Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Zip Top Handbag in Garment Designer

Garment Designer Project submitted by Gabrielle Stanley. If you would like to submit a Guest Blog Post that uses Cochenille products feel free to email Sonia at

 Zip Top Handbag

This handbag is a good size for everyday use, providing you don't carry the kitchen sink.

You need: (all measurements in inches. Seam allowances must be added.)

Cut 2 inf fabric, 2 in lining and 2 in fusible wadding. Mark Center points at bottom and top.

Cut 1 in fabric, 1 in lining, 1 in fusible wadding and 1(with now seam allowances) in plastic canvas (or other rigid stiffening). Mark center points of each side and also corners where seam lines intersect.

Cut 2 in fabric and 2 in fusible wadding.

Cut 2 in fabric.

Additionally you will need 2 small scraps of fabric, and a zip. I used continuous zip and cut it 11 inches. The finished opening is 10.25 inches.

To Make:

1.     Fuse the fusible wadding to the sides, base and tops.

2.    Take the straps and fold them in 1/4 along the length, so the raw edges are enclosed. Topstitch down both edges.

3.    Sew the two sides together along the sloped seams.

4.    Position the handles so there is one per side, 3 inches in from the ends, and tack in place. Make sure they are not twisted.

5.    Sew the two small scraps of fabric to the ends of the zip.

6.    Sew the tops to either side of the zip, continuing the stitching onto the scraps of fabric, but leaving the ends unsewn for 1 in. Fold the tops down and topstitch where you have sewn. You will now have a rectangle of fabric with a zip in the middle.

7.    Fold this in half along the length of the zip, and sew the two ends together. Now fold the ends back along the zip, and sew across the triangle formed. Open the zip.

8.    Place the top inside the sides and sew together around the top. Turn right sides out and topstitch around the edge.

9. Take the base and align the middle of the short ends with the seamline of the sides. Pin the rest of the short edges to the bottom of the sides. Sew between the corner markings ONLY.

10.    Clip the sides to the ends of the stitching.

11.    Sew the remaining long edges of the base to the bottom of the sides.

12.    Trim a little from the edges of the plastic canvas and place it inside the bag.

13.    If you want an inside pocket, sew it to one of the lining sides.

14.    Sew the lining sides together along the sloped edges.

15.    Sew the lining base to the lining sides using the same method as sewing the fabric base to the fabric sides.

16.    Place the lining inside the bag and hand sew it around the edge of the zip tape.

If you would like the Garment Designer 2.5 files for this pattern, feel free to email sonia at and put Zip Top Handbag in the subject, and a .gds file will be emailed back to you.

~ Gabrielle Stanley
Cochenille Design Studio
UK Educator

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Using Collars in Garment Designer

There are a few things to keep in mind when using the collars in Garment Designer.

The first thing is where to find them. Most are under the Extra's menu located along the Top menu bar:

There are a few collars that get added to drop down menu's when you buy Style sets, like the Shawl and Tailored collar from the Style set 2 get added to the Neck Group.

Second to bring up a collar from the Extra's menu you must click on either Joined at Front or Joined at Back. Note that the word "Collars:" will always be ghosted it has a colon behind it to denote a Title. There are other Title menu's like this in Garment Designer, it means the functions are beneath the Title.

Third the Collars are separated into Stand, Full Roll, Partial Roll, Flat and Hood. You will need to know the construction of the collar pattern pieces to find the correct collar you are looking for. Susan has done a great job in the manual of explaining the terminology of the collar. Chapter 8 page 25. If you need additional help you can also purchase our Fun Fashion collars PDF booklet. It has more detailed and in-depth information regarding collar construction.

With those key points you are well on your way to be able to add a collar to any design. Please feel free to call or email if you have any questions.

~Sonia Barton
Cochenille Design Studio

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New Educator Gabrielle Stanley ... Guest Post

If you are part of any of our groups, you have seen Gabrielle Stanley's name and may have realized she is very knowledgeable about Garment Designer, for both Sewing and Knitting. She runs Gabrielle's Sewing Studio and has her own blog at

She is now our newest Educator (she's in the UK), you can find her contact information on our Educator page. If you are an Educator (or not) and would like to do a blog post please email Sonia at

Here is her Guest Blog post:

The story of a cardigan

On holiday a couple of years ago, I wandered into a yarn shop and fell in love with a colourway of Noro Blossom. I bought up what the shop had in stock, even though it was not enough for a complete garment, then sourced some more from a couple of online sites. I felt with such a variety of colours in the yarn, a mismatch of dyelots would not notice too much.

