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Profile for stitchhappy - Threads


Contributing Editor

Member Since: 12/03/2008

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Book Review: The Dress Detective by Ingrid Mida and Alexandra Kim

Threads contributing editor Judith Neukam weighs in on a methodology for studying antique and vintage garments.

Quick to Make: Sew Fabric Pyramid Pouches

These easy-to-make textile tetrahedrons can be used as perpetual gift wraps or soft boxes. Learn how to sew these four-sided gift wrappers with a free pattern and instructions.

Three Vintage Blouse Details to Try

Discover three ways to add vintage charm to your tops.

How to Full and Needle Felt

Learn to use wool to its fullest.

Three Machines for Sewing Knits

Compare machines for fast and easy options.

Add Stylish Details to a Shirt

Upgrade your shirts by indulging in fine finishing details. Learn how by reading this article.

How to Make a Pleated Wrap

This quick-to-make pleated wrap is simple to make and is the perfect topper for any special occasion. Read more to learn how to make this fabulous shrug.

How to Use Border Prints

Find out how you can take printed fabrics into new territory.

Teach Yourself to Sew, Season 4

Go beyond the basics and into the world of couture. Learn new skills including sewing soft edges, how to precisely match prints and stripes, and how to set a sleeve by hand.

Great Sewing Books

The finest reading material available on sewing.

How to Construct a Kimono

Its simplicity reveals fascinating techniques.

The Innovative Lace Challenge

Five exciting ways to use lace.

How to Add Vintage Details to your Suit

These vintage details deserve a revival on your favorite jacket.

How to Engineer a Striped Garment

Four different ways to construct a striped garment.

Instant Fit Check

Trace your shoulder slope onto the back of your cutting mat to keep it handy when adjusting new patterns.

Teach Yourself to Sew, Season 3

Learn new skills including how to determine your shoulder slope, add pockets, create beautifully bound buttonholes and more.

Video: A Fast Look at Pattern Drafting

Watch as Threads' Senior Technical Editor Judith Neukam drafts the front and back of a pattern in lightning speed!

How to Make a Banded Armscye

Try this technique for a flattering sleeveless garment.

How to Create a Notched Tuck

You can use this irresistible tuck treatment on anything you sew.

Download a Free Alexander McQueen Jacket Pattern

This kimono-inspired jacket was based on McQueen's autumn/winter 2003 collection.

How to Construct a Weightless Necklace

Make a flamboyant necklace that's light as air.

Use Stripes to Create a Mitered Design

Turn mitered stripes into a design element with the technique from the latest issue of Threads.

Sew a Slick Satchel

Get that patent-leather look using vinyl.

Sew an Oversized Bag

Two pattern pieces and a quick texturizing trick make this bag unique.

How to Sew a Dress With a Faced Opening

A window detail makes a simple dress special

How to Create an Elegant Scarf

Pair buttery soft silk with lace for an of-the-moment seasonless scarf.

Peek Inside Three Vintage Gowns

Take a trip inside garments from Western Costume Company to see how they're constructed.

Teach Yourself to Sew, Season 2

Learn new skills including how to insert invisible zippers, create perfectly finished seams, and build your own custom dress form.

How to Sew a Raincoat for Your Dog

Coat is complete with a hood and a pocket for a mid-walk snack or his cell phone.

Remembering Lois Ericson

Threads has lost an author, teacher, artist, and a beloved member of our community.

Free Patterns for Three Apron Styles

Download patterns to sew aprons for everyone!

Teach Yourself to Sew, Season 1

The skills found in Teach Yourself to Sew are perfect for new sewers or for those looking to brush up on the basics.

Charles James

View some examples of designer Charles James's iconic work.

How to Sew a Faux Fur Topper

Whip this hat together in an hour.

How to Sew an Accordion-Pleat Lantern Bag

The lantern shape makes this bag expandable and collapsible, and depending on how it's made, it can have a variety of uses.

How to Sew with Lace

Try this easy-to-sew filigree fabric project and learn how to sew a seam and edge finishing techniques.

How to Create Two New Tops From a Basic Tee

A unique way to take an old, drab T-shirt and turn it into two new edgy tops all your friends will want to borrow.

