Monday, July 6, 2020

How to Apply elastic with a Seger

Apply Elastic with a serger

Ashworth Classic Patterns has a new pattern coming!
It's a cowl neck knit dress and currently in the testing phase.
This dress features a bell sleeve that gathers into a cuff.  You will leave 1"  of the sleeve edge open for gathering when you sew the side seams and under arm  (the easiest way to do it).  You can use this method to gather your sleeve to ready it to be inserted into the cuff. 
Let me know in the comments your favorite method of gathering knits!


Saturday, May 2, 2020

How to extrapolate grade rules from a basic block, sloper, or pattern

This video explains the process the process of pulling grading data from a graded nest (whether a block, sloper, or pattern) and how to use it  to develop a coordinate grade rule table. Designers and pattern makers need grading data to determine how a pattern will grow or shrink between sizes, and standard rules have been developed for the grading of certain common points on a garment.  The garment used in this example is a pant block.  Standard grade rules that a designer uses in his or her commercial patterns should be purchased and using another designer's grade rules is unethical and illegal.  Academic slopers, blocks, and grading books have been published to meet this need. Standard grade rules are a starting point for any designer, and should be subject to fit testing based on your design, choice of fabric, target clientele, and here:

If you are a designer looking for patternmaking services, including grading and sample making, please send an inquiry to , subject line "Production Patternmaking"

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

DIY Protective Face Mask Pattern (NOT COTTON)

You all know the need, and what to do. With the current guidelines, we all should be wearing masks in public.  This mask pattern is what I believe is the most protective design, and uses fabrics that are among the most protective, according to Filti Mask Test Results. 

How is this pattern different? This face mask is designed to cup the face with a better seal than any other pattern I've seen to date.  We've added some special details that we believe will make the design protect better. It is shaped like the N95, and it's been tested for fit.

With all the controversy about cotton masks, you might be thinking, how can we make a mask that is safer?  Well, this pattern is the answer to that.  We've found a source for good filtration fabric, using patent pending Nanofiber technology, which, according to the manufacturer, is highly efficient on sub-micron particles.  And the best part?  It's hand washable! * Please see note in comments below regarding the drop in efficiency.  As of April 1, we had information from Filti that the fabric was hand washable with soap and water (for a few times, at least). As with everything regarding this virus, new information is coming to light daily, and I am currently checking into any new developments or testing regarding this. Filti fabric is washable, but it is not guaranteed that washing will eliminate the COVID-19 virus particles from the mask.  Because of the threat of the virus remaining after washing, Filti has recommended that you use the CDC decontamination methods listed HERE .  I have verified that Filti recommends heating to decontaminate as follows: 
You may heat the material to 150F for 30 minutes and the product will still have its original efficiency capabilities!

 As with everything regarding this virus, we are getting new information every day, and the information provided here is updated as soon as I become aware.  Please do your own research and make the best choice for yourself.  

Some masks similar to our design have been tested, but we have not conducted any specific tests on our masks and we make no claims regarding their protective ability.

Download our pattern below to find out where to get this special fabric!

Download FREE Pattern NOW 

To date, our tailor shop has made dozens of these masks. If  you would like to sew along with us, stay tuned, and I'll go over all the steps below.

Just to reinforce all the warnings in the pattern instructions:
  • Don't use pins
  • Don't use hot glue on the filter fabric
  • Use a #9 needle.
Trace the pattern on to the filter fabric.  You may use one layer or two.  The pattern is half  of a face mask, and you need to mark all the markings on the mask. Although it's not indicated on the pattern, mark the top of the mask, because it's really easy to get turned around during this process.  Make sure when you cut out the pattern, that you cut 2 mirror images, by either cutting on face to face folded fabric, or flipping the pattern over if you are cutting a single ply of fabric.  Filti fabric does have a "right" and "wrong" side, and the side that faces inside should be the one that is a bit shinier. However, using the fabric in the opposite direction will provide a more fluid-repellent surface, according to our experiment. The side you use is up to you, and what your goals are. The filtering capabilities will work either way.

At this time, you will also cut out your lining.  In my experience, the filti fabric can be irritating to the skin, so I strongly recommend a lining.  I used a plain broadcloth, which is a polyester-cotton blend.

