Van Journal: Starting sewing and fits

 

If you bought (or remember) the soft bra from Vanjo the first time round, you'll be pleased to know that it's coming back but with a slight alteration to the pattern to ensure a better fit and support.

Vanjo Soft bra 

Vanjo Soft bra 

Drafting out the patterns is one of my favourite things to do as it's the start of bringing a design from your mind into reality. Having worked with different designers I've noticed that lingerie designing usually falls into two camps; one where the design is drafted out exactly how it will be, and the other where the final design is designed until the pattern is right. I fall into the latter category. 

Drafting out and sewing up the soft bra

Drafting out and sewing up the soft bra

Using the right fabric

I don't like to design the final piece (fabric wise) until I know that the pattern is exactly how I want it, there are a couple of reasons for this:

1. It uses up any old fabric.

2. It allows me to keep a track of each sample I made, I don't have to work out which is the first or second sample if they are in different fabrics.

3. It keep me excited to keep designing, I like to make the same thing over and over in the same fabric when it's not 100% right, as when I reach the final piece I'll be bored of making it.

So if i'm making a sample out of cotton jersey which is one of my favourite fabrics to work with, I'll make sure that the fabric content is exact to my final piece (usually 95/5 : 95% cotton, 5% elastane) and the stretch is the same and go from there. Then each time I fit the garment and re-make the it I change up the fabric, that way it seems like I'm designing more than I actually am and sometimes I come across colour combinations or trim ideas I probably wouldn't have thought of if I was just designing on paper.

At this I'm 80% certain of the designs and shapes, and although I have so many I want to do, I'm editing it down to the strongest few. 

"The Van Journal is all about starting Vanjo again and a honest look behind the scenes of how I'm going about starting the label again". 

Choosing the right needle to sew bras and briefs

You've probably never thought about it but choosing the right needle for sewing the lingerie your about to make is very important. Covered already in a previous post about why your stitches skip - choosing the right needle can equate to beautifully seen lingerie made with ease to, well, not so beautifully sewn lingerie.  

Let's start with the needle widths: different needles are different widths to use on different weights and types of your fabric.  There are two needle sizing systems: the European and the American. The European range from 60 to 120 and the American range from 8 to 20. You will usually see both sizes on the packet. Basically the larger the number the larger the blade  of the needle will be and the heavier the fabric you can sew.

choosing right needle for lingerie sewing

 

As well as all the speciality needles out there the three main types of needles that I use for the majority of my sewing are:

  • Universal needles: These have a slightly rounded tip, and I use this for general purpose sewing for wovens as well as some sturdy knits.
  • Jersey needles: These have a medium ballpoint tip, and I would use these  for knit fabrics. The needle slips between the knit fibres and does not break or damage the fabric while sewing.
  • Stretch needles: These often confused with Jersey needles, they also have a medium ballpoint tip, but these have a special eye (the hole in which you thread the needle)  and scarf (the indentation on the back of the needle - which allows the bobbin hook to grab the thread when it goes under the plate of the machine to create a stitch). These needles are designed for extremely stretchy fabrics and elastic, so applying elastic to lycra etc. It would be this needle that I would use the most.

A look at needle sizes

- 8/60, 9/65, 10/70 use on very fine fabrics such as fine silk, chiffon and fine lace.

- 11/75, 12/80 use on light weight fabrics such as cotton voile, silk and lycra.

- 14/90 use on medium weight fabrics such as cotton, velvet and jersey,

- 16/100 use on heavy fabrics such as denim and leather

You wouldn't really use the next two needles in lingerie but for information

-18/110 use on very heavy fabrics such as upholstery

-20/120 use on fabrics heavier than upholstery

Also remember to change your needle often, the average needle lasts roughly 6-8 hours of sewing use.

Patterns being launched in November

It has been super busy at 'van Jonsson Design' head quarters, for those who don't know How to become a lingerie designer is being updated, and in November the website will contain lingerie patterns which you will be able to buy, and in good measure the website will be having an overhaul as well. So apologies on the sporadic blogs that have been sent out, will hopefully be back on track come December.

Until then here's a peek at one of the patterns: The Betsy.

 

IMG_0739.JPG

Make the most of your time

Whether you have to juggle full time work with working on your dream job in your spare time or whether you're juggling work with looking after children, time is something that seems to slip away. Over the years I've found what works for me. A question I got asked recently is how do I fit everything in so I thought I'd share an insight into how I manage it all.

I am a list maker, if i have it written down on paper what I have to do then it's out of my head and then when I get to my desk I know exactly what I have to do.

Usually what stops us is the thought that we'd never finish what we need to do in one sitting. Too often we have a list of projects we need to complete rather than list of tasks. 

After making my list I now break each part down into tasks - a task I class as completing in a certain amount of time - mine is anywhere from 15-25 mins. Before I had distractions (i.e. children) I would just work through each part of the list but give myself only 30 mins which made sure I had to concentrate and just go for it. Nowadays though each part is broken down so when I reach my desk I know exactly what I have to do. I now aim for the completion of at least five things (tasks) on my list which is do-able and makes me feel like I've completed something and moved closer to my goal/dream, even on the days when it feels like I'm getting nowhere. 

For example - if I'm designing a new style of brief and need to make a sample, on my list would be: Make brief sample - a way to break that down would be:

- cut front, cut back, cut gusset, sew gusset in, sew side seam, attach elastic to leg, attach elastic to leg, attach elastic to waist, trim. 

So if you follow the five-a-day task completing, that sample of briefs that you want to make, will be completed in two days, and you've been probably putting it off for weeks. Also by breaking everything down you can see where you either need more help in a certain area, or if you have to complete something else first - like buying elastic.

If you're still having trouble making time, sit down and re-draft where you want to be, by focusing on the end point, it can keep you going when everything seems to be going slowly or wrong! Remember a year will pass whether you are working towards something or not, better to be closer to our dream than stood with just your thoughts of where you want to be.

Below is an example of how my diary looks most weeks. It includes all work for the week, personal things I need to complete and also the time in which I spend on clients work.

make most your time designing