How to Make an Abstract Pillow Top

Embrace the positive and the negative in this unique pillow design.

Get Gorgeous Fabrics in the Home Dec Department

See how our editors use these delicious decorator materials in garments.

School's On for Summer!

Sewing retreats are as much fun as camp.

How to Embellish Garments with Studs

Antiqued brass nail heads can add stunning embellishment.

The International Textile Expo Hits Las Vegas

Take a sneak peek into this non-public fabric event.

Sewing shows yield rare fabric finds

If you're on the hunt for something special, go to a sewing show, like the Sewing and Stitchery Expo I recently attended in Puyallup, Washington.

Hurrah for Hollywood II

Take a closer look at the making of a Threads back cover.

How to Sew a Faux-Fur Boa

Make the fur fly. You can sew a luxurious boa in an evening.

Hurrah for Hollywood!

Step into the closet of a lifetime at Western Costume.

How to Make a Faux-Foliage Rug

Walk barefoot on suede leaves with this spectacular home accessory.

How to Make a Rip & Stitch Skirt

Mix and match fabric strips for a skirt that is custom fit.

How to Make a Quilt Top

Unveil the potential in a single fabric with mindful cutting.

Are you a Super Bowl widow?

Ladies, while the guys are planning what pizza to order, you can make a few of your own plans.

When the Ground is White, You've Got Time to Write

Curl up and send us a note, or an article proposal

Don't miss our special issues

If you miss an issue on the newsstand, you can buy them directly from our online store.

How to Make a Piggyback Pocket

Try these double pockets for retro styling.

Unconventional Buttonholes

Tackle these challenging closures with confidence using approaches from our experts.

30-Minute Jacket

Turn a fabric rectangle into a versatile garment with this project from our latest issue of Quick Stuff to Sew.

A Clever Finish Makes a Single Layer Reversible

This edge and seam technique produces a relaxed double-duty jacket.

Classic Bound Buttonhole

Learn how to create Anne Kendall's classic, corded buttonhole.

Tell-tale signs of an accomplished sewer

Tips for how to take your finishes from beginner to professional

Teach Yourself to Sew - the magazine

Introducing the magazine for sewers who are just starting out

Create a Custom Dress Form

When it comes to fit, a custom dress form is your best friend.

Sewing Terms to Know

Check this glossary for the definitions of some of the common sewing terms you will need.

Our Friend, Fred Bloebaum

In memory of our beloved friend and colleague, Fred Bloebaum

Pleat School

What could be easier than pleats? As it turns out, these little devils aren’t as straightforward as we thought.

How to Create a Lapped and Embellished Seam

Learn how to create this lapped and embellished seam featured on our latest Threads cover.

How to Create an Interlocking Seam

Learn how to create a creative seam designed for this past year's All About Seams ASDP challenge.

Project Runway - Week 6: Mini Models Take the Runway

They designed for children and then were asked to design a second companion garment for their regular model.

Project Runway - Week 5: Run for Cover

This week my faith in judges was restored.

Project Runway - Week 4: Hearts and Flowers

Designers created dresses for the Campbell's AdDress Your Heart red dress award gala.

Project Runway - Week 3 - Iconic Inspirations

See what happens when you double up designers and challenges.

Project Runway 7 - Episode 2

She'd look good in a potato sack.

Project Runway Season 7 Opening Night

Sixteen designers throw their fedoras, turbans, and sombreros onto the runway.

Charles Kleibacker (1921-2010)

We are sad to say goodbye to the well-respected designer, Charles Kleibacker.

Vionnet in Miniature

Vionnet recreations debut at annual ASDP conference.

Needle Me: Pick the right needle and thread

Take a fresh look at some old sewing rules with these thread and needle tips.

Unraveling Party Fabrics

From satins and silks to velvets, brocades, and lace, the key to a fancy frock is all in the textile.

Dating Thread and Freeing Grandma

Take time to explore other worlds even when they're in a well worn magazine in the doctor's office

Take a Buttonhole a Long Way

Sometimes a traditional buttonhole doesn’t seem quite right and a standard bound buttonhole doesn’t hit the mark either. Here’s a way to bundle your buttons into a nice closure.

