10th Anniversary! 10 tutorials in celebration

F-I_10th_anniversary_badgeFaithful readers, Fashion-Incubator is 10 years old -practically of doddering age in internet years.

In celebration, I’m proposing that visitors submit suggestions for 10 topics -to include tutorials obviously, that’s in the headline- I’ll pick the best ones and get it done. There may even be prizes involved for the best questions. Judging will be completely subjective and without criteria. Amaze me!

Forgive my brevity; I’ve been distraught looking for a missing cat all day. Scooter is the cat (a kitler) that my sister left me when she died last October so guilt was also involved- and Scooter was found only a short time ago (ensconced in the stereo cabinet for a solid 24 hours -she didn’t make a peep the whole time- cats can be such brats) and so, being much relieved, I can resume normal life. In the meantime, I await your suggestions and wishes.

I struggled all day, thinking of the right words to express my gratitude to each of you. In the end, I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have sustained 10 years of publishing this blog and I have all of you to thank for it. I can only endeavor to continue to be worthy of your time. Thank you.

PS. I have big news coming. If I hadn’t spent so much time looking for the cat, I would have written about it too. Sorry.

PPS. Most of all, I thank Mr. Fashion-Incubator who suggested that I start a blog way back, when I didn’t even know what a blog was. He wasn’t even Mr. Fashion-Incubator then; he was just some guy that I didn’t even know I was madly in love with (even after dating for 2 years). Seriously. I didn’t figure it out until mid March. I’m slow like that.

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  1. Katherine says:

    I’ve really appreciated your blog and gone back to your tutorials over and over. The one I have used most is the lapped zipper with a facing. I have your first book, but I would love to see your sewing tutorials in another book so that I could have it beside me in my sewing room.

    Congratulations on your 10 years blogging. I can’t think what I most need in a tutorial right now…will think about it and come back.

  2. Elle says:

    It has been a wealth of information for all the time I have used it, and my heartfelt thanks and congrats are sent.

    Many of your tutorials are those that I don’t realize I needed until I saw them, so I’ll have to leave that to you.

  3. Diya says:

    Congrats on completing ten years.. Your blog is unique without the common run of tutorials that do rounds on the net.. I would like to see a tute on lining a sleeveless dress without back zipper and short unlined flutter sleeves. Or may be a technique to insert a back zipper using a placket and no center back seam(I have seen many RTW clothes like this too).

  4. Liz says:


    Your blog has been a wonderful journey into the geeky side of clothing … as as a design geek and maker, I love it. I’ve learned so much over the years. And I approach my home sewing in an entirely different way.

    While I’ll happily appreciate any tutorials you post, I would love you to continue your series on making garments from leather. I have a large chunk of a skin waiting for my to build enough confidence to make it into a skirt.

    Thanks for blogging, and opening my eyes and mind to a new world.

  5. Lisa Blank says:

    It’s ten years already? Amazing! Congratulations to you for all you’ve done to help the newbie, the hobbyist, and the veterans alike, for speaking the truth even when it’s not popular, for your great sense of humor, and all the things I’m not thinking of right now.

    Tutorials? You know which one I’ve been working on over the last few years, but I don’t know that you want to tackle that for the blog. I’ll put my thinking cap on for something else and see if I can come up with an idea.

  6. Demetra says:

    Thank you so much for the dedication to this process. I am a newbie, but the vast information that I have found is priceless. Your book has helped me in planning my fashion line and I will miss so many pitfalls. Anything that you share, is appreciated.

  7. TJ says:

    Congratulations Kathleen!! The tutorial that I have found the most helpful is the “nameless” series. I also have you to thank for welt pockets, proper lining patterns, bagging jackets and even using proper pattern paper!

    Between your blog and book I have found tutorials on every part of a lined jacket except one: the notched collar. A tutorial on this would be amazing. I apologize if you’ve already covered this – I have looked pretty hard!

  8. Jennifer says:

    Love, love, love this blog & appreciate your generosity in sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us. Congrats on 10 years and THANK YOU!

  9. Kathleen,

    What a fantastic milestone!…
    I’ve relied on your blog (and referred so many of our clients) for so long now that I can’t remember a time before I discovered it

    Congratulations and your commitment to the industry is greatly appreciated!

  10. Yvonne says:

    Congratulations Kathleen!
    Your dedication and the resourcefulness of this blog speaks to its staying power. Whenever I have a design, construction or any related resource query your book and your site are where I always refer to first.

