Craftsy Class: Pattern Making For Knits

Yep, I bought another course from Craftsy. Me who complained that I learn better from books now has a substantial library of Craftsy videos. I enrolled in my latest course “Pattern Making For Knits” because I’m having issues fitting the bust area.  Right now, I’m working on fitting Loes Hinse patterns most of which use knits.   I was hoping this class would help me find my way.

Our instructor is Judy Jackson.  She was well-organized and her instructions clear. Detailed even when she is suggesting ranges of possibilities. I especially liked her discussion of knits in the very first class. Most of which I knew, but the explanation of French Terry was new. (The purl side is not purls but floats). Often she included suggestions for use of the various knits in her description of the knits. She was careful to mention that using a knit interfacing was the best choice when your base fabric is a knit and that interfacing should be used on collars, facings, and behind buttons and button holes.  She also specifically mentioned Mesh Knits and suggested them for lacy effects especially where a typical lace would limit desired stretch. In this section she also explained stretch percentage and how to calculate. She discusses stable knits briefly and mentions that very stable knits can use a regular woven pattern. She said we’d get the best results by checking the pattern and matching the fabric by recommended percentage of knit. Course, that leaves us wondering what to do when we want to use a pattern but our fabric doesn’t contain the required stretch.

She started the next lesson by warning us that she would be making us capable of basic pattern drafting.  Fortunately the “Adapting Woven Patterns” is relatively simple. Reduce ease at the side seams by 1/4″, lift the armscye 1/2″ lift waist and hip 1/4″ ((I’m thinking that I should increase my BWL from 1″ to 1.25″) and lift the front neck 1/4″.  Do the same to the back except the back neck remains unchanged. If the bodice is altered, the sleeve must also be altered. Reduce ease at the side seams by 1/4″ and then lift the curve from side seam to notches 1/2″.  I had thought that the curves were also changed slightly but the only change is caused when you draw the new curve from armscye to notch on front, back and sleeves.   I found this information interesting and helpful. I could have stopped here and called the course worth it’s cost ($50 for me).

Judy continues the course by draping a torso front, back and sleeve. She uses a dress form and suggests that you have either a custom fitted dress form or create your own. (I’m curious as to how many of you have a custom fitted dress form.)  Short of that, she recommends a fitting partner.  Sadly, I have none of these.  I did fit my dressform, Mimie, to me but then I over stuffed her because when I use her I have a tendency to fit too tightly.  I understand I’m normal. That it is actually a skill that you develop. Bottom line, is that sadly I will not be able to use her method of developing a sloper and will not be able to solve my fitting problems because this is the only fitting help she provides.  She develops the sloper with a 25% stretch knit and then later on has you pinning out any excess ease including that which develops because your knit has more stretch than the 25% knit. It’s good information, just not helpful for me personally.

However, I am excited by the chapters following the basic sloper. She discusses how to develop a skirt, dress and pants. I wouldn’t wear those pants which she calls “comfy pants” but the skirt and dress are both possibilities.  In drafting the skirt she discusses adding not only ease, but flare and gores.  She adds gathers several times to sleeves, neckline and skirt and converts those to pleats including an interesting “Exposed pleat”. The Lesson on Adapting Necklines is a winner. She provides a standard formula for determining the length and width of the neckband whether it is inserted or bound, ribbing or self fabric.  Personally, I take these as guidelines rather than “cast in cement”.  I’ve learned for a smooth fitting neck-band I need to baste into place, press lightly and then carefully evaluate. I also prefer the Quilters’ bias join to the straight up and down join she shows in the class. The straight up and down will work. After all, she is trying to show easy ways to work with knits; more like the next step rather than jumping all the way to couture  techniques. Loved her lettuce edge including the single-layer neckline with lettuce edge finish. Judy shares a fabulous placket I can’t wait to try.  I’m going to have to do a sample. I love beautiful ribbons and trims and am always putting away a foot or two because I might be able to use it.  So far my uses for those small amounts are hanging loops and garment labels. Now I have a wonderful new use, plackets!

The last lesson is on the comfy pant which is developed after you develop the skirt sloper. BTW the skirt sloper instructions includes suggestions for several different styles. Not just more gores, but darts, a simple A line, more flare and the dress. The dress can be adapted with all the skirt changes, neckline changes and converted to both princess lines (shoulder and armscye).  Then she makes the Comfy pant pattern and suggests some fitting tweaks for it.  Last, but very popular right now, is the Leggin; developed from your measurements. Now this one I may actually do.  While I don’t care to wear Leggins in public, I do wear PJ bottoms and Long Johns or Tights under my dress clothes. I was surprised that in addition to 2 way stretch knits, she said  some sweater knits would be perfect for Leggins. So those sweater knits that don’t inspire you, make Leggins to wear beneath your outerwear.

Final verdict TWO THUMBS UP!!!  While she didn’t solve my fitting issues (because I won’t be able to drape my sloper), every lesson was packed with information and examples which I understood and much of it I will use.


One thought on “Craftsy Class: Pattern Making For Knits

  1. Thanks for the great review. Unfortunately I have over 20 craftsy classes and haven’t completed any yet. Not due to the quality but I just haven’t gotten around to it. Once I have a few under my belt I might splurge out on this one as you have explained it so well it makes me want it too.

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