Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Classes: Expo '08

I only took 4 classes this time, although one of them was 2 1/2 hours long and counted as three sessions. Two of the classes were w/Cynthia Guffey, one was with Louise Cutting and the other was with Peggy Sagers. I love all those ladies...and while I know there are other excellent instructors at the Expo, they are on my 'must have' list and, since I was somewhat limited in the number of classes I could take this year, I just made sure I had classes w/all of them.

I began w/Louise's class, 'Cutting Line Designs'. Louise talks every year about new ideas she's spotted in high-end and designer RTW, and this year was no different. Neat ideas for wrinkle-resistant travel fabrics, edge finishing on sheers, neckline shapes. She also talked a little about sleeve fitting and gave a great way to know how large a sleeve should be: with the arm bent at the elbow, place your opposite hand vertically on the upper arm and have someone else measure around both your arm and your hand. This will give you the minimum measurement the upper sleeve should be, including wearing ease. That was a lightbulb moment for me...and hit home later. She had more tips on garment construction and fit...it was an *excellent* class, and Louise, as always, was thoroughly entertaining as she imparted her wisdom.

The next class was one I'd been looking forward to...Cynthia Guffey on Sleeve fitting. We began with Cynthia's standard lesson on Back Curve/Shoulder Slope and went on to sleeve cap/biceps. I had a shirt muslin with me that I'd made for her top fitting class a couple of years ago but didn't get used because there were so many others there w/muslins she just didn't get to mine. So I toted it back and she used it for the class example. She verified what I thought: I have square shoulders and need to make corresponding adjustments. But the big deal with that blouse is that the sleeve was too small (I will confess to gaining a couple of pounds since I made it). She emphasized a couple of times that if the sleeve and bicep were both measured ahead of time, most of that could have been fixed before making the muslin. Then (with my permission) she took a pair of scissors and slashed the sleeve (there was an audible gasp in the class, but it was made to be whacked). The slashed edge spread two whole inches when I bent my arm. So I will definitely try adding some space to that sleeve and see if it works.

But, I felt a little chagrined, because I *had* measured my arm...hanging straight down at my side. Why it didn't occur to me that I needed to bend my arm (sort of like measuring your hips when you're sitting down) I have no idea. Louise's lightbulb came on again...so I'll be doing a little remeasuring.

Cynthia's Tricky Gizmo sewing class was really good, too...several handsewing tricks for 1) securing thread invisibly 2) precisely placing snaps, hooks and eyes and buttons, 3) making perfectly neat thread eyes and button loops and, as a bonus, sewing a hand rolled hem. It was really validating, because some of the things she demonstrated I already had figured out on my own. But I learned some new things just the same (and I'm going to keep practicing that rolled hem until I get good at it. Rolling edges of silk scarves would be a great work-while-you-wait or watch TV project)

Finally, on Saturday I had Peggy's classes on Designer Finishes. She had a boatload of Designer and high end RTW that she brought in to show us, basically, how simply many pricey designer garments were sewn. Rolled edges, raw edges, simple shapes, deliberately crooked or irregular topstitching...all things the designers get away with because they have a Name and they're using fabulous fabrics. Peggy's point was that if the designers can do it, so can we...and we should just get over the 'home ec perfection' that was required back in the day and be free to break the rules and just sew.

One of the things she had was a lined denim jacket. Now, it wasn't a blazer style; just a plain ol' western jeans jacket. And it was lined. Now, I'd sort of figured that a lined jeans jacket would be a dead giveaway that it was homemade; who lines jeans jackets? But this one was lined with a cotton print (rather rumply on the lining at that), so now I feel free to line my eyelet jacket when I get around to it.

Now I'm all inspired! And it's back to the jammies...


  1. Hi Lisa.I looked for you too.Next time we have to set up a meeting spot near Vogue Fabrics since I know we both hunted there*LOL*.I'm looking forward to seeing your version of the Cutting Lines shirt pattern.

  2. Hey Lisa....I just wanted to let you know I try to read your blog every day...but since I have NO clue about most of the things you're talking about with the material and sewing stuff...I don't comment. But...I DO read! So...I'm here. I wish I could comment on what you're talking about...but honestly...I can't sew a button on and it look good. You'll have to teach me to sew!! :) have a great day! It was good to see you last night!!