Post Peggy Sagers Fit Workshop

From our California Material Girl, Carrie, after the whirling in her head slowed down 🙂
(To see the first two entries, see The Art of Fitting-Before and The Art of Fitting-In the Thick of It.

So, how does one feel after being enmeshed in fitting muslins for almost 4 days? Tired!
My head feels full of information that I didn’t even have time to get into notes. And I’m excited by all that I learned about how to fit patterns.
I still need to find time to take the adjustments from my muslins and adapt my tissue patterns according to the changes.
I brought 10 muslins with me to the training and all 10 came home fitted to me – first by another student, then reviewed, adjusted, and modified by Peggy.
I’m very happy with what I learned and am also happy to have 10 patterns fitted to me that I can use as a baseline going forward.

The training schedule is 80% hands on fitting. The other 20% is direct explanation and training from Peggy. There is no magic formula for fitting. Each wrinkle is unique to each individual, but Peggy has tried to create a common sense approach that breaks down the most common sources or reasons for wrinkles. I like that Peggy is all about taking a simple approach to fitting – what’s the fastest, easiest way to eliminate the wrinkles? Let’s not create a new arm hole shape that would require a new sleeve. Let’s not make several modifications to one garment – maybe we have the wrong size to start with etc.

After Day Two I think most people in the class felt frustrated with the learning process. Most of what we were doing to fit the muslins was still “wrong.” We were able to identify the wrinkles, but not always what was causing the wrinkle, so therefore, not fixing the wrinkle in the correct way. Day Three Peggy came in with a new class format and, in general, I could tell that by the end of the class we were starting to “get it.” Day Four, the last day, Peggy offered to start early and most people showed up early, already jumping in with a partner before Peggy even arrived. Each fitting was reviewed and corrected as needed by Peggy. She would often ask what the fitter saw before making an adjustment, then review what should be changed and why.

Overall, learning the fundamentals of fitting and the hands on experience is totally worth the cost of the class. Leaving the class with at least 9 fitted muslins- more if you have time to make more – is totally worth the cost of the class. If you want to become a fitting trainer and offer sewing classes – you won’t walk away with a packaged program or curriculum to do that. In my class about half of the ladies were interested in teaching fit classes. Peggy does share experiences and what works or doesn’t work from her personal experience and the experience of previous students.

So, am I a fitting expert now? No, but I have a really good set of tools in my tool box. From what I’ve heard and now experienced, it takes practice, practice, practice and I’m ready to jump in!

Thanks, Carrie. To find out more about Peggy’s class fitting class, click this link.

Dress Forms Revisited-New Joann Fabrics Open

Peggy Sagers had over 300 people watching Monday night as she unveiled the new dress form she is offering on her website. It looks great and the price seems very reasonable, considering a custom dress form can easily cost $1000. The problem with a purchased dress form is that it doesn’t look like most of us-well, most of the Material Girls anyway. Someone has to be a standard size in order for one to exist but I don’t bump in to Ms. Standard Size often. Peggy had some tips on padding the dress form to look like your body-she fit a sheath dress to her body and then put on the dress form to aid in padding the dress form so it would be her double.

All of this led to a phone call I received this morning so I thought I’d put in a plug for a duct tape dress form-wrapped by yours truly, of course. Just kidding, I am linking our instructions so you can do it yourself. Either way-purchased dress form or duct tape, some work has to be done to get the form to look like your body so you can use it to fit garments. This was the reason we started doing the duct tape dress form to begin with. No matter what price I pay for a dress form, I have to do some shape shifting to be accurate and that takes time and probably another pair of eyes.

So here’s the deal, for $125 you come to class (or we can come to you and 3 of your friends in your home), we have the supplies and you bring a tight fitting garment that covers the part of your body that will be wrapped (neck to thighs). We wrap you in three layers of tape, cut it up the back to get you out and after lunch we will tape it back up and stuff it. You will go home with a body double that will hang in your closet or sit on the floor or a table. We take measurements as we go to keep things accurate and draw helpful points on your double to aid in fitting.

We don’t guarantee that it will be exact but you would be surprised at how the duct tape captures posture, etc. If you put close fitting garments on the dress form you will be able to see how tight or loosely you will fit garments as you make them.

It isn’t my intent to suggest that you shouldn’t buy a dress form from Silhouette Patterns, merely that there are other options. The next Duct Tape Dress Form class at Treadle is Aug. 1 or you can email Material Girls and set up a taping party at your convenience.

