This intermediate hand-sewing course is inspired by the work of 'Les Petite Mains'; the collective of seamstresses who stitch by hand from start to finish and with meticulous attention to detail, the garments and accessories of 'Les Ateliers Couture'...
Taught by: Lara Ashley.
This intermediate hand-sewing course is inspired by the work of 'Les Petite Mains'; the collective of seamstresses who stitch by hand from start to finish and with meticulous attention to detail, the garments and accessories of 'Les Ateliers Couture'. Suitable for anyone looking to perfect their hand sewing skills, by the end of this course students will have produced a series of hand stitched reference samples on silk; a finished wedding dress in quarter-scale, and a quarter-scale tailors dummy to present and photograph it on.
We will start with a day to get to know each other whilst making the miniature tailors dummies, visiting the college library to explore volumes of 1960's Vogue and starting to make a variety of 'typically bridal-wear' hand stitched fabric flowers.
For the rest of the week we will explore decorative techniques such as embroidery on tulle; sequin, bead and appliqué lace; make samples of the different types of seams, hems and fastenings best used when working with silk, and visit the Clothworkers Centre at the Victorian & Albert Museum to examine a selection of hand stitched vintage wedding dresses, kept in the museum's archive.
Students will choose from a selection of original 1960's wedding dress patterns that have been reduced down to quarter scale; deciding on which fabrics to use; checking the measurements of their tailors dummy against those of their pattern and making adjustments to the pattern where needed, before laying out and cutting in cloth.
Whilst learning how to follow a garment construction guide, students will work independently as they fit and stitch together the components of their dress. There will be demonstrations on how to create fullness with padding and layers of bridal tulle; how to attach 'Rigelene' and 'Crin' for shaping and extra support and how to 'bag out' linings.
On the last day a backdrop will be set up so that photographs can be taken, of each finished quarter-scale wedding dress presented on it's own quarter-scale tailors dummy.
Other topics covered:
- How to keep a construction journal
- Identify fabric with a burning test
- Make and attach rouleau loops
- Layer fabrics to create a particular tint of white
- Dye with tea and coffee for a more vintage look
- How to increase your quarter-scale pattern to full-size and vice versa
Entry requirements: Confident hand-sewing skills
We recommend that students who have never stitched by hand before prepare themselves by also enrolling on Hand-Sewing for Couture and Bespoke Fashion.
- Students will be expected to continue with their hand-stitching between lessons, so please allow time to do this.
- We will not be making full-scale or corseted wedding dresses on this course
- We will not be using sewing machines
As a note of interest: Throughout history, costume designers and couture designers have often worked with scaled down patterns to generate ideas and/or present their work. This course is taught in a standard UK size 12, reduced down to quarter-scale.Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older
Lara Ashley has worked in the bridal industry for over 14 years, before moving into luxury and couture fashion. Over the years she has worked on many collections for LFW designer such as Julien Macdonald, Erdem and Preen. As well as establishing her own bridal and evening wear brand Audrey Ashley Couture, She Currently freelances as a senior Couturier and fitter for couture designer Ralph and Russo where she has been involved in their last 9 collections for Paris Couture Fashion week.
Please bring to the first session:
- Notebook and pencil
- Pair of small sharp scissors
- Pair of medium size fabric sheers
- Box of clean pins
- Selection of household needles
- Real white cotton
Please note that all fabrics will be provided for you