The best Fitting Advice I have ever found

After the last blog post, I spent many hours on Peggy Sager’s Youtube channel. The extent of the content is amazing. She has been posting video’s for years. Her depth of knowledge of pattern making and fitting is an enormous resource for sewist like myself who have no formal training.

The links below are videos that impressed me for their usefulness and Peggy’s clarity in covering the subject.

Basic Principles

12 Universal Fitting Facts –

Understanding pattern fit

Peggy’s top 10 sewing tips

French Curve

How and why to use for fitting and styling, many ways to use it demonstrated.


Basic bodice fitting –

The french dart

Advanced french dart

Sleeve/armscye (armholes)

The four basic types, how to fit, how to make a 2 piece sleeve from a one piece, how to sew without pins,

Armhole templates, how to make, how to use, note narrow shoulder application at approximately 9:00

How to create a kimono sleeve from a set in sleeve – starts at 7:10


Pants fitting

Jeans fitting- she assumes you have watched the pants fitting first

There are many more topics on Peggy’s youtube channel. Look around to see what is useful to you.


Vivienne Files and Silhouette Patterns

There has been a lot of sickness at work this season, long lingering bouts of “flu”. I have been fighting it for weeks now and it has finally got me. I am home, in bed and grumpy!! Thank goodness for my laptop and WIFI. I have been thoroughly exploring a couple of very interesting websites.

One is The Vivienne Files This website, written by a very prolific blog host who is NOT named Vivienne (you have to read the story), is all about putting together a classic timeless minimal wardrobe. She has a number of different approaches for how to do this which I am exploring. Right now I am reading about how to start one from scratch You can either read her 20 blog posts on this subject!! or a more condensed version of 5 stages. From there, she branches out into all sorts of more detail on different topics. All of this is accessed from the link above, her actual website has unending interesting information and concepts. She is nothing if not thorough. One of her concepts I find funny but very practical is “Whatever is Clean”. This is a funny name for a minimal wardrobe in which everything goes with everything else so that you can wear whatever is clean and it will go together. She discusses this in step 18 at the above link. All her posts on this subject are here I find her writing style easy to read and appealing although her clothing style is not necessarily mine. Her approach to colour is new (to me) and quite liberating. She is not advocating the current “in” colours, she pulls her colours from many sources, including artwork. This website is enormous, it will keep you busy for many hours if you find this subject interesting.

The second is both a website and a Youtube channel for Peggy Sagers of Silhouette Patterns. She has been around a long time, has written many articles for Threads magazine, promotes industrial sewing techniques, has a line of patterns and a lot of very good information about fit and many adaptations for her patterns.  I have watched many hours of her youtube videos, there are short small topic ones and long big topic ones. Here are some of my favourites:

I was having quite a bit of difficulty navigating her Youtube site. I was using the “video” tab to explore it and the videos seemed to be listed in a random order. I finally looked at the “playlist” tab and here they are listed under headings in a more organised manner. Note the “View full playlist” link at the bottom of each category, in some categories there are many more videos than the ones listed.

Sewing Podcasts

I like to have a regular “sewing time” in my life to ensure I make the time to sew. I find that sewing is a little calm oasis in a busy life. It is very different from anything else I do, so it gives me a real break. It helps to build a feeling of well-being and resilience and is an activity that requires focus and mindfulness both of which are good for our mental health and sharpness.

My sewing time is Sunday afternoon after the weekend chores are done and I know I am ready for the new week.  Sometimes I get the whole day, but more usually the four hours from noon to 4 pm. My sewing room is an unused bedroom, upstairs with the rest of the bedrooms. Most of the time I like the separation, but sometimes I don’t.  That is when I turn to podcasts to fill the quiet.

Don’t know what a podcast is? Wikipedia has a long definition  but this short one is more manageable.


noun: podcast; plural noun: podcasts

1. a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.

verb: podcast; 3rd person present: podcasts; gerund or present participle: podcasting; past tense: podcast; past participle: podcast

1. make (a digital audio file) available as a podcast

A podcast can be listened to on your computer or on your phone. If you are new to podcasting, these links will help you get started here , here and here.  I like to listen to sewing podcasts and luckily there is a wide variety to choose from, below are just a few. After you have explored them, you can find many more by googling “Sewing Podcasts”.

Thread Cult covers a wide range of topics.  There are interviews with master craft people and creators in the home sewing, textile, and fashion communities. From independent pattern and textile designers to couture experts and curators, these conversations are interesting to listen to while you sew.

Sewing Out Loud Learn the technical information you need to sew successfully from Zede and Mallory are a mother/daughter team who run Zede’s Sewing Studio in Columbia, MO. They sell sewing machines, teach sewing classes and provide excellent sewing entertainment online.

Apple Tree Sewing  Apple Tree Sewing is a blog run by a pattern maker who shares sewing tutorials and pattern drafting tips.

Sit & Sew Radio A Quilt Addicts Anonymous podcast features interviews with influential and interesting people in the quilting world, learn about new quilting books and notions and hear some fun quilting stories. Produced by Quilt Addicts Anonymous blogger, teacher and pattern designer Stephanie Soebbing.

Enchanted by Sewing Laurel sews clothes that make her wardrobe work. Her monthly “Enchanted By Sewing” shows are garment themed and include chat about techniques and patterns, as well as short interviews

Maker Style  was created to be an inspiring destination for young people looking to embrace a fearlessly creative lifestyle. The goal is to educate, inspire, and empower people to learn how to make awesome things.


Sewing TV…on the Internet

There have been sewing shows on TV for many decades, but they are few and far between and have never been enough to keep sewists happy.  Did you know you can watch sewing TV on the internet?

Nancy Zieman is the Grand Dame of sewing TV she has been on PBS for almost 40 years. I remember watching her show Sewing with Nancy in the 80’s. She had wide interests and often an innovative approach to old problems.  She was one of the first to use the internet as a “broadcast” platform. She started her own website Nancy’s Notions years ago selling a wide range of sewing related items, it is jam-packed with helpful tips & techniques, free patterns and useful videos.

She also has a youtube channel! (No, I didn’t know that was a “thing” either) As expected,  here you will find many videos. On the right sidebar is a short list of other related channels.

The network that supports her also has an active internet presence and has 175 (!!) episodes of her show. You will need to sign in with a Google or Facebook account or create a new one, but then you have the ability to manage the episodes you want to watch.

Sew It All TV has a website with interesting content, the videos have moved to their youtube channel.

It’s Sew Easy TV, currently in its 13th series, features many different designers and experts. The website has episode descriptions, you will find a wide range of topics from very accomplished designers and experts. To watch the videos, on youtube scroll down until you see the “It’s so Easy” title, then use the left and right scroll bars to see all 13 series. You may want to explore this youtube channel a bit, it is full of other craft videos as well.

Youtube is an incredible resource! Using the search box for “Sewing” returns millions of results!! Refining that by clicking on the “filter” button on the left below the search bar and selecting channel under “Type” returns a more manageable number.

I hope you spend many happy hours exploring the sewing information wealth on the internet but remember, nothing actually gets made unless you are at your sewing machine!!

Investing in your sewing future – servicing your machines

Regular servicing ensures optimal performance from those trusty machines so that they keep on giving us the best stitch, seam, buttonhole and tension that we need to make our sewing look the best it can and less like something that is obviously sewn at home.

As with a number of areas in our lives, we tend to put off some things because we are too busy just doing stuff.  For example, checking your tyre pressure and oil when you go the the garage – no longer known as a “service” station for those of us of a certain age – to fill your car with fuel, or cleaning and oiling the sewing machine when you just want to get that garment sewn.  Periodically, a repair or a proper service is called for and then you may phone or drive back to where you bought the machine and the shop is GONE!


