my sewing course – The Notes

The below notes are the results of a year’s work whilst studying for a city and guilds level 3 course. We had to pick a theme to focus on during the entire course. Mine was Dior. We have to integrate this theme in to each sample and also design, draft and make your own dress influenced by your theme.

I’ve posted throughout the year if you want to read through my blog to see them all. For those who don’t I’ve tried to gather everything here together. If you want to skip straight to the final work, please scroll down to the bottom of this page. I’ve started off with some mood board work to explore my theme, and then you can view more of my sample work and drafting experiences.

Mood Board work

jacket mood board

dress 1

dress 2

dress 3

embroider and bead

and another moodboard, but this time as a word document – some accessories! as no new look dress would have been complete without the under garments and shoes to carry it off.
accessories

Embroidery

I have now completed my first (ever!) attempt at embroidery using different stitches. I will never feel the same urge to browse the needlework patterns compared to dressmaking, but having that it wasn’t too bad. I think all of my basting stitching and handwork required with making clothing has paid off and made me more proficient in accurately wielding needle and thread.

I never envisaged taffeta as being a good base for embroidery stitches but you learn something new every day as they say…

The inspiration behind the design is my theme – the new look. To me the new look is all about beautiful objects which capture the eye. To bewitch.

So here it is:

Beading

I’ve (very slowly) been completing my beading sample. I must say, I have not been converted in to an ardent fan. It’s pretty, but apart from maybe adding a very small detail somewhere I can’t see me spending the hours (literally) on a really small area. I have dresses to make in the mean time!

The new look is again inspiration. I have tried to show a lady in a full skirted dress on the dance floor. The odd things on the left hand side are something my tutor says I must show examples of. I think they look like little caterpillars.

I think the face has not quite worked, but the rest is ok

I think the face has not quite worked, but the rest is ok

P1040103

Attempt two. A number of people have told my they can’t read this, but I’m still more pleased with the result compared to attempt one! It says “protect the american leg” and is a copy of a pplacard held by ladies protesting against Dior.

Free motion machine embroidery

Lesson one, best not to try this with black thread and red fabric with white polka dots. It doesnt come out very well. Alas, discovered this after attempting first sample. Anyway, have given this a shot, and discovered its not too bad! much easier then hand embroidery (quicker too) and something I think I actually have a chance at improving to a level where I can use it in some of my projects. The following picture is supposed to be based on Dior.

Can you see an hour glass, corset, rose, the number 8 (an important number to him) and my very poor attempt at writing his name?

Oh, one last thing, you dont need a fancy machine to try this!! you just need to be able to disengage your feed dogs (the little things under the needle which move your fabric along).

P1040011

Attempt two was more legible (literally) and more Dior linked. Recognise the quote anyone?

the famous quote

the famous quote

well, this page has been a little quiet recently. But fear not, the little brain cells have not been idle and have been busy churning through the masses of pictures I put together in my mini mood boards.

I’ve now mixed them all up in to one “big” mood board. It all needs to be stuck on to a big bit of card so please forgive the carpet. But I am pleased at how it is coming along.

I think I've now settled on "inspired by Dior" as it enables me to mainly focus on Dior, but also focus on other designers inspired BY him which broadens the field a bit

I think I’ve now settled on “inspired by Dior” as it enables me to mainly focus on Dior, but also focus on other designers inspired BY him which broadens the field a bit

I need to actually reprint the whole lots of photos on to better quality paper because this cheap stuff just curls and doesn’t look good. Not looking forward to this job!

Venice inspiration

As part of my trip to Venice I was determined to add some research to my course notes, which so far do not have anything which I would call “wow” factor. I thought a trip to Burano island (where they have 7 special lace stitches handed down through different families) would help solve this gap in my current work.

I met a very nice lady who hardly spoke any English at all, but I grasped enough to appreciate how much work went in to lace making and how little the ladies earn per hour. I find it extremely sad that two bottles of water is valued as equal to a piece of work which takes such craft and skill. There’s something wrong there!

Anyway, here are the two little pieces I got, each showing a very different style.

P1040078

P1040079

and if you like your beads…

Murano glass is famous around the world. They have dozens of shops on the island. Less easy to find is a place which sells loose beads. I finally found one which did, but the prices do not come cheap. These little pretties range from 30 (euro) cents to the “don’t think too deeply about it” 3 euro plus. I could have spent a LOT more than this on individual beads if I wanted to. The ones in the photo below are for two necklaces.

I got some tiny beads (plain black bag, and plain blue bag) for my own beading work and for a friend. But they won’t photograph well without opening up the bag, and they will go everywhere! so, when I have done some work with them you will get to see them in detail.

the shop owner has them stored in sweetie jars!

the shop owner has them stored in sweetie jars!

and now my own lace samples…

I’ve just finished two lace samples for the course. The idea is that you join two large pieces together and in the second one join a scalloped edge. The black lace is something I have worked with before (80% cotton) and has a lovely pattern. The second (blue) is not something I would use next to my skin. Polyester synthetic stuff, pretty – and thats about it!

you can see where the double layer is visible, and also where I can see more trimming is needed

you can see where the double layer is visible

not too bad if I may say so myself. Hopefully the tutor will agree!

not too bad if I may say so myself. Hopefully the tutor will agree!

Time to show some work on “the portfolio”

I’ve worked very hard the last week to try and make a start of my portfolio to showcase my samples and inspiration. Alas, my camera has decided to hide itself. So these are taken with the help of my computer.

Sample: didnt massively enjoy the amount of time this took. BUT another embroidery sample finished!

