At first I was a little disappointed that we were restricted to jersey fabric but now I completely understand why (time constraints, primarily). I had an old, tatty bodycon dress from Whistles with a lovely shape to it which I had been hoarding for about three years for just this opportunity… if I hadn’t lost it somewhere.
Not to fear. I had an old faithful 1940s tea dress from Laura Ashley which had (by supreme coincidence) just developed a hole in the sleeve. Some nostalgic pictures of it in action:
The class was in two three-hour sessions (with cake and tea on tap). The first involved creating the pattern by measuring your existing dress (in tact, not to fear) and reproducing it onto pattern paper.
The dress I chose (by default really as I don’t own a lot of jersey) unfortunately was supremely complicated as (i) it was a-symmetrical thus increasing the number of pattern pieces required as you couldn’t always double up; (ii) it had pleats on both shoulders; (iii) it had extremely gathered sleeves; (iv) it was lined; and (v) it had darts/tucks on the bodice and the skirt.
Darts were the most instructive part of the session as in involved reverse-engineering the pattern to include extra fabric which was no longer visible/measurable in the finished dress (having disappeared into the dart). You had to mark where the darts met the seam on the pattern (using a template of the final dress) and then draw the line of the dart seam all the way to the opposite edge, cutting it as a long line. You then eked the paper apart to add in the max amount of your dart at the top seam and stuck an extra piece of paper in the gap to represent the full amount fabric. You could then retrace around that for the final pattern piece.
[Photo to follow]
Homework was to cut out. I chose a lovely Liberty jersey, called Polly Genevieve A Dufour Jersey, which is beautiful but also a pain to sew as it is very silky in weave and consequently jams up the overlocker every two seconds.
The class was generally at an intermediate level and assumed some prior sewing knowledge. Thankfully I have an overlocker at home so could finish it myself after the class ended or I would never have managed it!
Altogether I was very please with result: