Wednesday, August 8, 2012

More Fitting with Kenneth King.

A few women were envious that I have access to these fit clinics with Kenneth King. Well readers, he's making a fitting dvd for Threads magazine based on the series of articles he wrote awhile back on his fitting method.  Of course it won't be as good as actually having him adjust your muslin, but it should be useful as well as entertaining.

Eight women participated in the latest fit clinic with Kenneth King.  A couple had taken his moulage class and wanted to fit the blouse/dress sloper. Two women hadn't actually sewn up a muslin for the class. I guess they didn't read the preparation   instructions for the clinic.  One woman had brought the blouse she made up from her muslin from the last fit clinic. Unfortunately, she thought that she could just make it up without another muslin. Really not a good idea.  I was at that clinic and remembered how many changes KK made to her muslin.  She is a small woman and she was just swamped by the Lynn Mizono pattern for Vogue that she'd chosen.  He made it look much better than the original had looked on her but it still looked like the original.  I know that Vogue uses their own slopers for cutting designer patterns and the fit often ends up very different than the original shown.  Patterns tend to have a lot more ease than rtw and this style did not need more style ease!  
Only one woman had really extensive changes to make. She had a princess seam jacket that didn't meet at cf. Nothing daunts Kenneth and she ended up with a really well fitting muslin.  
The next two women brought muslins from Vogue patterns as well. One was a designer pattern and the other, shown here was an Easy Vogue, not my favorites.  They take too many shortcuts to get to the finished piece just to make it 'easy', often making it harder impossible for the sewer to get a professional fit and finish.  The pattern was the right size, but it was too boxy and had too much ease for her slender frame, something that is all too common in the big four pattern companies.   Patterns  are graded to fit a wide variety of bodies and sizes but smaller sizes need less ease than larger bodies which isn't taken into account by the pattern companies. From all the questions I've seen on Pattern Review about what the 'best' pants, dress, skirt pattern for their body type, a lot of women expect a pattern to fit  without having to make adjustments. This is, for most women an unrealistic expectation.    Fran brought this Vogue sheath dress because she thought that it would be a good tnt pattern; something she could make up in lots of different ways, a really good choice for her.  She's a slender woman with a good figure but this  didn't do her justice.  

He started at her shoulder, then started fitting her back.

KK  tucked the shoulder to bring up the dropped shoulder. She doesn't have narrow shoulders, but it was still too wide and there was  too much fabric.  He took in the back and front to slim the fit, blending in before he got to the hip, which fit well.  He then took in the front, above the bust. Simple adjustments that anyone can do. Just look in the mirror.  Well, more than that really.  We need to learn to  look at ourselves honestly and see what is really there, not what we wish was there.  During my marathon pants fitting journey I was constantly looking at how pants fit women I saw out in public. I thought about what was wrong with the fit and why.   Starbucks is a good place for this.  You sit, drink your coffee and you can see the rear ends of all the women on line for coffee. At least at the one I frequent.

Another woman, also slender, had this  Vogue pattern where the sleeve style, also a dropped shoulder, just had too much fabric for her. She even left off the lower sleeve which rolled and buttoned onto the upper sleeve.  Here King restyled the sleeve with a box pleat at the hem  for a more flattering look.  He also made some fitting open ended tucks  in the front to give the pattern more shape and match the open pleats used at the neckline. Sorry I don't have pictures of this. But, the point is that no pattern in sacred, no matter who the designer is.  KK doesn't just tweek fit, he makes judgement calls on style changes so that we ended up with flattering garments, the holy grail of sewing after all.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Another Fit Clinic with the Master

Recently I took another fit clinic with Kenneth King at Sew Right Sewing Machines in Bayside, Queens.  This is not a class on fitting, but a place to take your muslin and have Kenneth adjust your fit.  He transfers the changes to the pattern for you, explaining what he's doing  all liberally sprinkled with entertaining stories and useful tidbits.  He's just fun.  There were 3 women who had also attended the last clinic.  You do learn just by watching what he does but it is not a place where we fit under his guidance.

What did I have fit?  Jeans.  Yeah I still want to make my own.  I decided to go back and retrace the original Hot Patterns Dressy Jeans.  They were so over fitted by the time I threw in the towel  that  starting over seemed a good choice.  I made up two muslins and took the second one with me.  I was OK with the back but the front crotch was giving me  fits again.  He took a look at my back first and was kind of puzzled as to what I wanted. His comment was that jeans will buckle at the knee like this.  Then  I turned around and showed him the buckling and extra fabric there (this is not that easy to see in this photo, but trust me, there is too much fabric at the front crotch).  He turned back around, reached under my crotch and took a tuck.  The excess fabric in front had disappeared.  that's it.  I also had him place my back pockets.  I sewed up another muslin with the change and hopefully then I'll be able to make my own jeans.  Sewing up jeans is fun and  easy, it's just the fitting that's been a bitch.  I think that a lot of the issues I had where really of my own making.  Jeans just can't be perfect in back, especially on a woman with an ass as flat as mine!  But, I  think I can get a flattering pair, well I hope so.  
This is the muslin I took to KK.

This is the second pair after his alteration.  It's a lighter, stretchier fabric and it really needs to be a little looser I think.  I will not be wearing tucked in tops, so the narrow leg should be ok.  I know that if I try to get out the wrinkles in back I will end up over fitting again and not be able to sit down without having the center waist sit  too low to be comfortable or pretty.  The only other thing that I can do is make the pant a little wider in back, from above the knee down and see if they fall a little better.  Looking at them in photos, maybe I really need to make a slightly wider leg to begin with.  Hmm.  Maybe I'm not there just yet.  Note to self,  perfection is often an illusive object in fitting pants, especially jeans. Don't overdo it!

Now would someone tell me why some jeans sell for over $200? That doesn't even include the big fashion names whose jeans sell for over four or five hundred dollars.  Is the fabric that much better?  Is it the name?  Is the fit that much better?  I don't know. 

More fitting next time.