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Class Reviews > Pants Pattern Drafting

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Posted by: SillyValley

About SillyValley star
Member since: 10/2/05
Reviews: 52 (classes: 3)
Skill level:Advanced Beginner
Favored by: 10 people
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Posted on: 9/26/07 8:21 PM
Rating: star
Review Rating: Helpful by 1 people   Very Helpful by 7 people   
Web site/URL: photo
After certain folks actually read this review they decided that I wasn't in trouble for writing it and that everything I put in here is accurate. Yay!

Where was the class located?
The class took place at The Sewing Workshop in San Francisco. It is about a 75 minute drive from my home during rush hour. Parking was on street only.

When did classes take place?
4 consecutive Tuesdays from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Class was scheduled to end at 9:30 PM but ran late because it was a full class and the instructor took time with each individual student on each evening.

How much did the class cost?

Was there a materials fee?
Yes. $5 cash for a photocopied handout. The materials were awful. The copy quality was fine but the materials were disorganized and difficult to use. Everyone disliked the handout. Also I got an email from The Sewing Workshop at 4:00 PM the day before the class started. The email indicated that I would need a pencil, an eraser, tape, paper, and rulers. That's all the email said. Well my personal suggestion is to have a good mechanical pencil and some colored pencils (with a sharpener), a good eraser because you'll need it, PATTERN paper - I'd say at least 6 yards, not a notepad, a hip curve, and a couple french curves. You can borrow them during class but we had homework between the 2nd and 3rd and 4th classes and I wish I had purchased rulers so I could work on my draft during that time.

Who was the instructor?
Lynda Maynard

Describe the class
The class was described as the ultimate place to build a pattern using my personal measurements so of course I signed up. I was really excited.

The email about supplies threw me off because it was so last minute. I signed up before the class started. That information would have been a lot more useful about 3 weeks earlier than the day before class. Also I found "paper and rulers" to be a little more than vague. I wasn't the only one, so I didn't feel too bad about that.

The class format is like this: Week 1 is where you take measurements and plot out the front of your pants. Week 2 is plotting out the rest of the front of the pants and then the back. Then you go home and make a muslin. Week 3 is when the instructor fits the muslin to your actual body and instructs where the pattern should be changed. Week 4 is a final fitting.

Week 1 started off with us breaking up into 4 groups of 3. We got down to our underwear and measured waist, high hip, hip, thigh, knee, calf, ankle, inseam, outseam, and the distance between each measurement (example: 2 1/2 inches between waist and high hip). One person got measured while another took measurements and a third person recorded them. You can imagine all the confusion. Some people think their high hip is their hip and that their thigh circumference is just above the knee, not at the widest point. Many measurements were wrong and the instructor had to redo them. I wish she had just done a demo on how to measure and then just measured us herself. It would have saved about 2 hours. Then we spent the rest of the night dividing each measurement by 4 and adding ease and a bit more or less depending whether the measurement is used for the front or back part of the pattern. Example: waist 24" plus 1" wearing ease = 25" then divide by 4 = 6 1/4 plus add 1/4 for the back and subtract 1/4 for the front. And the instructor said she doesn't work in 1/4's so we were instructed to round up or down. Well 1/4" is a lot when you multiply by 4 so you can guess just how far off some of these measurements got. No one checked the math and not everyone had a calculator so it got more than a little nuts. Let me tell ya folks, once those measurements are off, your whole pattern is WRONG WRONG WRONG. We started our draft that night and it was all shades of confusing. No one knew whether we were working on the front or the back and plotting the lines was hard to understand.

Week 2: We drafted some more which meant we finished the front (yeah we were supposed to be working on the front in Week 1) and started and finished the back pattern piece. By the way, this pattern has no pockets, fly, waistband, or anything else. It's just a front and a back. Plotting the back meant we had to flip the paper over and draw on the other side which had us sort of tracing the front only backwards but we had to increase the seams because we're bigger in the back than in the front. (We didn't draft the back from scratch, we drafted it based upon the front piece.) More confusion because you can see the lines on both sides. I ended up tracing mine with a sharpie so I could make it out.

One confusing thing is that for me and 2 other students, our thigh measurement fell outside the formula for the draft. I have a small waist and fairly slim hips but my thighs are a little large in comparison. That's why I was there. Lynda looked at the point of my thigh plot which fell a few inches outside where the formula tells me it can be. She said "I don't know how this is going to work." And I felt a little upset. I mean, there I was, wearing pants but my body doesn't fit into the formula to draw pants off of the measurements of my own body? Little strange. So Lynda went back and remeasured me and checked all my plots. It took her about 15 minutes. And she came up with the same point as I did. So she drew the crotch curve by hand. I'll tell you that drawing by hand is certainly outside the scope of the class. I found out later that it happened to 2 other students in the class. One of them is in my regular Monday night creative sewing class.

