Couture Sewing School – Day 1 & 2: Fitting and Fabric

I ended up going in on the first day with two muslins – one made up of Burda 6689, and another that was a pattern mut of the Style Arc Darcy Pants (Legs of Darcy, Style Arc Flat Bottom Flo crotch curve, Colette Patterns’ waistband from their Clover pants, which I’ve previously made).



I wore the Burda pants for fitting first – but whilst they are famed for their pants crotch curve, it’s not one to fit a lady with a pancake butt situation out the back. If you’ve got curves then definitely yes! It’s a much roomier crotch curve. Susan had a quick look at these before I threw on my pattern mutt pair – which she deemed a better starting position.

She raised the waistband slightly at the front, agreed that my ‘flat bottom flo’ crotch curve was pretty great, then had me rip the seams apart at the legs right up to an inch or so below the crotch.

I have really prominent calves – and getting the legs of any pants pattern to fit (meaning in this case – that the grainline hangs perpendicular to the floor) and not get stuck and end up twisted below my knee has been impossible for me to achieve so far. Susan repinned this from scratch, marking out two dead darts first which realigned the grainline, then pinning the side seams back together to leave me with delightfully straight  leg pair of pants!

Wish I had taken a shot before I got fitted!


Front dead dart realigning the grainline below my legs. I believe this type of adjustment typically responds to a ‘knock knee’.
Front and back dead darts, with new side and inner seams as a result. Previously the legs from the Style Arc Darcy pants clung to my calves and twisted around slightly.


Thank goodness for large seam allowances - look at all the extra space I need!
Thank goodness for large seam allowances – look at all the extra space I need!
Still carrying about an extra 10cm around my waist following my pregnancy - so a change in the waistband was required to accomodate the pooch.
Still carrying about an extra 10cm around my waist following my pregnancy – so a change in the waistband was required to accomodate the pooch.  Also a perfect profile of said pancake butt.
You can see the new seam lines marked in red in comparison to the blue seam lines of the Style Arc Darcy.

I took the time to make a second muslin, which took up the morning of Day 2, so I could add in the details I wanted from the Burda pattern – slit pockets at the side, double welt pockets at the back. It was a winner. So by lunchtime I was aligning my pattern pieces and cutting out my fashion fabric ready to baste.

Speaking of fabric…


I’m working with a Super 130s wool yardage I bought whilst in Quito, Ecuador – nearly 5 years ago! I’ve been wanting to work with this fabric for aaaaaaages and it’s just beautiful to handle. The lining will be an olive green silk charmeuse I bought locally.

And here I am… basting.

By the time the day was finished, I’d completed basting my fabrics and had already completed a practise double welt pocket – and was congratulating myself on picking a pattern with so few pieces :P



The technique for completing this welt is slightly different to how I have previously been doing it, and dare I say it, easier to do and far easier to save if you don’t get your stitching quite right first go around on the welt lips. I’m pretty stoked with the result.

Here are some pictures of my fellow sewists, and a peek into what everyone else is sewing!

Margie, from Adelaide and with whom I did the French Jacket Class in Baltimore – is sewing Marfy 3022 (a jacket I’m part way finished and absolutely adore – I need to wait until I finish losing the last of the baby weight before I see if I need to adjust the fit!) in a really gorgeous floral print cotton matelasse:

Margie and Susan contemplate pattern placement
Margie and Susan contemplate pattern placement

Three ladies are all sewing Vogue 8333 – such a gorgeous and classic blazer. Sarah is sewing her’s in a wool/silk blend tweed in purple and red tones, Fiona is working in a steel grey wool crepe, and Sandra has a grey and green flecked tweed.

Interestingly, all three ladies had to add more height to the sleeve cap on this pattern – and comparing the way in with the Vogue 8333 I made drapes from the cap, I really needed to do this as well. The way the sleeves fit me on this make have been a niggle point for practically forever… I’ve even considered taking the existing sleeves off and redoing them. I’ll probably never do it though. It gets a lot of wear, regardless!

