Monday, March 5, 2012

Planning for another Camp Couture!

Readers, have I told you that I am going to another couture class with Susan Khalje end of March! It wasn't planned, but in the last minute things just worked out perfectly, and there were/are still couple of seats in the class available. Is anyone from you going as well?

Well, there are a few things I want to work on there:
  • a corselet  that I can wear as a separate piece or under sheer blouses. 
  • a simple Chantilly lace blouse is also on the list, and, finally, 
  • a bias silk slip with lace, which I want to start there
I definitely want to finish two. This time I will need to focus on what I want to accomplish and stick to my plan, so not a single minute of this six-day course is wasted. I am saying this because last time I went to Baltimore I packed a bag full of different projects, fabrics and notions. As a result I had difficulties focusing on a single project... I just didn't spend enough time preparing for the class. I had quite a busy month then and packed without a clear plan.

Ok, I learnt my lesson, and here is what I am going to do! In the week preceding the course, I will
  • make muslins for all three projects, and
  • fit them, so Susan needs to help with final touches only
  • choose the fabric (hopefully from my stash),
  • prepare all the notions I need to complete the projects without wasting time for shopping in the neighbourhood Jo-Ann's,
  • select only essential tools I need for these projects (I tend to drag along too much - not clothes but all the sewing stuff).
I hope this works, as I still participate in the Sew Colette Sew-Along hosted by the charming Sarah of Rhinestones & Telephones and testing the first pattern by Suzy of Suzy Sewing (you go, girl!). Besides that, I am starting a new and very exciting project which may last as long as one year, but more about it later, once all details are in place. All I can say is that projects made in the Couture School will be part of it.

But back to class planning! Have you attended sewing classes? Any tips on how to best prepare for an outside class, besides zillions of other projects, three demanding kids, a husband and bugs that keep the entire family sick all this time? I would accept all the proposals, including meditation, yoga poses and using essence sticks! Please!.. anyone?!


  1. Marina, you are setting a great example for your kids that you deserve time for your passions. Not that they will appreciate it until they have their own kids...but still! My only advice is to lower your production expectation, and concentrate on REALLY enjoying every minute of the class. How much you get done is less important than how much you take in. Your organization plan sounds wonderful - just enjoy the week and do the best you can. 

  2. I'm envious.  I'd like to attend one of those classes someday.  I once spoke to someone who took a NYC class taught by Susan Khalje and Kenneth King who thought it was quite worthwhile.

    I agree with your plan of attack except for the tools.  I like to have the proper tools, even if it is a hassle to pack them.  I once took a class with Kenneth King and every week he used to wheel in a huge suitcase with all his things.  Those lollipop chalk sticks were lined up with military precision.  After seeing that, and all the samples he'd show us, I realized that there's a limit to the shortcuts you can take if you want a good result.

    As I know how long things take (always longer than I expect) I think I would probably go in with something like a pre-fitted muslin for a style of which I'd be happy to have several versions, say, a Chanel-style jacket.  I'd bring the material and trimmings with the idea of finishing at least one. If possible, I'd make a second or a third.  If that wasn't possible, I'd try to make a coordinating garment that was relatively easy to make, such as a skirt out of the same fabric.

    I assume the class with be in Baltimore and I have trouble believing that the fabric selection would be as good as in New York, so I probably would  buy all my fabric here and go to M & J for some trimming, at least if I had experience.  I wouldn't want to waste my sewing time on shopping.

  3. I would disagree. In a techniques class, what you DO, repeatedly, is what you tend to learn and retain afterwards, so I think she should plan on working her little fingers to the bone.   I haven't clicked on the link, but that class is pretty expensive.


  4. i'm so excited because i finally set aside the time to take susan's french jacket class.  i'm doing the one in june and very happy about it!  i even already have a muslin, which i prepared with susan and kenneth last summer.

  5. How exciting!!  I think you have the right idea in arriving as prepared as possible.  Take as many tools and supplies as you can think of.  Enjoy the process and try not to rush through your projects if you want to remember the techniques.  Plan on time for taking notes, that is one of the things my students really have difficulty with and try not to be disappointed if you don't accomplish everything.

