|After two years of unsatisfactory do-it-yourself fitting attempts using every book I could find--Betzina, Vogue Fit, Palmer Pletsch, Nancy Zieman--I signed up for this workshop. My fantasy was that four days of professional tutoring would leave me able to alter ANY pattern using ANY fabric and achieve a perfect fit. (Not just OK, not merely good, but PERFECT).
That was unrealistic, of course. But wow, have my skills improved. This workshop was worth every penny. I flew to Portland, OR from Atlanta, and airfare, hotel, meals and class fees came to about $2000.
I was a skeptic from the get-go about the tissue-fitting method. Paper doesn't drape the way fabric does, so the concept didn't make sense. Now it does. Tissue fitting is a time-saving way to gauge where alterations need to be made and to what extent. Example: I'd been doing a 3/4" FBA; I need more like 1.5". I thought my back was narrow; turns out I have broad shoulders and a narrow rib cage. I'd been overdoing the forward thrust shoulder adjustment, which skewed the fit both front and back. And I was shortening waist length when I actually need to lengthen it by 1/2".
I came home, sewed up a blouse using the techniques I'd learned, and deflated instantly. The outcome was better than before, but not enough better.
No way was I going to give up at that point. I turned to a book my DH gave me just before I left for the workshop called "Fitting and Pattern Alteration" by Elizabeth Liechty and Judith Rasband. That's when things started to gel. The principles I learned in the workshop made even more sense in light of another professional's explanations (why is that?) and I started to see how to accomplish the fit I want using a variety of techniques.
This morning I turned out the best-fitting knit top I've ever owned. The shoulders, back, armscye, bust and waist fit beautifully. I used the Liechty/Rasband seam method of alteration for shoulder, armscye and sway back changes and the slash-and-spread method (Palmer Pletsch's preferred approach) for the FBA.
Now, of course, there's a nagging voice in my head that says, "What if you can't do it again? Maybe you were just lucky this time." I'm pushing that demon aside and cutting out another top today.
Back to the workshop. Marta Alto and Pati Palmer are the most service-oriented, gracious instructors I've ever had the pleasure to meet. They go above and beyond to make sure everyone in the class gets what they need. Their hospitality is amazing, too: Marta and Pati love their work and their city and spared no effort to show us the best of both. (BTW, I opted for the fabric shopping day following the workshop, and it was well worth it.) Next to my Singer, Pfaff and BabyLock machines, I'd say the Palmer Pletsch workshop is the best sewing investment I've made.