The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

Class Subjects

When I set up my classes, folks like to have titles to them – Pants Pattern, Mannequin, Jacket Tailoring – all that stuff.  When in reality, I like to teach just about anything.

But when students call me and say, what should I do?  I follow up with some ideas and questions.

I approach this the same way I have with my clients:  I start asking what they want, what they need and then some information about themselves.

I’m after answers to three different questions that sometimes we don’t even know the answer, (much less that we CAN ask these questions):




Size is kinda self-explanatory – but shape – how is that different from size?  We fall into various shapes – I think recently they added a few more (probably need to add more than that).  But here are the standards for the clothing industry and this is a place to start (why only to start – because you’ll tweak it as you go along.

So your size has to do with how your measurements fit into a graded size (the one that you will use to start with) on a pattern, while the shape will be more how you will fit that size to you.  Of course when you look at it like this, you can certainly understand why 3, 5, 11 or a gazillion sizes aren’t enough to fit the whole population and that’s why RTW has so many mis-fitted clothing out there (or why there is the reliance upon knits and stretch fabrics instead of fitting clothes).

Then the final part of this is the STYLE.  What do I mean by that.  I mean some folks are classic, some are artistic; some are frou-frou, some are tailored;  some are quiet and shy and some are outgoing and gregarious;  doesn’t mean one is better than the other, but it does mean that you dress a quiet shy person in outgoing/gregarious clothing, and it’s just as bad as putting a size 4 on a size 12 body – it just doesn’t work.

So you gotta find out a little about yourself, and if you come to me, I gotta find out a little about you – how much you want to or like to dress up, how little you like to dress up, where you go on a regular basis, where you like to go and how you like to look.  I try and explain I’m not making judgements, just trying to crawl into the student’s head to see what they want and what they like.  Sometimes that’s in conflict, and I’m quick to point that out – not being cruel here just trying to get clear about what should be in the student’s closet to work for the student.

There is such a deluge and saturation of cheap clothing available, that this can’t help but seep into your closet.  And you have to been incredibly disciplined to keep from over-filling your closet.  The one thing that can help is when you already have most everything you need, because you have been a judicial editor in what you buy.

This is not a matter of affording the cheap clothing.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about cramming an already over-stuffed closet with more cheap clothing that 1.) you can’t find it to wear it; 2.) you’ve already worn it too much and it’s worn out; 3.) it looked good in the store but doesn’t quite work for you; 4.) you love it, but can’t find it in your closet cause of all the other junk in there.

This is a matter of making your closet work for you.

So when you think about taking classes and wonder what you want to learn or what classes you want to take, think about:

  1. What you want (but be clear and disciplined about it.)
  2. What you need (you don’t need 5 pairs of black pants or 4 white shirts – no matter how classic).
  3. What shape you are, and what garment/pattern will look good on this shape.
  4. What is your style – how formal/casual are you?…how frou-frou/tailored are you?…what’s your daily/weekly schedule like?….do you do luncheons a lot?…do you do professional presentations?…are you in court doing briefs before a judge?….are you retired, but like to look nice even if it’s in your garden?

These are just some of the things that you want to ask yourself before you start with a class.  After this, you can have a good idea about what to do.

What I like to do with my classes is teach what the STUDENT wants to learn.  I find it’s awfully egotistical of me to tell you what fits in your life style.  It IS my job to guide you, but even after that guidance, if you want to do something completely strange, then that’s what you’ll do.

Additionally, classes like this are a wonderful way to be exposed to other forms of construction and projects – with one student doing a jacket, another doing a mannequin, and still another doing pants, you can find out an awful lot of information and still complete your project.  Really a great value.

For more ideas, check out the class schedule on the toolbar above (or click here for more info).

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