Tag Archives: class

FIT Class #2

15 Dec

After I finished my last class at FIT I knew I’d be coming back for the second one on my list, a hand sewing class.  As I have made blatantly clear in almost all of my posts, I HATE hand sewing, but it’s something I need to learn how to do, so I took this class as a challenge.  And boy did it almost win.

Here’s a rundown of what we did in 4, four-hour long classes.

Class 1

Got to the train station super early only to find out train was cancelled.  Jumped into car, raced to Manhattan, no parking!  Pay for parking garage, SPRINT 4 blocks, get into class 20 minutes late and get reamed by the professor.  Awesome start.
For this first class we learned a bunch of hand stitching techniques, which you can see in the picture below.

So what does each one do you ask??  Well..Blanket stitch is for, you guessed it, blankets.  Basting stitch is used to hold pieces of fabric together (you take it out at the end).  No Knot is a way to make a starting knot look nice.  Running stitch is used for a decorative, top stitch.  Backstitch and half-backstitch are used for seams.  Prick stitches are for zippers.  Whip stitch and blind stitch are for hems.  And oh look!  Its the slip stitch I always talk about how much I hate!!  That one’s used for hems and linings and ruining my day.

Class 2

I have to drive into Manhattan again, but at least this time it was planned.  I left myself plenty of time to find parking, wrong.  I got to a parking garage 15 mins before class – no sprinting this time!  Wrong again.  The lovely guys at the parking garage blocked about 8 of us in, refused to give us tickets for our cars until they parked the other cars, and after about 25 mins of people screaming at them, I was sprinting to class again.  Greeeeaaaattttt.  Luckily today was a different teacher, so I did not get yelled at.
Onto the class….Buttons.  Lots and lots of buttons!  2 hole, 4 hole, shank, big, small, pink, black, yellow and a few snaps for good measure.  Buttons aren’t too difficult, in one hole and out another, but they’re tedious.  Especially when your teacher wants you to make it look professional.  Here’s the one good thing I picked up from this class, for every hole on the button you only need go to in and out three times, then when you’ve finished all the holes, wrap the tread around the bottom of the button three times.  I like this because I used to always just stitch a button a million times to make it secure…apparently 3 is good enough.

Class 3

NO MORE DRIVING!  Took the subway, got a coffee, relaxed, much better.
Today’s lesson – zippers!  I already know how to sew zippers using the machine so I had a pretty solid grasp on how to line up the fabric correctly for zippers  What type of stitch do you think I used for the zipper?? (hint – go back up to class 1) That’s right!  Prick stitch.

A hidden zipper using overlapping fabric.

Lining added to the back of the zipper using a slip stitch – which at this point I’m actually getting good at!  Its a Holiday Miracle!!!!

At the end of class, the nice teacher took us to the Goodwill Store to get a jacket with a mitered sleeve for the final class.  By the way, Manhattan thrift stores are AWESOME!  Holy crap, they have designer clothes in there.  Thank you rich people of Manhattan.

Class 4

Here is the jacket I picked up form Goodwill.

See how the sleeve to the left is about 1-2″ shorter than the one of the right?  That’s what we did in the last class, learned how to shorten mitered sleeves.  I should probably explain what a mitered sleeve is.  Basically, instead of having a sleeve cuff that goes straight around, there is a split – one edge is straight, the other has a diagonal triangle stitch.

Here is the original, professionally done, mitered sleeve:

And here is mine:

Not too shabby, huh?

Since we took the whole sleeve apart, I had to reattach the lining using a slip stitch:

And put the button back on:

In the first class I was late, stressed and hating hand stitching.  By this last class I was flying through the project and finished a half hour before everyone.  I’d say that’s a success.

Final Project

My teacher sent us an email a week before the last class, while we were on Thanksgiving break, that said we needed to make an entire piece of “anything” by hand.  So I went for the easiest thing I could think of, a make up bag!  I found this great tutorial online and just swapped in hand sewing for all the machine stitches.  If you want to read all about how to sew it, click here.  If you want to see pictures of what I made with short captions, scroll down.

Final piece made with leftover fabric from my blouse and the red/black dress from Diana’s wedding.

Fancy lining, no stitches to be seen!  I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I actually like the slip stitch now.


I’m definitely going back to FIT…after beach season.

