|I have had the privilege to spend a good part of the last week with Connie Crawford. Connie came to Supreme Novelty Fabrics on Fulton street in Chicago. The owner of the store is a mill rep, and is able to get current fabrics at very reasonable prices. All you have to do is show him a picture. I am excited to have discovered this store.
Connie spent many years in the fashion industry, taught for over twenty years at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and has her own line of patterns for Butterick geared towards the mature figure, for both plus and smaller sizes. She has written several textbooks. She is extremely warm and friendly, and full of anecdotes and stories.
The owners of the Supreme Novelty Fabrics store gave a cocktail party in Connieís honor, where she gave a predictive presentation on fashions for fall 2011. Professionals from the fashion industry were at this party, along with a few home sewers. There were also garments on display from her Butterick pattern line, sewn in fabrics from Supreme Novelty Fabrics.
I was signed up for her two classes, as well as private fitting sessions for a bodice and pants. The first class was on Friday evening for three hours on Drafting and Designing Pants with Couture Fit. Connie taught her pant draft that is in her college textbook Patternmaking Made Easy, by measuring and then hand-drafting a pattern for one person in the class, all the while explaining the logic of the draft and taking questions.
The second class was all day Saturday on Couture Fit Through Draping, Fitting & Pattern Making. Connie was eager to answer questions and explain how things are done in the industry, as opposed to what home sewers have been taught. The class was packed with information, demonstrations and class exercises about pattern making, draping, and industry sewing techniques.
Today I had my personal fitting with Connie for the pants and bodice. Connie hand-drafted the pant pattern using her pant draft, all the time explaining what she was doing and answering my questions. She took my measurements, drafted the pattern, cut out a test pant, sewed it up, fit the pant, and made a permanent pattern on oak tag for me to take home. I now have my very own pant pattern block, and it fits beautifully.
For the bodice fitting, she has test garments sewn up in every size (including different cup sizes) of her Butterick 5300 pattern, which I tried on for correct size. The only change she made to the pattern was to let out the hip at the side seam. Usually, I need to make major alterations to my patterns. Again, she made a permanent pattern for me on oak tag to take home.
I learned how blocks are developed and used for designing in the fashion industry, and how to use my own personal blocks either to design from, or to adapt commercial patterns. I learned many techniques for how to complete garments more professionally. Connie is truly a master teacher! I am so grateful to have had this opportunity! Iím off to sew up my bodice and pants blocks, and then to start designing! Beth