If you’ve been following my Insta feed over the weekend, you’ll know that I’ve been at Ray Stitch in London for the Introductory Pattern Cutting class with Alice Prier. And what fun I’ve had.
Obviously it’s a bit of a commitment for me to take a class in London. Not only am I leaving my family to their own devices, but there’s the cost of transport, accommodation and food. Dave bought me this workshop for Christmas, (as well as a raft of yarny goodness) and I’m so happy he did. He’s pretty awesome, you know!
So I travelled down on the Friday night, which meant I was on the doorstep bright and early. I’ve done some pattern cutting before, but rather unsuccessfully, using the Winifred Aldrich book as my starting point.
This time, we were using the Telestia method invented by Anastasia Vouyouka. Coupled with Alice’s vast experience in the industry, it promised to be an interesting adventure.
The range and quality of fabrics is amazing. My local fabric shop is stuffed with novelty prints and stiff cottons, and then I have Abakhan. So walking into Ray Stitch was a joy. Beautiful knits, linens, cottons and wools. Subtle prints and wearable colours. Great quality and all the haberdashery you need to complete your garment. And fabulous service too. The team are amazing!
Whilst I can’t be in Islington every time I want fabric, I know I can order online without worrying about quality. Such a good feeling.
Saturday – drafting the block
We started the morning taking just a few measurements, far fewer than you would imagine, and then set to work with the Telestia tool, drafting a bodice and skirt block as a full dress.
And then adding in a sleeve.
We started at 10 in the morning and by 5pm all six students had completed their blocks, constructed a toile and fitted them. And when I say ‘fitted’, I was the only one that needed a couple of minor tweaks. We brought the shoulder in a smidge and took a tiny wedge out of the back waist as I’m very flat at the back. I also need to add the tiniest slither to the hips to remove the small drag lines.
At this point I’ll admit to being absolutely astonished. Six very different figures, no real experience in pattern cutting, and yet in one day we all had working blocks ready to go.
On Alice’s recommendation, I spent the evening in a splendid local restaurant, and refuelled on excellent food and a cheeky glass of red.
Sunday – designing with the block
Sunday was equally mind blowing. How to take the block and make the patterns for the clothes you want to wear. And also how to use it to tweak commercial patterns to fit too.
To demonstrate the principles, Alice reverse engineered the jacket one of my colleagues was wearing. In less than 20 minutes she drafted a pattern for an identical jacket. All the while Alice was clearly explaining what she was doing and sipping tea.
Now, I appreciate she has a world of experience that I don’t, but even so, the process was so clearly demonstrated that I’m confident I could put the concepts into practice, albeit a bit more slowly.
I headed home on Sunday with a head full of ideas and new methods ready to put into practice, and a bag of fabric and the Telestia design books and tool.
Alice is an amazing teacher, and so generous with her skills and knowledge. If you get the chance to do a class with her I highly recommend you take it. I’ve been faffing around with pattern cutting for years, and never really ‘got’ it…but Alice has made it seem accessible and doable, and I’m excited to finish the project I’m working on and start designing my first garment. I’ve already started the sketches on my MyBodyModel croquis.