Project Runway Season 6 Finale - Tim has a meltdown

For awhile it looked as if the show would be delayed.

Project Runway Episode 13 - Feel the Burn

The pressure is on for sure; now, let’s take a walk in the designer’s shoes.

Project Runway Episode 12 - Who Goes to NY Fashion Week?

The judges sent two packing and three to Bryant Park, now the stress really starts.

Project Runway Episode 11 - Make it feel good

Design a companion garment that complements your best look from a previous challenge.

Project Runway Episode 10 - Talk to me

Last nights challenge was to design an ensemble inspired by a location. Tim said to avoid the cliché, but did they?

Project Runway Episode 8-Mentors and Serendipity

The challenge: Convert an old wedding dress into something hip and cool for its divorcée.

Project Runway Episode 7 - Blue for You

They put on a good show. Now, if we could only see it.

Project Runway, Episode 6 Goes to the Movies

The designers performed, but I’m not sure the judges won an Oscar.

Project Runway 5th Episode - Make it Work

The challenge: Design and make a garment from newspaper.

Create a Scallop with Pearl Cotton

Take a blind stitch and make it beautiful.

Project Runway Episode 4 - What's Your Line?

What last night’s Project Runway lacked in exciting design, it made up for with jarring or entertaining one-liners.

Project Runway Episode 3

This episode was all about teamwork. Last night’s project took us to the beach for “fun and fashionable surf wear” with a twelfth-hour additional avant-garde design.

Project Runway Hatches Its Second Challenge

Somebody tell me, when did they stop using the word maternity?

Project Runway's Sixth Season Starts

It’s like seeing a friend after a long time away and picking up right where you left off. But, has this pace-setting program become too predictable?

Project Runway All Star Challenge

I have watched every episode of every season of Project Runway. How exciting to get a bonus show with return visits from past designers. I'm a fan.

Dust Off your Sewing Machine

Young women’s mothers don’t sew. That’s two generations. Is this a dying skill?

How do you bear it?

Reading that my colleague’s first project was sewing a bear brought my own bear experience to mind.

Stick a feather in your cap

Take a look into the wild imagination of John Koch and the spectacular fantasy hats he creates in his Chicago studio.

Snappy thinking

Never let a good idea go to waste, share it with somebody.

Got Spots?

Just call me the fabric whisperer. I’ve been handling fabric for a few more decades than I like to admit and if yours has spots, let's talk.

Let's Get Away

You don’t have to take a slow boat to China to get alone with your muse. Try a sewing retreat, instead.

Project Runway is Back with Company

Fashion, sewing, and lots of competition keeps us watching and wanting more.

Meet three interesting and inspiring women

When I’m inspired by color, sentiment, and attitude, everything I do is better.

In Search of a Threads Back Cover

Threads’ back covers have inspired sewers for years, but the vintage clothes you see are not so easy to find.

Fancy Fabrics Online

Going to New York City for fabric shopping is only a short drive for me. But there was a time when I had to hunt for couture fabric and silks. If you have that problem check out this new online source for those special hard-to-find fabrics.

Contributing Editor Takes the Stage on Threadbanger

Watch Kenneth D. King make a cloak fit for the Oscars in this video from

Fluid Fabrics: A Challenge for the Pros

We challenged designers to demonstrate their mastery of fluid fabrics in original garment designs. Here are photos of some of the finalists.

My Visit with Audrey Hepburn

check out our editor Judith Neukam's encounter with Audrey Hepburn's custom dressform. What a day for a fan of movies and sewing!

recent comments

Re: Video: A Fast Look at Pattern Drafting

Dear readers, I wrote this article and want to address some of your comments. I've drafted a few patterns over my years of sewing; I own pattern drafting software; and sometimes I drape too, but this recent trip into pattern drafting was so much fun I had to share it with you.

I'm told the book I used by Meyer Rohr was a text book for over fifty years and is no longer in print, but you can find used copies. I found my copy in a used book store.