After researching the available patterns, I did not like any enough, so I looked at pictures of other garments, and finally decided on a sidew
ays knit cardigan with an asymmetric front opening.

Since the yarn is self-striping, I decided I would need to ke
ep the widths of the pattern pieces fairly even to reduce the amount the stripe widths varied. This led to my choosing to design a pattern with separate sleeves, and a separate front and back. To make the garment fit together easily with the stripes, I decided on square shoulders, and for such a garment I felt darts would be unnecessary.

With such a basic garment shape I was able to use a Simple Fit sloper.

So the choices were:

Top Group: Basic
Top Style: Average
Shoulder: Straight
Neck Group: Round
Neck Style: Standard
Darts: None
Sleeve Group: Separate
Sleeve Type: Drop Shoulder
Combo: None
Armhole: Standard
Sleeve Shape: Tapered
Sleeve Length: Long

Looking at the on-screen pattern, my first thought was that the sleeve was too wide at the top, so I changed the armhole depth by selecting the underarm point and nudging it upwards using the up arrow key.

Next I worked on the front opening. Changing the L/R Symmetry to Give/Take, and switching off F/B Symmetry so I didn't affect the back neckline.

I selected the centre front segment and moved it to the right using the right arrow key. When I had moved it so the left neckline was almost straight, I changed the Display to Actual Size and was able to nudge the line using the arrow kes until I completely got rid of any jagged sections of the neckline. (I often change the display scale to get an exact measurement or straight line.)

I then turned L/R symmetry off completely, made sure I only had the right frontís centre front segment selected, and moved it further over to obtain an overlap for closure.

My cardigan was now ready for the yarn information. I hand knitted a test swatch on the needles recommended on the ball band, measured it, and recorded the information:

Next came the conversion to sideways knitting. I generated my Pattern Pixel-Per-Stitch Graphics.

Selecting each front piece in turn, I pressed 'Z' once to rotate them clockwise.I then selected the back piece and pressed 'Z' 3 times to rotate it to the same position as going anticlockwise. The sleeve did not need rotating as I planned to knit it in the conventional direction.

I now changed from displaying Dimensions to displaying Stitch Counts.

Because I was planning to knit by hand from the left side, I set the cast on points to be the bottom left of the fronts and the top left of the back, by clicking on the numbers at these points. I also decided to work the sleeves top-down to allow for easy length adjustment, so I set the cast on point at the top right of the sleeve.

The shaping instructions were fairly straightforward. In order to work a moss stitch edge, I needed to manually add instructions to start and finish a moss stitch portion around the neckline as well as the opening edges at the fronts and the bottom edges of all pieces. I also needed to manually add the buttonhole.

I started knitting with the left front, so I could check my tension, and also weighthe finished piece to determine the stitch count by weight to determine if I had enough yarn.

I finished the cardigan with a large button at the top of the asymmetric opening, and press studs down the rest of the opening to prevent it flapping open.

~Gabrielle Stanley

Thursday, August 4, 2011

August News

If you have signed up for our Newsletter and did not receive the following, Check your Spam filters, or Spam folders, Or you can try adding to your address book or approved senders list.

Hi Everyone,


Mac has released a New Operating system 10.7 Lion, our programs are not

currently 10.7 compatible, but we are working as fast as we can to get them

compatible. We will send out an email as soon as we have more information,

thank you for your patience.

Cochenille on the Web:

Blog: If you are interested in doing a Guest post, please email us. Lots of

you have wonderful information to share. We could really use the help of

some aspiring writers.

Facebook: Wow, Thank you all for your support and participations, we love

seeing all those pics.

Where We'll Be:

August 5 - 9 Cochenille Design Retreat, Cimmarron, NM

August 18 - 22 American Sewing Guild Conf. Los Angeles, CA

August 25 - 28 Stitches Midwest, Schaumburg, IL

August Specials:

Back to School Sale

We hope you are all enjoying the last weeks of Summer before going back to

school. For all of you Fashion students, Design Students or just students of

Life type your field of study in our Promocode: field and receive 10% off

you entire order. That makes a Garment Designer $179. instead of $199.

Thank you all for your support!

Susan Lazear

Sonia Barton

Business Blog