Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Recommendations for sewing class?

kbalinski | Posted in General Discussion on

My husband just returned from a 4 day trip, which involved in-depth instruction on one of his favorite hobbies.  The deal was that he got to go, if I got to take a trip of my own!  So, now that he’s home, I’m trying to figure out what my best options are…

1. Initially, I thought NYC! But that would really be about shopping, not sewing instruction.  Unless someone out there knows of a great (brief) course there?

2.  Anyone experienced in the Palmer-Pletsch experience? I looked at that website briefly, and it’s in the running.  My main goal is to learn proper fit techniques for myself (and future clients) using commercial patterns.

3.  Private sewing instruction.  Maybe I don’t need to travel to get help?  Rather than a few days (and an expensive trip), maybe I just need a few hours of individualized help.

Any ideas or opinions out there? I’m in Michigan (an hour N of Detroit)…



  1. sewsassy | | #1

    You might want to look into a summer course on patternmaking. Not only will you learn how to make a basic pattern, but the emphasis is also on fit.  Also, if you can find books on patternmaking, that would be helpful as well.  The one I use is a book by Helen Armstrong entitled "Patternmaking for Fashion Design".

    I would check out courses at Eastern MI University or Mi State Univ.  You may want to inquire at Kent State University in Ohio if they have a "crash course" available.

    BTY, I too am in Mich (North of Detroit and East of Ann Arbor).

  2. sewsassy | | #2

    I also forgot to mention that if you decide to go to NY, check out the Fashion Institute of Technology (on 27th Street and 7th Avenue).  Sometimes that have 3 or 4 day workshops you can inquire about.


  3. cafms | | #3

    What about the American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan that used to have the Inspired by Threads challenge?  I think Simplicity patterns had a contest that had a fashion show there too.  It is towards the end of September or in October if I remember right.  I entered the Threads contest several times.  

    Just found a link for last year's show and it says this year it will be Sept 25-27.  http://www.americansewingexpo.com/content/about-us  There will be lots of classes there if you can wait that long.  Or is it close enough that you usually go?  I wish there was a show close to me in Mississippi.



    1. kbalinski | | #4

      Thanks for the ideas, ladies! Yes, I attend the Novi show every year, and fill my day with classes.  The last 2 years I attended a course that was described as learning to fit commercial patterns, only to show up and find out it was really about garment design software that they wanted you to buy! So frustrating...

      I'm going to check out the FIT website now, and I'm thinking I'll start at Haberman's with either an open help session or the one day Commercial Pattern fitting class in June.


  4. Sewdance | | #5

    Check out the regular class listings at Haberman's also. They have quite a bit going on. Or your community college (Oakland? Macomb?) may have something available through their continuing education programs.

    Private instruction may be another option for you.

    I'm NE of Detroit also.

  5. mizliz | | #6

    Have you checked out Connie Crawford. She has been doing some East coast seminars. Her info makes so much sense I am worried I that I can see it. It seems that her ideas are too logical and she avoids a lot of slicing and dicing. Her website is Fashionpatterns.com.  Her presentations are great. Her sizing matches ready to wear. You have to look at her patterns for possibilities for you to design off them - if you like elements. She does a line for Buttericks Patterns and her range is xsmall up to 6X.   

    1. User avater
      knitmachinequeen | | #7

      I am not impressed by Connie Crawford's classes. The main problem that I have with her is that she advocates buying patterns by your full bust measurement and in my opinion that is so not what we home sewers should be doing. Sure, if you do the garment will fit your bust but will be way to large every where else. You would need another person that is knowledgable about pattern alteration to get the garment to the right size. As far as her patterns go, I have tried one of her so called RTW sized patterns and it was a disaster! If ready to wear fit me the way that pattern did I would become a nudist. Some of my gripes about her pattern are the the bust darts are huge, the back narrow, shoulders narrow, bicep huge, waist short and pattern was just plain homely.

      1. sewelegant | | #9

        I'm not for sure where you are coming from with the Connie Crawford outlook you have, but I, for one, have made several of her patterns according to my bust size and they fit almost perfectly.  I would not recommend this for kbalinski though because we have seen pictures of her and she is definitely not oversize.  I think CC does exceptionally well with those of us who have had to buy a size 3X to get the garment to fit around the hip and swim in the rest of the dress or whatever.  I am also a D or DD cup so she has drafted her patterns off real people with these measurements rather than grading up to a larger size and I find the shoulders and neck area fit better than other patterns and I have far fewer adjustments to make.  I too have a problem with her sleeves and some (most) of her designs, but all in all, I am a fan.

        I ditto the Palmer/Pletch fitting seminars.  I would choose to go there because I have always found their advice very apropo and professional.

  6. User avater
    knitmachinequeen | | #8

    Pletsch and Palmer are the ONLY way to go.

  7. cafms | | #10

    Was browsing around looking for ideas on someone to reccomend for our sewing guild to invite as a guest speaker and happened on this site and thought of you.  If you haven't decided here is one that might be interesing.  A little pricey for me but looks interesting.  http://www.fashionsewing.com/chicago.htm  She came to our guild years ago and I have one of her books.

    P.S.  Anyone have a suggestion for someone to do a hands-on day class? We've had Nancy Erickson, Sandra Betzina, Shirley Adams, Margaret Islander, Cynthia Guffey, Linda McGehee, and others over the years.   



  8. Tessmart | | #11

    Check out Susan Khalje's "NYC "sit and Sew" class in August and November.


    1. kbalinski | | #12

      This one looks great! Thanks so much for the link, now I've got some research (hotel and air) to do!

      Kristine in Michigan

      1. Tessmart | | #13

        I attended her "Couture" class in Sept. Had the best time, and learned so much. I'm going back every year.


        1. kbalinski | | #14


          Thanks so much, I've made contact, there's space available, and I'm looking for a good air/hotel price!  I wouldn't have found this if you hadn't posted, so thanks a million!

          Kristine in Michigan

          1. User avater
            Sewista | | #15

            My fantasy would be the weeklong event with Sandra Betzina or the same with Susan Kahlje. Have fun planning, Kristine!Bunny

          2. kbalinski | | #16

            Bunny, Why don't you join me? 4 days with Susan Khalje and Kenneth King...  and you can finally meet your protege (me)!  I'll keep you posted...

          3. Tessmart | | #17


            What one are you going to?  I signed up for Nov.


          4. kbalinski | | #18

            I'm planning on signing up for the August one.  Being a teacher, summertime is my time for fun.  Not to mention that DH and I will be celebrating 10 years of wedded bliss this fall, and planning a tropical vacation after Christmas.

            I have to arrange air and hotel, and am a little bit nervous about finding my way around all by myself.  I've never been to NYC before, so I'd love to find a hotel very close to the garment district where the class is being held!

          5. User avater
            Sewista | | #19

            wow! I would so love to go, Kristine. I have the opposite problem however. DH and I work in the summer almost non stop and take the winter off. I am also feeling insecure about finances, the economy thing, so hopefully I will feel a little more secure soon. I will keep you posted on this if anything changes. I have said for a long time Lindsay T needs to become a tour guide for the garment district. Bunny

          6. Tatsy | | #20

            Gosh, I'm not sure you'd want to stay near the garment district. If it's anything like LA's area, that's the last place I'd want to be after dark. When we went to NYC three years ago we flew into Newark and stayed near the airport. The hotels are much, much cheaper than in the City and public transportation makes it very easy to get around. I know we had no trouble getting to F.I.T. If you buy a lot in the garment district, you'll probably want the packages shipped home anyway

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All