Are you finding yourself stuck on the one and two scissor patterns?
In the years I've taught students how to sew their own clothing, I find that some sewists feel they have to stick with the skill level that they know they can accomplish. When I'm asked what's the next step in their path to advance, or they have a set of challenges that need more technical skill, right away I put them on more difficult projects and patterns. This way they are supported through the challenge of working through a garment with steps never before attempted.
I still apply this method of learning in my personal practice, seeking out a sewing pattern or a method of sewing that I don't know how to do in order to round out my skillset. My friends who are professors and professionals in fashion have taken and tested the Fair Fit Method courses in order to try out new learning styles as well. I've also had students who have only sewn for 6 months take Learn and Make the Fair Fit Skirt, in order to grow them quickly and help them learn more advanced skills before a sewing fail gets the best of their confidence.
That's why sewing is such an awesome hobby, there's always something to learn! Do you want to bring more design to the garments you sew too? In my email newsletter, I send articles to teach you sewing practices to create clothing that is meaningful to you. Sign up to receive email lessons on garment design, the latest blog posts and video tutorials, and all the latest class announcements and promotions.
My husband likes to say, "Sewing is like taking a walk. As long as you take one step at a time, and focus on the path right in front of you, you will get where you intended at the end." And this is really true. No matter how advanced the project is, you will get somewhere, and you will be better for the effort invested.
In my personal practice of sewing, I worked to develop a confidence and fearlessness in the projects that I picked by intentionally choosing projects that I'm intimidated by. A good example of this is that show on Netflix called "Nailed it!" They get amature bakers to attempt highly advanced projects of professional bakers. Like folks who have only made cupcakes attempting high design wedding cakes.
I love this show because it shows the contestants what they are capable of, and introduces them to an advanced process. Even though they don't achieve the exact same result as the professional baker, they gain from the opportunity from attempting something never done before.
]I understand from a cursory look that the Fair Fit Method and the garments I am going to teach you how to make can appear intimidating. However, if you like the designs and the idea of trying something new, that should not be an excuse as to why you can't take the course. The videos in the course lead you through a step by step process to get you to the finish line.
The Fair Fit Method is a sewing skill builder. It incorporates proficiency in draping, muscle memory, material handling, and approaches sewing sculpturally while teaching advanced sewing techniques that build better coordination. I wanted to provide a type of curriculum to help sewists try more advanced skill projects, rounding out their skills, and giving you more ways to approach future garments after learning the methods.
In this post, lets take at 6 core skills to advance in sewing and design that I introduce in the courses. Hopefully the information and examples I present today will help you make a clear decision as to whether or not to participate and evaluate if you want to grow your skills and sewing ability in this unique way.
Learning fashion draping will develop visual and intuitive skills that will change how you approach the design of a garment. Draping is important to learn because unlike a cut and sew pattern, the fit, proportion, and style isn't set in stone- rather, you will have to evaluate what you are making visually as you drape and change it as you go.
With draping, you will go through a process of continuously evaluating your garment and deciding if you like the way it looks. When you don't like something, you will literally cut or move the fabric to make it work. This builds confidence - unlike a pattern where alteration involves changing a mathematical set structure, draping is much more visual where literally, you pinch, fold, tuck, cut, pin, and sew the garment the way you want.
I find that a lot of sewists used to cut and sew patterns experience a lot of freedom with draping to change the look of the garment. After learning the skill, they then use the same application to alter and customize cut and sew patterns, creating a win win and giving them new methods to enhance their wardrobe sewing and improve what they make for years to come.
Better Coordination and Muscle Memory
Find yourself fumbling when dealing with difficult fabrics? Do you struggle in challenging areas of the garment to get a great seam? Have you found yourself frequently frustrated with the results you are getting from your machine?
A lot of this has to do with the muscle memory of your hands and again, how much fabric you have forced into place. Because technically, fabric is a 2 dimensional plane that you are forcing into a 3 dimensional shape. That takes muscle, and like weight lifting, and takes practice and time to grow.
