Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Fun with Fitting – Pants

Since my last article on the Vogue 8940 pants muslin, I’ve been taking an online course in pants fitting which has been really helpful.

Fun With Fitting: Pants was offering its online course “Fun with Fitting: Pants” on sale over the holidays. It’s taught by Sarah Veblen, a fitting expert who is author of the book The Complete Photo Guide To Perfect Fitting (Amazon link).  Reader David Coffin suggested it to me, and I’m glad I followed up on it.

What I really like about the class is that it takes a conceptual approach, rather than a “spot this problem, apply canned solution” approach. A big problem I’ve had with fitting is that I invariably wind up with a situation that doesn’t match anything depicted in the reference I’m working from.

In the course, Sarah urges you to watch through all the videos, and read through all the printed material, even for the models and fitting situations that don’t necessarily match yours. Over the course of the fitting examples, she explains the principles behind her fitting assessment and explains why she’s making the correction she’s chosen.  The idea is to enable you to visualize the problem and solution in your own head, so you can reason through fitting situations on your own. Continue reading


Every Threads Magazine Article on Pants Fitting

As part of my ongoing project to learn pants fitting, I’ve been searching for more learning resources. I went to the San Francisco Public Library and found three books on fitting:

  • Pants for Real People, the Palmer/Pletsch book on pants fitting.
  • Vogue Fitting, a book from the ’80s with a chapter on pants fitting.
  • Fabulous Fit, a modern book featuring the seam method of pattern alteration.

I’ve also been spending some time with my copy of the Threads Magazine DVD Archive looking for articles on pants fitting. The Threads DVD Archive has to be one of the best sewing instructional purchases I’ve made; there’s literally hundreds of articles in there I find fascinating. It was difficult for me to look through the archive because I kept running into the temptation to go off on a tangent looking at some other interesting article.

What’s more, the magazine issues are all standard PDF files, without copy protection, so it’s straightforward to copy them onto a tablet or similar device for ease of reading.  Thank you Threads magazine for trusting your readers.

My copy of the archive goes through the end of 2012, up to issue 164. To find the articles, I used the online, searchable index at the Threads website, but their search interface is quite poor (both online and the version that comes with the disc). So I had to do a lot of legwork on my own to filter through these articles. Continue reading


Quilts, Quilts and more Quilts (and maybe a hoodie or two)

A few weeks ago, I got a card in the mail advertising the Quilt, Craft and Sewing Expo in San Mateo, CA.  The final day of the show was yesterday, so I hopped on a train headed down the peninsula to spend an afternoon checking it out.

I don’t do any quilting (though some of my ‘craft’ projects use some quilting tools). So I didn’t have high expectations for what I might see.

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A Tour of Britex Fabrics

Yesterday, I spent a rainy, foggy Saturday morning taking the free tour of Britex Fabrics in San Francisco.

I feel fortunate that Britex is just a bus ride away; it’s one of my favorite fabric stores. They’re not the cheapest place around, but they are an interesting place to shop. (I tend to visit during one of their occasional sales).

Their merchandise is high quality, and they offer out-of-the-way things like Japanese-made selvedge denim I wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere. The staff are all very knowledgeable and can answer questions about fabrics, sewing and garment construction.

The Britex Story

Britex celebrated its 60th anniversary last year; it is a family-run business started by Martin and Lucy Spector, immigrants who ran a fabric store in New York’s Garment District in the 1940’s.

Martin and Lucy visited San Francisco, and fell in love with the city. They gradually transplanted their store from New York to San Francisco, running both businesses simultaneously. Eventually they shut down the New York store, after opening the San Francisco store for business in 1952.

When Martin was alive, the store carried mainly woolens, staple fabrics, and fabrics for home sewer. He created the “wall of wool” on the store’s first floor, which remains to this day. (Click on any photo for a larger version).


Britex First Floor, showing the “Wall of Wool”. Charman Spector, store owner, is at center of photo.

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