Like many of you (I suspect), I am a sucker for Craftsy’s sales and discount codes, where online classes are available for as little as $19.99 (or occasionally even $9.99, if your mom is on Craftsy’s mailing list but has yet to buy a class). I had told myself “No more Craftsy classes until I work through my backlog a bit,” but then Plus-Size Pant Fitting was announced followed shortly by a $19.99 sale. The class is taught by Kathleen Cheetham, owner of Petite Plus Patterns and author of Singer Perfect Plus. Along with Barbara Deckert, Kathleen is currently one of the most prominent experts within the sewing community at fitting plus size women. Given Kathleen’s reputation and that pant fitting continues to be an ongoing process for me, this class seemed like a potentially smart investment.
On the Craftsy website, Plus-Size Pant Fitting has the following class description:
Personalize any pant pattern to complement your plus-size figure! Learn to make custom adjustments for your hips, thighs, tummy, seat, waist and more.
Flatter your curves as you learn to fit plus-size pant patterns alongside designer and instructor Kathleen Cheetham. Start with how to select the perfect pattern size and extend it if needed. Take the next step toward a fabulous fit by adjusting your pattern’s crotch depth and making alterations to complement the curves of your hips. Move on to personalizing your pattern’s fit through the outer, inner and upper thighs. Then, find out how to read wrinkles in your muslin and make tummy adjustments using the slash-and-pivot technique. Take your fitting skills even further as Kathleen teaches you to adjust for a perfect fit through the seat. Plus, find out how to adjust waist darts, convert multiple darts into a yoke and use a stretch band instead of a waistband.
The class description is fairly accurate. I will point out, though, that the line about reading your muslin wrinkles and making tummy adjustments mainly applies to the tummy adjustment part of the class; it doesn’t really go into depth on muslin reading for other adjustments. On the other hand, I was thrilled to see that the class covers adjustments for a large high hip–a fitting issue that I have that tends to get skipped over in a lot of fitting texts. For some reason, this alteration is glossed over in the main class description, even though it’s not an uncommon fitting challenge for plus size women.
Topics Covered In Class
This class covers the following topics and fitting adjustments. I’ve made notes (in parentheses) on things that I found particularly useful when viewing the class.
- Lesson 1: Choosing a pattern size
- Measuring correctly
- Choosing a pattern size (Kathleen uses a different method than the traditional “go by your hip size and adjust from there”, if you’ve got say, a particularly large tummy or large hips. I haven’t tried it yet, but it made a lot of sense to me.)
- Multisize pattern variations
- Preparing a pattern (Includes what to do with pockets and fly extensions that are affected by your other alterations.)
- Extending a multisize pattern (Grading up a pattern by up to two sizes)
- Lesson 2: Initial adjustments
- Identifying crotch depth
- Measuring crotch depth (Finally! The first time that I understood how to figure out crotch depth.)
- Altering the pattern
- Adjusting the lower leg
- Lesson 3: Hip adjustments
- Adjustments for full hips
- Adjustments for high curvy hip (I’d sort of been doing this to adjust for my high hip, but I pretty much made things up as I went. I’ll be using Kathleen’s method going forward.)
- Slash & Pivot for high hip
- Finishing touches to pattern
- Lesson 4: Thigh adjustments
- Outer thigh adjustments
- Inner thigh adjustments (One of my few complaints is that Kathleen doesn’t discuss how to tell if you have this issue; she simply says something along the lines of “You know if you have this.” She also doesn’t go into how to determine how much to add here if you’re doing this adjustment–she basically recommends trying a small amount to start.)
- Upper front thigh adjustments
- Adjusting for a Full Calf
- Lesson 5: Tummy adjustments
- Using a multisize pattern (the “cheater” method for a full tummy)
- Using the slash & pivot method (the method that will add both width and length for you)
- Truing up the pattern
- Lesson 6: Seat adjustments
- Adjusting for a full seat
- Adjusting for a flat seat (Note that Kathleen’s method is not the “fisheye dart” method that a lot of people use. You won’t learn that in this class.)
- Lesson 7: Waist adjustments
- Adjusting waist darts
- Customizing a waistband
- Creating a yoke
- Full tummy panel (This shows how to add a maternity-style panel to the top of your pants. It’s not the same thing as the “tummy stay” that you can add to your pockets to help keep them from gaping.)
Topics Not Covered In Class
This class does not cover the following topics, which you might expect to be covered in a plus size pant fitting class:
- In-depth reading of a muslin or muslin wrinkles.
- How to determine if you need certain non-hip/seat/tummy alterations. By this, I mean, “You can tell that you have full inner thighs if your pants pull in such-and-such way or have such-and-such wrinkles on the backs of your legs.”
- Determining the amount to add/subtract for some alterations, such as full inner thigh or flat seat alterations.
- There’s very little talk of crotch length and no discussion about crotch curve shape.
Plus-Size Pant Fitting retails for $39.99 when it’s not on sale. I took advantage of a sale and paid $19.99 to enroll in this class.
I particularly enjoyed or found the following aspects of this class useful:
- Kathleen is an engaging instructor, and the class progresses at an appropriate pace.
- Kathleen uses a common-sense approach to most fitting issues and doesn’t try to push a “one size fits all” approach to solutions. In fact, for several of the fitting issues discussed in the class, Kathleen offers multiple options (typically a “quick-and-dirty” way and a more involved way to adjust a pattern).
- Kathleen’s methods work well for those of us who have to fit ourselves. You won’t need to stress over not having a fit buddy, if you don’t already have one.
- Most pant-fitting resources (e.g. books, online tutorials, etc.) deal with a “plain vanilla” pant pattern with no pockets and no fly extension. Kathleen’s class uses a pattern with both a fly extension and pockets and explains how to alter these pieces along with your fit alterations.
I really enjoyed the class and felt like I got a lot out of it. However, no class is perfect, and I felt like most of the class “weaknesses” had to do with things that I wish that Kathleen had covered that were omitted from the class.
- I really feel like more time should have been spent discussing crotch length. This is a pretty standard measurement discussed in most fitting books, and often contrasted with crotch depth. Here, discussions of crotch length were mostly rolled into the tummy and seat adjustment discussions.
- I also wanted to know more about crotch curves. I feel like I know a modest amount about “L” vs. “J” crotch curves, but I don’t really understand which curve works best for which body type or why.
- Kathleen isn’t the most precise instructor when it comes to determining how much of an adjustment to make. She does things like measure using her fingers, which to be honest, is what I do a lot of the time. However, if you’re a person who prefers precision most of the time, this class might drive you nuts.
Overall Rating (1-5) + Explanation: 4 (Overall, I thought that the class was great. I was slightly annoyed and docked the class a point because a few things that I would have liked to have been covered were not covered.)
For my $19.99, I felt like this class was a very good deal. At that price, this class is about the same cost as a new fitting book, and I easily learned as much if not more than I would expect to learn from a new book. I would love for Kathleen to do a follow-up class that goes more into depth on reading muslin wrinkles and draglines, crotch curve shape, and lesser-known adjustments, such as knock knee adjustments.
If you’re interested in taking this class but still have questions about it, feel free to post them in the comments section, and I’ll answer them as best as I can.