Anyway after Week 2 I got home and the next day I traced the pattern on to muslin and cut it out. Before stitching it together I compared it to some pants that fit OK but I don't like the fabric. The crotch on the draft was over 2 inches deeper than the one on my pants. Well 2x2 means I have room for adult diapers in that muslin. Also the waist was 2 inches too high (because the "formula" says the waist is the narrowest point on the torso, not where you wear your pants - my waist is really high on my body so normally I wear my pants at my belly button - but Linda measured me at my narrowest point). The waist and hip fit me like a glove but the crotch and thighs were all wrong. Reeeeeaaaaly big.

So you know what I did? I traced those pants that fit but have fabric that I hate. And you know what? It's the best crotch ever. I know that sounds funny. But in sewing pants it's all about a nice crotch, no pulling or gathering or bagging.

Week 3 was the fitting. I didn't even bother going. The rest of my creative sewing class friends, 4 of them, went and said their muslins were just as awful as mine but the fitting got that all sorted out. They were happy.

Bottom Line
I'm not even going into Week 4 because I think I can convey the message now: After taking this class my advice to get great fitting pants is to make a muslin of a pattern after doing a flat measurement and cut out the best size for you or trace pants that fit pretty well. Use 1" seam allowances. Staystitch the waist and if you can, serge the edges. Sew the crotch and front and back seams (don't forget to leave an opening). Sew the rest of the seams with a long machine stitch. Take 'em to the alterations shop and have them marked. Take them home and alter. There you go - a pant muslin that fits for probably less than $25 including a pattern, muslin, thread, the alterations, and gas to drive there and back.

I probably sound pretty bitter in this review. I'm not. I liked Lynda a lot. She's got a wicked sense of humor and her energy was good and she really seemed to care that the pattern was drafted properly. And I would take other classes from her. But the materials are a different story. I think that drafting pants from a formula only works if you have a body that fits within the formula. A pant drafting class probably attracts people whose bodies DONT fit into a formula.

Taking classes at The Sewing Workshop:
Get there as early as you can if you are driving. It's in a residential area and parking is awful. Otherwise take the bus or a taxi from your hotel. 4 hours is a long time so bring something to nibble on. Some of the tables were low. If you have back issues you'll want to camp out at a taller table for any cutting or drafting work. There is a restroom. It is very small so if you have mobility issues it would be difficult to use. They have hot water for tea and cold water to drink and plenty of mugs and glasses. There is also a microwave and sink that students can use for light food prep.

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tover05 said... (12/29/13 5:36 PM) Reply
I appreciate your candid review.
bella tutu said... (10/30/08 11:11 PM) Reply
This was a great review!!! Bravo to you for being so honest. I teach sewing, so I really am looking for this kind of feedback so I don't do what other teachers do!
SillyValley said... (2/22/08 12:50 PM) Reply
Well not so bitter. Just really thought all that money and time for such lousy materials - and the class was completely based on the materials - was lame. Didn't leave with a good fitting pair of pants. I use Burda 8188 as my holy grail pants pattern these days.
fronno said... (2/21/08 6:40 PM) Reply
Hmm, I can imagine that you are bitter, I would be it as well, but there is one sunny side at it. You have got a basic pattern now of a pair of trousers which are fitting good. (when I understood it correctly. With this basic pattern (he one which you altered yourself to a fitting one) you can design all kind of trousers yourself. As long as you keep the basic pattern indeed as the base for your designs.
SillyValley said... (10/3/07 3:29 AM) Reply
My review is not any kind of insult to Lynda. I think I was pretty clear when I said I'd totally take other classes from her. TThe point is that the great muslins everyone gets from this class seems to be from her fittings, not from the formulas. And no one can predict whether her measuring partners will be any good until it's a bit too late. Lynda remeasured most of us during the first and second classes.
kaaren said... (10/2/07 9:08 PM) Reply
I have taken several of Lynda's classes. She is a generous thorough teacher. And will stay until every last question is answered. I do not know the situation, however, I received my pant drafting list of materials nearly 6 weeks before the scheduled class. I am taking the class at a community college and Lynda sent the written materials herself including an email for questions. Are you sure that the late email you received wasn't from The Sewing Workshop? Lynda just doesn't use an email list! I agree that the directions could be better written, but they are not meant to be a text, just a guide for her in class directions. She made it clear that nobody should expect a perfect draft on the first trial. After the first muslin, it is all dependent upon fit. And Lynda is phenomenal at fit, but you need to have good measuring partners to start with a good sloper. Kaaren
SillyValley said... (9/28/07 3:27 AM) Reply
Lynda is great. The materials were not great. I would totally take another class with her, just not that one. Honestly though I think a lot of people walked away with good muslins and were happy. It's just that the muslins were good from all the fittings, not the formulas.
Tailypo said... (9/28/07 1:47 AM) Reply
Wow, that's nuts! I see Lynda Maynard's name all over the place -- Sewing Workshop, Apparel Arts, Canada College -- I just assumed she would offer a great class. Thanks so much for explaining your problems with a very frustrating-sounding class!
ktsews2 said... (9/27/07 2:34 PM) Reply
Sorry to hear of your experience. You might try taking Shannon Gifford's Class on "Pants Muslin"given on PR. It was really excellent and much less expensive and you don't have to drive.
Annie- oh said... (9/27/07 10:46 AM) Reply
What a thorough review! And your advice for pants fitting? Priceless - 5 stars.
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