Monday, June 6, 2011

My Little Black Dress- the beginnings

Dear readers!

After the whole Chanel-inspired jacket epic you have probably realized that I am obsessed about taking sewing classes. The ‘problem’ is the more I sew, the more questions I have.

It’s not even two weeks since I have come back from the Classic French Jacket Class and I am already taking another one – The Little Black Dress Class with Susan Khalje (again).  The comforting thought is I am not the only one – some of the other French Jacket Class participants are taking this class as well,

You may ask how it works with a job and a family… So, the answer is it’s an online class, offered through The beauty of these classes is that you can learn from home and schedule your time accordingly. The class is also significantly cheaper than any comparable face-to-face class, but you need to be really organized and focused to benefit from these classes.

The instruction works as a combination of PDF downloads, four live chats with the teacher and a message board. Last online class I took generated over 60 pages on the message board – imagine how much you can learn just by reading it!

I selected this Vogue Couturier pattern from 1959. The pattern is almost two sizes smaller than I need, so I will be grading it up, but I will be doing it on a form. By the way, this is another example of how the sizing has changed over the last 50 years within the same company.  I am a size 12 with current Vogue Patterns, but this one runs almost two sizes smaller.

One great thing about vintage Vogue Couturier patterns ( not sure, however, whether it's true for all of them) is that both, the sewing lines and the seam allowances are marked. That means I didn't have to draw stitching lines like on contemporary patterns.

The fabric I chose is black cotton eyelet, which will be underlined with contrasting tan batiste and lined with crepe de chine. This should make a great summer staple that I can wear both to work and to a night out (not that I have many of the latter!). The image below is somewhat purplish, I was taking it late evening.

This fabric has a border, which may prove a little challenging to underline and to hem. Also, I may try making a waist stay. As usual, I will be posting some couture techniques I used on this blog, and feature the finished garment of course (keep your fingers crossed! I hope the dress will turn out the way I want it) . 

Have you taken any online sewing classes? What was your experience?


  1. I did a online knitiing course once - it was great but as you said - you really need to be able to manage your time, work and selfcontrol to get the most out of an online class. on the other hand I find that the level of the class really is set by youself and your needs not by the ones that are the loudest in class like I see happen over and over again in RL classes - even when it's all adults. I would prefer an online class over a RL one if possible ever since I had my first experience with such. I actually considered taking the little black dress class too :)

  2. I have taken several of Susan's online classes (as well as classes from Kenneth King and other instructors) on PR. The lessons are posted in advance so you have a chance to read/review them and prepare/do homework in time for the "chat" session. I have found the classes quite helpful even if I did not complete my homework (due to my own time constraints). You are bound to learn something but, as with anything, preparation and reinforcement helps. Enjoy Susan's LBD class and if you get a chance to take more of her classes ... go for it. Don't forget that Sit & Sew sessions are coming up ... time to register if you haven't already done so. Sit & Sew is a lot of fun.

  3. Rosie, I just sent my registration for the August Sit&Sew. Just sent the registration form

  4. I never done an online course but now I'm curious! I'm a member of pattern review so will check them out.

    Looking forward to see you progress, it's a lovely pattern

  5. I took one once through PR and was not able to/motivated to keep up with the lessons. But the printed info supplied through the class was good.

  6. Love that fabric, it will be great with that style.

  7. Suzy, I personally prefer project-based classes, it is more motivating to work toward a finished garment.

    Meg, yes, same with me - I am taking this class for the second time, but now I know how I can make it work (hopefully :-))

    Beth, thanks! I definitely hope so. I want the fabric to be the focal point, so the design is rather simple.

  8. That fabric is fabulous and so is the vintage pattern. Will look forward to seeing the finished article. I've been buying up vintage patterns recently but so far only made one (for my daughter).



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