Joann Fabrics in Shakopee is open!!

Those of us that live on the southwest side of the Cities have been watching and waiting for the opening of the brand new store. I had to go today-the first day they opened-just to check it out. I was very happy to see a well-lit, visible classroom right inside the front door. There’s a Viking/Husqvarna dealership in back and the whole store is basically divided in half by a center aisle with fabric on the right half and sewing machines, patterns, notions and crafts on the left. Yes, about 3/4ths of the store is dedicated to sewing!

I talked to the manager and she is excited about offering classes-the old store had no visible classroom-neither does the store in Yorktown and the buzz among customers was one of excitement at the opening of a new place for sewists to shop. Everything was neat and tidy, the displays more at eye level-not much bending over to see things. The handicapped parking spaces are right outside the door so you don’t even have to cross traffic to get in the store-how thoughtful.

As I drove home I thought of one thing the classroom needed-a changing corner for trying on garments as you sew 🙂

From Princess Wrap to Princess Dress

Recently in an active wear catalog I found a dress with a center panel and ruching at the midrift area along both sides of the center panel. I thought – now that’s a clever way to hide a stomach pouch! I already had the Christine Jonson Princess Wrap Top which has a center front with ruching on one side.

First I made the top to try out the fit. The fit was fine – but the v-neck was a bit deep for me. To make the dress I added an inch to the neckline to give me more coverage. I also added a back center seam which gave me the ability to add shaping to the back. In order to create ruching on both sides, initially I tried to follow the model of the pattern which – because it is gathered on only one side- the pattern bows out along the gathered side to create a nice drape on the opposite side. Well, trying to create this on both sides of my center panel piece just wasn’t a good idea. A much simpler path would have been to keep both edges of the center front straight and then extend the length of the panel to account for the gathering. (The reason my initial idea didn’t work is because it created a ‘drape’ of extra material in the front area. You don’t want drape across your stomach – that added to the pouch.)

To determine the appropriate width and line of the skirt I followed the skirt pattern from Christine Jonson’s Wrap Dress. I found the key to ensure the gathering around the midriff is flattering is to keep the ruching under the bust and not too far down into the stomach region. Also – keep the gathering even on both sides and fairly tight across the front – if it looks to loose, it looks sloppy and like extra weight. Sorry the pictures with the pattern fabric I used make it a bit difficult to see the ruching.

Sewing Events and More

Lots of things going on here, trying to winnow the things we do and try to do only what we do best. There was some talk of going to the sewing expo in Novi, Michigan. It’s supposed to be the best for fashion sewing. After looking at the vendors and classes, I’ve decided that it looks alot like the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo that will be here in November so I’m going to pass. I’m taking it off of our calendar.

The event I’m really looking forward to is the Creative Connection. It’s September 16-18 at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis. Amy Butler and Mary Jane Butters (do you know who she is? I’d call her the Martha Stewart of the back to the farm movement-she’s got a great mag but, come ‘on, who could possibly do all she does and look that good-my main complaint about Martha-like we all need another perfect woman to emulate!) Where was I? Oh, yes, wonderful creative women will be speaking; there’s a handmade market that I’m guessing will look like something out of a Somerset Studio/Stampington & Co. magazine. The part I am personally excited about is “social media and your business” speakers and panels. There are also classes that look like fun but are mostly handwork as far as I could tell. If you live in the Shakopee area, the Eagle Creek Quilt Shop is taking a bus downtown on Friday and Saturday. Too bad the Sewing and Quilting Expo people can’t see what’s going on and change their focus a bit.

Peggy Sagers (Silhouette Patterns) has a new set of 4 patterns for fall. I’ve ordered them and especially want to try the cape pattern. There are so many in the fashion magazines for fall but they’re not that great for a pear figure. Check out her version. The set of four sale ends today (Wed.).

After a frustrating jacket fitting, I’ve decided to take the plunge and get a dress form. Any advice out there? Uniquely You was recommended as I was searching for answers to my jacket fit problem. Bernina has one. What do you have?

On the subject of fit-check out The Fashion Code. It’s a $30 option for getting your perfect neckline, hemline, sleeve length. You take your measurements and upload them on the website and get your perfect measurements, based on the Golden Proportion, and a pdf file of a 30 page book to explain your best look further. The measurements are taken from the floor and are a bit tricky to do alone. If you’d like we’ll do them before or after Fashion Sewing Club for you.

Hope to see a bunch of you at Hancock tomorrow!