In a couple of weeks I will land in Baltimore to do two of Susan Khalje’s classes back to back – the French Jacket Class and her Couture Sewing School. I’m more than a little excited about it all! But first there’s a little homework in the form of a workable muslin put together in a manner I’ve never attempted.
THE FRENCH JACKET CLASS
The French Jacket class is pretty straight forward pattern wise – Susan has a preference for Vogue 7975, which I’ve got and have completed the toile for view B. There have been ladies who have done the class with different patterns, but it’s apparently not preferred by the master (at least not in your first class with her). I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about the ‘style’ of this pattern being something I’m going to actually like, but I came to terms with the fact long ago that I’m a complete and utter skill junkie – I’m in it for the skill-acquisition. If I end up liking it on me, well that will be a bonus. If not, my mum will be the lucky recipient of a hand-made jacket, as we’re much and the same size and build.
This toile has been made ‘couture style’ (have you watched the couture dress class on Craftsy?) by using wax paper and a tracing wheel to get the seam lines onto the muslin fabric. These lines are then individually machine sewn with a long stitch, before being sewn together. It gives you extra-wide seam allowances which I presume allows you to fit with ease.
I don’t think I’ve ever expended so much effort on a muslin before. That said, this also has the best princess seams I’ve ever sewn. And the set in sleeves are also possibly the best as well – taking in to account that this is a muslin, of course. So this method clearly has something going for it!
I’m hoping I’ll fall in love with an appropriate fabric whilst I’m there as the first day of the class is fabric and trim shopping – yay! (I have one already in the stash, but devastatingly – it’s not quite big enough to accommodate the wide seam allowances required for this construction technique!).
And perfect timing – two of my FAVOURITE bloggers, Inna and Leisa – are going to host a French Jacket sewalong. Susan Khalje herself will be chiming in. They’ve got the obligatory blog button and things kick off on October 14. You know you want to sew a long…
THE COUTURE SEWING SCHOOL
This one is a little more tricky. It’s open to sewing whatever you want to sew – and I’ve been suffering an acute case of indecision ever since I starting thinking about it! In order to maximise the time I have there I want to sew something that covers a few skill sets I’d really love some more expertise in.
Marfy 3148. I absolutely LOVE this dress, and I originally wanted to sew it up with this watercolour painted and embroidered silk dupion (from The Cloth Shop) I have in le stash (see below). However… the pattern recommends sewing it up in silk satin (dreamy) and Susan doesn’t think the dupion will be quite right due to the stiffness factor. After she mentioned that fact, the dupion’s unsuitability became so apparently obvious I feel thankful for having asked so I didn’t ruin it trying to make something work that just simply wouldn’t. I’ve still got NO idea what I’m going to sew with this fabric… all I know is I ferverently adore it:
The other option is Marfy 3157, which I like, but not quite to the extent I like 3148. However, it has all the elements I want to work with – boning, lace and some fiddling with fabric in order to get that volant on the skirt:
The recommended fabrics for this are macrame lace (something I’d never heard of – I found a clip on youtube of a Valentino dress being made from this lace type – it’s very ’3D’) and satin for the skirt and bustier. I quite like the idea of the non-lace version in a soft drapey cotton or silk as well though.
And even when I sit down with both patterns in front of me, I can’t decide. I’ll probably end up making toiles for both, then deciding on the morning the class starts… !
In other news, I’ll be in Manhattan on Sunday the 22nd of September (I’m staying on the outskirts of the Garment District). I’d LOVE to meet up with some NY natives – if you’re in the area and would like to catch up for a beverage and a fair bit of sewing-related chatting during the afternoon, do let me know!!! (or email me - poppykettle at gmail dot com).