    Thinking of tutorials I’d like to see, an Invisible zipper Pt. 3 that covers inserting an invisible zipper in a fully lined garment, my brain always trips over itself in drafting the lining pattern and then sewing it, no matter how many pant, skirt or dresses I’ve reverse engineered.
    Also I love designing with leather and anything related to working with leather that you’d like to add would be of interest.

    I like Kathrine’s idea of seeing your tutorials in book form.

    Thank You for you time and generosity.

  11. Sabrina says:

    I’d like to know how to line a dress (with or without sleeves) that has a lapped zip. :)

    (By the way, I’m doing a project on the Business of Fashion at university and your book is extremely helpful!)

  12. Heather says:

    Happy Anniversary Kathleen! I second what Rocio says—much gratitude for your passion, vast knowledge (and generosity in sharing it), and your commitment to our industry.

    Have you done a series on fittings? I remember as a new pattern maker, it took much trial and error to figure out what the garment was ‘telling me’ and then how to fix it!

  13. Susan Hunziker says:

    Thank you for all the information and insight that you have shared so generously. I’m a home sewer, and I have learned a ton. Before I do anything new, I check to see whether you have done a tutorial on it.

    As for new tutorials, I’d be interested in anything you have to say about sleeves, jackets (tailored), sleeves in jackets, and pants.

  14. Carey says:

    Congratulations Kathleen and the rest of the FI family! Lots of knowledge shared over the past 10 years for sure.

    How about a post about best Quality Assurance techniques for inspecting a sewn product upon completion. What to look for, in what order, etc.

  15. JustGail says:

    Congratulations on the 10 years, I’m hoping it continues for many more! And thanks to Mr. F.I. for getting you started on blogging. Even though sometimes I have no clue what you are talking about since I’m not in the garment business, I still learn something. And I’ve really enjoyed the pattern puzzles. Now about tutorials, I’m going to go with sleeve drafting/fitting and pants drafting/fittings.

    And hurrah that you found Scooter! It’s not easy to find them when they don’t want to be found.

  16. Kabba Coulibaly says:

    Congratulations Kathleen. I’m honored to have joined the FI family. I have always been completely stumped on a few points however. Some clarity from you would be completely invaluable.

    1. The industry way (correct way) to insert a flat front zipper on pants and trousers (bonus if you can clarify putting on a waistband as well).

    2. Pt 1 How to draft and sew a vent and pt 2 how to line a vent garment.

    3. Topic Discussion: how to get very limited quantities of a garment manufactured (anywhere from 5-10 pieces). These are just off the top of my head. I will be looking through the forum in depth to see if you’ve covered these topics before. Thank you.

  17. Diane says:

    Congratulations on 10 informative years! I would like an instructional blog on how to work with 4 way stretch material. I have struggled for years!
    Many thanks for all your help!

  18. Colleen says:

    Congratulations Kathleen!

    Wow, 10 years and the promise of “big news” to come – very exciting.

    I second the suggestions for tutorials on fitting and QC Inspections.

  19. Colleen says:

    Me, again.

    Tutorial Topic Suggestion – the safety features required when manufacturing childrenswear


    Fabric testing/standards for clothing (this topic is inspired by my Ralph Lauren jeans that continue to have indigo color rub-off on lighter colors, after multiple washings/dryings)

    I’m on a clothing shopping strike. It is too difficult to find quality made, well fitting clothes, at any price. Maybe that’s why we’re all wearing yoga pants!

  20. Leanne says:

    Congrats on 10 years!

    In regards to tutorials, the one thing I’ve desperately wanted to know since you referred to it in your “Sleeve Cap Ease Is Bogus” post was how to draft a sleeve cap like the one pictured in the Sam’s Club coat without resorting to adding ease to get that puffed finish. I’m most curious about the mechanics behind it, I have a hard time visualizing how you’d get that amount of volume without having to gather and ease it somehow.

  21. Amy says:

    Congratulations, Kathleen! I’ve been reading since about 2006 (first discovered through ‘how to hire a fashion illustrator’, I believe–which I was looking for at the time). I can’t believe it’s been that long. Thank you for all your valuable research and conversation on the business. Glad you found your kitty, too. ;)

  22. Asa says:

    Hello and congratulations from Italy! Thanks for a very interesting blog and great inspiration for me as I’m trying to get back into the working world, after having had two children. I haven’t worked for so long as a pattern maker, four years more or less, and studied at the Secoli Institute in Milan. Would love to see a fitting video with a real model and how you go about fitting a garment in a standard size, i.e. not made to measure for that specific person (although she, yes would prefer women’s clothing, would have to be “the size”, of course). What is a good enough fit – and where do you draw the line from making too great corrections for one particular body. Does that make sense? Would be interesting to see a variety of styles (fitted w sleeve, something dartless, pants…)

  23. Kimberlee says:

    Kathleen, I can’t think of a blog more influential on my life. Thank you so much. I found you through a shirt tutorial after finding your book in my school’s library. It was a little incomprehensible to me at the time but now it is something I study closely, often.


