Saturday, May 24, 2014

Susan Khalje online class

About two weeks ago Susan Khalje released her first video class on her own website. This first class is for a cocktail dress, made from a pattern that you receive with the class. I was offered this class for free (lucky, lucky me and a big Thank you to Susan Khalje!) and as I had loved the couture dress class at Craftsy and having heard so many good stories from those who have attended a class in person, I certainly accepted the offer. Even though I don’t really have a need for a cocktail dress in the near future I was sure it would be a great experience (best thing apart from taking lessons from Susan Khalje in person).
I have not yet watched the complete course, but would like to share a my impressions on the course so far .
The class is about making a dress with couture techniques. Susan Khalje’s pattern shows 3 variations of the dress on the envelope. In the class she shows you the construction of the one shoulder dress. I like it, but would never make it, as it prompts the difficulty of the bra underneath for me. So I will make either view B or C when I start on this project. One of the things missing on the website is a clear picture of the dress (and its variations) prior to buying the class. I would also like to see views B and C made up.
That said you can of course use another pattern, the techniques covered are not specifically for this dress only. You’ll learn a lot that is useful in other projects too.
The course is detailed and clearly presented. It works from the muslin to the completed dress. There are detailed instructions for working with lace, how to work around the beads  (the lace Susan Khalje uses has lots of beads), how to finish, how to line and the little details that make it perfect.
A screenshot example of the subjects covered in the muslin chapter:
Contrasting thread is used in the video, which helps seeing it well and making it clear.
The pattern itself comes in sizes 4- 24, and because you will muslin it and have it fitted before you cut it from the final fashion fabric, it will be made to fit perfectly.
The pattern is printed on tissue paper. VERY important is that there are no seam allowances included. I love that, as I’ve written before I tend to cut off seam allowances when they are included or mark the seam lines anyhow. I have always liked to work with the actual seam line, mostly because that’s the way I learned it. European patterns always came (and usually come) without seam allowances.
The envelope and the pattern itself are not giving a lot of information. There is a size chart on the back in imperial values only. I’m very metric and have difficulty visualing every inch measurement that’s more than 4 inches (which is 10 centimeters), so it would have been helpful to have those too). Online conversion charts came to the rescue…
The course is not interactive like Craftsy courses are. I don’t think that is a problem as Susan Khalje presents the techniques well. When you buy the class you have 3 year access to the online videos. I don’t know the reasons why it’s limited but consider a class you take in person: when you leave the class you can’t go back and ask/see again wha’t’s done either. Making a lot of notes might be a good idea. And 3 years is quite a time to watch and watch again.
As it’s been some time since I watched Susan’s Craftsy class I’m not sure about all the differences. The initial steps of making the muslin are more or less the same, but the construction of this dress with lace is completely different. This morning I watched that part and it was great!
To me this is a great addition to the online resources about sewing high end (couture) garments and I’m looking forward to the other classes Susan Khalje is going to offer. There will be one or two that I will buy. It definitely is a great way to learn from a fantastic teacher when you’re (like me) too far away to take classes in person and want to take your sewing to a higher level.
Actually sewing this dress will be later in the year, I’m sewing up a storm (sewing mojo very much alive at the moment). Hope to show you 3 (!) summer dresses very soon.
Have a lovely weekend!


  1. Oh, I'm looking forward to seeing more about this sewing project ...

  2. I have Susan's Craftsy class (which I haven't watched entirely yet) so not sure if I have a need for this one. Will be interested to see what she has a lesson on next.

  3. nice review, and I look forward to seeing the dresses you are sewing now.

  4. I was just looking at this class on her site and am looking forward to the release of her others. I took her craftsy class as well, enjoyed it immensely and have a beautiful dress to show for it.

    Looking forward to watching your progress and hearing your impressions of her new format.

  5. Sigrid - Thank you for sharing this class. I'm not big on sewing cocktail dresses, but I wonder if she will be doing more on line classes in the future. Think I'll be paying a visit to her website to see what else she may be offering this summer.

  6. It should be an interesting experience, I look forwrd to reading your posts about it.

  7. Thank you for a nice review! I just finished taking her Classic French Jacket class in person last week (great experience) and she mentioned she will be filming a video for the jacket next week -- so there are more lessons to come. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress on this project!

  8. what a great opportunity for you - I am sure Susan will appreciate your candid review of the class - well done for being the one selected.

  9. Sigrid, thanks for sharing your review. I recieved an email from Susan Khaljie about her video classes.. I'm looking forward the couture jacket video class

  10. Thanks for sharing. I would love to get in on this class, but it seems you cannot buy it any longer. I did just buy her Craftsy class. Would love to take classes from her or go to Paris with her. I've heard great things. Looking forward to seeing your version of this dress. You have such an interesting blog with gorgeous pieces! I'm so intrigued.


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