit.

Because I want to teach on a University Level, I enrolled in Tailoring the following year, completing one with Contemporary Ready-to-Wear construction techniques and one with Traditional Tailoring techniques.

I prefer Contemporary techniques and happily let Kenneth D. King teach The Traditional Tailoring Workshops.

Are you interested in Tailoring? Construct a Blazer or Classic French Jacket with Contemporary Tailoring Techniques in a series of classes on Saturdays in August and September. What do I mean by Contemporary Tailoring Techniques?  We will be using fusible interfacing and Ready-to-Wear construction techniques that will not sacrifice the final look.   

Sat, Aug 24, 2019 at 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
Sat, Sep 7, 2019 at 9:30 am to 12:30 pm
Sat, Sep 14, 2019 at 9:30 am to 12:30 pm
Sat, Sep 21, 2019 at 9:30 am to 12:30 pm
Sat, Sep 28, 2019 at 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

You may register for each class individually. 

Blazer and Classic French Jacket Pattern Fitting

August 24

9:30-3 pm


Click Here

If you have a pattern that has been altered to fit, you may skip this class.

Blazer and Classic French Jacket Construction Series

Saturdays in September


$75 each

Click Here

Register for the Entire Series and Save $50

$425 Click Here 

There are many fine patterns available and I am giving a few suggestions that may be purchased locally.

This Simplicity blazer is a unlined pattern that we may make a lining pattern for comes in cup sizes up to DD. https://www.simplicity.com/simplicity-storefront-catalog/patterns/women/jackets–coats/simplicity-sewing-pattern-s8844-missesmiss-petite-unlined-blazer/

Lined blazer with peplum .
Fitted , lined Blazer

9336 Fitted , lined Blazer

Lined French Jacket
https://voguepatterns.mccall.com/v7975 Vogue 7975

Metro Textiles 40% Sale until July 14

Use Code “July4” and no shipping charges for orders over $200.



Are you interested in finding a sewing class near you? My best advice is to ask Google-
LEARN TO SEW near me

Many higher education schools require a commitment of joining their program a minimum of 2 years. But some schools offer classes that fall under Continuing Education.

Sewing machine stores and fabric stores also offer classes.

I have found it difficult to find pattern drafting, pattern alterations, garment construction, tailoring, couture construction; theatre costume construction …classes to improve my teaching skills in Washington state. So, I seek out classes and workshops around the US. This resulted in me offering workshops around the US

Many seeking classes are full time employed people with busy family lifestyles. They, like me, are only able to give a weekend or a day or two to enjoy our passion by learning new skills we can take home.

On Instagram, search

Wednesday Open Lab in Tacoma

Kenneth D. King teaches Moulage Workshop in many cities.

Saturday’s Sewing Tips and Tricks, the TNT’s of SEWING

Sewing THREADS, Sewing Machine NEEDLES and Sewing Machine TENSION

SEWING THREAD – Quality Polyester Universal All-Purpose Sewing Thread will serve most of your sewing needs.  Polyester thread does not shrink or fade.  I prefer Mettler and Dual Duty brands.

  • Most stitching problems come from using the incorrect length of stitch for the thickness of the fabric being sewn.
  • Secondly, thread that easily breaks when you pull it (because it is old) will break as you stitch and can you imagine what will happen when you wear the garment!
  • Thirdly, problems arise from poor quality thread that is fuzzy, has knots or lumps in it.

Avoid stocking up on thread, it ages. Avoid buying threads at yard sales or factory sales because they tend to be too old. Check to see if your thread has aged.  Aged thread will break easily in your hands.  Fibers weaken under light and when exposed to heat.  This is true of your threads.

Silk thread is used for topstitching.  It is too strong for use in the seams of silk fabrics, causing the fabric to tear while the seam holds under stress.  Cotton thread ages quickly, weakens and fades and is used for quilting.. Topstitching thread are used for topstitching and surface designs, not seaming, Topstititching tread requires a Topstitching Needle. Embroidery thread is used for embroidery and surface designs, not seaming. Clear thread is used for surface designs, not seaming.

IMPORTANT – Serger or Overlock Threads are used for sergers and overlock machines, not home sewing machines.  The thread is formed with shorter staple fibers, causing too much fuzz in your machine’s tension discs.


