Sunday, March 2, 2008

Fitting (class) frustrations

I apologize in advance that this blog entry will be more of a rant than anything else, but I need to vent.

I'm currently taking an advanced beginner/intermediate level sewing class through the San Diego Community College Continuing Education program. On one hand, this is a free class, so I feel like I shouldn't complain. On the other hand, I've been getting increasingly frustrated over the past few weeks. This is a continuation of the class that I took last fall (where we concentrated on basic fitting for a skirt and a blouse or unlined jacket), so a lot of what we're covering is review to me. I'm fine with the idea of that--I could certainly use some reinforcement on some of these concepts. However, it's become increasingly clear that there are two very distinct skill levels in the class--those of us who are continuing from last semester and those who (like I was a few months ago) are completely new to fitting. You'd think that this would be okay in a sewing class, but it isn't.

The format for the class is that each student puts her name up on the board to get in "line" for help. Keep in mind that there are around 20 students in the class. The class is about 3 hours long with a 30-45-minute-ish lecture that breaks things up in the middle of the class. We're doing tissue, a typical class meeting would have each of us "sign up" for help, and during that "help" session, we're told an adjustment to make to the pattern for our individual bodies. For example, a few weeks ago, I tried on the tissue of my dress bodice, and was told to make a 1/2" broad back adjustment. So...I went back to my seat, made my adjustment in about 10 minutes...and then had to "get back in line" to have her look at the fit of the bust of my dress to determine how much of an FBA I'd need. With 20 students all vying for the teacher's attention, needless to say, I had to wait a week for the next session to get "help" again.

For the class project, I'm working on the HotPatterns Plain and Simple shirtdress. I love that it's a bit fitted, which I'd have thought of as being a plus for a fitting class, and that it's such a classic style that once I get the damn tissue fit, I can make it up in a bunch of different fabrics for different looks. Unfortunately, we've been working on fitting this for FOUR weeks, and I still don't even have the bodice fitted. With the "line" system, I've been told to make an adjustment, wait for the next week, and then am told that the adjustment was too much, take it in a little...and then I have to wait another week.

Given the ridiculous hours that my company has me working, I'm starting to feel like this class is becoming a waste of my time. 3 hours in class to get told to make one tiny little adjustment...and then wait for the next class??? How is this an efficient use of my (limited) free time? I know that at least one other student has asked if the more experienced students could break into a small group and become "fitting buddies" for each other, but our instructor didn't care for that idea. Sigh.

I just want to get this dress tissue fitted. I realize that with my ginormous full bust that I'm going to have more pattern alterations to make than most people, but I've also *done* most of these alterations before. I don't need to be hand-held or personally walked through a simple, darted, full bust adjustment at this stage. (One great thing for the less experienced students is that our teacher *will* hand-hold them through any alteration that they need help with.)

I don't want to drop the class, but on the other hand, it is free...and the thought of actually having those three hours back to do something productive is starting to get awfully tempting...


  1. I understand your frustration.In all honesty, what can she do if you do give each other advice? Could you all sit in one area so it's more an aside comment from a neighbour than an organised revolt?

  2. I've taught, and I have to tell you, that's a crazy teacher/student ratio for a 'hands on' class, and IMO that's a crazy way of getting help.
    Are you someone who can work with directions and help using pictures and words? The fitting thread on PR right now has proven amazingly useful for the woman who's been trying to get a fitting shell made.

    Anyway....moving on, I need your email addy to send you an invite to the coat sewalong.
    I'm going to have people making muslins in June, and if you need some online help getting your pattern fit I'll work with you with pics and words.
    mlweaving at yahoo dot com for your invite.