2.09.2014

New Books, Suzy Furrer Pattern Making Classes, Plus A Craftsy Coupon

In my previous post I mentioned that I had purchased a couple of textbooks and was taking some online classes.No,  I'm not working on a degree or taking anything worth college credits (nursing school was enough for me, thanks). I'm just learning some practical skills that will help to improve my handmade garments.

First, I was very fortunate to find this textbook dramatically marked down a few weeks ago. It had been on my wish list for a long time and the Amazon price had been $95 for as long as I had been watching it. For some reason it dropped to just $59 for a few hours one day in December and I was able to grab a copy before the price went up again:


Fitting and Pattern Alteration by Liechty et al

Fitting and Pattern Alteration came highly recommended by several sewing bloggers as well as Sewing Pattern Review members and had been on my wish list for several years. Some consider this to be the best book on fitting and altering patterns (it is used as a textbook at many design schools) and I'm pleased to add it to my book shelf. I have skimmed this book and it is full of information. I think it's going to be a great resource for altering existing sewing patterns.



I'm even more excited about this book:


Building Patterns: The Architecture of Women's Clothing by Suzy Furrer

Building Patterns is used as a textbook in design schools and the author recently filmed a series of pattern making classes for Craftsy; two were released in December and another just this past month. My husband bought the first two for me as an early Christmas present and I grabbed the other as soon as it was available. I thought I'd recap and review them here for anyone interested in learning how to draft patterns or who might be wondering if the classes are worth the price (they are SO worth it!)

But first, some background: Suzy Furrer studied with couturier Simmon Sethna and went on to found the Apparel Arts school of fashion design. She bases her design on moulage: a skin tight fabric "mold" of the body. The moulage is then used to draft a sloper, which includes wearing ease and is the basis for pattern design.






Patternmaking Basics: The Skirt Sloper is the first (and probably the easiest) of the 2 basic drafting classes. It begins with measurement-taking, then Suzy shows how to use those measurements to draft, sew, and fit a skirt sloper muslin. After that, she covers several design options, including A line, flare, circle, pencil, and pleats. She also shows, step-by-step, how to draft waistbands, yokes, pockets, flounces, peplums, facings and linings, plus how to adjust the sloper for knit fabrics. She finishes up with information on production patterns for those who will be drafting for commercial production.

I have watched all of the lessons for this class but have not begun to draft my skirt sloper (I was more interested in doing the bodice moulage first). The instruction is very clear and concise.



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The next basic drafting class is Patternmaking Basics: The Bodice Sloper. In this class, Suzy again begins with measurements, then takes the viewer step-by-step through drafting the front and back bodice, sewing the moulage, and fine tuning the fit. After this, she shows how to add ease to create the slopers. She then discusses design options and demonstrates how to draft a bodice sloper for knits.

I have watched this class in its entirety as well and have worked through the first few lessons. I hit a snag with some of my numbers not adding up and contacted Suzy for help before my holiday sewing hiatus. By the time I was ready to get started again, Suzy had drafted a moulage based on my measurements and figured out what I was missing. I wasn't expecting such personalized help and this only further adds to my overall positive impression of this class. As in the previous class, Ms Furrer is very easy to understand and explains every step very clearly.






The next class in the series, Patternmaking & Design: Creative Darts & Seam Lines, builds on the material covered in The Bodice Sloper. In this class, Suzy Furrer covers dart manipulation and dart variations, plus princess, babydoll, empire, A-line, swing, and double breasted lines. I'm halfway through watching this class and am already able to look at ready-to-wear garments and see how the darts were manipulated to achieve the new design lines.

Ms Furrer has indicated that her next classes will cover necklines and drafting dresses (yay!). Several Craftsy members (myself included) have requested  that Craftsy add additional classes and the majority of requests have been for sleeves and pants. In the meantime, I have her book and plan on working through each of those lessons on my own.

The prices for these classes are higher than the other classes I've taken on Craftsy, but the depth of the material covered and the quality of instruction make it worth the cost to me. If I were to add up the cost of all the patterns that I've bought and fabric that I have wasted trying (unsuccessfully) to get a good fit on my own, I could have paid for these classes several times over. Besides, I have discovered that I love to draft-perhaps even more than I love to sew. When I consider the fact that I have a hobby that not only provides me hours of mental and creative stimulation, but also has the potential to produces a well-fitting wardrobe, I'd say that this is a bargain.

UPDATE:
The 4th installment in the Suzy Furrer pattern making series has been released on Craftsy. Click here to save 43% off the price of Pattern Making + Design: Creative Necklines. I don't know when this offer will expire, so grab it while you can!






5 comments:

  1. I really enjoy Suzy Furrer's classes on Craftsy, and I am considering buying the book, but as I have a few (basically useless) books on pattern drafting already, I was wondering if there are more necklines and skirt shapes in the book than in the class. I understand that she hasn't completed the full pattern drafting course cycle, and that she will offer more Craftsy classes in the future, but from what she has covered, do the classes cover everything in the book, or does it offer more?

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  2. Hi Stephanie,

    I compared the table of contents in the book to the video lesson lists on Craftsy and didn't see any obvious differences.

    However, the book does contain chapters on sleeves, collars, pockets, and pants. For some reason, the instructions in the book are easier for me to follow than in the other drafting books that I own. I suppose this is because I'm now familiar with Suzy's process and terminology.

    I have found the book useful in other ways, too. When I can't remember the industry standard for cross front or the length of the line drawn at a 45 degree angle at the front neck, it's much quicker for me to find the info I need in the book rather than scroll through the video. I like having both print and video for the same class; I learn better that way.

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  3. Hi, I took an old fashioned, pattern-making class years ago at a community college, but it sounds very "standard" like the description of this one. I sewed my own clothing a lot.I also copied simple patterns off simple clothing I already had, and I want to get good books on DESIGNING my own patterns, for my body, using those geometrical tools, and draping -design for a dress I invented for myself.I've become more inventive, and I just want a good pattern-drafting/designing book.That class did not do it. I read that Balenciaga designed clothing AROUND the clients' figures, not vice-versa like designers do now.. Sure, I need to learn technique. skills. But right now, I have fabric I want to DRAPE-design around my figure, and not be so "stiff."(I would love,for example, to learn how to make Indian saris.)What basic,good pattern-drafting book could I start with?( I don't want to buy tons of useless books either.)At my age,I have no patience for wasting time. THANKS!!--"OLD BOOMER IN OREGON," :)

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  4. Hi Anonymous!

    Thanks for your comment.

    Unfortunately, other than the books I referenced above, I don't have knowledge other drafting books.

    I'm still working on getting my moulage to fit perfectly. I'm getting close and can't wait to use my final sloper to draft the clothes I want to make.

    I too would love to learn to drape, but unfortunately do not have a dress form that matches my figure. I plan on eventually making a custom form, but for now am content with flat pattern making.

    There are a couple of draping classes on Craftsy that might interest you, or perhaps a search on Amazon for draping books would turn up something.

    I'm sorry I can't be of more help. I do hope you find some resources to get you started on your quest.

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  5. FIrst to Jennie - Thanks for the helpful info!

    Next to Old Boomer - There is a very nice book you could get for draping called "The Art of Fashion Draping" by Connie Amaden-Crawford . It is complete.

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