Playing With Collars, again...

Friday, October 14, 2005

Recently I've been working on developing new blouse collar design variations. This "Crush Collar" is applied as a bias ruffle, then manipulated into folds that are tacked down randomly along the neck edge. The center-front placket is tucked from the wrong side to soften the extension and complete the softly random look of the garment.

Playing with Collar Design

Monday, October 10, 2005

Recently as I was stitching my...oh...10,000th flat collar, a wave of boredom hit me. So...I started to play! One of the ways I come up with new design elements is to tweak the traditional and see what happens.

This pleated collar on a silk dupionni shirt/blouse is the result of my latest "play-time". All the pleat manipulation is done after the flat collar is applied to the shirt, the pleats fastened down by careful hand stitching on the collar's underside.

"HOW TO USE IT" ...Elastic!

Sunday, August 21, 2005
The following is just ONE of many ways Pro-Stretch Elastic can be used. It can be inserted into a casing. can be stitched through without losing stretch!

ELASTIC IN ACTION... "The Comfy Waistband" is a popular waistline treatment, that becomes even more comfortable when made with Pro-Stretch Elastic.

Start with a garment prepared for a cut-on elastic waistline, then cut a length of Pro-Stretch Elastic 1-2" smaller than the body's waist measurement. Stitch the ends of the elastic together, making a circle.

Divide both the elastic and waist-edge into 4th's. Pin the Pro-Stretch Elastic to the wrong side of waist matching the quarter marks, as shown.

Using a serger or zig-zag, stitch the elastic to the waist edge by stretching the elastic to meet the fabric (contrasting thread is used here for demonstration).

Turn the elastic to the inside (wrong side), and stitch along the Center Front, Center Back and Side Seams to complete the waistline (contrasting thread is shown here for demonstration).

When the garment is worn, the waistline appears to be faced because the elastic is not inserted into a casing. There will be some "ease", but this method gives the waist a much smoother appearance than if the edge was top-stitched.

These Jeans were made with Pro-Stretch Elastic using the "Comfy Waistband" application.

Thursday, July 7, 2005
Want Fries With That?

So....McDonald's is looking for a hip designer to create new uniforms for its staff? Well I vote for Dries Van Noten! Wouldn't both boys and girls look spiffy in this little number?

I am rather insulted they didn't contact me...after all, I design with hemp..and we all know how hemp, in general, has the reputation for inducing hunger...or so I've heard.


Thursday, June 30, 2005

Recently I've had some additional questions about the shirt detail I call the "Bachelor Pleat".

"Is the name trademarked, or the actual pleat?"

...Just the name.

"Isn't this just an inverted box-pleat with an insert?"

...Well, not "just" a box pleat. What differentiates this pleat is how it is finessed. Please note the photograph below. The back of a Bachelor Pleat shirt is shown, along with a close-up of the area where the Back meets the Yoke (click on the photo to see detail, use "back button" to return).

First, note the pleat folds. Both the inner and outer folds are edge-stitched along their entire length before the pleat is stitched to the yoke. Now look closely at the area right where the pleat joins the yoke. See the slight overlap? It's very tiny, but one side of the pleat overlaps the other by a miniscule amount. Why? It helps the pleat lay smoothly when the shirt is worn, and strengthens the pleat where it meets the yoke.

"Why is it called a Bachelor Pleat?"

...I first introduced shirts with this pleat detail during the 1980's. One of my clients told me how convenient this design is for bachelors like himself, because he could just take the shirt out of the clothes-dryer and put it on....with no ironing! I've called this design detail The Bachelor Pleat (TM) ever since.

Monday, June 27, 2005
The Question: WHAT'S THE POINT?

The Answer: One of the most frustrating aspects of constructing a collar.

The white collar point shown here has a very narrow point. A collar with a such a sharp angle can be very challenging.

This is my "Shirtmaker's Formula" for achieving a crisp sharp point with no lumps or bumps:

A Good Pattern + Plenty of Practice + Good Interfacing = A Professional Collar every time!
Sunday, June 5, 2005

What Your Mama Never Told You About Sewing...

How To Pre-Wash Fabric!

Most modern sewists know the importance of washing fabric before cutting a pattern and constructing a garment. A pre-wash will rid fabric of mill sizing chemicals and any excess dye, and perhaps most importantly it will reduce the chances of the finished garment shrinking.

What is the best way to pre-wash fabric? Does it matter what soap is used? How hot the water is? You bet it does! I have found that the following methods give me consistent results every time:

For Denim, Linen, Hemp and their blends, I wash the raw yardage as ruthlessly as I can, even if I will be more gentle with the finished garment. Hot water, plus a soap like Synthrapol will both soften the fiber and keep any excess dye suspended so that it goes down the drain rather than settle back into the fabric.

Additionally, I splash about 8 ounces of plain vinegar into the wash water along with the soap. I like the way the acidity softens the fabric and seems to help stave off future wrinkles.