For those of you who are confused about the fast moving video without text, let me first explain that reading drafting steps is boring! Listening to it is equally boring. But if you take each step as a mini treasure hunt,when you complete the last step you'll have a pattern that fits, and this reward is well worth it. It is actually a very easy process.

What I like about Rohr's method is that in each step he first tells exactly what to measure, and then how to apply the measurement. One step at a time. I think it was lvislief who questioned getting a good fit without bust measurements. I questioned the same thing when I realized the directions didn't call for even a bust point. I've drafed patterns now for a number of people with all ranges of bust sizes and somehow the draft places a perfect bust point by itself. I really don't know how it works but it does.

I believe I suggesed in the article that you don't read it--just do it. The first time I drafted it, taking my own measurements no less, it took less than an hour and the fit was better than I've ever had--right off the drawing board. I do recommend having someone help you take your measurements--you'll get more accurate results. We've printed the written directions here online. Read the article and then watch the video again. You'll find everything you need.

And thank you for all of your encouraging remarks!

Re: How to Create a Balanced Dart

I've added a different explanation right under the original post. I used vellum and paper because you can see through the vellum. I think that was why the original photos were confusing. See if this makes more sense.

Re: How to do a Blanket Stitch

Let’s see if I can help with some of your questions: A blanket stitch does trim blanket edges, but it also trims garment edges. That’s the application that’s intended here. However, your questions on how to knot the threads at the beginning, end, and in the middle are good. Kenneth D. King is unavailable, so let me try to answer.
I did some research and, as always happens, I made discoveries along the way. First, a blanket stitch started out as a primitive stitch with utilitarian purposes. It has become almost iconic for country-style finishing. When used on a blanket in earlier times, the blanket edge was often rolled over so there was a double layer under the stitching and a place to start and end the stitching with a knot. If the fabric was a single layer, it was not at all unusual for the knot to be on the surface of the wrong side.
There are other ways to hide the knot if it offends you. If you are using blanket stitches on anything other than a single layer of fabric, always choose to hide the knots between layers. If you have a single layer and an unrolled edge, your fabric should be hefty enough to support the stitch, such as a blanket-weight wool or felt. In this case, you can conceal thread tails and knots easily. These are suggestions, as there are several ways of managing your knots and splices.
If you know you are going to have to piece your thread as you go, start in the middle of the row—not on the end. Tie a standard knot on your thread, insert it into the fabric, and slide it inside the fabric to the starting point, near the fabric’s edge. Don’t pull the knot up tight into the fabric; let it dangle a little. Stitch a neat knot on the edge. Make it small and as tidy as possible and then proceed with your stitching. If you have to tie off, tie another knot on the end of the horizontal stitch, bury the tail for a bit, and then bring it out away from the edge. Start the new thread the same way you did the first, and tie a second knot over the one you just ended. Then pull the tail to bring the knots under the surface, and proceed with your stitches. When you come to the end of that row, return to the beginning, start in the same way, and stitch to where you started. Tie on to the horizontal stitch, bury the thread, and bring it back to the surface away from the edge. Pull the thread to bury the knots, and clip the exposed tails.
This stitch is often used as and confused with the buttonhole stitch. With the blanket stitch a single thread runs along the edge. With the buttonhole stitch there’s an extra loop on the buttonhole stitch running along the edge to give it more protection.
Judith Neukam
Senior technical editor

Re: The International Textile Expo Hits Las Vegas

For those of you who asked about the sources that I didn't include--I have lost track of them. But, go to your favorite independent fabric store and show them the photo. There were many fabrics of this nature available from different vendors, your dealer can find the fabric for you. It's good to start up a dialogue with your dealer so they will know what you want when they are placing their orders.