    I wish I could join you, what a wonderful opportunity and learning adventure.

  6. Oh how I wish I could join you! I took a one-week with Susan, but it was when my DFiL died, so I had to leave early. Soon!

  7. So jealous. Attending Susan's Couture School is on my to do list. I did does here online course for the Couture Dress through Craftsy and love it. I'm hooked. 
    Your projects sound great - three maybe too many? The corselet may take a bit of sewing and the lace blouse could be a challenge - maybe prioritise incase you run short of time. 
    Looking forward to your updates. 

  8. That will be a great sewing experience! It´s fantastic you manage to attend with so many other commitments. Your plan sounds great. I don't think I would be able to tackle 3 projects in 6 days...but you are a pro! I think it´s a good idea to have fabric ready. I would also take all the necessary equipment...even though it means carrying extra stuff

  9. I'm so jealous!  But happy that you were able to work out a way to be away from you family.
    I adore Susan's classes (going to another in late May) but never seem to get much done!  I tend to hurry and then make mistakes so my only advice to you is to take your time, since your list is ambitious.  Having seen your work, you should make a good start on all three.  If I were you, I'd concentrate on the first two, hoping to at least get a start on the third one.  And you're smart to take materials from your stash.  Having to go to the fabric stores takes up a lot of precious time.  
    Can't wait to get reports from "camp"!

  10.  I agree with both of you!  I will work hard "working my little fingers to the bone" as Browsery said (they are not so little, I must admit, but...) Susan is such an talented and pleasant person and teacher that working over 12 hours in her class is better than any spa!

  11. Browsery, please keep on commenting!!! I love your insights and especially critiques. You are not just a nice but also a very honest commenter, and I really appreciate it!

    I got all the fabrics (too much shopping last year - had a job that allowed me to spend), but you are right about trims! Last thing I want to do is waste time shopping during the class.

  12.  of course you got a muslin! I would not expect anything else from you ;-))) Did you get your bouclé??? if yes, where from? I am trying to get a tan/beige bouclé but in vain, I guess a trip to Mendel & Goldberg is a necessity!

  13.  I am so bad at taking notes!!! thanks for reminding though!  Where / what do you teach???

  14.  I am sorry to hear that!!! I wish you were in this class  - it was such a fun to take the same class with you back in August!

  15.  you nailed it - I am "hooked" too!!! That's it!

    I also think three is too many, but I am not sure how long the blouse will take - it is very simple style with four seams and no sleeves. That's why an option of the third project.

  16.  ah, not a pro - just three very simple styles. I already worked on a foundation corselet for a dress with Susan, so this will be a refresher with couple of new techniques. The blouse is very basic - I am looking for some lace seam finishing tips. And the slip is about working with bias... I think one wedding dress is more work than all those three together and I saw people pull it off!

  17.  Cissie, so many people from Susan's classes coming back again!!! No sure whether I will know anyone in this one... And with projects, I agree, first two are priority!

  18. What a fantastic class to learn and focus on very specific techniques. As my skills improve (and they are still leagues away from yours) I find that having some classes with an expert focusing on specific issues would be so valuable. I don't find many this side of the pond. Luckily Susan is now also teaching online. 

    I can't wait to see what you do, look forward for reports from camp.

    And thank you :)

  19. I think you have the right idea but do take all your tools and bits with you. I used to take lots of projects to workshops and then forgot the next steps so I take a workbook with me to take notes on the go. Have a wonderful time. I'd love to come back to the US and do more classes:)

  20. You lucky girl! I wish there were similar classes across the big ocean... Thumbs up and looking forward to what you'll make! 

  21. Marina, thats wonderful.. I'm so excited for you.. indeed practice will make it perfect !!

  22. Oh it would be so nice to drop what I am doing and take a week long class with Susan Khalje.  Maybe next time.  Have fun and look forward to seeing & reading more about it!



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