It's a good idea to always test a scrap before preparing the entire length of fabric for the complete pre-wash...because while these methods have always worked very well for me, your mileage may vary!

Fabric Takes the Plunge

There are some easy extra steps to take before your fashion fabric takes the plunge. A little preparation now will help keep the fabric from twisting and pulling as it goes through the wash cycle:

Open up the fabric to its full width. Next, fold the fabric opposite of the way it came off the bolt, matching up the full width of both cut edges. At the sewing machine, baste these edges together. Back at your table, smooth out the fabric, and align the selveges. Now, pin the selveges together with safety pins. Your fabric will now be open, folded in half, stitched together at one end, and pinned together on each side.

Essentially what you have done is reduce the length of fabric that will be manipulated in the wash. It will be far less likely to twist, allowing all of the fabric to be thoroughly washed and most importantly, rinsed of all soap.

Saturday, May 28, 2005
What Your Mama Never Told You About Sewing...

The Needle Knows !


When sewing seams or topstitching or even basting....remember: The sewing machine needle knows what it's don't have to watch it! The needle does its thing...moving up and down forming stitches, all on its own. Isn't modern technology wonderful? :)

To ensure nice straight seams, topstitching, etc, SIGHT THE FABRIC, NOT THE NEEDLE while sewing. You will be much happier with the results.

The Bachelor Pleat (tm)

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Bachelor Pleat (tm)
Originally uploaded by Pamela I. E..
Originally designed for a musician who needed both high style and comfortable ease of movement, THE BACHELOR PLEAT (tm) has become a favorite of many OTC clients...bankers, brokers, golfers, and musicians alike! Gosh, even engineers like it!

This carefully engineered back pleat can be added to any OTC design.

The BACHELOR PLEAT (tm) is perfect for the needs of the average bachelor: Throw it in the washer, take it out of the dryer, and wear it with style!

~Off The Cuff~ 2005 ~Style~

Always a favorite, this shirt with contrasting lined collar is further detailed with sleeve hem accents. The back "Bachelor Pleat" TM, further enhances the ultra comfort of this classic design.

Shirt "Mold" ...It ain't pretty!

Monday, May 9, 2005
Disclaimer: The poorly sewn shirt shown is from a department store, It is NOT one of the custom shirts from my studio !

It's sneaky, it's insidious.
Oh yes dear readers, it's another incident of ugly "shirt mold"! Shirt Mold? Well, not actually mold...but still ugly. Lint has collected between the folds of this shirt's front button-band. Because the fabric is thin and not of the best quality, the trapped lint makes it seem as if the shirt is soiled.

What can be done? A tailor or seamstress can top-stitch on either side of the buttonhole along the inner and outer edges of the front band. This will stop lint from collecting in the folds. Otherwise, you have no choice but to try to pick that ugly "shirt mold" out by hand.

To prevent this dreaded situation from ever happening again, BUY BETTER SHIRTS...or learn to make your own!

Yet MORE artistic FUN!

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

While net-surfing one fine day, I found what I think is an outstanding collection of FREE nature inspired fonts.

There are 3 distinct nature collections named SAUERTWIGGO, TWIGDANCER, and MISTER TWIGGY, plus other cool fonts on Chank's "Free Fonts" page.

I am not quite sure how I will use these to enhance my personal fashions...I have some ideas...we'll see....

How would you use these "nature-letters"...hmmm? ...and be prepared for me to steal your ideas! LOL

~Off The Cuff~ 2005 ~Style~

Thursday, April 28, 2005
Essential for warm lazy days, this 100% Swiss cotton shirt is smooth, cool, and comfortable. Sky Blue mini-stripes, a shaped band collar, and double button detail accent this distinctive design. An OTC exclusive, made in the USA.


Please contact us for availability and more information.

~Off The Cuff~ 2005 ~Style~

Monday, April 25, 2005

This exquisitely tailored long sleeve shirt is fashioned from the finest linen. Accented by flap pockets and horn buttons, it makes a distinctive style statement.

Shown here in Oyster White, ~Off The Cuff~ style 221 is also available in Pale Yellow and Blush.

Please contact us for availability and more information.

~Off The Cuff~ 2005 ~Style~

Saturday, April 23, 2005
Made from the smoothest shell-gray swiss cotton, this shirt is lean yet comfortable.

Perfectly accented by a uniquely shaped collar, it is perfect for any ocassion. This ~Off The Cuff~ shirt can be fashioned with short sleeves, and is also available in white.

Please contact us for availability and further information.

~Off The Cuff~ 2005 ~Style~

Casual dressing is defined in this easy to wear ~Off The Cuff~ HEMP shirt. Wear the sleeves rolled as shown or lower to button at the cuff. Versatile comfort!

Featured here in Pistachio, it is also available in Berry.

