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 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…



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.

The shortlist:


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:

Embroidered Silk Dupion The Cloth Shop
Delicious Silk Dupion

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).



  1. So excited that you will be there for the second half! Can’t wait to meet you. Like you, I was a bit dubious about my first French jacket. But trust me, you will adore it. It doesn’t fit like a boxy jacket at all — more like your favorite sweater. I’ve made 3 and love them all to pieces. I will be tackling my first ever Marfy pattern in the Couture class. Still “auditioning” samples. Looking forward to it!

    1. Hi Cissie! I’m so looking forward to meeting you. And it’s wonderful to hear that about your french jacket experience… I have high hopes :) What Marfy pattern are you thinking of tackling? I’ve still got to make a muslin for that… there’s still time, thankfully! See you soon!

  2. I’m positively GREEN with envy! I’ve been eying the couture workshop for a couple of years, but not worked out the money or the time yet. I hope you have an absolute blast and learn (or improve) loads of skills. Have fun!

    1. Thank you so much! I agree, it’s certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity for me – both the time and money have coincided so I locked it in as soon as I could! Hard to believe it’s been in the planning for over a year now :)

  3. Wow! It looks like it is a French Jacket little jacket time. I have just started working on one myself – and of course couture way. I have to think of joining this sew along … I would love to take classes with Susan but it is a little too far away. At least I can watch over and over again her class on Craftsy :-)
    The Marfy dressess you picked up are stunning. I love Marfy style.
    I have just ordered a Marfy coat pattern – now fabric :-)

  4. What an absolutely wonderful opportunity to go to Baltimore and do these classes with Susan. To me it sounds like the perfect holiday. The first class where you go fabric and trim shopping will be heaven. Learn heaps and post lots of photos.

    1. Whoooo frocktails!!! I so can’t wait!!! Just have to hem my dress tonight and I’m done. So looking forward to meeting everyone!!
      And yep, I’m pretty darn excited about all the upcoming sewing goodness!!!

  5. I’m very exited for this sewalong! Even if I feel like I will be cheating by finishing mine before the sewalong even starts. I think i’ll definitely be keen to sew another though, and sewalongs are such a vast wealth of knowledge collections! Can’t wait to see what coat pattern you’ve picked out!

    1. The pattern will arrive soon… pity I have to leave for a week… but I will keep myslef busy with jacket…and then maybe I will join the sewalong as well… for the next one :-) it is a good idea of you :-)

  6. Thank you so much for the sew along mention ! :-)
    I remember feeling the same way with my first jacket, wanting to make one but not having any idea of the style I wanted and now I want one in every style imaginable!
    You are going to have the best time ever….can’t wait to meet you for the second week and selfishly I am voting for 3157 as thats in my pile to make and you will save me SO much time if I can watch you instead!!!

    1. My pleasure! Sewalongs become such an incredible reference source from a historical perspective, so it’ll be awesome to watch you guys go through the motions :)
      I had noticed 3157 was on your list! I was considering swapping out the bodice with the strapless Burda dress Norma from Orange Lingerie made in one of those classes (the dress was in Threads magazine) because I prefer that more… I’m planning to start on the muslin for it this weekend :) Have you decided on which pattern you’ll be sewing for it?

      1. I’m doing two possibly three projects of course! it would not the same if I was not overly ambitious and crazy eyed by day 5! …the first is the wedding dress on the blog, thats for corselette experience…I have a Dior taffeta in black and white…the second is a really gorgous Marfy corset, I’ll put that picture up there now of that and I found a amazing tulle from Dior that I plan to make a skirt with that will join the corset to make a dress!!! Bringing wine??

      2. You know I was tempted to do two!! But I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea… So the wedding dress – I presume thats either F2867 or FS600? Both stunning. I look forward to seeing the corset. I ended up going with 3157 because I really want to learn a bit of corsetry, so it looks like we’ll both be watching each other closely!

  7. OMG you visit the cloth shop? You should totally let me know next time and we can hang out! Also, cool jacket muslin. I know what you mean though-the style looks a bit serious.. I liked your earlier choice from the Burda 02/2013.

    1. Only once, back at the beginning of the year! But next time, for sure :) They’ve got some seriously beautiful fabrics! Is that the same Burda that Inna made (from Thewallina)? I do really like that one. Chances are i’ll end up making two (or more) based on what everyone’s telling me about the addiction process…. ha!

  8. Oh my – so jealous. Attending a Susan Khalje workshop is on my bucket list. Thank you for the heads up about the Little French Jacket sew along. I have fabric and Claire Shaffer’s pattern already – a sew along will be just the push I need. Have fun, learn heaps and take loads of photos!!

  9. Yiiii! I am so excited for you! Such a unique experience for a seamstress! What a good student you are! I sewed my muslins for both lessons a night before the class. It makes sense for Susan to work with one pattern. But you will see how most students will modify their patterns to create a totally different looks! I used V7959 as a base and then completely changed it to my own taste. I so wanted to return to Susan’s classroom again this September but, alas, my family situation does not really let it happen. Maybe next year!

    1. Oh cool! I’m a little relieved to know it can be modified to suit… I was a little worried that it was going to be very rigid! I figured from her pre-class emails that the sleeve would end up changing anyway… but just from putting together the muslins I’ve learnt HEAPS. There’s always next year ;)

  10. Eeep! You’re going to have so much fun and learn so much! I really wanted to take one of Susan’s classes in San Francisco when I was living there, but the timing never worked. I can’t wait to hear all about your experiences, and I do hope you’ll enjoy your short stay in NYC!

