Friday, 3 June 2011

Advice which course (if either) to take????

Now my accounting technician course is coming to and end, I have more free time (yay!).  However I am a learning addict, I need to be studying something, academic, creative, practical whatever really as long as I’m using my brain in some way.  So because I’m finishing off this qualification there now is a hole in the self improvement / studying / learning part of my life.  I want to fill this whole, but my question is with what?

Sewing of course is the answer :o)

My local college is running evening classes from September in both dressmaking and pattern cutting.  The courses run for 30 weeks (so a full academic year), and aren’t cheap so I can only do one.

Now my sewing productivity level is pretty low at the moment, and I am hoping that I will be able to improve this anyway thanks to my soon-to-be-completed sewing space and my lack of other studying commitments now.  But I am still fairly inexperienced on anything beyond the basic sewing techniques, so I think a sewing course where I could make an item of clothing over a few weeks with my instructors help would be great.  However, if the course doesn’t include help with fitting I’m not so keen.  This is something I will need to find out as the blurb doesn’t say, but fitting is a major bug bear for me, and if I have to sort that bit myself at home (i.e. we just sew in class and nothing else) then I’m less keen.

Next option is pattern cutting.  It says you start with a skirt block in the first term.  I am guessing you move on to a bodice block after that.  Again details are sketchy, this is all the info on the website at the moment:
"Each term we will look at how to create patterns for a different garment, beginning in the autumn term with skirts. Learn how to draft a basic pattern from your own measurements and how this can be adapted to different styles".
I think having a block pattern could be really handy, especially after seeing Rachel's post on how she uses hers to compare against commercial patterns, to work out adjustments needed.  However I don’t really want to “self-draft” anything at the moment as I just don’t have those skills.  But then again will this course teach me these skills?  Is it really worthwhile having a block pattern of yourself?  I just don’t know!!!

What do you guys think??


  1. Hmm. I'd phone up see if you can get more info on exactly what they are covering. On first glance I'd say Miss P could probably cover a lot of what would be in the pattern course! But then again maybe the sewing course might cover a whole lot of stuff you already know. I'd definitely see if you can talk to the course leader, get more info, as you said, you'll be paying for it!

  2. I'd do the dressmaking one. There's a pattern draft-along you can do over at Miss P's blog, see the button on my side bar. I think getting your confidence with sewing in general would be a real boost to you, if you're anything like me, and then take risks in self drafting and learning from other blogs. There's always some kind folk out there willing to give advice on fitting and think you'd find it more useful to get your sewing skills more honed before tackling drafting.

    Hope this helps! Oh, and I'm very jealous as the only dressmaking course in a 20 mile radius of me are either full time or during the day. Boo Hoo!

  3. Hmm that's good advice, i don't want to try and run before I can walk. They aren't taking enrolments for evening courses yet anyway (i'm just super keen), but i will definitely try to speak to the course leader before parting with any cash. I am erring on the side of the dressmaking course at the mo though.

  4. My advice would be dressmaking too. I did a beginner's dressmaking course and although we didn't make toiles, the course tutor was very good at helping us with fitting. Re the pattern cutting course, I know Kate at M is for Make took that same course, she's very lovely and am sure would give you an idea of what it entails if you e-mailed her. x

  5. Hey Laura, I agree with the ladies above. Do call up and see if you can find out more, but the dressmaking one sounds like a really good place to start. You'll be amazed by how many basic (and not so basic) techniques you'll get to master and I'd be surprised if your tutor didn't cover/help fitting.

    Of course, the quality of the of the course will really depend on how good the tutor is too. I first attended a 'Sewing for Pleasure' course which was really informal, but taught me a lot. Then I wanted to challenge myself by taking a 'Pattern Cutting' one, but sadly the tutor was a bit naff and I feel I could have learned a lot more.

    Sorry for the long comment, hope it hasn't confused you!!!

  6. I think the resounding advice is the dressmaking course. You might find that in itself it's helpful in so much that it gives you dedicated sewing time :-)

  7. Hi Laura! I used the Aldrich book during my pattern drafting course at college. It's quite comprehensive in terms of the variations included for all the different blocks but I'd say that without my tutors "translation" of some of the terms and processes I'd have struggled to follow it. There's a pattern drafting author called Cal Patch that I hear good things about. Might be worth checking out?

  8. Hi Law, I have both Winifred Aldritch's book and Cal Patch. Winnifred's book is really comprehensive, but you might need some "interpretation" as Miss P said. But then again, it depends on you, and how fast you can work things out. I'm sure between the book and Miss P's draftalong, you will be able to sort yourself out.


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