In my last post you'll have read how I decided to go to college to learn more about sewing, especially pattern cutting/drafting.
Please don't let me put you off, and think you have to go to college you don't. And although I loved my time on the two year course, I mostly used my own initiative as class sizes were so big.
However if a college near you does offer sewing/pattern cutting courses even if they are part time I would recommend it, it's highly addictive, fun and influential.
Now before you start thinking I'm some expert who been highly trained in sewing and pattern cutting I'm not (as long term readers will already know and have seen). The course I studied was a Btec (pronounced B-tec) National Diploma in Fashion and Clothing. For those of you familiar with the UK education system you will already know its an A-level equivalent qualification. Basically the exams you take in school when your around eighteen.
The course was more or less an introductory to sewing and fashion design. The course covered a little of everything: sewing, design/drawing, technical drawings, pattern drafting (only done in the first year) styling, costume and textiles. A bit like a taster course for all thing fashion and sewing.
The first few weeks were learning the basics. I already had the sewing under wraps from my self-taught adventures. We learnt more by doing samples, different seams, different darts, sewing pockets, collars sleeves and cuffs. The sort of things would find at the beginning of books like the sewing book or readers digest complete guide to sewing, nothing special.
Once I finished the course I realised there was a lot I hadn't learnt too. Although what I had learnt about pattern cutting was invaluable, that is an area where someone's help and advise is more than appreciated.
What I hadn't learnt in college were as follows, lining clothes, I always used facings in college so that was something I had to figure out myself. I had missed the lesson on pressing seams and clothes properly. (which I learnt through a very detailed blog post, not quite sure of the link though).
Gathering heavy fabrics was something else I had to figure out. There was no lessons on stretch fabric, patten cutting did not included grading which was a bummer as we had to work on standard size 12 blocks, amongst other things.
Again these were things I have picked up since finishing college by reading books and of course blogs!
So effectively whilst being taught and having someone at hand for advice is invaluable and helpful you can just as easily teach yourself, you just you need a little more patients and don't be afraid to try things even if you get things wrong it's all part of the learning and if you don't make mistakes, then you can't learn from them, even my tutor taught me that!!
I'm not sure if some of you are aware or not but I also do quite a few alterations for people, mainly shortening trousers, but I also take-in and let out clothes too. I've made cushion covers, children's clothes, baby blankets and dog coats. Now I wasn't taught that in college.
So do you want to see some of the things I made in college? Do You? Go on then here they are:
I will warn you over the two year period, I didn't make as many things as I assumed I would. In some ways it was disappointing, as I'd imagined I would of made loads of things, but it's just the way the projects are planned out, which means you only make what is line out in the criteria.
The waist coat project.
Urban trouser mission ( jeans style trousers)
Little black dress project.
My final major project (FMP) and most exciting projects of the course was entirely up to me in what I wanted to do. I choose romance, focusing on a Spanish element, and on the passion and desire side of romance. I loved this project and although it was double the amount of work, I was ecstatic with the final result.
Top and trouser designs
The dress made-up
The top and trousers made-up
Show-casing all my work for the FMP
I finished the course summer 2010. And whilst I had a brilliant time and learnt a lot, I've also learnt so much more since finishing it too using a mixture blogs, books and just plain trial and error.
And there we have it, a slightly lengthy one, but that's my story of how I learnt to sew :)
The previous two instalments are here;
Oh and a little secret, I've herd on the grape vine, that it's now very common for colleges and university to encourage students to set up blogs as part of their work. Mostly for an outside audience to have a look but secretly, I think more than anything tutors know how helpful, informative, encouraging and supportive us community of creative types, both readers and writers are, essentially aiding their students along I should think ;)
Have you ever taken any sewing/design courses to further your learning?