Stretching Your Knit Sewing KNow-How
Review by Rosemary Fajgier
As seen in Notions - the American Sewing Guild Magazine
“Ever since I took my first Stretch & Sew class in the 1980’s, I have had a love affair with sewing knits. I took every class they offered, then every class I could find from other presenters. I just L-O-V-E knits. When I saw the title of tis new set of three DVDs, my first reaction was pure excitement, then I thought, “After 35 years, is there really anything new in knits?”
Londa starts off her presentation with the basics discussing the characteristics of knit fabrics today and how they are best used. Her information is easily understood by the knit novice, yet comprehensive enough to interest event he experienced sewer. I liked her discussion on the supplies she uses because she gives explanations of the tools and her reasons for using them. I use a rotary cutter all the time and never bothered to rely examine the replacement blades I purchase. She advises using a titanium blade because it lasts longer, especially when the polyester content of today’s knits can damage a regular blade so quickly. I hadn’t even realized that titanium blades were even available.
Londa also discusses patterns and sizing. She gives an excellent explanation of when to use high bust versus full bust measurements to select the proper size pattern. She then models the same garment made up in the same fabric in two different sizes so the viewer can easily see the effect that pattern size has on the overall look of the finished item. While Londa has her own line of patterns, her instructions for moving darts, balancing the armscye, and other fitting techniques afre easily applied to any commercial pattern. Most importantly, she takes the mystery out of these adjustments. Her instructions are clear and very simple to follow implying success for anyone using her techniques.
The day before viewing this DVD set, I had purchased a cute little top for my granddaughter and admired the smoothly finished neckline. It had stretch, but without the ribbing or other binding; and I wondered exactly how it had been done. Coincidentally, Londa showed this very technique using clear elastic. Because I had had trouble with clear elastic beaching brittle and snapping, I started to dismiss using it, but then she discussed this very problem. She explained that clear elastic dries out in sunlight. So when my favorite sewing store has it packaged in clear plastic and hanging on a wall where the sun can shine on it, I’ve already purchased a product that may be damaged, Now, thanks to Londa, I will be more particular about the clear elastic P purchase and where I store it.
I have a number of tried-and-true patterns that I use over and over and m always looking for ways to change them up to look a little different. Londa demonstrated a number of neckline finishes that are just perfect for this. I love her ‘Chico Twist’ that I’ve seen in ready-to-wear, giving a more modern look than the simple rib neck. Her methods for adding cowls and drapes are just as simple as the other ones she shows. She also discusses other ways to adapt patterns to produce a more figure-slimming look by curving the hemline and shirring the lower edge of side seams.
As I watched these DVDs, I was surprised at how much general sewing information was included-things that could be applied to both sewing and quilting projects. Londa talks about the proper way to use twin needles, how to set up threads on a machine, winding and using elastic thread in the bobbin, creating flounces, gathering techniques, setting in sleeves, advantages of grooved-back presser feet, and much more. Her style is laid back and homey. This produces a video that has the feel of just talking among friends, rather than a stiffly polished, over-rehearsed presentation. Camera technique are very good overall, but there are a few places where more creative angles would have made viewing the close-ups more clear. However, her thorough explanations more than make up for the lack of visual support in those few areas.
While the set is about knits, don’t dismiss it if you are a devoted fan of wovens. It contains great information that anyone using a sewing machine will want. Some of the techniques Londa uses were developed by her, and she shares her trial-and-error process that brought her to the successful completion of the technique. The video clearly shows her thought process in this development, thus rescuing me from trying things that clearly don’t work.
At other times Londa shares methods developed by others, and she freely gives credit to my beloved Stretch & Sew, Pamela Leggett, Palmer/Pletsch, and many others for their contributions. I like having those names associated with a particular technique so I can check out further information from those sources.
So, in answer to my own initial question, yes, even after 35 tears of sewing with knits, this three-hour three-disc set had much to offer this veteran sewer and I would definitely recommend it to others.
Londa’s Creative Threads, three discs, 180 minutes, ISBN 978-1-4951-4050-1 $32.95
Carolyn W. from MI
"The weekend retreat at Patti’s Last Resort felt like a four day long, Christmas morning! To stay in a pleasant environment, surrounded by folks with exactly the same interests and a talented instructor who loves what she does — is a dream come true!
Londa has been sewing creatively for many years, and there’s nothing that stumps her. We arrived with wildly different fabric choices and needed help and advice for our own unique style, but Londa was right on top of everything. In the end, each of us went home with fashion-quality jackets that were stunning.