    1. Thanks Amy, I absolutely will! I had seen that she does the occasional class in San Fran :) Maybe when your little one-to-be has grown into a big one you’ll get the opportunity again! x

  11. Wow, that is wonderful. I’ve done the Craftsy course by Susan Khalje and it was the best experience except from attending a course in real life. Looking forward to your posts about the classes and your creations. Loved the expression “skill junkie”, it would be exactly why I would want such a class.

    1. Looks like we’re both skill junkies then!! How fabulous is the couture dress Craftsy course? I continue to pick up new things from it everytime I watch… Thanks Sigrid!

  12. Have you started coutning down the number of sleeps yet?! I reckon I would be pretty damn excited too if this was me :) You’ll have such an amazing time & come home with even MORE mad skillz! Obviously I can’t join you in NY, but I have been thinking of joining the LFJ sew-along since I saw it announced yesterday.

    That’s a tough call on the Marfy patterns, to be sure. At first glance they look kind of similar, but they do have quite a few different features. While I think I like 3148 better, the drafting of 3157 seems to be a bit more detailed and I think it would be a great pattern to learn from.

    1. Hi Jenny!!! You know the crazy thing is I haven’t started a count down… I have SO many fun things between now and then (like frocktails and my birthday do) that I swear the next 2 weeks are going to be so full of happiness :)
      But you’ve hit the nail on the head – 3148 sucks me in immediately, 3157 has more techniques. And hey, I am going there to learn, I can make a pretty party dress any day. After your fabulous blanket swing-coat make – I think a little french jacket would suit you wonderfully!

  13. I’m so excited for you. These are going to be some excellent learning experiences for you. Those two Marfy dresses are going to be wonderful, because I can see you making both!

  14. You really are living the dream. I look forward to enjoying it through you. A Chanel jacket is a classic and it’s a very simple style that can go with lots of things. Plus you can really make it look different depending on your choices so I hope you’ll be able to find “yours”. I made one when they were super fashionable and it took 1.5 m 150 cm wide, but without the big seam allowances. I see your dupion as a full-skirted 50s dress. (I don’t know if that’s your style.)

    1. Yes, the dress pattern for the dupion really needs to let the fabric shine, and a full skirt would be wonderful for that. I’m still unsure about it all though! Thanks Kathleen :)

  15. I am so excited for you and can’t wait to read your progress posts. I am SOOOO jealous. Try and convince Susan that she should come to Aus and do some courses.

  16. ahhh what a great trip you have planned! can’t wait to hear all about it! i’m gonna cast my vote for 3157. i love that dress, and it seems to have more varied skills to tackle. either way, it will be fab! wish i could make a trip down to NYC… have a great time!

    1. Yep, since writing this post I’ve pretty much decided 3157 is it. I started tracing it out last night! Although I’m thinking of changing the Marfy bodice to Burda 03/2010 #107. It’s a little more challenging/interesting than just a 3 piece bodice. I wish you could too!! It would be lovely to get together at some point. Trent and I are super keen to do a USA road trip together one day… so maybe! ;) Thanks Lisa!

  17. This is so exciting!! You are going to learn so much!! I’m so jealous (but mainly just super excited to see what beautiful things you create!! Living vicariously…) I’d have trouble deciding between those two lovely Marfy patterns too… but I’m being swayed by that suggestion of ‘macrame lace’ with 3157 (And omg Valentino!) I hope you have fun stateside! Unfortunately I’m too far away to make it for a visit, but I bet you’ll have a BLAST!

    1. Thanks Sallie!! I may have possibly moved beyond the emotional range covered by the word ‘excited’… wheeeeeeee! Since writing this up, I’ve pretty much decided on 3157. So many awesome things to learn within that pattern :) I’ll make it to Texas one day, promise!! x

  18. Fun homework though, right? :) I’m excited to hear all about your class, but when are you coming to California?!?!

  19. I am so jealous of the amazing opportunity you have!!!! Can’t wait to see your finished items and hear all about it, and thanks for heads up on French jacket sew along!

  20. I will miss you by a few weeks on your trip, bummer! My twin sister and I are going to be in New York from October 5-13th. I’m still trying to get her to catch the sewing bug, and she’s trying to get me to be a knitter extraordinaire like her. Your trip sounds seriously awesome, I can’t wait to see the final products!

  21. I would go the 3157 dress Melanie. More classic and ever lasting, whereas bubble hems will date real quickly….good ,UK on the course I’m so jeleous! But can’t wait to read about it all

  22. Oooh, yay, I’m so excited to hear about your experiences in the class! And please keep me posted about your plans to be in NYC! I would love to meet up! My sister lives in Baltimore, so if you need any food recommendations or anything like that, let me know!

  23. Ooh I love the first dress pattern! The skirt is gorgeous. I would definitely make that one if it was me. You are going to be in heaven in those classes.

  24. sorry i missed you yesterday! i would have loved to meet you in person and hear all about your plans for camp chanel and the couture sewing school. you will love both, because the work and camaraderie are worth it all on their own, even before you get to the skills acquisition. have an amazing time and blog to us!

    1. Oh, bummer!!! It would have been so lovely to meet up with you :) You’re right though – the connection with everyone is instantaneous, and the love for sewing comes right out. It’s so easy to get along with everyone! I’m already having the time of my life :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s