Sample: didnt massively enjoy the amount of time this took. BUT another embroidery sample finished!

sample: seam finishes X 12

sample: seam finishes X 12

inspiration: more Dior - collars

inspiration: more Dior – collars

inspiration: delicate layers

inspiration: delicate layers

Inspiration: love the draping and buttons

Inspiration: love the draping and buttons

Inspiration: Dior dress and coats

Inspiration: Dior dress and coats

and here’s some more photos from various posts, now all in one place:

The inspiration dress that started me on my final design:

with ample help from my french curve ruler!

with ample help from my french curve ruler!

I forgot to draw in the waistband on the other side.

Next, me trying the fabric out that I want to use. Good job I got a meter at the time, I got lots of use out of it.

holds the fold well

holds the fold well

draped

draped

yes, those are clothes pegs. The easiest things to hand that would hold the fabric (its heavy, so not sure a few pins would do the trick)

yes, those are clothes pegs. The easiest things to hand that would hold the fabric (its heavy, so not sure a few pins would do the trick)

Another sample, this time altering my skirt pattern block to include pleats and tucks.

close up of pleats, all done in black thread so you can see where I've sewn

close up of pleats, all done in black thread so you can see where I’ve sewn

back

back

front

front

pattern pieces for contrast side pleats. Sew a standard seam allowance, then treat as normal pleat

pattern pieces for contrast side pleats. Sew a standard seam allowance, then treat as normal pleat

front pattern piece, showing pleat extension (1cm spacing)

front pattern piece, showing pleat extension (1cm spacing)

Pattern pieces for small scale (4:1) version of dress design.

front of circle skirt at bottom with front bodice

front of circle skirt at bottom with front bodice

top section of skirt is for the back, bottom section of skirt includes box pleats

top section of skirt is for the back, bottom section of skirt includes box pleats

modified actual size bodice block showing movement of upper dart (originally at shoulder seam).

modified actual size bodice block showing movement of upper dart (originally at shoulder seam). There is a waist dart in there, just not drawn on this piece.

The miniature dress, without collar of mock waist band added yet.

the front, look at that lovely full skirt! alas, not much bust shaping going on as this is a sleeve ham...

the front, look at that lovely full skirt! alas, not much bust shaping going on as this is a sleeve ham…

the front

the front

the back (with open ended collar)

the back (with open ended collar)

the back, this is where the waist band pieces meet, in the real thing there will be a zip

the back, this is where the waist band pieces meet, in the real thing there will be a zip

the front

the front

the collar pieces sewn together (with organza facing)

the collar pieces sewn together (with organza facing)

my attempt at drafting (the smaller piece is duplicate for the other side of the waistband)

my attempt at drafting (the smaller piece is duplicate for the other side of the waistband)

there's my first personally drafted placket!

there’s my first personally drafted placket!

Lapped zipper and placket sample.

two firsts. My first proper standard zip insertion (lapped) and also if you look at the back....

two firsts. My first proper standard zip insertion (lapped) and also if you look at the back….

Machine smocking sample

machine smocking this is SO much easier than hand smocking!

machine smocking
this is SO much easier than hand smocking!

My notes (written in fictional autobiographical format) for the portfolio so far.

Foreward

day 5 dior

pattern blocks Dior

Introduction dior

The full sized pattern pieces for the dress.

houston, we have take off. The bigger skirt piece includes the three inverted box pleats and the front over lap.

houston, we have take off. The bigger skirt piece includes the three inverted box pleats and the front over lap.

front and back bodice, before modification

front and back bodice, before modification

front and back bodice pieces. The front now has the triangle front centre piece added. The long pieces will be the mock waist band. The oddly shaped frisbee shape is the collar.

front and back bodice pieces. The front now has the triangle front centre piece added. The long pieces will be the mock waist band. The oddly shaped frisbee shape is the collar.

the front

the front

the back, still need to decide on the angle of the ends - watch this space

the back, still need to decide on the angle of the ends – watch this space

all bodice pieces read to be cut out, apart from the longest section of the mock waist band

all bodice pieces read to be cut out, apart from the longest section of the mock waist band

First fitting!

the side, once I get a lining added (on the real thing) I think things will lie more smoothly. This is quite thin toile fabric.

the side, once I get a lining added (on the real thing) I think things will lie more smoothly. This is quite thin toile fabric.

the front

the front

the side

the side

the back. Note to self, cotton will crease when left on bed hastily.

the back. Note to self, cotton will crease when left on bed hastily.

Full sized sample of side pleats to check that they work as intended.

Photo on 2013-05-23 at 22.33 #2

My beading sampl

P1040124

The final notes (or what the tutor saw!) 

What you are about to read next is what I submitted to my dressmaking course tutor. Apologies if it doesn’t come out all perfectly formatted. I use a program called Open office and have to convert the program in to Microsoft word. Things don’t always translate well.

Something else which may confused, any pictures I cut out and added to my portfolio are not visible here, so if you see text but no picture, this is why. I’m still waiting for my tutor to give my work back – but this is most of what there is to see. I hope you enjoy reading…….

Foreward

introduction-dior-1

Day one

day 2&4&6

pattern blocks Dior (day three)

mini skirts and other samples

day 5 dior

day 7

evaluation

health and safety Dior (includes bibliography)

Yamamoto (short biography, I had to include lots of photos with comments written by hand)

Lacroix (short biography, I had to include lots of photos with comments written by hand)

About sewwherenext

A few years ago I signed up for a year long beginner's dressmaking course. I have never looked back and am always thinking about my next project, hence the sew where next? name. This blog is to try and keep track of my trials, tribulations and hopefully successful projects.

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