Trickle Down Economics

Today was supposed to be my first day of class. Instead, I was greeted with this sign on the department head’s door:

random dress form at school

Due to budget cuts from the State, the following classes have been canceled or delayed by three weeks:

Luckily, mine was just delayed and not canceled. But, still disappointing. I did meet with the instructor and got the old 15 week vs 12 week syllabus to review. She also went over how the class will work.

We’ll be using a 1/2 scale sloper. Using this sloper we’ll draft to fit the 1/2 size dress form.


1/2 scale dress form
1/2 scale dress form

They have about six 1/2 size dress forms. The beginning of each class will be lecture — leaving an hour or two for ‘lab’ where she’ll work with us on our designs.

Butterick Sloper

Butterick Sloper

Half-way through the semester, we’ll use Butterick 5746 to create a sloper with our personal measurements. This will become our full-sized slopers for ourselves. Using that, we will draft either a dress, blouse or skirt as our final project (no knits or evening wear / silky fabrics).

Pants are the only patterns we will draft completely from scratch. That, is due in May.

20 percent of our grade comes from each of these

  • Basic Sloper Set 1/2 scale
  • Pant Pattern full scale
  • Dress – full scale pattern
  • Final Project (original design garment)
  • Class work, homework, quizzes and holy crap a FASHION SHOW!

So, I’ll spend the next three weeks gathering supplies (I’m off to a good start thanks to AJ!). I will say I’m buying cheap plastic curves for now because I have dreams of this gorgeous wood set that Els showed on the Sewing Divas.

It was all made better when I came home to a long dreamed about fabric.


Ahhhhh. Thanks to Carolyn who tipped me off over the weeked to this faux leather/shearling at Fabricmart for an OBSCENE $6.00 a yard (Sorry. It’s no longer on the website).  I am already dreaming of prancing into work this spring in the Hot Patterns Portobello Shearling Coat. When I say long-awaited fabric find, I’m not kidding. I’ve wanted this pattern for going on three years and bought it last year for fear it would be discontinued before I could find the right fabric at the right price.



  1. ooooo, I have had the urge to make a jacket out of faux persian lamb for the longest time but it’s another one of those ‘scared to cut into it’ things. We will definitely be watching and waiting for your adventures.

  2. Oh, no! I was going to live through you vicariously. Good thing it’s just delayed. Happy sewing with the jacket.

  3. Glad your class was only delayed but 12 classes instead of 15, that’s disappointing.

  4. Bummer! Well I’m glad class wasn’t cancelled. I’m so jealous you are making a personal sloper. I want one of those but I need someone to hold my hand through it.

  5. I can not wait to hear how this class goes for you! It sounds SOOOO exciting! I don’t know what a sloper is but I am still excited to read about it!hehe THANKS for taking this class so we can all live through you!hehe

  6. I have some of the faux shearling from FabricMart. Nice! I have a Vogue picked out for my jacket.

    At least the class wasn’t cancelled, but what a let down!

  7. Despite the delay, this all sounds exciting ! I can’t wait to read your adventures as I’m dying to be able to create my own patterns.

  8. Sorry to hear about the cutbacks, but great that you can still attend. Interesting approach using a Butterick sloper. In my class we drafted everything from scratch using personal measurements. Even though it was hard (a lot of numbers to keep track of) I still felt that this was a really good approach. But being able to adjust pre made patterns according to ones own measurements also seems really useful, since I guess that’s what a lot of people will end up doing afterwards.
    I’m really excited by this as you are doing the same stuff that I did a year ago, taking classes at fashion school. Look forward to more updates!

  9. Sorry to hear about the cutbacks but happy your class is still a go. The shearling is incredible, can’t wait to see your coat.

  10. That shearling will make a fabulous coat — can’t wait to see yours! You will really enjoy the patternmaking class (good that it is only delayed and not canceled). When I took a flat pattern class, we went through the same process you described, using the half scale patterns and the same Butterick pattern. I learned so much — such a great experience.

  11. too bad about the delay, but at least it’s just a delay, not a cancellation, right? you are going to like using the half scale patterns, makes it so easy to learn the manipulations, yet you aren’t working with these big pieces of paper. there are even quarter scale pattern blocks you can use.

    i want one of those little mannequins. 🙂

  12. Don’t you just like such disappointments!!! I saw that mini dress form in RD Franks in London/Great Portland Road for those who would like to go there. I wanted it so badly, but alas, it was out of my financial reach seeing that I’d just paid for a ton of fashion textbooks in said store. But you never know, the GBP is way down low.

    I was hoping they’d be teaching you to draft from scratch. I guess it would be too time-consuming and expensive.

    Didn’t they know about the cancellations or postponements whilst you were registering?

  13. Thank goodness the class wasn’t canceled. I think it’s fantastic that you are doing the program. I wish there was something like that in my city. There are several private (read: very expensive) fashion schools only. I can’t wait to see your projects. Good luck with your studies!

  14. This class sounds wonderful. Like Johanna Lu when I took a pattern drafting class we did all our slopers from scratch, but adjusting a pattern as such will be very useful for future alterations. Looking forward to hearing about your progress 🙂

  15. re portobello shearling coat pattern …I’d suggest cutting out your muslin in cheap-o fleece before hacking into your $6 a yard fabric….I might have to try this one too.

    Mary Beth

  16. Hi Cidell,
    I’ve always wondered how the first dressmakers dummy is used for pants. Can that metal cage at the bottom be moved aside for pants?

    And where does the class get its 1/2 scale dummies?

    Wonderful thing about the internet, we all get to live vicariously through you. I’m excited for the class to start too, lol.

  17. ooh, I am so jealous of you! I would so LOVE to take a class like that! It sounds fabulous! Enjoy! Maybe someday in the future when my hubby starts making enough to support us both and my expensive hobbies (haha- right) I will be able to take awesome sewing classes! I can’t wait to hear all about it!

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