Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Connie Crawford's class - a review

It's been a week since I'm back from a class with Connie Crawford in June. And it has taken me this long to decide whether to post this review or not. Read on and you'll know why.

Fitting on my own has been frustrating... First comes selecting the correct size for the pattern, then knowing what adjustments to make. Followed by how much to take in or let out for each of these adjustments. And to do this on my own?? Yikes! Makes me want to go back to reading about sewing, instead of actually sewing! No, Not lazy, but just plain frustrated!

So I signed up for this class with Connie Crawford at Ann Arbor. I know that Connie also comes to Toronto for the Creative Festival in Fall every year and teaches hands-on workshops and seminars but I have other classes in mind for then. So Ann Arbor, it was.

Know what was even more fun?? I convinced my family to drive to Michigan with me. :)

As for Connie Crawford's class, I'm double minded.

I did learn stuff from her - Watching her drape a knit top on a mannequin was a great learning experience. Learning about drafting, grading, watch her do it with a grading ruler was very helpful too. Her method of sewing lapped zipper was very different and quick and easy! Also, got some tips on drafting styles from a sloper  and balancing seam lines in skirts / tops etc.

For the "Fitting & designing for the girls" class, (No,  I don't like the name either), Connie had us try on multiple samples from her sloper pattern that is drafted for all sizes, all bust cups.

Fitting the bust first and then taking in the shoulder (no changes to sleeves) was her main principle in fitting. Which is totally fine - there are million ways to fit as long as the wrinkles are gone. But her idea of a well fitting garment and mine were not the same. She was ignoring the very obvious arm hole/sleeve wrinkles in many people she fitted.  And I could see that a lot of people needed their armhole raised - me included.  When I went back again and asked a question about the armhole and showed her what was wrong with it - yes, she agreed I needed to raise the armhole at least an inch.

Does that mean all were fit incorrectly? No! that's not what I mean. If you have a figure that fits into one of the multiple samples from her pattern, you lucked out and I'm really happy for you. For the rest of us who did not confirm to the body shape that the patterns were drafted for, Too bad!

One of the ladies tried on Connie's knit top samples (Which were not for different bust cup for each size, just regular XS, S,M,L, XL, etc) during a demo. There were very obvious wrinkles originating from the bust at all angles and somebody in the audience even dared to ask the question that many of us were asking ourselves - if it fit right - to which Connie said 'In my opinion, the fit is perfect!   Sorry! Nope!

What was very annoying to me is her repeated bashing / eye rolling at people who educate or make patterns for home sewing and making fun of 'choosing by upper bust measurement and asking how on earth will it fit the bust?' while she very conveniently ignored that an FBA was almost always done on the pattern when they have a bust bigger than B cup, while choosing by upper bust measurement.

Overall, I'm glad I tried this class. I might buy her books / DVDs in future or check them out in the library. But I don't think I'll take another one of her workshops, which is really unfortunate as I do think she has a lot to offer on drafting. I browsed through some of her books that were available for sale at the venue and those seemed good. I haven't watched her DVDs so can't comment on that but obviously it would not contain the repeated bashing 'what does home sewing say.....?'/ self adulation 'I'm the only one who has ...' / This person copied my pattern / that person copied my book... No thanks!

One person that got a lot of my thanks was 'Rosebud' - her assistant for this weekend. I had missed the 'Sew like a pro'  class since I arrived very late, driving from Toronto to Ann Arbor.. Rosebud offered to help me get caught up with the class. And she did sit with me for half an hour the next day morning before the class started and had me caught up with 'Sew like a pro' class material.  Those tips were very useful.

In all, I got a lot out of Grading / Draping / Sew like a pro class. None with the fitting.


  1. Interesting review. I could never get anything to fit until I learnt about the upper bust measurement and FBA.

  2. Putting down other people's techniques seems extremely unprofessional to me. That and the self adulation would put me off too.

    I think we can all agree there isn't just one way to do anything in sewing, why would anyone bash someone for using a technique that works for them?

    Thank you for the review.

  3. Totally agree, BeaJay. I couldn't either.
    Maybe fitting bust first would work, if had she explained how to get the shoulder/neck/sleeve fit right after the bust fit has been done...But she didn't. Just "Take one inch here" and that was it... That's not fitting!

    You are right, ElleC, There isn't one right way to do anything!

  4. Thanks, KayoticSewing, for your thoughtful and honest review. I am thinking of coming to Toronto for the Creative Festival this fall (I live near Buffalo); haven't attended it in several years. I'm glad that your classes weren't a total waste for you; there's always more to learn about sewing, isn't there? As for fitting, I think there are many ways to achieve a good fit and that there's absolutely no need for any instructor to preach Mine Is The Only Way or to bash someone else's. Thanks again!

    1. Thank you Sandra! Totally agree with you. there's always soemthign to learn when it comes to sewing.

      I might be there for a couple of classes at the Creativ Festival this Fall.

  5. Hey! Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I couldn't email you - so, I'm checking out your blog! Very nice. I agree with you about fitting - my ASG preaches LCD - Length, Circumference then depth. It works. I would have loved to go to Ann Arbor - I hope you got some sight seeing time. g

  6. Thanks gMarie. I've seen PeggySagers advocate LCD as well. Different methods of fitting - all to get great results..

  7. This is actually very helpful. Apparently Connie is coming to Australia and I was considering doing this course but the information on it is so scant. I was also fairly unimpressed when I checked the measurements on the charts for her top that when she goes up to a G cup, so do all of the other measurements WTH? I've kind of learned to get around the 8 band and G cup but was hoping this would sort out my shoulders and sleeves, doesn't sound like it will. (Not to mention my lack of tolerance for other nonsense.)

    1. Tiger girl, from memory, I think her master patterns all have cup sizes upto G for each size starting from 8. I bought one of her patterns on day 1 before any of the drama / fitting mishaps started... So let me see if I can find it to confirm and reply back here.

    2. Yes, they do, actually I think they may even go above a G but the waist on an 8G is bigger than the waist on an 8D - an 8G and a 12C have the same measurements except for bicep. Seems to me that if you're properly catering for different cup sizes, the waist and hip measurements should stay the same and only the bust would increase. But anyway my biggest bug bear is the shoulders and armscye (I dream of being able to have a woven, fitted bodice with fitted sleeves that allow me to move my arms) and it seems that that isn't really covered or did I not understand correctly?

    3. I think you understood it correctly..... Too bad the pattern makers out there don't get it.

  8. I just made one of Connie's patterns and I was convinced I picked the wrong size until I read your comments on her style of fitting. I picked the right size, and it makes me look 40 pounds bigger. The issues the shirt has are exactly the things you see her ignoring. I may try cutting a smaller size now that I know how she is fitting her patterns.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.


Thank you for visiting my blog. Friendly comments or constructive feedback are always welcome.

All comments will be moderated to prevent spam.