It's been a week since I'm back from a class with Connie Crawford in June. And it has taken me this long to decide whether to post this review or not. Read on and you'll know why.
Fitting on my own has been frustrating... First comes selecting the correct size for the pattern, then knowing what adjustments to make. Followed by how much to take in or let out for each of these adjustments. And to do this on my own?? Yikes! Makes me want to go back to reading about sewing, instead of actually sewing! No, Not lazy, but just plain frustrated!
So I signed up for this class with Connie Crawford at Ann Arbor. I know that Connie also comes to Toronto for the Creative Festival in Fall every year and teaches hands-on workshops and seminars but I have other classes in mind for then. So Ann Arbor, it was.
As for Connie Crawford's class, I'm double minded.
I did learn stuff from her - Watching her drape a knit top on a mannequin was a great learning experience. Learning about drafting, grading, watch her do it with a grading ruler was very helpful too. Her method of sewing lapped zipper was very different and quick and easy! Also, got some tips on drafting styles from a sloper and balancing seam lines in skirts / tops etc.
For the "Fitting & designing for the girls" class, (No, I don't like the name either), Connie had us try on multiple samples from her sloper pattern that is drafted for all sizes, all bust cups.
Fitting the bust first and then taking in the shoulder (no changes to sleeves) was her main principle in fitting. Which is totally fine - there are million ways to fit as long as the wrinkles are gone. But her idea of a well fitting garment and mine were not the same. She was ignoring the very obvious arm hole/sleeve wrinkles in many people she fitted. And I could see that a lot of people needed their armhole raised - me included. When I went back again and asked a question about the armhole and showed her what was wrong with it - yes, she agreed I needed to raise the armhole at least an inch.
Does that mean all were fit incorrectly? No! that's not what I mean. If you have a figure that fits into one of the multiple samples from her pattern, you lucked out and I'm really happy for you. For the rest of us who did not confirm to the body shape that the patterns were drafted for, Too bad!
One of the ladies tried on Connie's knit top samples (Which were not for different bust cup for each size, just regular XS, S,M,L, XL, etc) during a demo. There were very obvious wrinkles originating from the bust at all angles and somebody in the audience even dared to ask the question that many of us were asking ourselves - if it fit right - to which Connie said 'In my opinion, the fit is perfect! Sorry! Nope!
What was very annoying to me is her repeated bashing / eye rolling at people who educate or make patterns for home sewing and making fun of 'choosing by upper bust measurement and asking how on earth will it fit the bust?' while she very conveniently ignored that an FBA was almost always done on the pattern when they have a bust bigger than B cup, while choosing by upper bust measurement.
Overall, I'm glad I tried this class. I might buy her books / DVDs in future or check them out in the library. But I don't think I'll take another one of her workshops, which is really unfortunate as I do think she has a lot to offer on drafting. I browsed through some of her books that were available for sale at the venue and those seemed good. I haven't watched her DVDs so can't comment on that but obviously it would not contain the repeated bashing 'what does home sewing say.....?'/ self adulation 'I'm the only one who has ...' / This person copied my pattern / that person copied my book... No thanks!
One person that got a lot of my thanks was 'Rosebud' - her assistant for this weekend. I had missed the 'Sew like a pro' class since I arrived very late, driving from Toronto to Ann Arbor.. Rosebud offered to help me get caught up with the class. And she did sit with me for half an hour the next day morning before the class started and had me caught up with 'Sew like a pro' class material. Those tips were very useful.
In all, I got a lot out of Grading / Draping / Sew like a pro class. None with the fitting.