So I will start with that- The Awesome thing about the sewing workshop is how inspired I feel. I am already looking at my calendar to select a workshop in 2010.
- New York City! I really wanted more orientation to the garment district. Visiting the garment district was one of my New Year's Resolutions in 2007, but life got in the way. I finally made it there. It was fanastic to run out and pick up any notion, fabric or tool you might need. And did I mention? Yes, I will say it again- the prices are lower in NYC.
- Two, count 'em, two masters of tailoring and couture. Both are fantastic teachers and they bring different points of view to problem solving. What a treat!
- The other classmates. You could come to class and spend the entire session watching demos by Kenneth and Susan, watching other people work and observing the guidance coming from Kenneth and Susan as classmates tackled their respective challenges. One young woman was sewing her own designs and they were incredible. Many of the participants are teachers themselves. Many have college-level coursework under their belts. All were experienced and skilled. There was a strong vibe of the zen of sewing; that sense of enjoying the process. The companionship aspect of the workshop was quite enjoyable.
- We were in a sewing lounge space that sells sewing machines, notions, their own line of patterns and sewing classes. The owner was a fun young man who took wonderful care of us.
- Being in NYC, it is easy to find a wide fresh, healthy & yummy food. I never spent more than $10 for a fast meal. Lots of walking meant I didn't miss my beloved gym classes.
- I could go on ... but you get the picture!
- New York City! Space is at a premium. There were 4 good sized work tables for a class of ~12. When I had to wait for space to free up, I just watched Susan or Kenneth and I was learning non-stop.
- More than once, I had carved out some workspace but walked away to find a notion or ask a question. When I came back my stuff was moved and I had to find new space. I wasn't the only one who experienced this frustration and we had it worked out pretty well by the end of the workshop.
- The sewing machines were low-end, but that didn't bother me too much knowing I would be doing a lot of hand work.
- Hotels in New York are pricey. I mitigated that expense by using priceline to get a good deal located about a half mile from the sewing studio. That meant no quick dash to the hotel to change my outfit and freshen makeup before the Friday night dinner with other bloggers. But cabs were plentiful and I always took a cab in the evening when I was too tired for the walk.
- Differing approaches between the teachers. Early on, I decided to follow Kenneth's method because he transfers his fitting adjustments back to the paper pattern and works with the paper pattern throughout the process. Susan's method is to transfer fitting adjustments to the muslin fabric and use that as the pattern. Why would I care, you may wonder? Well, I was using a pattern from BWOF and I wanted to come home and analyze my final Kenneth-fitted pattern to learn where my body differs from the BWOF block. I have that now and I WILL make use of that information! Yes, I realize I could have accomplished the same thing by comparing the final fabric muslin- but anyway, they do follow different methods to get to where they are going and this is a good thing- it was fun to watch and see the differences.
OK, here is where I hit my wall *LOL*. I did hit a wall on the 2nd or 3rd day, it's all a blur now:). And I did, yes I did, retreat to the Ladies Room for a good cry. Then I put on my Big Girl Panties and got back in the game.
What happened: By following Kenneth's path, I wound up spending a lot more time making paper adjustments early on. My original pattern was on a very sheer, but delicate paper I got in an art supply store. He had me re-trace all of my pattern pieces on the sturdier paper. He also had me leave some extra paper around the edges so I was not cutting the pattern on the stitching line (my usual method). I had a plaid to match and I was OK with all of the bodice pieces, but when I got to the sleeve, I had a grainline and a horizontal line at the base of the armscye, but I did not have notches on the sleeve pattern. They weren't there on the original pattern piece (I swear I could not find them on the BWOF pattern when I first traced it, but I could be wrong). So I didn't have any landmarks to use for pattern matching on the front of the bodice. I tried to go back to the pattern and create my own notches, but I was stumped. I was tempted to go back and sew the muslin back together, just to mark matching notches, but first I wanted to get input from a teacher.
Also, working with solid colored paper, that was NOT cut on the stitching line was driving me bonkers. In my way of working, I rely on that transparent paper to line up the grainline, horizontal balance line and seeing the plaid.
Kenneth and Susan were both amazingly good at helping lots of people keep moving on their projects. Of course, you had to wait for one of them to be free to answer a question, but it was always interesting to watch them while waiting.
So, bear in mind, this part of my post is just a description of how I felt. My confidence was dropping fast, I started feeling stupid and over my head. When that happens, I don't get more assertive or bitchy, I turn into a wimp. My chin quivers. It's just how I am, what can I say? HaHa. This personality trait can be a drawback. For example, I would not run for political office, LOL.
I took a break, went out for bite to eat and ran into Marji on the sidewalk. She was so supportive :)
When I returned to the studio, Susan and Kenneth had worked together to place notches on the sleeves AND matched the plaids on each piece!
So here is where the story wraps up with a happy ending. I finally got to SIT and sew! I love hand-basting.
I came home with Kenneth's CD on How to Construct a Jacket, so I know I can finish this on my own.
Final score? A+
Today is just an extension of the workshop. I am stting and sewing all day, then back to work tomorrow.