Saturday, 6 June 2015

College Evening Class Update

I've realised I haven't updated about my College classes after being so uncertain about continuing them previously.

Major changes to the dressmaking techniques class, which I've mentioned before (no longer called that but that title will be best here), but meaning a bigger class, twice the number still with only one tutor, in inadequate space, mixed ability with lots of absolute beginners rather than the class was were expecting and now a certificate course rather than pure adult learning, and a huge level of disorganisation meant that many dropped out and I seriously considered doing the same. In fact I had asked for a refund of the class after the tutor had said it wouldn't meet my needs but DH suggested I should give it a chance. I think I actually said in a previous post that I had attended my last one. One of the other students, Elizabeth, decided to continue and we agreed to work together. Plus we were given permission to work in a separate room - more space but no tutor available as she would be working with beginners in the original room. We could call on her if necessary. The room was very useful from the very first night when there were 4 of us oldies (the other two have since dropped out) and we critiqued the fit of Elizabeth's dress, giving her advice on what we felt she could do to improve the fit. She checked this in a quick 2 minute discussion with the tutor, who agreed with our suggestions. E has since made those changes and her dress was looking good and fitting well.
So, I'm going along with the syllabus. Having to be seen to be able to complete basic tasks. I don't mind the recap of seam types etc. Elizabeth and I have managed to combine picking up and completing the exercises with some of our own work. One very useful exercise was me taking Elizabeth through the steps to insert an invisible zip on the evening we were expecting this to be the exercise but the actual exercise turned out to be very basic and very quick to do. We used written and photographic instructions to help and used my invisible zipper foot. Elizabeth had inserted a pretty competent invisible zip in the dress mentioned earlier but had taken several tries to get it to look okay. She had managed to come up with a way of inserting but the way we followed was easier (though with calico being the same on both sides,  we thought that we had got the work twisted). She hadn't known that it's usual to sew this type of zip before the seam is closed and hadn't known there was a special foot. Her result was excellent.  She has since gone and bought a similar book to the one I had taken with me and an invisible zipper foot, though she hasn't used it in earnest yet.

I do have to produce a portfolio, which I haven’t properly started yet. All of our little samples will be included. I think the mini garment will be a skirt, which we did in our first term in September but it’ll be a useful recap - and I can’t find my original sample. I still have the mini jeans and that might be suitable to put in as well/instead.
I'm also still attending my pattern cutting class. This has also become a certificate course but the new bosses have fortunately not managed to destroy the class and several of us have continued plus a couple of new people. We are currently drafting pants patterns, fitting those pants, designing from this and we have to end up with a fitting pair of pants in the muslin stage - we're not required to make up in fashion fabric, though it was pointed out that fashion fabric needs to be firmly in mind when the pattern is being designed. I seem to be a very long way away from this stage at the moment, yet we’re halfway through the term.

The work is new to us and we have quite a lot of homework to do outside the class. I need to start my portfolio, which will be more complicated than the other. I’ve put together some jottings and I’ll type them into Word. I’ve taken some photos which can also be put in.
I’ll post something more specific nearer the end of term.




  1. Ahh, the ups and downs of the modern education system - I've been suffering at the hands of it over here as well. At least you know exactly what you want to achieve and I am sure you will steadily work towards your goals.

    1. Yes, international! I'm sorry you've been suffering. At least mine is purely a leisure activity and if the classes stopped I know now that I'd still manage. It is the leisure end that's the problem as far as the authorities are concerned; their focus has to be to getting people back to/into work. I'm not in the slightest interested in that of course so I'm definitely not in their target demographic group.

  2. It's similar here in London. Yet there is such a thirst for education in pattern cutting and dressmaking that people are turning to the private sector, which may or may not be of a quality standard. Mixed ability can work, but the teacher needs to be more competent. Also I find the paper work mind boggling - all because of the emphasis of getting people into work and "evaluating" the learning. I find your posts very interesting Anne. Thank you.

    1. Yes, thank you, I agree. Unfortunately the way the dressmaking techniques course is set up just now isn't working, perhaps in part because of tutor inexperience, though she is very helpful if you can catch her! The only person who wanted to take dressmaking/sewing forwards as a way to earn money has dropped out. Actually, there were two. Some of the rest have full time jobs and want dressmaking as a hobby. Fewer are retired, as I am. I'm clear what my goals are and am prepared to jump through a few hoops to get there.
      My youngest daughter lives in London and wants to learn to dressmake but not just yet (she doesn't have the space in her tiny flat for anything far less a sewing machine). I'm visiting her at the beginning of July and hope to see Alexander McQueen's Savage Beauty exhibition.


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