Skip to main content

Couture dress

A few weeks ago I registered for the online course “The Couture Dress” by Susan Khalje.



It was highly recommended by me by Joana, one of the ladies from the “Brussels group” last year and with whom I spent the most enjoyable bra sewing Saturday 2 weeks ago.

The course includes Vogue pattern 8648, which makes it extra worthwhile, but even without the pattern the course is worth every cent you pay for it (personal opinion!).

Until yesterday I have only been watching the lessons and didn’t do any work on it myself. I now can not recommend this class enough, it’s the next best thing to having a personal lesson from Susan Khalje. The video’s are clear, Susan is a very experienced teacher (apart from being a master of sewing of course) and explains very clearly what she's doing, how and why. The video's are long, she takes her time, no rushing through steps. Couture isn’t about rushing either!

I haven’t finished watching all the lessons, I have a few more to go. This is not a beginners course and it involves a lot of work to make a dress like this. Susan uses a plaid fabric for construction and gives a lot of tips and tricks for matching the plaids as well, a real bonus. If you’re a more experienced sewer (I think I am) there are some things you know already of course, but a lot of new things as well. The underlining and the process how and why were almost all new to me, I have never done that before.

This is a screenshot from all the lessons included and the length of them.


As it takes all this work, I think I’ll make a black dress, as one “ought” to have a basic black dress in the wardrobe and these are no techniques to make a one-season dress. After all the work you have to put into it, you will want a dress that will last a bit longer than that, at least, that’s how I feel about it. And some of the techniques can be used for other garments too, they don’t apply to a dress only.

I will be posting about my progress, though it won’t be a continuous line of posts as I will take my time with this too and probably will do a few things in between because I want to fit the muslin together with someone else and because I don’t have all that I need yet. I have to buy fabric for it and see whether I have enough silk organza. It will be a great experience to do this.  I’ll tag my posts with “couture dress”.

Stay tuned if you’re interested.


  1. I am definitely interested and look forward to reading more about your progress through the course and black dress.


  2. I'm interested too. Just got to find the time to take it.

  3. I took this course earlier this year and I loved every minute. I learned a huge amount and I hope you get as much as I from it.

  4. I can't wait to read all about your progress through this project. It sounds very interesting. And fun too!

  5. Sounds great, Sigrid. I will be following. I am going to sign up as well. My dress will be a long term project as well.

  6. I signed up and got my pattern a couple of weeks ago. I have looked at some of the lessons and they do look good - I just need a clear date in the diary to work on this. Will use my black wool crepe I bought from Linton Tweed.

  7. I've signed up too! It's hard to find waxed marking transfer paper. This will definitely slow me down!

  8. I took this course and loved it. There is a LOT of hand-sewing for the lining. I learned a lot and got a dress that fits really well. I can't wait to see yours.

  9. I have signed up for this one too. Been watching the videos and can't wait to get started!

  10. Be careful with the shoulder width. A woman I took the fit clinic with said that she took the course and made the dress. It falls off her shoulders and she does not have narrow shoulders. I did suggest she use lingerie straps.
    I look forward to your progress reports.

  11. I've just signed up for this class, and I'm watching the videos for now, but I'll be following your progress. Susan is a great teacher and I love her videos.

  12. I'm doing this course too. I am finding it a revelation. I notice you posted about carbon paper. I bought some online from America from Richardthethreads. It was the same as the sheets Susan uses.

  13. This is a great course. I watched all the videos, but did not make the dress. The one thing I did not agree with Susan on was leaving the wide seam allowances on the wool dress after fitting was complete. Her daughter was tall and thin and the extra bulk probably was not an issue for her. I felt it would be on me.


Post a Comment

Comments are very much appreciated! I read all of them, try to answer the questions but don't always have time to react to comments.

Popular posts from this blog

How to sew a sleeveless top with facings

Edit to make this post only about the technique, not my ramblings on other subjects.
This is about making a sleeveless cowl neck top with a facing for both the front and the back. In this way no special finishing of the arm holes is needed. This method is based on Carolyn’s way of making a top with all seams enclosed.

Let me show you how to do this. It’s a good reminder for myself too, I forget when I haven’t done it in a while.
First you need a pattern that has a facing for the back that extends below the armhole. Also the front facing has to extend below the armhole. Easy enough to adapt a pattern, just trace a line about 5 cm (2 inches) below the armhole. The photo below shows you the facing of the back

Step 1: stabilize the back neckline of the back pattern piece

Step 2: with right sides together, sew the neckline of the back and the back facing, press but do not topstitch

Step 3: With right sides together, sew the armhole of the front to the armhole of the front facing.

Step 4:…

Pants fitting, part 1

First, I'd like to thank all who commented on the fitting issues for my pants. I did look at Debbie's site and somehow thought it would not be the "one" answer to my problem, as I've become convinced that there is no one-step solution for me. But I think I have found part of the solution there. Tonight I spent adapting my pattern and making a muslin.

My starting point, after reading all the information was the Threads issue of January 2006, an article by Joyce Murphy Adjusting pants from waist to seat. In this article she describes "body space" as an important point in fitting pants. And it does make sense to me, as women have very different shapes. One needs more space in the front, and others (like me) more in the back.
The picture above shows the body space in my pattern, which is 15 cm. I tried to measure my own bodyspace by taking two rulers, and it is 19 cm, which means that 2 cm more is needed (half of the extra width in the pattern). The article d…

A new to me pattern company

If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time you know I’m not too much into Indie designers. After the initial hype a few names/brands have survived that offer more than just a simple pencil skirt at a ridiculous price. I still haven’t tried many but this time I was intrigued enough to buy the Wenona shirt pattern from Named Clothing.I saw a review on this shirt that made me look further. Must have lived under the proverbial rock because I’ve never seen or noticed it before and it has some nice details and there are some nice variations to be found (here and here for example). Though I’m certainly not the first one to try this pattern, I’ll post my experiences with it in this and upcoming posts. The pattern is a pdf pattern. I’m not fond of them, but have grown accustomed to the idea that it’s the way it is now. Sometimes it is instant gratification if you want the pattern fast or don’t want to pay high shipping costs.Notes on the pdf fileAvailable in English and FinnishLots of inst…