Monday, March 5, 2012

Couture dressing making on L Plates

Let's face it - I'm not a particularly good sewer. I'm keen. I can follow instructions. I can put pieces together but somehow the clothes don't turn out as I imagined. The fit's not quite right and the fabric doesn't always work with the pattern design. The finished garment then gets relegated to the back of the closet. Sound familiar or is it just me?

You see, I'm mostly self taught. I kind of learned as I went along by reading and following pattern instructions (apart from a few short lessons - thank you Gay).

Recently I had a enforced rest and decided to use the time to improve my technical sewing knowledge and skills. So I enrolled in Susan Khajle's online course in the The Couture Dress and absolutely loved it. I learnt a heap of stuff. You can ask questions, take notes and revisit sections whenever you like - it's a great resource.

The Couture Course at
The approach is so entirely different from what I have learned in the past but it also make a whole lot more sense. Here's what I've learned:-
  • Respect the grain. 
    • If you don't understand the fabric and the fabric grain and take particular care when lining the pattern pieces up on the grain, the garment will never sit right, ever.
  • Focus on the stitching/seam line, not the cutting line. 
    • The seam line is what determines the fit of the dress, not the cutting line. Leaving extra seam allowance will allow for fit adjustments.
  • Make a muslin. 
    • This will allow you to test the garment fit and make any changes before cutting into your expensive fashion fabric. It can then be used as your pattern again later.
  • Hand baste, hand baste, hand baste.
    • Yes, time consuming but you regain control of what you're sewing the the machine. At least I do anyway.
  • Interlining and lining
    • Gives more body and luxury to the garment. You can also hide construction elements like hand stitching or reinforcing pieces. 
  • Hand stitching the zip
    • Looked a whole lot easier than trying to get a machine stitched zipper right. But that may be in Susan's capable hands, I'll report back when I've tried it. 
  • Lastly...take the time, be patient and enjoy the process.  Oh and now I know why these dresses cost so much!


  1. Interesting! Hmm, yeah I think I am beginning to appreciate the value of some hand-stitched details. And I shouldn't shy away from things with lining. Good tips.

  2. I've just enrolled the other day to this course. Glad to hear that it's worth it.

    1. I'm think of doing the Kenneth King one as well...

  3. I have also enrolled in this course...:) and yes I am understanding the importance of Muslins and the BASTING... As much as..... I don't particularly like hand sewing... :) I was thinking of a lace insert dress similar to the D & G collection .... But decided that the cost of the dresses was well worth it with what was actually involved.... No I didn't end making the dress or buying it.... :( out of my league ....
    And Gertie's suit one too... :)
    Lou x

    1. I saw a student pic in Susan's online class - she was planning to make the course pattern in lace (hot pink) - I think it would look amazing. Maybe you could have your D&G inspired lace insert dress after all!


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