Re: 30-Minute Jacket

Let’s see if I can help with some of the latest questions: Maybe it will help to think about this jacket as a shawl. Instead of crossing the ends over the front, they are wrapped around the arms as sleeves. The ends are sewn to the only available edge—which is at the top of the shoulder. Look at the illustration again. The section between the top corner (where the base of the top arrow is located) and the point where that same arrow touches the top edge of the fabric is the cuff of the sleeve. The remainder of that fabric edge is the arm and the shoulder, the back of the neck, and the opposite shoulder and arm.
The dimensions can be changed to suit your size. Experiment with 2 yards or more of 45 inch wide fabric (or a beach towel). Leave it just as it came from the store—folded in half lengthwise. Turn up one short edge and pin it to the fold as shown in the illustration. Then wrap the fabric around your body and decide where you want to turn up the other end. If the fabric is too long, either fold the extra inside, or just let the extra hang while you calculate the length. This exercise will help you see how the piece works. I think if you’re trying to do this in your head and having trouble it is because you envision the sleeve section as being folded smoothly like in a flat triangle. That’s not the case; the arm sections form a loop.
To make it 40 inches long in the back you’ll have to cut the bottom edge in a curve, because your arms are not 40 inches long. You might be able to add a skirt or peplum to the bottom edge.
To make it work for a child, I would start with fabric that is an arm span plus two arms lengths long and an arm plus shoulder length long.
Good luck.

Re: 30-Minute Jacket

Here I come to save the day! Maybe I can simplify the process. Look at the illustration again. The rectangle is your fabric. Note the 5 inch section on the top edge in the center--that's the back of the neck. Turn the lower corner on each respective side up to the end of the 5 inch section (as shown by the red arrows. Pin the corner at that point and then align the short edge along the top edge and pin the two edges together for 25 inches. Repeat on the other side. The edges you pin together become the only two seams in the jacket. They fall along the shoulder and down the arm. You can either lap them to sew or align them with wrong sides together and sew a traditional seam. Enjoy!

Re: A Clever Finish Makes a Single Layer Reversible

Here are a few answers for you:
Kathie510 asks if this is one of Marcy Tilton’s patterns. No, it is a pattern I have developed over the years. Any simple jacket pattern will work as long as the seams aren’t too complex.
AnnKiepe asks about the side seams: This pattern has two side seams one on each side of a side panel. There is also a regular under arm seam in the sleeve.
Artclothconsiglieri had two questions:
1. There is no photo of this spot so I'm wondering how does this look on the turned up side at the intersection of the hem and the front edge? (The first photo shows a curved front edge and a straight cut hem and the second photo shows both short ends of the hem cut straight) –Answer: You can see the front edge and hem meet on the first and second photo images. The blue jacket is the version with the seam allowances and hem allowances showing. The lavender jacket doesn’t show these allowances accept at the collar and lapel.

2. The written instructions state: "balance the position of the clipping on each side (right and left) of the garment."
does this mean that the clips made on left and right sides should match/mirror each other? Answer: Yes, that is exactly what it means. On this jacket the double sided linen was very forgiving and the clips into the curve didn’t show. But, just in case they do show I think it’s a good idea to make them look planned.

I think using this edge to finish a blanket is a great idea!

Re: Add style and flair with pleats

Our goal is always to use the right vocabulary in all of our articles, blogs, and correspondence. I agree that using the correct words is vital to clear communication and we make every effort to do so. As Deana mentioned below, we recognize that this is not a cartridge pleat, as originally proposed. However, your dialogue has raised some interesting questions and it seems that there is some confusion regarding what constitutes a pleat vs. a tuck. There’s a fine line between a pleat and tuck—the stitching line. I’ll post some definitions for you by Friday to help clear up the confusion.
Judith Neukam

Re: Take a Buttonhole a Long Way

We left at the crack of dawn yesterday to drive the two hours from our quiet little Connecticut community into bustling Manhattan to buy the fabric for the next magazine issue. Even there your questions reached out to me, but this is the first chance I've been at a computer to answer.

You're right, one photo was wrong Online, strangely, it didn't show the same way on our end. We fixed that. I've also added labels to the images to help. With the exception of the first step image, which is sewn on natural muslin, all of the images are sewn on the same sample. My trusted camera, which I’ve used for years, just didn't cooperate that day and for some reason changed colors almost with every shot. The images are labeled right and wrong side now, which should also help you maneuver. All of the samples were stitched with white thread on medium purple linen (actually, the only stitching shown is the original rectangle).

