When I first found myself interested in the idea of constructing my own garments, I faced a challenge that many beginners face; we have little to absolutely no idea on how to sew! That’s when I stumbled upon Craftsy. It didn’t take me long to learn how to sew, with help from several online classes and sources.
This is a review for the class Fast Track Fitting, presented by Joi Mahon. Since not everyone can afford US$50 per class, I will deconstruct the class as much as possible to determine if this class is suitable for your needs. I am not being paid for this review, nor am I affiliated with the Craftsy website in any way, so it’s as unbiased as I can possible make it.
As part of the course, you are provided with some “free” materials. First of all you will receive the Vogue Pattern V1004 free – valued at US$12 (or $3.99 with ClubBMV membership).
Secondly, you will receive a downloadable PDF file that has a diagram of where to measure (and the ability to record your measurements). This might not seem like a helpful addition, but doing multiple sketches myself to record my own numbers, I found the one singular chart quite helpful (and more professional looking – I am a bit of a neat freak and unfortunately can’t draw silhouettes of myself that well).
In the introduction Joi explains why learning proper fitting techniques is so important; you can’t just go adding and subtracting material anywhere you want. Clothes that have been properly fitted can make you look skinnier (something I think most women try to aim for), as well as give the appearance of a higher quality garment (and if your sewing this yourself, then a higher skill level too).
So what sort of techniques does Joi teach?
Treating Your Front From Your Back Differently
Well first Joi stresses the importance of treating the front of your garment different from the back. Whilst your overall measurement – such as waist – matters, so does the front and back.
For example, my waist measurement is 29″ all around. My front is 14″ whilst my back is 15″. That might not seem like a big difference, but consider it in the case of someone on the ahem, larger side (or pregnant): their stomach will protrude at different measurements. Obviously your going to need more material in this area to account for those measurements.
Another example is one’s bust measurement: my entire bust measurement (including my back) is 31″. 17″ of those inches are from side seams across the bust, leaving 14″ at the back. If I had cut my pattern at an even 15.5″ for both the back, the front part of my garment would be tight across the bust. Just imagine those times when you might reach your arms over your head, or you straighten your back, just to find the buttons popping open. Opps!
You Can’t Just Adjust Anywhere
Another important factor Joi addresses is the fact that you can’t just adjust your pattern anywhere. There is no point in lengthening or shortening a pattern in the wrong area as it won’t solve the fitting problem. If you need to lower or raise the neckline of the garment, it makes no sense to add extra material at your waist; you need to edit the pattern where the problem actually is.
For Both Beginners, Intermediates and Advanced
Joi corrects several common misconceptions when it comes to pattern fitting and sewing, which is definitely something useful for both beginners and more advanced alike. For example, a vertical bust measurement is not a princess line – they will end up being different measurements. Don’t try treating them the same.
This class is great if you have uneven body measurements such as breasts or shoulders; Joi explains how to alter the patterns to make them fit you.
One thing that I definitely got out of this class was Joi’s confidence. She explains everything in such a way that made it seem logical and look easy. It felt easy! I was utilising these important techniques within a few hours – almost instantaneously as her video. Only a week or two after watching the video once I was able to teach my mother the techniques – she unfortunately didn’t have the time to watch the video and make her blouse so I walked her step by step through what she needed.
The one issue that I had with this class was Joi’s accent when she pronounced “measurement”. This is obviously a personal gripe, and potentially shows me as an “accentist” – is there even a term for someone with that issue? On the other hand, every time she says the word it definitely caught my attention two-fold, so her accent may have actually helped me more.
Reflecting Upon the Course After a Few Weeks
So I have had a few weeks reflecting upon the material and techniques that Joi has taught, and to honestly say I think that this class is worth the money. Whilst there are many places online that will teach you the techniques in the video – potentially free – Joi explains everything in a very easy to understand way, gathering all material in one place quite conveniently.
If you are keen on learning how to custom fit your own clothing, be it from pre-purchased patterns or your own designs, this class is a must.