Judy Kessinger – FitNice

Was there a time when you enjoyed sewing your clothes? Chances are you were a Stretch and Sew customer. Chances are also good that your recent attempts at garment sewing have been frustrating. Why? Because manufactured patterns give you directions to sew but never to fit.

We’ve all been there. But don’t give up! There is hope! Judy Kessinger’s company, FitNice, is the MISSING LINK. She has the answer to making clothes you will love to wear. Casual, comfortable and sophisticated, but not couture. She keeps it simple. FitNice is ALL ABOUT THE FIT! All you need is a personal pattern — which you can use over and over again to make any number of garments.

Judy Kessinger was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. Her grandmother was a large woman who made all her clothes. Judy was always impressed by how good she looked. Ironically, it was a very small person who inspired Judy to start sewing. “My daughter weighed 5 pounds when she was born. Preemie clothes did not yet exist, so I started to sew tiny baby clothes.” The first time someone complimented her cute little dress, Judy was hooked. She began sewing for herself and Stretch and Sew became her happy place.

The business started in the basement with jogging shorts.

Judy was an x-ray technician and loved her job. But after her third child was born, she decided to be a full-time mom. Several years later, she met another Judy, Judy Drury, at church. The two of them wanted to do something together, but they weren’t sure what direction to take. They both loved to sew and that became their focus. They started a fabric store named Judes’. But their retail adventure didn’t last long.

Judy K. had the bright idea to approach Hancock Fabrics about teaching classes. During her “pitch,” she told the District Manager that they were excellent teachers, and he should give them a chance. To prove themselves, she said they would teach “for free.” Never mind the fact that the two of them had never actually taught a class together. Judy K. said, “How hard can it be?” So they prepared a lecture about sewing notions, calling themselves “The Two Judy’s.”

First and last VHS video, Christmas in July,
Judy Drury and Judy Kessinger.

At that first class, they were expecting an audience of 10 or 12 people. But instead, 100 women showed up. Panic set in. Judy K. looked at Judy D. and said, “You talk to me, and I’ll talk to you.” Their presentation was a trunk show, a Smother’s Brother’s comedy hour, a sewing demonstration…and a HUGE hit!

After that show, the District Manager called Hancock’s home office. For the next 25 years, the “Two Jude’s” traveled all over the country. They taught various classes — notions, fashion sewing, Christmas in July, home dec, etc. “It was the best job in the world. We were doing what we loved, and seeing the country on somebody else’s dime.”

Because she was teaching sewing, Judy felt it was important to wear clothes she sewed. She could never understand why ladies bought so many patterns since they all started with the same three pieces: front, back and, sleeve. Judy figured if she just worked with the front, back and sleeve, she could achieve the perfect, comfortable fit. So that’s what she did. She created her own “Personal Pattern.”

For years, she used those three pieces to make her wardrobe: tops, jackets, dresses, and coats.

If a friend asked about what pattern she was wearing, Judy was always happy to share her “three pattern pieces” philosophy: front, back, and sleeve. She would help them create their master pattern. One day, a friend said, “You should make a business of this.”

That was her light-bulb moment … and FitNice was born.

Click HERE to read more about Judy and her FitNice program.