As shown in this blog, this buttonhole is a sketch of an idea. You can turn to any of your sewing books and use any bound buttonhole technique to make an extra long buttonhole. The excitement is in exaggerating its length for many buttons. I think the real problem you’re having is in seeing how to unfold the rectangle after it has been pressed into lips so you can sew along the crease to define the buttonholes. The crease aligns with the seam allowance edge so it’s difficult to see in the photo so just follow the pin heads. Another option is to leave the lips folded and pressed and hand stitch from the wrong side to define the individual buttonholes. You can also stitch bar tacks across the slit to define the buttonholes.

Take two pieces of scrap fabric and try it. You’ll see instantly how this goes together. I didn’t make a whole garment to show this technique. I have used it before and I’ve seen it on other people’s creations. Usually the buttonhole is vertical to close either an asymmetrical or symmetrical garment. It looks great on blouse weight fabrics with delicate buttons, jacket weight fabrics with artistic buttons, and even on coats with leather binding and wooden buttons. Enjoy!

Re: Create a Scallop with Pearl Cotton

I don't think the foot will change the scallop depth, but you can slide the pearl cotton by inserting a stylist in each loop. Use a knitting needle or the tip of a mechanical pencil with the lead hidden.

Re: Project Runway Episode 7 - Blue for You

I just realized the answer didn't print! The runway show for all ten garments lasted three minutes. That's too brief for my blood.

Re: Patterns for Gorgeous Gloves

To know the correct percentage to enlarge visit:

Re: Patterns for Gorgeous Gloves

I'm sorry some of you are having problems printing the patterns. John Kock, the author of the glove article, sent me these suggestions:

Dear Judy,

I just saw the Threads website and read the comments. I am so sorry everyone is having such trouble with the patterns. It's difficult to transmit something so technical and expect it to come out correctly, however, I printed out all three patterns and think I have the solution. I found that by reprinting each at 173% increase, the pattern is as close to the original as one could hope. I am certain that not every one that tries this will get the same results. In that case they may have to experiment to find the exact percentage to use. In order to do this the correct final small pattern should measure 9 7/8 inches from the tip of one of the double finger tips to the cuff, the medium 10 1/2 inches and the large 10 11/16 inches. To get a full pattern one must print on 11 x 18 paper. Since most people don't have this ability I found by printing the downloaded pattern in quadrants and taping them together I was able to create a full pattern. Some people may find it just easier to go to a photocopy store and do it on a copier with this capability.

I hope this makes sense and is of some benefit.
Best wishes,


Most people are not having a problem printing the pattern and enlarging it to the correct proportion. We know the finished pattern won't fit on an 8 1/2X11 paper. If you can't print it at all, try going to a public library to print the pattern. Then take it to a photocopy machine to enlarge it appropriately. They have proportional scales and can help you. Each of the four squares in the lower right corner are 1 inch square. Measure the square on your printed version and determine how much you need to enlarge the pattern to make the squares the correct 1-inch size. Check the size after you've enlarged it. Remember, these are standard sizes, expect to alter the glove, that's one of the benefits of making your own.

Re: Let's Get Away

Hi birdlady,
I recommend that you Google: sewing dress forms in Canada. You may have to search for a minute, but something is sure to show up. Another suggestion: there may not be much garment manufacturing going on anymore, (since so much of it has gone overseas)but look in locations where it used to be--you might be able to find used dress forms at flea markets. I tried Googling it for you and did come up with some hits, but they all lead back to the states. I'm thinking you might get a better shot because you're originating from Canada. I would think that Toronto is large enough to produce some dress forms for you. Good luck!

Re: In Search of a Threads Back Cover

I think everyone loves the back covers. Do any of you watch Project Runway? I wonder if the last winner (I think her name is Lee Anne) wasn't inspired by our issue #132 back cover for her final collection. If you collect back issues, take a look at it. All of the "fins" in her collection certainly remind me of that jacket. Thank you all for your support and for reading Threads. You're the reason we're here.


Re: Meet three interesting and inspiring women

Patricia, that's a big job for many of us. I think that's why I'm so inspired by people like elinor. She knows who she is and she doesn't whisper about it. She announces herself when she walks into a room, but then you start to discover all of her other attributes and she is one impressive woman. You're keeping good company.