Saturday, 26 September 2015

Wedding and Textile class

In the coming months, my main sewing focus will be on making Helen's wedding dress,  which I can't post about. I'll keep notes and perhaps post some after the event. I need to do that for my own benefit and will also need to submit detailed notes for my college course, as the dress design and construction will be my course project.

Also wedding related,  I'll be making the two bridesmaids' dresses, for Helen's two older sisters. I think I'll be able to post some general things about them. There are a lot of new things I have to learn. These things include design elements which hopefully I'll be able to learn about in my pattern cutting class, and construction elements.

Our course this year has changed. Whereas previously I did separate pattern cutting and garment construction technique classes, these are rolled into one this year. I think this is helpful as the two components will be more integrated than they were last year. Then,  if I designed and drew up a pattern, it probably went no further - I only went on to make up the golf crops to complete toile stage. So this meant that I didn't consider every component of a design. This year, it seems that construction of the garment will be an integral part so presumably all elements will have to be considered. That's great. It's also essential for what I'm doing.

I will try to include time to make my own MOB outfit. I'm not rigid about not buying RTW, though I do find it difficult to buy it. I haven't decided what I'd  like. For my oldest daughter's August wedding,  I wore a sleeveless dress and bolero and felt comfortable. Helen will be getting married when it is cooler and I need to work out how best to take that into account.

My friend V has just returned from a business trip to India and has brought me quite a few metres of raw silk and of saree silk. She took a sample of David's kilt fabric to match a couple of the colours in it. I want to make myself a raw silk long skirt to wear when he is wearing his kilt; this is not wedding related, sky-high it could be. I haven't seen the silk yet;  hopefully I will pick it up tomorrow. I have never sewn with silk. Another learning curve.

V offered to get the silk for me; originally I thought this would be for wedding and/or bridesmaid dresses but we're not yet at the stage of choosing fabric. We are further forward with the designs. We've pretty much decided on the wedding dress design and I need to practice some elements. There were a few tweaks to the bridesmaid dress design, but I'm happy that I see the way forward. Helen and I quite fancied sand washed silk for these two dresses but my tutor advised that was difficult to sew with so I'm considering alternatives. Suggestions?

I've made a close fitting toile for Helen. I haven't yet fitted it to the little dressmaking model,  Missy. It will then get padded to Helen's size and will allow me to work on a closer proximity to her shape even when she's not here.

I've been to two of the textile classes so far. These have largely been a revision of earlier dart manipulation work. We've looked at bodice, sleeve and skirt. Another change is that we're going to be working on standard dressmaking models (UK size 12) rather than trying to make garments to fit ourselves; fitting took a lot of time and I'm still not happy with my trouser block. This means that we can concentrate on design and construction.

Last year, I found I had to do a lot of work in a very short time at the end of the course; this year I've started thinking about the final portfolio right from the start,  hoping that will make it easier. I'm writing up our classes but these don't make exciting reading so I won't specifically post about them, though I may mention something I discover that I didn't know about before. This week, that's about sleeves - it may be obvious to you but I hadn't realised - the lower the sleeve cap, the wider the sleeve and the closer to the horizontal it is.


  1. Looks like you are learning a lot in your classes - the sleeve cap is a good example.

    Sand washed silk is awful to sew with - it's quite dense and does not like being ironed, and picks up water or any other mark (hands and so on) just like that. Silk crepe drapes nicely as well, and may not give as many headaches - but check with the tutor.

    1. Thank you. It's a pity that sand washed silk is so difficult to deal with - it's so nice. I'll certainly heed your advice.


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