As I mentioned last week my project, The Fair Fit Pattern, has grown and evolved into a full fledged method for learning how to create custom clothing. Now it is a method, and the Fair Fit Method will be taught as a year long curriculum with courses where you will build customized tops, skirts, and dresses. The pattern and set of blocks that you will learn to use will allow you to create a diverse wardrobe of interesting and special garments based on classic looks that are the building blocks of any closet.
In each course in the program, you will make 2 garments to learn and practice fashion design concepts specific to my method. Each course and project builds on itself, introducing new proportion, fit, pattern, and sewing principles and techniques that incrementally advance you with each project and prepare you for the next course. The projects are planned so that as you create a garment, you learn a new skill set with each one, and each garment helps you advance to the next.
You are learning a process of design, in fact every course in the Fair Fit Method follows this specific plan:
In each course, you get to decide how you will use the pattern by selecting the set of blocks that will get you your desired final result. These blocks become even more interchangeable as more sets are added throughout the program. Blocks used in the first course, Learn and Make the Fair Fit Skirt, can be added to your design when you start your second course, Learn and Make the Fair Fit Dress.
Later in the year if you stay for the entire curriculum, you will have the option of adding courses that will teach you sleeves, different necklines and draping options, and blocks that change the lengths and proportions of certain parts of the garment. All of the blocks work together as a complete set, are already drafted and graded to easily add them to your design, and towards the end of the program you will also get to learn some pattern drafting to change them up and make them adapt to current trends.
In every course make 2 garments- one for learning fit and proportion and the other to finalize your sewing and design. We don’t want any of your work to go to waste, so your “muslin” in the Fair Fit Method uses the raw finish sewing method so when its done it’s still a wearable dress!
In garment 2 of each course, that's when you have the opportunity to apply the pattern and draping alterations you learned in the first garment, while experimenting with your sewing methods and applying changes in the style of your garment that you learned in the first one.
After you get the fit, you decide your sewing. This course teaches methods and sewing plans that are not found anywhere else and Fair Fit Garments are sewn very differently from your more traditional patterns and projects. You can do a completely clean finish for your second sewn garment, or use one of the many custom sewing methods you will learn throughout the program. These methods, through their attempt and practice, will advance your material understanding and manipulation, while teaching you how to approach sewing creatively and artistically. In each course, you can choose from mixtures of clean and raw, serged and sewn, topstitched and pieced - the options of sewing in this program are diverse and truly exciting!
In this course, its REQUIRED that you have an adjustable dress form. I’m going to teach you how to build and pad it to your body and measurements- a valuable skill for all of your sewing projects. All of your Fair Fit projects will be draped, so by the end of this program, you are going to have a greater understanding of how designers think through their projects, adding and editing as they go, and learning to develop a fluidity that you can’t get with cut and sew patterns.
The draping portion is also going to teach you a lot about fit for your body. You will learn principles and practices, but more importantly the problem solving skills and confidence to fit for yourself. One of my favorite parts about teaching the Fair Fit Method is seeing the lightbulbs turn on as a student learns that fit is often over thought- and that you can tackle it swiftly and effectively and have fun while doing it.
After draping, you will learn how to customize your pattern so that future garments that you sew will incorporate all of the fit lessons you learned during the first dress that you make. That’s why we do two dresses, so that if you move on to a less flexible method of sewing like clean finish, the adjustments are known and made so you can make your dresses more quickly.
A Second Garment
While making your second garment you get to design further, applying what you have learned in the first garment and taking your second garment to new areas of exploration. This is where you can change the kind of fabric you are using, play with pattern and print, repurposing, or use interesting methods of topstitching and sewn lines. As we progress throughout the year, you will learn a new method of sewing each time to create an arsenal of skills.
What are you making?
The program starts with the first course, Learn and Make the Fair Fit Skirt. In this course you will learn proportion, fit, and design for the lower half of your body. We will learn basic draping methods, how to use your mannequin to fit your hips and butt and set up your personalized waist to hip ratio (critical for skirts). You will also learn several sewing methods to customize the look of any skirt you make. With this set of blocks, you have the option to make a pencil, a-line, or pleated skirt all in one pattern. Later in the program, we will introduce more custom skirt options too!
Learn and Make the Fair Fit Skirt is the prerequisite to Learn and Make the Fair Fit Dress. You MUST TAKE this course first in order to participate in the dress course. The sewing, fit, and draping methods build on each other, so its impossible to make the dress without knowing how to make the skirt.
In the course Learn and Make the Fair Fit Dress, you will learn more advanced draping for the top of the body, how to use your mannequin to fit the bust, back, and shoulders, pattern alterations and adjustments, and special lessons in understanding patterns, grading, and fit, as well as custom design plans to personalize the clothing you make by learning processes to identify your own perspective in design. This course will advance your draping, material handling skills, as well as your sewing skillset.
Later in the the program if you choose the option to enjoy the entire curriculum, there are several classes that focus on a specific topic. These classes will be shorter labs that will teach you innovative repurposing, creating custom sleeves, and pattern grading principles. I will have these up on the curriculum page later in November.
In this program, you are learning the skills used by designers as they develop clothing lines and collections. As you customize your clothing made from the blocks, you will start developing problem solving and conceptual skills that push your learning edge beyond standard cut and sew projects.
Having the skills and knowing ways that clothing is designed on a professional level and problem solving your own fit issues by learning the critical thinking skills to approach it playfully, will give you far more freedom in your sewing while building your confidence. I believe having the confidence to make your own decisions, sew things your way, and fit them yourself is truly how you grow in your passion for sewing.
With the Fair Fit Method, you will enter into an intensive study to change and advance your approach to sewing. Can you imagine, knowing more about how to fit for your own body as well as other people, how to customize a pattern fluidly by applying draping skills, and also creating numerous creative garments that reflect your own creativity and perspective in design?
By participating in the program and courses, you will no longer be dependent strictly on the designs offered by the commercial pattern lines, and you will be able to analyze the look you want to make and know the steps to accomplish it. For those of you eager to learn sewing and design in a new way, I know from my years of teaching that giving students a process and a plan with working timeline is the most effective way to learn and grow quickly. You are going to learn so much!
On Thursday, I will outline the curriculum course by course. Make sure you are on my email list so you don't miss a beat.
Photography by Carolynn Amy Siebert and Lily Brooks and the other named photographers from the article. All Images ©Andrea Eastin Fair Fit TM and are used exclusively for fairfitstudio.com. Never use or post images without my written permission.