Friday, August 31, 2007

5. Preparations

In preparation for "the project", I started looking around for resources. Several of the online classes on the Pattern Review (PR) website seemed potentially very valuable (not to mention fun!).

Click here for catalog of PR online sewing courses

Susan and I took our first online class together - "Top 10 Couture Techniques" by Susan Khalje ( The techniques she covered were:

  1. narrow machine hem
  2. bias spaghetti straps
  3. gathering
  4. angled seams (like in a Basque waist or godet)
  5. bound buttonholes
  6. lining treatment for bound buttonholes
  7. grosgrain ribbon facing
  8. faggoting
  9. covered snaps
  10. attaching hooks and eyes
This was my first experience with an online sewing class and, overall, it was great. We received detailed and well-illustrated handouts on each technique. There was a message board where we could post pictures of our efforts and questions for the instructor. And we had several scheduled chats, when most everybody in the class could "get together" and talk about the lesson and/or anything else. Our instructor was great. I think that the chats were most useful if you had been working on the lessons and had questions prepared, but they were interesting regardless. Unfortunately, I have to admit, I did not finish trying all 10 techniques before the last chat...

A funny thing happened during one of our chats. Right before the chat began, I got an email notification of a sale at, and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to buy Susan's Vogue pattern. So, during the chat, I sent her a private message telling her about the sale and asking her size so that I could place the order. Her reply - she knew about the sale and had already ordered the pattern! That little booger! It's going to be difficult to make this a wedding gift if she keeps jumping in and buying everything first! ;)

The second class I took was "The Technique of Underlining Garments" by Sarah Veblen ( Like the first class, the handouts were extraordinary, the chats were very informative and a lot of fun, our instructor was great, and I didn't get all of my "homework" done. In this class, we made two half-scale garments: a wool skirt underlined with organza and a charmeuse blouse underlined with silk georgette. Underlining is a key component of wedding dresses, so being able to take this class was HUGE! I was also very happy to get to use some of my "top 10 couture techniques" (like the grosgrain ribbon facing) on my half scale garments in this class!

Finally, I purchased and am currently engrossed in studying Susan Khalje's book, "Bridal Couture: Fine Sewing Techniques for Wedding Gowns and Evening Wear." (link to book at amazon) The book is perfect (and invaluable) for me - someone who has been sewing for a few years, but has no experience in couture or wedding dress sewing. (And after reading the chapter on sleeves, I'm SO thankful that Susan picked a sleeveless pattern!)

Of course, interspersed through all of this, I keep a close eye on the Message Boards on the Pattern Review website - in particular, the forum on "Bridal and Formalwear Sewing." For example, I used advice from this thread, click here, to decide what kind of fabric to use for my practice version of the dress (often called a muslin).

Thank heaven for the PR website! :)


akeobong said...

It's so trilling to read about this. I'm really so excited. Please how can I get this onlie lesson, how can I register please? My name is Mrs Akeobong Tunji, My email address is; I'll be most grateful if you can do me this favour.

akeobong said...

What I meant to say is, online and not onlie. that was a typeing error. that in a way goes a long way to tell you how desperate I am about this.Thanks.