I believe that the amount of draping and shaping that I have practiced the last 7 years of working my method has built some strong muscles in my hands and arms that make it easy for me to achieve fine finishings much more easily. It wasn't certainly always this way, it took consistent practice.
The Fair Fit Method courses will introduce you to a new kind of practice because you are not working flat. Rather, you will shape the garment on the form, and use your hands and sewing to finalize the result. This helps to build better coordination, it might be odd at first, but working in different ways of sewing and shaping is a great way to improve your technique.
Problem Solving Skills
Don't laugh, but once in grad school, I asked a genius friend what he meant by critical thinking. It sounds naive, but honestly I wanted a specific definition to place exactly what they were talking about.
My definition of critical thinking is learning a process of questioning and evaluating a project and thinking through what you like, and what you would like to change or improve.
During the check fit portion of my courses, this is where you will learn how to evaluate your projects, learning to trust your instincts and follow a process to change. Over time, the more you practice problem solving, the likelihood that you make something you hate will change.
Recently, I sewed up a garment that I knew was kind of a risk for me, but I really wanted to try something outside my style wheelhouse. And yep, it would have been a total fail. But using the method of walking through the garment, and addressing the specific issues, I changed the fail into one of my new favorite pieces. I want you to have this experience too, and learn the proces to get there.
What do I mean by that? I have found from watching very experienced seamstresses that it's how they touch, hold, and manipulate the cloth with their hands that over time builds a refinement that only more advanced projects can give you.
I hope that by sharing the Fair Fit Method, that students will learn how to touch the cloth and develop a sensitivity with your hands to create the lines and finishings. The draping portion will give you the opportunity to really grow in your smoothing of the fabric, how you pin it, and set it up to sew. The more you hold the fabric under the machine to sew unconventional seams will train your hands for projects down the road that require you to smooth, shape, and sew as you go.
This skill is hard to put into words, but the more cloth you touch and the more variations you can learn to hold it in place to create fabric folds, seams, and finishings will make your other cut and sew projects feel like a breeze and give them a new sense of refinement when you return to your regular sewing.
Pattern Customization and Alteration
As I've stated in previous posts, I see pattern alteration as a set of suggested guidelines. There are some rules and principles, but if you can learn an intuitive approach to them, you won't have as much frustration in attempting them.
Pattern alterations can be tricky subject and an issue when you let your mind trick you into thinking you don't know how to do it. Because there are so many ways to do them, I really don't believe there are hard and fast "right ways" to do them. Instead, I share my approach to alts with problem solving methods to walk through the concepts, you will have a lot more confidence executing them on your own in your future wardrobe sewing projects.
Another intuitive skill, learning how to look at your garment, and walk through your results visually, will come with practice and projects allow you to continuously evaluate your progress while finalizing your garment.
Draping is a wonderful way to learn your specific body proportions, because unlike cut and sew patterns, you are dealing with your own actual lengths, circumferences, and specific body measurements. You are shaping the fabric directly to your size, shape, and learning how to space out the lines on the garment to suit your style and desired final result.
This essential skill is hard to see with flat patterns because you don't see proportions until you can get them on your body. But with the Fair Fit Method, visually evaluating and adapting your proportions happens in real time, so you can adjust as needed. What you learn with this pattern, applies to future garments, because you are being taught a way of evaluating that applies specifically to how you want your garment to look and feel.
If you are interested in taking courses in the Fair Fit Method, the next opportunity to enroll begins soon. You can visit https://www.fairfitmethod.com/ to learn more and read all about the program and full curriculum. If you want to know right away when enrollment opens again, sign up below and you will receive email updates, articles, and notifications when registration begins.
Photography by Carolynn Amy Siebert. All Images ©Andrea Eastin Fair Fit TM and are used exclusively for fairfitstudio.com. Never use or post images or my writing without my written permission.