Please contact us for availability and further information.

THE SCRIBBLER! ...more artistic fun...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

This is another "cool tool" for generating images. Go to the site and look at their 'gallery' to see other examples. In color or black and white, these images can be used the same way as images from 'typo-generator'. ~Click Post Title, above, to link to Scribbler~ FREE and FUN!

Vintage Patterns, circa 1945-1955

Friday, April 1, 2005

Favorites from my collection of vintage patterns.

Vintage Pattern Drafts

These are vintage shirt patterns drafted circa 1940-1959. Notice the subtle shaping of the pattern pieces.

Contemporary Shirt Draft

This is an example of a contemporary shirt draft. Compare the shape of these pattern pieces to the vintage pattern drafts.
Monday, March 28, 2005

Yet MORE fun with TypoGenerator! (details below) Posted by Hello

Is she Crafty? (TYPOGENERATOR)

Sunday, March 27, 2005
I have been having so much fun at a site called "typogenerator"

While I am not known for my crafty-abilities....Waiting for my new glasses prevents me from doing precision sewing. So, I found this cool site and have been having such a good time creating computer wallpaper, screen savers....and.....T-SHIRT TRANSFERS! I have made a collage of some of the "art" I generated that includes an example of generated text and image applied to a simple (very simple) T-shirt (see below). One of the things I appreciate about this site is that there is NOTHING to download...You generate the images right there and save what you like. And it's have some input, but the generator does the rest. Perhaps I am easily impressed and/or amused, LOL, but you HAVE to check this out!

From the site:
What is Typogenerator?
TypoGenerator is a random generator for 'typoPosters'. A typoPoster is a poster, created from images and letters/text. It's sole purpose is just to look cool.

How does typogenerator work?
The user types some text; typoGenerator searches images/google for the text and creates a background from the found images, using randomly chosen effects. Then it places the text, also using random effects.


(click pic below to see detail)

TYPO-GENERATOR....too cool! Posted by Hello
Saturday, March 26, 2005

CHIPPED FRINGE hems accent these Pencil-Fly pants. ~~ How-to Technique Below ~~ Posted by Hello


To "CHIP FRINGE", edge-stitch the desired depth of finished fringe, then clip to stitching line at quarter-inch intervals. In this case I wanted to fringe a denim applique to put on a child's sweatshirt. So after I embroidered the square, I stitched about 1/2" from the edge around 4 sides. After clipping, the applique was attached to the shirt following the stitching lines. After washing, the fabric "chips" away, leaving a fashionable soft fringed edge. This technique is especially useful when you are not sure the fabric is perfectly 'on-grain'. "Chipping" the fringe rather than raveling the edge assures the fringe depth will be straight and even! Posted by Hello


Sunday, March 20, 2005
Pattern Stringcodes is a company that provides 'block' patterns for the fashion industry. They have a nifty FREE DOWNLOAD for a "pattern-making calculator" that can be used by anyone who sews!

Among other things, you can use this calculator to create a circle skirt, half-circle skirt, or use it to create a flounce: Type in an inner circle measurement (like waist or wrist), click on the icon for full circle, half circle, quarter circle, etc....and there it is, the radius you need to make a circle skirt that fits the input waist measurement, or flounce to fit the input wrist measurement. The calculator shows results in imperial fractions and decimal at the same time, and will convert inches to decimals.

Click the title of this post (or link) to check out the details of this nifty free calculator, view a screenshot, and download.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Men look wonderful IN COLOR! Be a BRAVE SHOPPER: try colors that you would normally pass will be surprised at how ALIVE color makes you look and feel! WEAR COLOR---FEEL ALIVE! Posted by Hello
Tuesday, February 8, 2005
AWARD WINNING book with featured ~Off The Cuff~ hemp shirt Posted by Hello

BIG my world!

* SEW ANY FABRIC, by Claire Shaeffer and published by Krause Publications, was awarded FIRST PLACE for non-fiction technical books in the National Federation of Media Professionals Communications Contest.

WHY does this have special significance in "my world" ? Because the author kindly included one of my designs in the publication! My ~OFF THE CUFF~ Roll Collar Shirt can be seen on page 143.

About the Author: Claire Shaeffer is an internationally respected author, lecturer, college instructor, and columnist. She has written numerous articles that have appeared in popular sewing publications, such as Vogue Pattern Magazine, Craftrends, Sew Business, Sew News, and Woman's Day. Claire is recognized for her achievements as the winner of several prestigious awards, including the 1997 Who's Who of American Women award.

Friday, February 4, 2005
The Shirt that launched ~OFF THE CUFF~ Posted by Hello

The SHIRT that started it all...

This is the shirt that started my design "career" as a custom shirtmaker.

Made from hemp fiber it features a convertible collar
that can be worn rolled as shown, or open. The wood buttons and narrow double-breasted
silhouette has made this one of my most popular designs.