Change your needles often, at least once for every garment. The cost of a needle is a lot less than the cost of your fabric.  A dull tip can snag your fabric and an overused needle’s eye will shred your thread because it’s upper edge has been sharpened by numerous threads going through it.

Needle Sizes

The basic rule of thumb when it comes to sewing machine needles size is  the lower the number, the smaller needle, the finer the fabric

The higher the size number, the larger the needle, which is best used with thicker fabric. They come in sizes 60/8, 65/9, 70/10, 75/11, 80/12, 90/14, 100/16, 110/18, 120/19.  The most common needles sizes used are: 

70/10 fine size for lightweight and sheer fabrics

80/12 medium size for medium weight fabrics

90/14 larger size for thicker heavier weight fabrics

Needle Types

Universal needlesa normal (slightly rounded) sharp-pointed needle is called a universal because it sews most fabrics well.  The point is slightly rounded so it won’t damage most knits. It is a good idea to have all three basic sizes 70/10, 80/12 (with a larger supply of this size) and 90/14 in your sewing box.

Stretch needlesThis needle has a slightly more rounded point than a universal need. The eye is small and high up on the shaft, restricting the thread and protecting it from too much movement and friction.  There is a tiny hump between the eye and the scarf that alls the thread to make a large loop on one side of the needle.  This loop makes it easy to complete a stitch. Whenever I have difficulty getting a good stitch or I get skipped stitches, I use a stretch needle.  It usually fixes the problem. I have size 75/11 and 90/14 in my sewing box.

Topstiching needles – These have larger eyes which can accommodate thicker topstitching threads.

Jeans/Denim needles – This needle is design for sewing very densely woven and heavily finished fabrics such as denim, corduroy, upholstery, and rip stop nylon.  It is the choice for getting perfectly straight stitches because it has a very stiff shaft, sharp point, and slender eye.  It will, however, cause great damage to knits.  Jeans needles are also a good choice for topstitching through several layers, plus sewing and embroidering heavy weight fabrics.

Microtex/Sharp needles– These needles have a thin shaft and slim, sharp point for smooth seams with little or no damage to lightweight and delicate woven fabrics such as Microfibers, batiste, sand washed fabrics, and silkies.  This helps creates great looking topstitching on any fabric. You many need several needles to complete a garment.  Microtex/sharp needed are a must for heirloom sewing.                                 


Don’t mess with it! The means don’t mess with the upper tension or bobbin tension.  The machines are set up for All Purpose Sewing Thread thickness.  Using thicker or thinner threads is like putting the wrong size tires on your car, you won’t get far.

Generally there is a mark, a red line, or the middle of the numbered tension dial that the machine will be set at by the sewing mechanic. Unless you are a skilled mechanic, only change it under the direction of an instructor. And they will have you reset it back to normal when you are done using a specialty thread.

Over time with a lot of sewing, the bobbin tension may loosen or tighten the tension. It is good to know what the correct tension feels like.  Your mechanic, sewing machine sales people and instructors can show you.

This is one of the most important tips I learned from Stan, my Bernina Man, was to not mess with the tension. Machines are set at the factory to the thickness of ALL-PURPOSE SEWING THREAD. In the past 30+ years, when ever a student brought in their machine that was not operating properly the first thing I do is set their tension at normal, red lines match or 5 in a 0-9 scale. Then I thread the machine and stitch. I have only had one machine come in with the tension dials stripped in all these years.

This information was provided by Stan Mower, retired, Bernina Mechanic & Bernina Dealer, Dr. Carolyn Schactler & Dr. Pearl Douce, Central Washington University, Schmetz Threads and Ryliss Bod.


Perfect for the woman who likes both #DressFriday and #Casual Friday

To view more #DressFriday dress inspirations, go to Instagram and search for #DressFriday.

The Blog’s Platform

I want to inspire you to sew and share with you links to resources.

Fabric and Notions
Sewing Equipment
Educational Opportunities
Sewing Tips, Tricks & Techniques
Pattern Drafting & Hacking

The Pattern Alterations & Fitting
Sewing Patterns
Textiles: Fibers to Fabrics
Fashion Illustration
History of Fashion
Wardrobe Planning “Street Style”
Fashion Trends
Skirt Wednesday
Season of the Leg
Dress Friday
Statement Sleeves
Jackets & Coats
Fashion Designers
Sewing Achievers
Apparel Manufacturing
Questions & Answers
A Slanted Memory Lane