|Once upon a time I decided to start sewing. Thinking that I could purchase a pattern based upon my measurements and then tweak it here and there to come up with a well-fitting pair of pants, imagine my chagrin when I found that the pants I sewed did not fit any better than the ones I purchased off the rack.
So then I found out about Palmer Pletsch patterns, and made a pair of elastic waistband pants that fit me pretty-kinda-okay, having followed their instructions… but I was not exactly sure why it was that they came out okay since the corrections (waistband, repinning the inner thigh) were made to the actual garment, so no markings were on the pattern. The next time I made a pair of pants, they came out just as badly as those I made before the P/P elastic pants. And I did not feel like A) wearing only elastic waistband pants for the rest of my life or B) just kinda guessing about why that pair of pants worked, or why others didn’t.
So then I started reading all sorts of books about fit, and fast fit, and perfect pants. I made various cardboard and tinfoil models of my crotch curve, much to my husband’s amusement, and I followed every pants fitting discussion on PR with great interest. And I tried to make a pair of Hot Patterns pants, and the crotch curve was a disaster, and I could not figure out why.
Then I remembered: I do not give a tinker’s damn about pants fitting theory. I do not care about how to fit a pants crotch or full thigh any more than I care about how to draft a sleeve. I want someone else who cares about those things to hand me a pattern that works for me. Then I want to toss my curls and skip away and sew up something cute.
Which led me to sign up for Joyce Murphy’s Pants Fitting Workshop (with assistance from Judy Barlup, who also wrote the instructions for Joyce Murphy’s pants pattern). First, let me say that Joyce and Judy worked their tails off, and I am in awe of how motivated they are and how hard they work to make sure everyone is getting the attention and information they need. The workshop includes one and a half days of instruction, plus a two hour fitting session during which you are used as a guinea pig for students in a longer course who are learning to fit patterns professionally. The students all write down the measurements as Joyce takes them, and together they discuss what they see and how Joyce will fit your pants. Then off you go while the students toil, and you return another day to try on a paper pattern that a student has drawn up for you under Joyce’s supervision. You look pretty and think about sandwiches while Joyce and the student confer as to what is and is not working, and they perfect your pattern.
You actually get to help out with the drafting by finishing the pocket and waistband pattern pieces, again under Joyce’s supervision. Then off you go, your perfect pattern in hand, confident in the knowledge that you will never buy another pants pattern! And that you must not gain or lose much more than a few pounds for the rest of your life, else risk returning to a world of ill-fitting pants.
As I have already implied, this workshop ran concurrent to another, longer class. This situation created all sorts of problems and I don’t think Joyce will be repeating the format. However, since most of the problems involved lengthy delays, and I utilized each delay by tricking other more experienced students, or Judy Barlup herself, to do things like draft me free bodice slopers, teach me to use a serger, and examine my failed Hot Patterns attempt, I am not complaining, no sir.
…and the lectures were really very edifying, and now I really do understand, to the extent to which I am interested and not a bit more, why my past pants attempts failed and why Joyce’s worked. The pattern I left with is terrific and $150 I spent on the workshop (as time is money, and patterns cost money, not to mention the cost of the fabric etc. that has gone into countless unwearable pants projects…) was totally worth it. Hooray for pants! Hooray for JSM!
ETA: This was not an online class, and I'm not sure how to make that banner under my review title go away.