About

JanetVandermeulen

I’m Janet, a professional seamstress living on the coast of Massachusetts. This blog is inspired by to the ladies of the Facebook group “Pattern Reviews and Resources”, and above all Alison Paradise who introduced me to the group in the first place.

In the FB group, I posted about quick fixes for PDF-file sewing patterns.  A few of the responses were critical (of my criticisms), but the majority were positive.  And some of the members suggested that I should write a blog! This got me thinking about my background, and why I’m blessed to have so much pattern and sewing knowledge.  The plan is to write about sewing techniques,  apparel construction,  pattern drafting and grading, and pattern reviews. And maybe also about what I’m currently sewing, because I sew every day. Except on vacations: my husband insists that no sewing machines come along when we travel.

 

My sewing history goes way back to childhood, playing with scraps in my mom’s sewing room, hand-sewing  doll clothes. My grandmother helped me machine-sew my first “human” garment, a nightgown for myself, when I was eight.  Middle school marked a turning point when I finally attacked zipper installation and set-in sleeves. In high school I made my own clothes and also stitched boho peasant tops and patchwork skirts for a local boutique.

I earned a degree in Art and then one in Fashion Merchandising, worked in New York City in retail management and buying, and then in wholesale sales and merchandising.  In my twenties I  went back to school, to the Fashion Institute of Technology, where I got a degree in Design and Patternmaking.  Next was a career move to product development and then finally to technical production. I was privileged to travel around the globe many times, and visit hundreds of factories in many countries. I learned an enormous amount about couture versus mass-production, about fabric quality and yardage yield, and about costing and stitching-sequence. Above all I’ve learned about fitting, and the art of a well-made pattern.

At  40 I got married,  bought a house in the suburbs,  had a baby and retired from the apparel industry. Nowadays I sew for my Etsy shop ,  sew for charity,  I do alterations, and I teach sewing.  Sometimes I dabble in quilting, pillows, curtains, Christmas stockings…but mostly I sew apparel.  And I really do sew every day.

To see what I’m making, follow me on IG:    https://www.instagram.com/7pinedesign

To visit my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/7PineDesign

 

8 Comments

  • BJ Combest

    I can not find a vest pattern for the preemie boy angel gowns
    Do you have one that can be shared with me?
    I have made 6 precious angel gowns for
    girls from my yellow bridesmaids dress remanents
    And 2 for boys with bow ties BUT would now
    like to do a blue vest.
    Thank you
    BJ

  • Ann Parker

    I copied these patterns and hope to make my first gown soon. Do you line the gown with satin from the wedding dress, or do you use another soft fabric?

  • [email protected]

    Good question! For the little angels in the hospital, the NICU nurses request cotton flannel linings because the babes’ skin is “weepy” so absorbent fibers are best. I purchase white cotton flannel by the bolt when it goes on sale every Fall at Joann Fabrics.

  • [email protected]

    Hi Diane! Same here, hand-drawing and scanning. I hire my daughter (a graphic design student) to digitize into Illustrator, because I received requests for a format usable by print-shops. She works freelance so let me know if you would like her contact information. An easy alternative is to clean up the lines in PowerPoint; it’s not a vector program but it’s super-simple to use. (I’ve just added Manitoba Angel Dresses to the list of sources at the end of this post: https://7pinedesign.com/charity-sewing-how-to-make-angel-gowns/). Best regards, Janet

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