27 May

After 5 weeks, I’m done with my class at FIT. I really really liked it, but I’m glad to have my Sundays back. Since this was a beginner’s class our project was pretty simple: pajama pants (using 1 yard of 1” non-fold elastic, thread and 3 yards of lightweight cotton).  I went with pink patterned poplin (alliteration!)– a really thin cotton, good for the summer:

Class 1: The basics – learn how to thread the machine and stitch.
I was stumped as to how we would fill 3 ½ hours with this, but the answer is simple: Industrial machines. Using an industrial sewing machine is like jumping into a Ferrari when you’re used to a Honda. They are so fast it’s ridiculous. None of us – who have all used sewing machines before – could sew a straight line by the end of the first class.

Class 2: Seams.
What I find amazing is how you can try something once and completely suck at it, but once you take a break, then come back to it, you can do it really well. That was the second class. The machines weren’t as intimidating and not only were we making straight lines, we were making professional seams:

French seam – These are used in really thin fabrics, like silk or chiffon, so that you cannot see any of the stitches, simply the folded edges of the seam.
Pink and Stitch – If you were to rip the lining on the inside of a dress jacket, this would be underneath.

Tailor’s Hem – If there were no lining in a jacket you would find a tailor’s hem, which is a neater version of the pink and stitch. I tried to find a picture of this but Google kept asking if I meant Tailor Ham. Google’s trying to be funny with the vegetarian.

Flat Felled– This hem is really durable and used mostly on jeans.

Overlock – Used for two reasons: 1) prevent fraying on the edges of woven materials and 2) give knit materials more stretch on the stitches.

Class 3: The pattern.
Our teacher provided us with patterns to trace onto paper, but the cool thing was we adjusted the patterns to our specific shapes. When I use commercial patterns I usually cut everything to a size 10, make the entire outfit, then take it in when I’m done. This time, I made the adjustments at the beginning. The three adjustments that I made to my pants were:

1) Drop the waist of the pants 1 ½” so that they were low rise and not “mom pants”
2) Measure my inseam and extended the length of the pant. I actually made them a little longer than my inseam because Laundromat dryers always make my pajama pants into crop pants
3) Widen the leg from about the knee to the ankle so that they weren’t tapered.

After making the patterns we cut out 2 leg pieces and ripped fabric for a drawstring. One of my favorite things I learned was that if you make a small clip at the edge of a single woven fabric and just rip, it will always tear in a straight line. SO much easier than trying to cut a straight line – a skill a 1st grade could annihilate me in.

Class 4: Begin sewing.
I think I sweat through this entire class. She warned us in the beginning that it was going to be 80% her demoing and 20% us actually getting to sew, but watching everyone trying desperately to catch up was comical. There was one class left after this to get everything done, but it still didn’t feel like enough time, so the basic atmosphere in the room was panic. At the end of 3 ½ hours all I accomplished was the outside seams. The other thing holding us up was that there was only one overlock machine so we had to wait on line to use it. The overlock machine (also called a serger) is awesome! It trims off the raw edges of the fabric and makes a really intricate stitch that reinforces the edges.

This also makes the inside of the pants look professional and finished. If you look on the inside of any of the things I’ve sewn so far, it is a labyrinth of random threads. This is much nicer.

Class 5: Final demos and finish garment.
This class was hysterical. The amount of random shit’s, fuck’s, and dammit’s being thrown around the room sounded like we were in a Tourette’s ward. The last two demos instructed how to finish the waistband with elastic and a drawstring by hand. My goal was to finish all of the sewing parts and then finish the waistband at home. Goal accomplished…just barely.

You know when you accidentally pull the string out of a hoodie and have to guide it back through? That’s how you put in elastic and the drawstring. She told us to put a safety pin at one end and use that to guide it through. It really helped; I’d recommend it for your next hoodie accident.

Here’s what about 11 hours of sewing gets you:

The next class I want to take is a hand sewing class focusing on tailoring (ex. fixing zippers, lengthen sleeves, shortening pants, etc.). They offer it on Sunday’s in June and July but I’m not willing to give up beach time, so I’ll be back at FIT in the fall.

My new obession: The hallways of FIT.

10 May

For the past few weeks I have been taking a sewing class at FIT in Manhattan and it’s the best.  So so so so fun!!  What’s even cooler than the class are the hallways in the apparel design building.  They are filled with displays of students projects, collages of famous designers, ideas from start to finish and I’m sure much much more, but I’ve only made it through floors 7 and 8 so far.   Enjoy the pictures:

If anyone would like to support me financially for the next 4 years, I’d love to quit my job and go back to school full time for this 🙂

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