I am always thinking about how garments fit. Partly it is my training, mostly it is my passion for fashion, knits, and design.
I remember drawing endless princess dresses when I was young (before moving to imaginary portraiture). Before I had sewn my first stitch I knew that the waistline on a princess dress was flattering! From there I went on to sew most of my own clothes (a practice I continued until my late 30s). When I was in high school I made all my clothes and always had sufficient clothes to have a different outfit every school day in any month—I spent a lot of time at my sewing machine. I was 5’8″ with broad shoulders and without an hourglass shape. I began “tweaking” the patterns I bought and I started experimenting with making garments from an idea, not a pattern.
When I decided to make this my vocation, I learned manufacturing garment construction and pattern making. I went on to fashion design school from technical school. I spent the years following my education enhancing and building on what I learned in school. When I came to knitwear in 1993, I simply shifted my flat-pattern and garment construction knowledge to knits. In the process I learned to design and create shapes without making patterns, but to the same criteria I had used in flat pattern.
In 2000 I began teaching at FIDM in San Francisco. For several years I taught technical design classes in addition to product development classes on line development and portfolio development. I have taught grading for plus sizes online, and I have created sizing standards for yarn companies. I taught Grading for Designers at TNNA with my friend Jeane deCoster. Jeane taught me how to use spreadsheets—over the phone!
I am not an Excel ace, which I think helps me teach A System of Grading to others. I do know fit and grading. In A System of Grading I will give you information based on women’s garments. Men’s garments are graded similarly, but in shapes that don’t need to accommodate curves. I am not a menswear specialist. Same for children. I have spent most of my time, and developed my expertise, in womenswear, including plus size grading.
I combine design and technical skill with an ability to effectively teach to a variety of learning styles.