Class · Review · Sewing

Sundays with Sandra: Testing Your Pattern

This winter I’m sewing along with Sandra Betzina. A bunch of other talented seamsters and I have joined up to learn pant fitting techniques using Sanda Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques class on Craftsy. Here’s a reflection on my efforts to sew well.


Ladies and Gentlemen, the scissors came out in this week’s Sandra Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques class on Craftsy.  I finally have a toile of Vogue V2948, the princess-seamed pants pattern that comes with the class, which means I finally have a photo from the class to show off.  Finally.

This week’s class was filled with tons of secrets from Sandra’s wealth of sewing experience:  she explained how she always includes fit insurance when making test garments; she showed off her favorite scissors; she walked us through how she marks hems, notches, pattern pieces, and seams; she covered how to align princess seams and match seams; she revealed her methods for easing and sewing darts and pleats; she…  Well, you get the picture.  I quite enjoyed all the little tidbits.  I think watching very experienced sewers manipulate fabric is one of my favorite parts of the Craftsy classes I’ve taken so far.

As for the making of the muslin, Sandra instructed the class to stitch with the seam allowances out using a basting stitch with a bright, contrasting thread.   An interesting comment she made was that the order of sewing, at least with this pants pattern, impacts comfort.  We weren’t given an explanation (at least not one I caught), and I can only imagine it’s because of the resulting seam allowance placement.  Have you guys heard this type of statement before with pants?  Any better ideas out there?  The scientist in me wants to test some theories!

While I was watching this week’s class, I started thinking about how Sandra must truly shine when you take a class from her in person.  These video classes show off how much she knows, how much experience she has, and how talented she is, but they don’t give you the personal benefit of her standing there with you, coloring all over your pattern, and showing you how you really could use a little bit extra fabric through the thigh.  You’re on your own there.  But, you do get a broader range of lessons and a lot more time to go through a lot of trial and error than you might in a traditional class.  We’ll see how well things go next week as I attempt – essentially all by myself – to tweak this pattern into perfection.

As a reminder, I received this class for free from Craftsy in return for an honest review.  If you’re interested in taking this class yourself, follow this link for 40% off Sandra Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques.

14 thoughts on “Sundays with Sandra: Testing Your Pattern

  1. I’m taking the class too, but I’m still at measuring my pattern for adjustments. I’m curious, how did all that pre-measuring and pattern fitting work out in the muslin? So you feel that work is giving you a better fit to start? Do you feel like the adjustments you need to make are fewer or easier than if you had cut your size and played around with the muslin?

    1. While I have been really enjoying the power of understanding flat pattern measurements before beginning a pattern, in my inexperience I think I over-fitted the pattern. I wish the class had been organized so we (1) measured ourselves, (2), measured the flat pattern, (3) made a toile, (4) identified fitting issues, (5) modified the pattern, and (6) made another toile. If I have major fitting problems, I may go back through the class again, focusing on the key issues I identify… While trying hard not to over-fit!

  2. Thanks for your update on how the class is progressing. I’m still considering taking it… will need to decide soon, as my wardrobe needs pants!

  3. The sewing order is important because fabric always stretches slightly as you stitch it. If you sew the seams in any old order, you’ll end up with something slightly wonky. It might not be immediately obvious to you, but you’ll notice when you try to wear it that something isn’t quite right.

  4. Okay, this puts me back in the “I am tempted by this class” camp! I can’t wait to see how the muslin fits you and working/tweaking with the seam allowances out!

  5. My patternmaking teacher told me about this when we were sewing up the toiles of our trouser block. I was going to sew the centre front and back seams together and then sew the side and in-seam seams. She said to sew the seams in the opposite order (sew the side and in-seam seams first, then the centre back/front as one seam).

    I asked her why and she explained that the last seam you sew will be the ‘dominant’ seam of that intersection of seams – if you sew the inseam last the trousers will try and hang apart more between the legs, whereas if you do the centre front/back seam last the two legs will hang closer together (and in her opinion better).

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