Next, we are going to pinch the pleats together, with the folds going downward, and baste them down along the seamline to hold them in place.   

Do the same thing to the other half of the mask, making sure you have marked the TOP of the mask, and making sure you have a right and a left.
Do this for all your layers, and the lining, too.

Now, sew together the halves, right sides together, down the center (the unpleated edge).  Do this for every layer, and the lining, too. Notch that curve with your scissors.  Then turn the halves out,and finger press the seam.

Now you will place the formed mask and lining right sides together, and sew around the perimeter, leaving a gap at the top, to turn it.
Now, let's turn that mask right side out through the gap.  That's really hard to show in a picture.

Now we just smooth it out, and sew up that gap at the top.

Now on to the nose piece. You will have taken a 2" piece of wire, and hot glued it into a small swatch of felt, enclosing it on all sides.

Take a larger rectangle of the filter fabric, and center it over the wire-felt piece.  Line the wire casing up with the top edge of the mask; the filter fabric topper can hang over the edge.

Sew through the filter fabric topping to encase the nose wire on all sides, while attaching it evenly to the top of the mask.

This is how it will look from the inside when you are done.
As you can see, we've left some excess all around that topping so that you don't have to worry too much about lining it up while sewing, and we will trim that excess off now.
Be careful as you trim the excess, don't nick your mask.

 This is how the nose piece will look after it's been applied.  I leave the wire straight, so the recipient can bend it to the shape of his or her own nose.

Next we will do the inside edge strip. The idea behind this is that it helps the mask seal to your face.  It acts sort of like weather stripping.  Remember - we aren't using pins. So hold it along the edge under your work, and topstitch along the edge, being careful to catch the felt strip underneath.  This isn't a race ;)
 Here's your finished edge strip from the inside.
Lastly, you attach the elastic at the areas that you marked from your pattern.  You did mark those, right? I knew you would.
I like the two-step approach to securing the elastic.
First, set the elastic end toward  the edge of the mask.  Secure it down by running back and forth over it a few times.
Now, pass the elastic over the stitches, folding it over to the right.  Stitch this down, encasing the raw edge of the elastic.  Again, I run over it a few times to secure it well.
Attach the other end of the elastic to the opposite side, and repeat with the other elastic, on the lower markings.

 Congratulations, you've finished!!  Good Job!

Comment below with any comments or questions... download, share, and sew up as many as you can!

Blessings and safety to you all, as you help in the fight against COVID-19  by making these masks!


Monday, June 5, 2017


Thought I'd take a break from my broccoli soup to give you a recipe for all natural insect repellent. The webs are full of these, I know. All I can tell you is that, having tried many out there, this recipe I developed is the one that works for us, and our dog. We live in rural south-central Kentucky, near a beautiful lake and wooded area, but with lots of ticks, gnats, and mosquitoes that can carry you off. Nonetheless, we love the outdoors, and this spray has made it all the more enjoyable.

Here's what you need for a super effective (especially against ticks!) insect repellent that is all natural and non toxic:

Witch hazel
Citronella Oil
Peppermint Oil
Orange Oil
Geranium Oil

Clove Oil
Cinnamon Leaf Oil
LemonGrass Oil
Dropper; 6 oz. spray bottle

The initial cost of buying the essential oils and other needed items to begin making your own insect repellant is about $65.  This will last you a long time. I am not terribly particular about which essential oil brands I use.  I don't have a lot of choice where I live, so I get what I get.  Most of my oils are NOW brand, and I buy them at a local store.

We get a lot of ticks in this part of Kentucky, especially Lone Star Ticks, which tend to be Bravecto resistant, putting the dog at risk. So, we needed a spray that would help our Davey, too.

It is well known that Citronella oil is very effective against Mosquitoes, and strong anecdotal evidence exists that Peppermint oil is effective in killing many types of ticks.  Geranium oil was recognized in a 2013 study by the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry as greater than 90% effective as a tick repellent, especially Lone Star Ticks. View the study here. 

Clove and Cinnamon oils are also effective against ticks, and lemongrass and orange essential oils are mosquito repellent.  This combination is also effective against other biting insects and pests.