I love the retreat house idea for learning sewing techniques. Everyone can work at their own pace, and if you can’t sleep from sheer excitement, you can sneak out into the classroom and sew in your pajamas! There’s a full kitchen too. Granbury is a beautiful, historic town with many fine restaurants, but the weekend scheduled for this event happened to be a washout, weatherize. It really had no effect because we all were happy to stay in, use the in-house kitchen facilities and sew up our own storm.
Londa staged a trunk show the first morning and we were able to try on jackets and make design decisions. Throughout the weekend she demonstrated techniques and gave advise on products that might enhance our projects. Of course she brought trunk loads of supplies, patterns, sweatshirts and kits. What fun!!
This was a first-class sewing experience for anyone who enjoys creativity. I recommend it highly."
Susan L. from Albuquerque,NM
Please keep teaching!! You are wonderful at it and I always learn so much."
"Londa gave her 'That's a Sweatshirt?!' and Knit Tops program for the Nebraska Bishop Method Clothing Construction Group in Kearney, NB. her personality and presentation style are enjoyable, her program informational, and her MANY garment and technique samples she shows is appealing and helpful. Londa's objective seems to be to stimulate the sewer's creativity and initiative. She is most knowledgeable of the sewing machine adios use with different notions as well. "
Mary Wendell - President of Bishop Sewing Group, Nebraska
"I've not yet dived into sweatshirt jacket design, but I've been enjoying watching the Talking Pattern portion of Worthy. Wow. It boggle my mind how much time and effort you put into those marvelous step-by-step commentaries. It's such an original concept - blows all other patterns out of the water (Case in point: another pattern I bought at Expo in Puyallup says 'sew right sides together' but I'm preyty sure this is a mistake and at the point it needs to be wrong sides together. Wish she had more details online! I realize your patterns are a fantastic value. It's as good as having you standing right nt to me, anticipating my questions and helping me design the garment. Thanks!"
Pam Richland, Washington
"Just spent a wonderful day with my sister-in-law working on restyling sweatshirts! What a joy your sweatshirts are! Good quality, sew up like a breeze, and your instructions in Genesis were great! We did, however, find it necessary to remove the sleeve and totally reset it, as we both felt it was too "droopy" on our shoulders..it was a snap, though, and our creations will be well worn! What fun! Thank you for the inspiration, great instructions, and fabulous quality products!"
Barbara in US
"Londa has gone above and beyond to help me with a recent purchase at her website. The purchase in question was of a kit of fabric which, unfortunately, was missing two fat quarters (through no fault of hers). I contacted Londa as soon as I realized that they were missing and in spite of the fact that she was on Christmas vacation, Londa contacted her supplier and the missing fabric was sent to me directly by the supplier. I am a happy customer indeed and will buy from her website again."
Natalie from NC
"The tagua buttons arrived the other day; they look like they'll be great for my project, though I may yet place an additional order for some larger ones, too. I wanted to thank you in particular for the kindness and consideration of sending my order by First Class rather than Priority Mail, and to enclose a check to me for the difference. It was very thoughtful of you and is very much appreciated!"
Tim in MA
"Londa, I love the new jacket. I visited your booth and took your class in Chicago at the Sewing Guild Conference. I am retired Navy and really enjoy doing patriotic garments. I have done some sweatshirt jackets but just with the cheap ones and some really simple designs. I can't wait to 'advance' to your patterns!"
Sue in US
"I love your websites! You always have what I am looking for to satisfy my creative side. I am so glad to see that you carry the Ewesful Pincushions. I've had mine for years, and I love giving them as gifts to sewing friends. They are great. Love your 'Two Cents Worth' because they help me avoid the dreaded sewing "challenges" that I sometimes have. Thank you for making me a better sewer! "
Deborah in SC
"Thanks for your PDF 2 Cents booklet on the princess wrap top. It is always nice to get a surprise in your mailbox! It was thoughtful of you to send it even though I couldn't purchase the pattern at the time. I did purchase the pattern from Christine's website and your booklet will really be a help! Thank you for letting me know my order has been sent, and so much sooner than I expected. "
Chris in FL
"Thanks so much for your serious backing of your product. In this day and age of Wally World having the lock on everything, it is good to be affiliated with a true "mom and pop" endeavor that backs up everything with good customer service and support."
"I have watched your DVD many many times and I learn something each time.
I have sewn for years and I am earnestly trying to develop a creative side.