Fiona and Sarah

Belle is sewing pants as well – Burda 6689 (I’ll be honest I stole that pattern suggestion from her!).

Sue is working with a Vogue Kay Unger dress pattern in a red wool crepe minus the collar; Jennifer is sewing a Vintage Vogue A-Line dress in a floral silk crepe de chine; Helen, who has joined us all the way from Perth, is doing the iconic Vogue ripoff of Rouland Mouret’s Galaxy dress; Helene has a gorgeous black floral on grey background fabric which she is turning into a thigh length single breasted coat from a Lisette for Butterick pattern.

Judith is sewing a shift dress with a lace overlay (which she swears she’ll never wear, except maybe with white sneakers whilst she does her shop at Woolies!).

Two ladies are working with the Simplicity 2446 – Sharon in a really dramatic grey and black striped fabric, and Denise in a classic black crepe.

Sharon aligns her black organza pattern pieces on her bold painterly striped fashion fabric.

It’s still early days but I’m feeling great about our work so far. Not to mention that with all this uninterrupted sewing I feel like a piece of myself has been rediscovered!




  1. Wow, that all sounds so exciting. Susan should sell spectator tickets. Much cheaper but no input allowed. I would come to watch :).
    You won’t know yourself with a well fitting pants pattern. Your welt pocket is looking very profesh!

    1. I love that idea – especially as you learn so much from just watching!
      I’ll admit I’m really excited to have this pattern fitted – it may be the year of pants for me! Thanks Vicki :)

  2. What great progress you’re making. Thanks for sharing. I did a workshop at The Cloth Shop today which while most of my classmates were getting sewing help, for me it was all about fitting. It was such a fun day & so inspiring. I found my bottom amongst all the excess fabric. Hip hip hooray!

  3. Thank you for sharing your sewing adventure. I look forward to seeing your pants. I too have a flat derriere so I am very interested to see how your pants fit. Thanks for sharing a photo of the pant adjustments.

    1. They fit like a dream! I tried them on today after basting all the pieces together to check for fit. A few slight adjustments, and I’m so close… thanks Tomasa :)

    1. Oh absolutely – it’s been great purely for that reason. I feel like myself again, it’s a dream! There will definitely be a finished garment picture at some point :)

  4. Love the fabric you have chosen for your trousers. Your welts are looking terrific. I am always researching the various ways to do work welts; would you be able to share the method you used on these trousers as they are looking wonderful.
    Enjoy the rest of your course. Can’t wait to see the trousers when they are finished.

      1. Thank you so much.
        You are having a fantastic time with Susan and the other sewist.
        Kind regards

  5. Have just seen you pants for the next fitting, very impressive. Thank you for sharing what you have all been up to, it is so interesting to see/read and still a bit unreal that I will be in that class in a few weeks time.

    1. Very soon! I see you’ve signed up to Instagram – I’m hoping you’ll keep up all updated on your sewing progress in your time with Susan so I can relive the experience all over again :)

  6. Welcome back to the world of sewing. I have missed following your journeys into couture style, and I am loving the welt pockets…something I am about to start on using a 1960s pattern that I found on Etsy. One query, mind my asking where you source silk satin and organza from? I am feeling a bit frustrated searching for a colour that isn’t bridal or black. Enjoy your sewing fest!

    1. Hi Cheryl – I’ll admit I’ve only ever bought white or ivory organza – I’ve rarely seen black in Australia. I saw organza in every colour imaginable when I was in New York – I think perhaps it’s just an Australian thing to only have it in ‘neutrals’? If you wanted something different, I’d head online. Emma One Sock is typically great for basic silks, but I can’t recall if they do organza as well! Good luck!

  7. Thank you for sharing.
    I’m going to be getting pants fitted – fit has previously totally eluded me. I’m so looking forward to it and hope I get something looking as good as yours.

  8. Really clear explanation, and great results. Never seen that adjustment before, and knock knees are rife in my family, so it will be most useful.

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