The students' skill levels were very high -- a few had taken courses with Susan on prior occasions and a couple were sewing instructors who had been teaching for a number of years. I loved that everyone worked on such different projects: a classic French-style jacket (fringe + trim too); a sparkly chiffon jacket (rhinestones along CF!); a classic Dior vintage jacket (beautiful cobalt/black/gold fabric from France); a bustier top (perfectly sewn); a vintage-inspired dress (a beautiful burgundy color); a lace-trimmed dress (burgundy + gold); two LBDs (both black crepe and both fit perfectly); and a mother-of-the-bride dress of silk charmeuse underlined with crepe de chine. While no one completely finished their garments at the end of six days, everyone made great progress, with just a bit of finishing left to do. I'm sorry I don't have photos to share at this point, but if I receive some photos and permissions to use them, I will post later.
While I learned many new techniques and ways to improve my sewing skills, I was most impressed with Susan's ability to achieve a beautiful fit. Every body is different and has its fitting challenges, and watching Susan adjust muslins -- and seeing how well the final garment fit in fashion fabric -- was the best experience.
For me, the six days were all about working with lace. While I was apprehensive at first (I really didn't want to cut into that very expensive piece of lace!), by the last day, I was able to cut into my soutache lace fabric (for the trench) with nearly-wild abandon. For my pencil skirt, Susan helped me choose this wonderful wool lace fabric from Prada. Here, it is placed on top of black silk charmeuse with a muslin underlining.
The tricky part was aligning the scallops for the hem and making sure the front and back were lined up. With lace, I think the most important part is planning and thinking about how the lace is placed. I spent a lot of time making sure that the motifs were straight, aligned and hit the seam lines, top edges, etc. at attractive points. Precision is important here.
I learned how to applique the lace together to match the motifs along seam lines as closely as possible.
I learned how to hand-sew a zipper (I love this technique and will never machine sew a zipper again!) and use motifs to overlap and "hide" the zipper opening.
While I didn't finish the skirt at the end of the class, I did finish it last night, so when my photographer recovers from his illness (this is his second cold this season!), I'll be able to post some finished photos of the skirt.
Regarding the trench, I managed to cut out the pieces but still have a long way to go. Again, with lace, the planning and placing of the patterns on the lace is what takes time, which is what Susan helped me with during the class. Now I'll be ready to sew!