Having completed five quilts this year and have burnt myself out on quilts! When I saw your amazing creations, I knew that was something I wanted to try. You are wonderful to watch and listen to. My hat goes off to you!"
Dee in IL
"First I want to thank you for the prompt receipt of my order. I plan to order more very soon. The only other place I've found this kind of service is Nordstrom's!! ... Many thanks again and I almost feel like I have a new best friend. "
Lorene in TX
"Londa's clear and concise directions are terrific to follow. My latest attempt was sewing a "store bought" look knit tee shirt for my daughter. Under Londa's prompting on how to apply the elastic technique to the neckline, my nervousness turned into cries of victory. It turned out wonderful - and on my first time!! Thanks a million."
Anita in CA
"Londa is the greatest. I have been completely happy with her merchandise and her service. She even went to her local Knit Shop to purchase a matching item for me, that she did not carry at the time. I call that going the extra mile. She is most helpful about helping you with embellishment ideas for a sweatshirt jacket, or giving very practical information about sewing in general. You can call or email, she is always most gracious and helpful. Along with two friends, I attended her class "Creative Sweatshirt Jackets - Londa's Way" at the AQS Quilt Show in Nashville. This class was most interesting and helpful. We were even more excited about sewing. Londa was in the classroom before the appointed time, passing some of her sweatshirt jackets around, for us to see and inspect. The class also went past the scheduled time for those who could remain. She gives of her time very generously. Her experience and knowledge of designing is most helpful in making sweatshirt jackets. I highly recommend her class if you have the opportunity. "
Frances in TN
My order arrived today (in only 3 days!) and I couldn't be happier! The fabric is of the HIGHEST quality and is simply DIVINE! I just can't wait to start creating with it. I was also thrilled to finally find a source for Vilene at a reasonable price. Speaking of price, you have the BEST shipping prices around! Thanks so much! I will be back!
Heidi in CA
"Well for starters, Londa is great at communication, with superb customer service and fast delivery of all merchandise across different websites. She seems to always have all the latest notions and gadgets at reasonable prices. Her fabric is outstanding and I have only watched the first CD on her Creative Sweatshirt Jackets briefly - I can't wait to have the time to review her newest DVD on what she does with sweatshirts. Every time I access Londa's site, I find more items that tickle my fancy - I can't control myself."
Lillian from CA
"Thanks so much, I am really impressed with your speedy service! I also like the fact that you let me know what the status was on my order. I received it a few days ago." "I will definitely order from you again,"
Mary in US
Astrid in Illinois
"Believe me, having such wonderful patterns from such an outstanding vendor is well worth the wait. I am delighted, as always, by the things you have for sale in your online store AND by the personal touch you put into every transaction. You set a new standard for others to aspire to!!"
Kara in Honolulu
"From the usual to the unusual, Londa's web-site has excellent fashion fabric for the custom clothier. I have ordered and I am very pleased with what I have received. Since I don't have any fashion fabric stores in my area I need Londa's web-site for swatches and fabulous fabrics. Shop on-line andyou to will be surprised!!!!!"
The Fashion Statement, LLC
"Londa has several sites but it is my understanding that she is merging them into one for expediency. I have ordered from her sites several times and have always been extremely satisfied with both her customer service and products. Once I had a bit of a problem with shipping (not Londa's fault) but I notified her and she returned my shipping costs and I still got my order. Also,apparently I did not work the checkout correctly on the website and she called me to make sure that she got my order correct. I love the notions department. There are so many unusual notions that are very difficult to find and she has them. There are many websites that I will not order from (for one reason or another) but I am never afraid to order from Londa's. NAYY."
Londa gave a day long presentation (we started at 9 am and finished around 4 pm with time for lunch and breaks). This included all of her lecture topics. She is a very good speaker with a PowerPoint presentation! She was so entertaining that the day flew by! Then, she gave a full day workshop on making the Transformed jacket. We had so many ladies who wanted to do it, she stayed another day. We are a medium sized chapter (130 members) with about 50 that are very active. We had over 40 sign up for the workshops! Our lecture was on Tuesday and the workshops were on Wednesday and Thursday. This is our usual format for a special speaker – a day long lecture, followed by workshops.
Since your typical event is shorter than ours, I am not sure what I would cut out because everything was so good! However, I know that Londa can tailor her presentation and workshops based on the time that you have available.
Londa also brought many items for sale – beautiful fabrics, buttons, and interesting gadgets – which we cannot get locally so our members were thrilled!
I hope this helps you. Please read over the article as well. If you have any other questions, please let me know.
All the best,
President – Corpus Christi Chapter