As a treat to myself, I went on a weekend pattern cutting course in Stratford upon Avon with Jules from Sew Me Something. As per my previous course near Chesterfield, I had to pay for accommodation and travel in addition to the course fee. This time I chose to travel by train as having just turned 60, I am now eligible for discounted train travel. I bought a senior rail card and got 30% off - and it's so much nicer than driving all that way - and faster too. The cost was a little higher than petrol would have been, but well worth it. Two of us would drive.
In advance of the course, I was advised that materials would be available for me but to bring a Pattern Master (see above) and notcher (see right) if I had them. I already had the notcher but bought a Pattern Master. I was also able to carry another few bits and pieces which I felt might be useful. I also took a couple of patterns I'd had problems with - a skirt, made in a Saturday workshop , which I didn't feel like finishing because I knew it didn't fit, and trousers which I was making in my monthly class, which I was starting to construct. More of them later.
I wanted to achieve a bodice block/sloper - plus the rest if there was time! Most people also wanted this (there were only 6 people in the class, one of whom already had a woven bodice block and so wanted to make a stretch block instead)
All our measurements were in metric, which Jules feels simplifies the process. Before going, I had watched the Craftsy class by Suzy Furrer who felt that the use of 1/8ths was much better. In the UK, metric is more prevalent - I suppose it's what you're used to. I can work in inches as that is what was around as I was growing up - so I suppose that means I'm measurement bilingual! I must say I also really liked Suzy Furrer's class and have bought a couple of her other ones. It will be interesting to see if the results are comparable.
The trousers were being made from a commercial pattern - one by Palmer Pletsch. McCall's 6901.
I was going to make the photo extra large so you could see clearly how much was taken in - but I couldn't bear it! This is inside out to try to show the seams.
Since the class, I have purchased a further recommended book, which I find fascinating It's expensive but worth it. It covers three methods of pattern alteration - seam method, pivot method and slash method. Some of the pictures in other pattern books made me feel I had made my pattern alterations incorrectly, but this book showed how pictures are manipulated and don't actually show the reality of a particular manoeuvre. For example, if you widen a sleeve in the biceps area by slashing and spreading, the sleeve cap will drop and the centre slashes will overlap - this is not always shown. Often, it looks as if you simply have to re-create a straight line but in fact there can be a very significant step in the line. I thought I was getting it wrong but it seems I wasn't.
Unfortunately, I can't remember the other main author Jules recommended but I have enough for now I think! One day I must do a review of all the pattern fitting books I have!
I've signed up for a pattern fitting course in a college in a nearby city. I don't know what to expect yet. It starts in mid September. The beginner module is 10 weeks long and then I could go on to more advanced modules, I think. They may have different prescribed texts and different methods - I'll just have to wait and see.
At times, I have found muslin/toile fitting tedious as I couldn't get beyond a certain point - and have cut muslin after muslin ...In my weekly class I was known as the 'Toile Queen'. I won't resent any of the time spent on muslins in the future. I can't accept Palmer Pletsch's view that after tissue fitting go straight onto fabric fitting and miss out the toile stage. It certainly doesn't work for me.