Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Expo 07 Report: Classes

Ok, this is the, um, reason we all go to Expos, right? To be instructed by great and inspiring sewing educators? It's really not buying stuff....

Yeah, that's why this is post number 3 instead of post number 1. Oh, I was saving the best for last. Yeah, that's it :)

Anyway, I started off at 9 on Thursday with Cynthia Guffey in two back-to-back classes; the first was 'Backs Fitting First' and the second was 'Off grain, On target'. Those of you who have had classes with Cynthia will imagine my shock when she came in dressed in blue jeans! And the cutest little princess shell top made of underlined lace (which I am SO going to knock off at the first available moment!). The backs fitting involves two measurements: shoulder slope and upper back curve. I'd seen Cynthia demonstrate this concept last year in the muslin fitting class, but the review absolutely didn't hurt. Miss A and I decided to measure each other's back curve and shoulder slope on our next 'cut for church' day (which is tomorrow...Big Project between now and the first of April; I'll get around to explaining it someday soon). Actually, we were wondering why it didn't occur to us to bring measuring tools and do it while we were there.... The second class was a discussion of fitting curves of the body...most notably, the bust curve. Cynthia's model was a cute gal in her early twenties who, as Cynthia put it, has got curves. Cynthia talked about dart placement, rotating darts, converting a darted style into a princess, converting an armsceye princess into a shoulder princess...I gave up drawing and decided to get the book in which she describes these things ;). But it will make more sense textually after seeing it visually.

The only other class I had on Thursday was Diane Ericson's Fashion Illustration class. It really was a lot of fun, and while I still don't consider myself a great artist, the drawing that I ended up with (beginning with a tracing from a fashion catalog) surprised me. Anyway,for whatever it's worth, here it is,along with the photo I used for inspiration (I would credit the source on it, but I really have no idea where it came from)Um, should I point out that we had no erasers? :D

On Friday, I had Peggy Sager's Jeans fitting class and Louise Cutting's travel wardrobes class. Peggy did a quick little visualization of the difference between Crotch Length (distance from waist to waist through the legs) and Crotch Depth (distance from waist to crotch) that I have never seen before that really illustrated very well that properly adjusting Length does not affect Depth...suddenly, I saw it as cup shaping applied to the rump...that was a real Lightbulb Moment.

Louise's class was chock full of great tips on traveling and personal safety...not something you'd expect at a sewing expo! But, from someone who travels as much as Louise does, it certainly was good advice. She also showed us her 'paper dolls' -- she's done a package of the front views (technical drawings) of all her patterns, one per sheet of paper, all drawn to the same scale. So, using a scanner and a copier, you can create little samples of her clothes in your fabric, or a reasonable facsimile of your fabric (she said to purchase scrapbook paper for a wide variety of colors for solid fabrics) For a solid, run the scrapbook paper through the copier and copy the garment you want to make from that color...then cut it out. For the print, scan the print, then print it on regular paper, then run it through the copier. That really looked like a lot of fun, and I could see that it was an invaluable tool for wardrobe capsule planning (aka SWAP - Sewing With A Plan). But, I didn't have any money for toys this year, and I had to pass it up. But I did get the booklet that went along with the class, and it also has the outlines...although those outlines are in the back on a smaller scale; I may play with those all the same. ;)

On Saturday, I had Cynthia again for two classes, with Tammy O'Connell in between teaching about sewing with leather. I did learn some things in Tammy's class, but I had a hard time staying focused. It was the next-to-last class, on the last day, I'd had a big lunch, the air conditioning was running and humming...and Tammy has a very soft voice, which wasn't helped much by the PA system, which had about a quarter second delay, so there was always a hint of an echo. But, I'll remember her tip about handling small glued bits w/tweezers...that will be a good thing to remember when DD does her science project poster, too ;)

I'd be surprised if anyone had a hard time staying alert in one of Cynthia's classes...even on the afternoon of the last day. Her buttonhole class was on making good buttonholes on a sewing machine("We're not going to make bound buttonholes; if you came in here to do bound buttonholes you're going to be disappointed"). Her sewing machine makes buttonholes backwards like mine does, and she gave some excellent advice on keeping buttonholes straight on such a set up (I smacked my was so obvious...). The final class was Pants Tweaking; I wore my modified Daphne pants and Cynthia tweaked them. I wondered why I had a diagonal fold behind my knees...turns out the crotch depth was about 1/2" too long and, um, I have a flat butt (That was news to me; I used to always add length...). She pinned out the extra and the class oohed and ahhed behind me, so I'm guessing it was a great improvement. She said the diagonal folds went away; there were no mirrors, so I'll take her word for it. Miss A measured the adjustments for me before I took the pins out, so I have some real adjustments to make to an actual pattern...and it should fit Really Well once that's done. Oh, she also recommended that I stay away from tapered pants (and I had taken some of the taper out of those)... So anyway, between Peggy's jeans class and Cynthia's Pants class, I feel like my knowledge of pants fitting increased exponentially and I can't wait to pull out that Daphne pattern and see what happens... ;)


  1. expo is the place to be! Cynthia sounds wonderful. I wonder if there will be an expo near me?

    Great sketch. Thanks for including it.

  2. 'Ailina, Cynthia's in Louisiana! Check out her

    I expect the closest Expo to you would be Atlanta...would that be within a days' drive?