    Also, I need that big news. I’m already on the edge of my seat.

  24. Clara says:

    I’ve been thinking of tutorial suggestion, so here is what I’ve come up with:

    How to draft a sleeve, or armsythe for that matter.

    How to add seam allowance to a pattern.

    Can you shorten a separating zipper? That one its one I’m currently facing. Would have been better to plan the pattern around the size of zipper, but to late and what if there isn’t a ready made size for what you want anyway? Would you adjust the zipper or the pattern?

    Sewing without pins. Especially when matching plaids or around curves. You’ve said that you see sleeves in with only one pin. Where and why?

    Anything about grading. Sorry, I don’t know enough to know what I don’t know.

    I know it isn’t a tutorial, but but a virtual tour would be interesting. Either a how to set up your business or look at all these cool machines. Now, I just want to watch videos of different sewing machines. Lol.

    Do you need to do anything special to add leather to woven fabric. Interfacing to both?

    Hope that helps.

  25. Alex says:

    Ten years, wow!

    I would love to see a tutorial on drafting a balanced drop shoulder that includes how to modify the bodice and the sleeve cap/width from blocks. Is there a ratio to dropping the shoulder/dropping the armhole/widening the bodice and sleeve that produces a well fitted result?

    I am currently taking a pattern cutting degree and they’ve left out this essential. Most of what I can find in books/online are cap sleeve seams masquerading as dropped shoulders, and the rest vary widely in method, particularly on the sleeve modifications.

  26. Kristen says:

    please, fly-front zippers! All the home sewing methods are so fiddly, I’m sure there is an efficient way to do it. Also, trouser linings, in combination with different zippers (fly front, centered). and separating zippers on the front of outerwear, such as a parka, would also be great. in summary, zippers! It would be very much appreciated!

  27. Anne says:

    I second the suggestions of sleeve/armscye drafting and sewing a notched collar.

    And perhaps drafting a collar with partial stand.

    Thank you from me too for all the interesting articles and brilliant tutorials. I have learnt so much and I am a better sewer now than when I started reading your blog. I’d buy your second and subsequent books if you ever have the time and inclination to write more.

  28. Erunor_R says:

    Another grateful lurker here. Heartfelt Congratulations!
    Fly-Front-zips are what I’m currently struggling with as well (despite having taken apart and studied the seam order on any old jeans I’ve cut up for scraps). Clear drafting instructions and the industry/minimal fuss method of assembly, pretty please.

    Also anything on sleeves (if you can spare the time and material, I’m still hoping for someone to once and for all scientifically compare different variants of sleevecap ease (yuck), and set-in methods on the same basic blouse pattern; testing for assembly time, look, restriction of movement, and if any of that changes with the wearer’s bicep measurement (which would require more than one fit model, and thus possibly more than one test garment, I know.)

    Also I feel tempted to ask how many tutorials would convert (time and energy-wise) into a new pattern for the etsy store? Greedy me wants to sew something for herself, not the BF.

  29. Shelley says:

    10 years certainly flies by…. For my tutorial request I’m in the camp with people who are interested in how sleeves are drafted, particularly how to make them roll toward the front of the body and not so much at the side and have good range of motion.
    If there are any differences in the needs for plus size sleeves, I’d be very interested in that too.

  30. Hello and thank you and congratulations! Your blog has been extremely helpful to me, both for the practical information you dispense so generously and for the approach to garment making in general that seeps into the articles you write.
    I sew mostly shirts, blouses and jeans (or jeans cut trousers) so I second all the requests above for armscye/sleeve cap and front fly tutorials. I would love to learn more about flat felled seams. As far as I have learned from extensive disection of shirts and jeans there are two kinds – the edges meet and are enclosed or the edges overlap and are enclosed, the former mostly found at shoulder seams of shirts and the latter at the inseam of jeans. How does one draft a pattern that allows one to match the edges of the pieces at one end of the seam for the first pass and then have everything work out?
    I would also like very much to learn a reliable industry based method of setting a collar stand in a shirt/blouse bodice.

  31. Erinn says:

    I love your info on drafting and sewing the collar of a shirt. What I would like to see is a tute on how the industry would sew a stand up collar onto a shirt. I find my method so labour intensive and fiddly. It is always the weakest point in my dress shirts.

