Friday, July 10, 2009

What is advanced anyway?

After my recent quip to promote myself to advanced if I could pull off a 3 and a half dot BWOF pattern I began to wonder just what would it take to get to advanced on Pattern Review.

Have a look at these guidelines from Pattern Review - to classify as "Intermediate" you need to do 5 of these proficiently:

A. Zippers (lapped, slot, fly, invisible)
B. Buttonholes
C. Facing
D. Lining
E. Curved seams (such as princess seams)
F. Collars
G. Set-in sleeves
H. Welt pockets
I. Sewing with knits
J. Various hand stitches, including but not limited to: hemstitch, fell stitch, hand rolled hem, catch stitch.

I have never sewn a welt pocket that I've been proud of, so that's definitely something on my list to improve.

Interesting eh? My thoughts on advanced is that you'd need to do all of the above proficiently, have a high standard of finish on all garments, plus say 5 of the following

1 modify a pattern to include new design features
2 draft a pattern
3 make clothes that fit well
4 cut and sew any of the following difficult fabrics: silk anything, satin anything, synthetic chiffon or georgette, raincoat fabric, leather, 4 way stretch
5 sew bias garments
6 revere collars or buttoned cuffs, shirts on a stand
7 basic tailoring
8 design a garment
9 some experience in one of the following: wedding/prom or cocktail/evening dresses, swimwear, lingerie, costumes
10 construct a garment on a dress form using draping
11 be able to sew a garment without instructions
12 complete a Burda 3 1/2 dot pattern, or a big 4 pattern labelled "average" or "advanced" with a high standard of finish

The thing to remember is that Pattern Review is primarily a site for home sewing enthusiasts so an advanced home sewer does not have to meet the same level of finish as a professional sewer. That's why they have their "couture/expert" level, which is for people who sew for a living and whose knowledge of construction and finish is of the highest order and is recognised as such by earning money for it. They also can clock up the kind of hours doing it for a living that we can only dream about. So in that case, it's unfair to compare the home sewer with a professional in the industry.

As for some of my blogging buddies, I know you can do all of the above and more. I can think of a number of people who need a promotion!

What do you think makes someone "advanced" on Pattern Review?


  1. Hi Mary Anna, I'm a bit late on the catch up but that padded jacket is amazing and the coat looks good too. Our average rainfall is about 12 inches. Can't comment on what makes for 'advanced' status; it's school holidays and I can barely think ahead to the next meal. Have an extra lad in the house for the next couple of months while his parents are in Italy so I'm doing proper meals and making beds and keeping up to date with the washing just to lull him into a sense of security (how long can I keep up the charade?)and of course to keep the house running when its so full...which seems to take all day. Another hard frost so were off ice-skating on the Ida lake at Oterehua. Kids are out forking silage to the calves so that gives me a chance to ...vacuum. Hooray, love Miri

  2. I never even knew Pattern review had guidelines! When I joined (back in about 2002 I think) I thought long and hard about my rating, and eventurally decided on advanced because I can pretty much do everything on your list. I was a lot happier about that rating when they added couture/advanced above it. I sew evening and bridal clothes for people, draft patterns from pictures, alter patterns routinely, and I can cope with a wide range of "difficult" fabrics. What I would love to do is proper traditional tailoring.

    Having seen the projects on your blog, I'm inclined to think your rating is higher than the intermediate you rate yourself. Can't WAIT to see that jacket!

  3. I didn't even know about the PR guidelines when I chose to list myself as 'intermediate'. I don't think of my self as 'advanced' even though I'm capable of all the items on the list. I've lost my sewing mojo for difficult/challenging sewing projects, so my sewing focus at the moment are quick and easy projects. Hope to start challenging myself again soon!

  4. I, also, didn't know that there were guidelines. I could have upgraded my status long time ago! I think of advance as covering all the items that you listed too.

  5. I upgraded myself from Advanced Beginner after I considered entering the Advanced Beginner contest last year, and realized that I was a bit farther along in most areas than suggested. I imagine I will stay Intermediate a while, if for no other reason than I am not big on labels......

  6. Hmmm...that's a tricky one, isn't it, cos I guess you don't know how much you don't know until you have to do it and realise you don't know it, if you know what I mean? ;-)

    I'm more of a "lurker" at PR, I'm slightly ashamed to admit. Love reading the reviews, love learning from all the time and effort people put in....kinda crap at doing it myself. One day I'll get organised ;-)


  7. Where did you find the guidelines? I think, I need to demote myself.

  8. I think that knowing the correct definition of "decolletage" should promote you to advanced immediately.
    PS. Great jacket, GREAT jacket! I need to come to Auckland for a weekend and the sooner the better. I want to raid all your clothes.

  9. Count me as another PR member who never knew there were set criteria.... I think I've got myself down as intermediate.

    If you're looking for a really good welt/bound pocket tutorial, try this one- it's the best I've ever come across

  10. I think advanced on PR means that you press as you go. Soooo many of the garments there look homemade due to lack of pressing.
    You fill in the guidelines when you register on PR. I read it often & usually refer to it before I buy a pattern but have never put a review on it yet.

  11. I think there should be two categories of intermediate, one for the people who have tried to do everything on your advanced list and have failed, but think they learned what not to do the second time around, and people who haven't tried yet.

  12. I have missed those criterias too. I guess I am more of an advanced than the intermediate that I claim to be, I guess one of the reason I am a little weary of changing my status is my finishing techniques, I can be a little sloppy sometimes because of plain old impatience, and that makes me a little self conscious about the advance option. But then again the perfectionists has there own label, i.e Couture/expert.