Many of you who have been keeping up-to-date with our Facebook or Twitter will know that I spent 6 weeks learning to make a custom body block for the commercial/fashion industry style of sewing. For the first 6 weeks I was working solidly drawing the body block and sewing toiles to test the fittings of the body block. Then I spent a further 3 weeks making a Chanel inspired French jacket without a commercial pattern. This was the first time ever that I have sewn something without any formal instructions and patterns. The experience was liberating.
I explained how the custom body block was created in my last post here. Once the body block has been created it can be used for tops, dresses and jackets. If a hip block has been created, you can also make skirts and trousers from the body block.
I signed up for a two-Sunday jacket course during my 6 week pattern drafting course. There were 5 of us on the course. Some of us had already met at our previous pattern drafting course, so the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed. We all had different designs for our jackets – I picked a classic French jacket style. None of us finished the jacket within the 2 Sundays! It was probably because we got on so well, we chatted too much in between working. However, our tutor, Candace, was very kind to us and provided us with further time to finish the jacket with full instructions and guidance. I completed my jacket within 3 weeks, which was an achievement for me. Most of my projects have dragged on for at least a month from start to finish.
Both the pattern drafting and jacket sewing courses have forced my sewing skills to improve overnight. I am now a more confident sewer and I believe I can design my own garments without sourcing commercial patterns out there and converting them to something that I have in my mind (which used to be be a real pain!)
One of my favourite activities is magazine/newspaper cutting and pasting (more like capturing screen shots on my iPad these days – I have e-magazines instead of paper versions to help save the planet!) I used to cut out any outfits or gowns that caught my attention for admiration only, but now, I can turn all these fancy outfits from paper cuttings into garments in my wardrobe, probably with a twist of my own style too. This is just so exciting.
Candace teaches pattern drafting on Monday evenings at Carolyn Rose School of Sewing (http://www.schoolofsewingcarolynrose.co.uk/). It is the best hobby I have picked up in my life – I have met so many like-minded ladies (there are keen male sewers too) who I have stayed in touch with after the courses.
In fact, I am hosting a knit and natter group on Wednesdays from 11am to 1pm, followed by a crochet class from 1:30pm to 3:30pm. If you are interested to learn knitting or crocheting, please drop me a line and we can find a mutually convenient time for your first lesson.
Want to find out about my next project? Stay tuned to our blog.
I would love to hear your sewing story.