I love spending a Saturday afternoon in Islington. To me it’s the perfect small town within London. There is a good mix of shops with high street chains interspersed with independents and some interesting restaurants. My favourites are Loop – the best knitting shop in London, Ottolenghi’s for divine food, Twenty Twenty One which sells beautifully designed furniture and gifts, Bill’s also selling divine food, a French clothing company whose name I can’t remember and Raystitch.
Raystitch is at 99 Essex Road and sells a wonderful collection of fabrics, patterns and haberdashery and last night I went there for my first Pattern Cutting evening class. I have signed up for four classes, yesterday’s involved making a personalised skirt block and next week we use it to draw up some basic skirts. The next two classes are similar but about the upper body. I am hoping I can also sign up for trouser classes at a later date. Originally three people had signed up for the first class but two of them dropped out at the last minute which meant I had private tuition
Alice, the tutor, runs a business making bespoke clothing and she was wearing a beautiful red silk and linen suit she’d made for herself. She also designed clothes for the Tootsie Rollers who I saw in action a couple of weeks ago at the open air cinema in Kew.
We started by looking at a number of skirts Alice had made using her own block and discussed some of the basics. We then moved on to drawing out a block to my measurements on calico. This was stitched up, a few tweaks were made to get a perfect fit and then it was unpicked and separated into a back and front half piece. We then copied this on to dot and cross paper to give me my block. After a quick sandwich and glass of wine we sat down to discuss the principles behind moving darts etc. to get different effects.
Next week I’m taking in a couple of patterns so Alice can show me how I can use the block to check fit prior to making up. I’m also going to hunt out some pictures of skirts so we can practice making some mini calico models using the blocks as a starting point.
I can heartily recommend this course as I learnt a lot and am keen to start using some of the principles. Alice is very knowledgeable and is a good teacher. I see the bodice workshop still has some places open if anyone is interested.