Susan Khalje Australian Tour 2017

Like most women I know I work and mummy and that leaves little time for folly. Sewing is my folly.  But at home my folly is interrupted by general home stuff.

I’ve dreamed of going to Baltimore since reading Poppykettle’s blog in 2014? However realistically the time required ajust hoped Susan would continue working long enough to buy me some time (like 15 years).

So when Melanie announced on IG that Susan was coming to Australia: there was only one thing to do. FEED MY SOUL.
I ummed and ahhed about what to enroll in. Couture techniques, guipure skirt, French jacket, couture week. I felt I could only do one as my kids and husband would surely die from missing me.
I knew the skirt class was on craftsy and that a French jacket class was coming and I wanted to actually produce something so I went to the 6 day couture class.
I then spent a wonderful several months musing over what to make. I wanted to learn new skills (I’m thinking lace, velvet, gazaar) , but I also wanted a workhorse. In the end someone one bought my head from the clouds to reality. Little black dress.  I decided to knock off of the Rouland Moret Galaxy Dress ( 20th anniversary this year) which had demonstrated is ability to stand the test of time.
I used vogue 8280
 Capture 1

I followed the  instructions Susan sent, whihc are very detailed, and takes a fair bit of time to trace the seam lines of the pattern, then thread trace with a machine, then assemble. I started with a 12 which was a touch too tight (see below) so remade a 14.


I then stalked Emma one Sock and Mendelg Goldberg for qulait discounted fabrics. I bought some Theory wool crepe and some black scuba from EOS ( i have seent hs dress doen in scuab a few times, and it is te bomb) I also scored some “cutoure” black stuff from Mendel Goldberg, whhc when it arrived was quite bling, ine sid emore than the other.

I was a bit apprehnesive aboqut working with the grande dame of couture classes, but Susan is a delight. No ones skills or ideas are unworkable. No disaster can’t be fixed. She dealt with all our skillsets and patterns and fabrics and tears  with expertise and grace and joy. It was wonderful.

Susan led off by discussing herself, coutoure sewing “anything less is a compromise”, qnd we introduced ourselves. Then we introduced our projects and fabrics. Typical of my inability to make decisions, I produced all 3 fabrics. Susan warned me off scuba and remined by others than it might be a bit inqpporpiate for Perth weather. I was encourage by Susan, and basically bullied by the other stdents to use the cutoure fabric, bling side!

The process starts with us putting on our muslins, in which fitting changes are made on the body. The muslin becomes the pattern, and that is transfered onto silk organza. The silk organza is thread basted to the fashion fabric along the seam lines, which is cut with massive seam allowances. The garment is assembled, for further fittings, before finally being sewn, and finished with lots of hand sewing.


Its time consuming, but allows for a fabulous fit, and precision. The zip was hand picked ( or pricked, but that word makes me chuckle).

I spent 6 days holed in a room with 12 very messy women who love sewing. They were Ace.
Despite the fun did I achieved my goals? I didn’t sew with lace , valvet or gabardine. I didn’t sew anything technically challenging. But I did almost complete a garment (now have) so that’s a win. I learned a lot about fitting myself and tips about how my body may change as I age. I do have a fitted dress pattern that could become both a top and skirt block. I learned couture techniques and slow sewing.  I now have the confidence to THINK that if I take my time, and don’t cut corners, I can produce almost anything I want. ( we’ll see)
So I think that’s a success.
But more importantly I fed my soul with a heap of fab chicks from our awesome sewing community.
 In hindsight a jacket or pant pattern would have been awesome to have. But who doesn’t need a LBD?

I’ve signed up to both the Craftsy skirt class and Susan’s French Jacket class. (added to the “to make list” 2017).

The good news is Susan reckons she’ll be working to 110!  I can’t wait to go again!
Ramble over.
Update: I entered this in the Perth Royal Show, and won highly commended,


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