Friday, August 13, 2010

Fitting Session Summary with lots of pics

The first thing Kenneth did was pin the front on the center front line.  I was puzzled at a little extra fabric in the upper chest area and wondered how he'd address that.
He went to work changing the slope of the shoulder seam.  It started as a straight line, but when he was finished, it had become a curved line that follows the way my shoulders slope down, then across.  He said that will give me a "graceful" fit and hey, graceful sounds good to me!


As you can see he checked both sides and I am pretty symmetrical there, so no need for separate front pieces.
In this Butterick pattern, I cut the neckline along the size 22 and I like it because then I don't need to make any adjustments for the height of my upper back /neck.  Kenneth fitted a coat to me last November 2009 at the Sit & Sew class I attended.  That was a Burda World of Fashion pattern; so a different style and a different draft.  In that case the shoulder line stayed straight, but it also had an open collar with lapels.  This points out something I noticed about both Susan and Kenneth.  They fit the garment as it "asks" to be fitted.  Each piece is unique and decisions are made in the moment to achieve the most pleasing result for that garment.  The purpose of my sessions with Susan and Kenneth have been for me to absorb how they think and how they approach fitting. 
Then Kenneth removed the sleeve entirely.  It had used the same sleeve (a 2 piece draft instead of the single piece sleeve that comes with this pattern) he fitted to me last November.  It just needed to be rotated a little bit to hang better.

We had brought our muslins and our patterns.  Kenneth set about making the adjustments to the pattern pieces.  This is where his method differs from Susan's methods.  She works from the fabric muslin, whereas Kenneth adjusts the paper pattern and proceeds to work from that.



It didn't matter that I had brought a pattern that included seam allowances; he quickly marked the stitching lines.  The muslin had the wearing ease of a light jacket.  But I really wanted a winter coat to wear over multiple layers and I didn't know how to proceed.  Should I just start over with a bigger size?  I didn't have time for another muslin, so I had to wait and see what Kenneth said. 

Easy peasy!  He drew a vertical line on the front piece and the back piece; from center of the shoulder seam to hem. He spread it by 3/8" (oh- and he used imperial measurement when speaking to me and he used metric with Sigrid!!).  This gives me an additional 1.5 inches of ease with out disturbing the shape of the side seams. 

He used very large white paper to make new pattern pieces for us.  He laid the existing pattern piece on top of the white paper and used a single-blade serrated tracing wheel to trace.  He did not use tracing paper (like the carbon paper type).  He just looked at the little holes /indentations to see the lines and he drew new stitching lines and markings.  I will be copying this technique!  This is like the method my mother used when she was young, to trace Burda patterns.  (Sigrid said she had done this when she was young, too).  Back the day, they laid out newspaper, then put the Burda pattern on that.  Use the serrated tracing wheel to trace from the Burda pattern to your copy.
Now here is the really luxurious part - he did all the work (at lightening speed!) while entertaining us with colorful anecdotes. He has MANY colorful anecdotes. (Sigrid took these photos and I took photos of her fitting.)
I like this photo because it shows the pretty dress Sigrid was wearing.  It looked like a nice cotton lawn lined with cotton batiste.  The temperature & humidity was not unbearable (low 90's maybe?) but definitely not the climate she lives in.  But she took it in stride, looking comfortable and polished all day.

I thought you might like to see the studio where Kenneth works.  It is very full, yes, but very organized and neat.  He had many extraordinarily exotic and complex creations to show us. 

So, here is the thing about Kenneth King.  We went to him for fittings, because I saw his excellent fitting skills when I was at the NYC Sit & Sew.   But, and you know this already, he is REALLY expert at many things.  Aside from all the sewing techniques, he can handle furs, leathers and embellishments galore.  It is really a little overwhelming (how has he managed to achieve such skills in such a broad range in a normal lifetime?)

Well, that's it for now.  I want to start my new coat NOW, but I need a bathing suit immediately, so nothing like a shift in focus!  Have a great weekend!!

21 comments:

  1. I am so envious. It is a dream of mine to have this done, especially since I'm only an hour away from NYC...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh I am definitely saving my pennies for a session with him! I love to see how people work. What are you going to use for making the coat?

    ReplyDelete
  3. How amazing to have access to all that skill - your coat will be so elegant when you do make it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am so envious! He is truly a master of our time. How lucky that you've been able to work with him!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very cool! KK is truly a master!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for sharing! Looks like so much fun.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for sharing those wonderful photos and stories. I remain totally jealous, but at the same time, am glad that some people are able to have such inspiring classes.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Robin, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. What a luxury to have KK fit you, but to be of a sewing level where you can absorb, understand and learn from KK is pure heaven in my books. You are one very lucky woman, but you know that. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think it is just so amazing that you have this level of expertise within reach! How very lucky you are.

    Your jacket will definitely be pure perfection!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow! What an amazing experience!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Fascinating post, thank you for sharing it with us.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is my idea of heaven. Can you send me details about his workshops. I'm hoping to get to New York next year, and would plan a trip around a workshop.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh! What an amazing post, thanks for the insight. I know I'll come back to this over and over.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow. Great post. I can only imagine how much fun this experience would be. Thankyou for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. It is so nice to read all of your comments! I am pinching myself, too! I know there must be talented tailors and dressmakers everywhere. For years I wished for an opportunity to be fitted by an expert and soak up how they work their magic. I hope that the growth in the hobby dressmaking and hobby tailoring world will help to flush out the talent in cities everywhere.
    If you would like to attend a workshop with Kenneth King or Susan Khalje- visit their websites for more information. I couldn't possibly speak for them to provide information (I am just a lucky student!)

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a fantastic opportunity! I would LOVE to do a few days with an expert!
    Found you on the slapdashsewist.
    I shall return!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Interesting post...and I am very jealous now!

    ReplyDelete
  18. How cool is is to have Kenneth King do your fitting! What a great opportunity and it's cool you benefited from his knowledge. Have fun sewing your coat!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. My comment must have disappeared in cyberspace. Thank you for your nice compliment on my dress. It was quite a downfall in temperature when I got home: below 70 fahrenheit and in the past days a lot of rain. Certainly weather to look forward to fall sewing.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm so jealous! Lucky you! Sounds like you learned a lot and can use it all in your garments.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting my blog and Happy Sewing, xo