In my perfect world, what I’d like to see is every neigbourhood having a butcher, a baker, a full service sewing centre … but with the increasing demise of bricks and mortar stores for specialised sewing machine sales and service businesses, there is often even greater likelihood that servicing with be ignored or put off.

So the new reality is that we now may need to take our machines to the fabric/quilting/craft shop which is the agent for our brand and leave it there.  If that isn’t available, you’ll have to find another technician who has the expertise and experience with your particular type of machine.

inside a sewing machine

How you can help…

What I’d like to compile is a comprehensive directory of servicing businesses and agents for machines we own in our area – whether is be a suburb in Auckland or any other town or city in NZ.  Local knowledge is invaluable and worth sharing.  One day, you might be on holiday in Fjordland and have to find a repair shop…you’ll thank me later!

So to get things started, you can check out the 2 service teckkies listed on our other page

Also below is an excerpt from Diane Parton’s friend’s email. She’s recently had her Bernina serviced in Mt Wellington, Auckland:

I can remember in the past people having problems with Bernina servicing.

Tell any Bernina owners to go to The Ribbon Rose. The machines get sent to Wellington to be serviced by Colin, #1 Bernina man in NZ until he trains Steve Forlong who owns the Ribbon Rose shop.

Machine home and purring like a kitten!

So, please feel free to leave a comment below about any servicing business or person that you’d recommend to others and also what brand or type of machines you’ve had repaired.  Then it can go onto the list for others to refer to.


It’ll certainly pay dividends in the end!

Kick-starting with Sew-Alongs

Here is Sheila’s post on her recent sewing project.

Christmas usually signals the end of my sewing for a while.  Long, hot summer evenings spent with a glass of bubbles trumps my sewing machine – for a while anyway. But there comes a time in late January when I need to kick start my sewing mojo and what better way to do it than through a sew-along.

Sew-alongs are started by like minded bloggers to virtually sew with the online sewing community. Usually a blogger will find a pattern, either their own or a commercial one – set a date and a schedule and ask people to register their interest – but this is totally optional.

The beauty of these sew-alongs is that it whets your appetite and you get to make a garment in five or six days, depending on your level of procrastination. Of course you can always do a catch-up of a lesson if you can’t meet the scheduled time.

My first sew-along was the Archer Shirt by Grainline Studios.  Find the sew-along series here.  It was great to log-on, watch and sew and in no time my shirt was completely finished.


Image from Grainline Studio’s website

I have a new sew-along in mind for February and I’m hoping this will do the trick to get my sewing for 2016 back on track.

If you’re interested, google “sew-alongs” and see what you come up with. Enjoy!!

Here’s a few other sew-alongs for 2016 that came up when I searched “sew-alongs 2016 dressmaking”.  This is not an exhaustive list and includes just a tiny handful of some indie-pattern companies and some larger community websites that are known to me.

Sewaholic Sew Alongs and Tutorials

SewAlongs with Colette Patterns

PatternReview Monthly Sewalong 2016 discussion.  This mega-site is a big resource but you’ll need to be a paid up member and login to access some of the good stuff.

Mood Sewing Network showcases many high profile bloggers who frequently run sew-alongs or have “buttons” on their blogs showing the sew-alongs they’ve taken part in. There’s a lot on this website, so you’ll need to search it.

Also, if you follow this blog, you can also follow The Monthly Stitch which is a very cool (in my humble opinion) collective of sewists from around the world including New Zealand, who set challenges which may become sew-alongs.  Check them out!

Another way for you to access a virtual group sewing experience and amp up your sewing mojo is to search for the specific pattern that you are making and see whether anyone is doing it or has done it as a sew-along. There is the added bonus of finding a fellow sewist with your type of body shape and fashion sense to see what else they are creating and how good is looks on them.

The beauty of the internet for us sewists is that it is a treasure trove of knowledge that is accessible 24/7, it connects us with people through a very creative and practical pursuit, and has something of use AND ornament for everyone.

Thanks to Sheila for her kick-starting this topic.