Trouser Class #1
- The pace was brisk yet manageable in this three-hour class. We broke up into pairs to measure each other. My partner is a regular reader of this blog named Elizabeth! She'd taken the bodice drafting class with Kenneth so she kept me up to speed.
- I'm glad I'd recently taken my true measurements so I wasn't shocked by what we came up with - a waist measurement of 31" and 43" on the hips, if you're curious. This makes me decidedly curvy on the bottom, which required a little bit of pattern finagling later on.
- Kenneth is just as charming as everyone says, and he amused us with anecdotes throughout the class. Two choice tokens: 1) he doesn't use a thimble and his mentor used to tell him he would get cancer (!) from the pin pricks in his finger, and 2) he gave us a short, racy history of women in fashion careers and told us that when Madeleine Vionnet called Coco Chanel "that milliner," she was really saying "that whore." Good stuff!
- After measuring, we spent the rest of class drafting our front trouser pattern. If you're interested in learning how but can't take this class, all the info is available on a CD book entitled "Trouser Draft" here.
- Tonight we'll be drafting our back pattern piece!
After writing here about desperately wanting to learn draping, I looked into some educational options. As many of you pointed out, I live very close to FIT and can take classes there. Well, I've taken a patternmaking class at FIT and while it was extremely useful for fashion-career types, I personally found it a bit misguided for the home seamstress. I waded through tons of homework and VERY tedious demonstrations to get the kernels of knowledge that I could apply to my home sewing.
Hence, I made the decision to seek out a private draping instructor and let me tell you, after just one session: SO worth it. I believe I found Sharon through this page on the Find a Dressmaker site. Sharon does "house call" lessons, and she came out to my place for three hours of sewing fun. She's super friendly and extremely knowledgeable. Here's what we went over.
- First we chatted a bit about my goals. We decided to start with a basic dress drape, and then move on to more complicated stuff once I understood the principles of draping.
- Second, we took a detour into bound buttonholes. Sharon showed me how to finish the back of my buttonholes and it BLEW MY MIND. More to come, obviously.
- We determined a problem: my dress form. 1) It kind of sucks - it wobbles back and forth and won't sit straight on its base - and I need to look at getting a new one fairly soon. More to come on that front too. 2) It is not AT ALL to my measurements. Sharon suggested rectifying the latter situation by draping the basic dress to the current measurements of the form, using a two-inch wide seam allowance and then fitting the dress to me, and finally padding the form to fill out the dress. Clever, eh?
- We marked the horizontal "balance lines" - bust, waist, and hip - on the dress form with twill tape.
- We prepped pieces of medium weight muslin by tearing in on grain and then blocking it, which means getting the grain to lay straight by pulling the fabric strategically crosswise until it lines up with a grid. Blocking = surprisingly fun!
- We draped the front bodice, shown above. I really liked the process of molding fabric with my hands. Seeing the pattern made up three-dimensionally gives one such a better understanding of grain, dart excess, and fabric in general.
- Turns out I made a good decision in my draping book purchase. Sharon and I are using that very book as our basic text.
- Our next session is in two weeks, and I have homework! I'm reading up on how to mark the draped pattern and then will be attempting the back bodice drape on my own, following the text book.
- Both Kenneth and Sharon are extremely educated, obviously. I especially liked that they both made constant mention of their mentors and their methods. It really goes to show you that all sewing is craft passed down from one teacher to another.
- If you don't have a sewing school in your area, try finding a dressmaker who will do one-on-one lessons with you. Such a great way to learn!