    Congrats on ten years!

  32. I remember meeting you over ten years ago in LA at the apparel convention when you were selling your book. I bought mine then. Had no idea where you would go with it. A wealth of information here. So congratulations on your ten year anniversary. It has been great connecting with you and others. I have run my business 25 years now and am shaking it up a bit. A very good change. I appreciate all your tutorials. Thank you.

  33. Toni-Maree says:

    Congratulations on 10 years of such a wonderful blog. I have learnt so much from you and look forward to whatever you have to write about in future. This week I have been sewing some Peter pan collars and using a pretty shoddy method to get the roll allowance but how glad I am that I know why they stick up and how to fix it! Only because you have taught well, so I guess any tutorials which add knowledge to my sewing are pretty useful :-)

  34. Sandy Peterson says:

    Happy, Happy, Happy Anniversary, Kathleen! You are such an inspiration to me! Keep up the amazing work!! And thanks to Eric too for all that he has done!

  35. Sophie-Lee says:

    I’ve read tutorials here and there from you over the past few years, but it wasn’t until today when I was SO FRUSTRATED by the standard 1.5cm seam allowances on home sewing patterns that I came for a really good look (and stayed reading all day). I followed your sleeve cuff tutorial from the reverse engineering series and holy smokes – so so easy but such a nice outcome!

    Now I am mightily biased as I am a home sewer, but could I please please pretty please ask for tutorials on

    – Sewing a collar and stand (for a shirt or shirtwaist dress). I’ve seen many different tutorials on this and am not 100% happy with any of them.

    – Sewing waistbands on nicely and, most importantly, getting the topstitching/edgestitching to line up on the outside and the facing (I’m not sure if it’s industry standard to do edge stitching or stitch-in-the-ditch. Either way, I can’t seem to do it nicely)

  36. Roberta says:

    I just found your website and I am hooked! I’d like to see a tutorial on sewing angled seams –like the type you may have to sew when making a jacket with a shawl collar.

    Thanks again for your wonderful blog and great advice!

  37. Congratulations, Kathleen, on a wonderful 10 years! Your blog is, hands-down, THE BEST blog in our industry. I certainly appreciate learning from you and all of your readers. Had I known you were here sooner, I probably would have skipped fashion college all together. I am certainly learning more real life experience-related information from everyone here than I did in school! Again, Congrats!!

  38. Judy H. says:

    Congratulations!!! I have been a reader since the beginning and hope to continue being one for many years to come!!! Now- a problem I have had since the beginning of time, it seems, it’s the fitting of draped garment on a model/real person after it has been draped on a form that does not have the exact same size of the model. How they do it on tv (project runway) is beyond me. A tutorial about that will be great.

    Thank you for taking your time to create this website and for sharing your very important knowledge.

  39. Philippa Y says:

    I would love a tutorial on the construction of a lined skirt with a vent; it all looks so streamlined on high-end skirts, but there isn’t a commercial pattern that I have found that addresses all the issues. Snoop shopping has revealed several different methods of waistbands construction – all without a hand stitch in sight; this too I would love to be documented..
    Thanks again for the priceless information you have published.

  40. Trish says:

    Kathleen, I am so lucky to have known about this blog from the early days. I personally have enjoyed your posts time and again and the tutorials are a dream come true. Your book is an inspiration. I am still so impressed with your vision of the Fifth Wave.

    I applaud all of your readers for the time they take to improve their skills. And you are the Gem of it all (well, Mr. F-I does deserve a ton of credit for the first lightening strike!!)

  41. theresa riess says:

    I was going to ask for a tutorial on separating zippers but remembered I had your jacket pattern instructions so went rooting around my computer files and printed them up. That will come in handy with the anorak jacket I have on the cutting table. And yes, anything to do with sleeves as in fixing the suit jacket sleeve you had started for DH.

    Theresa in Tucson

  42. Oh my I’m glad you found your cat. That can be so unnerving!

    Congratulations times a million. Wow. 10 years. That’s really exciting. I love your blog. I love that it sparks real, direct conversations about the industry and the differences between home and industry practices. Having worked in manufacturing, I get that there are guidelines and methods that are not very changable – much like turning the titanic. It’s helpful to know what they are and at the same time knowing helps consumers and sewers begin to understand and hopefully align to change ones that aren’t working or adapt. You are such a breath of fresh air. And you fill a gap that is so needed. I know when I’m struggling with a concept, I can count on finding something on your site. In fact, I found your post about how important it is to NOT add ease at the princess seam very enlightening.

    Thank you. I’m very grateful for the time and effort you put into this site.

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