Here is the recipe that I have found works, and it has been tested repeatedly in the deep woods with wonderful success:

Fill a 6 oz spray bottle about 3/4 full of Witch Hazel. 
Add two large droppersful (or about 30 drops) of each: Citronella, Peppermint, and Geranium oils.
Add one dropperful (15 drops) of Orange oil.
Add 5 drops each of clove, lemongrass, and cinnamon oil.

Shake it up and it's ready to go!  I spray it on everything, including my hair.  I wet my hands with it, and rub it on my face.  Don't get it in your eyes.   Repeat every few hours. Safe for pets and children. I don't worry so much about washing it off, because it smells great and makes my skin feel fresh, and not many insect repellents can boast that.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

New York Style Bagels, for the Home Baker

Greetings!  I thought that all you fine people might like to make some bagels.  These are a New York Style bagel, a recipe I adapted for home bakers, without exotic ingredients you can't find, or measurements in grams only (ugh), and without the assumption that you have a giant walk-in-cooler that can accommodate sheets full of perfectly formed bagels.  And, just to be nice, I have included Nutrition Information and Weight Watchers SmartPoints.  This recipe was tested using All-purpose Ultragrain Blend unbleached flour, for both the bagels and in the sourdough culture.

The taste is phenomenal. They are chewy, crusty and delicious right out of the oven, or can be toasted if any happen to last until the next day (they won't). The sourdough gives it wonderful flavor and a nice tang.

New York Sourdough Bagel

My suggestion is that you try this out first with a small batch (4 bakery size bagels).  There is a bit of a learning curve, and some trial and error may depend on the conditions of your kitchen, your flour, your sourdough starter, etc.  So there may be a few tweaks you need to make.  Then double this recipe if you want a batch of 8. If possible, I suggest that you weigh your ingredients, such as flour and water.  The volume measurements given here are approximate.  If your dough feels too dry, add a few drops of water.  If it's too wet, add a little flour. If you are not weighing the liquid, please don't use a regular measuring cup to measure liquid.  Use your Pyrex liquid measuring cup.  They are different.    

Here's what you need: 

10 1/2 oz. (300g) or approximately 2 1/8 cup High Protein Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 tsp. Sugar (or malt powder)
5 oz., or 150 ml (150g) or approximately 2/3 cup Water
1 oz. (30 g) or approximately 1/8 cup active sourdough starter

Whisk together the flour, salt and sugar. Add the water to the sourdough starter, and work it into the flour.  Knead by hand for AT LEAST 5 minutes, preferably 10.  When the dough is smooth and elastic, form into a ball, and oil a bowl lightly.  Plop the dough in, and turn it over, oiled side up.  Cover with plastic wrap and set out to rise overnight. 

Next day,  carefully divide your dough into 4 equal pieces.  Note that the dough should have risen, but probably will not have doubled.  That is ok.  Form the bagels into their shape by rolling into a smooth rope, and pressing the ends together and rolling to seal.  Be sure to make the opening wider than you think it should be.  They will puff a lot, and your hole might close up, and then you will have a bagel with the hole removed.  Those cannot be eaten, I'm told.  

Oil a baking sheet and set the newly formed bagels on it, cover with plastic wrap and leave them there for 2-4 hours.  They should look puffy and risen.  The time will depend at this point on the conditions of your kitchen and temperature.  Do not allow the bagels to over-rise or under-rise.  The boiling water test to follow will help you determine the precise rise time on your next batch. 

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F and set a large pot of water on the stove to boil.  Add 2 tablespoons of sugar (or malt powder) to the water.  Carefully, add the risen bagels to the boiling water, no more than two at a time.  The bagels should sink to the bottom, and float up to the surface in about a minute or two.  If they take longer to float up, or don't float at all, they didn't rise long enough.  If they float immediately or never sink, they rose too much.  In any case, once they float up, boil them one more minute, flip them, and boil another minute, and carefully remove them (I use the handle of the wooden spoon through the hole).  This is the time to add toppings, or brush with egg wash if you want to. 

Take some of the boiling water and put it in a smaller pot and place it on the lower rack in the hot oven.  Bake the bagels on a baking sheet on a rack above the boiling water.  Bake for 15-20 minutes. 


Nutritional Information: 

Calories: 257
Fat: 0
Sodium: 587mg
Potassium: 122g
Carbohydrate: 54g
Fiber: 3g
Sugar: 2g
Protein: 8g

Weight Watchers SmartPoints: 7