Oh, how I love Morley College. Earlier this year, following such favourable reviews from Melissa about the Pattern Magic course as Morley, I enrolled in Pattern Making - Beginners. The beginners classes at Morley are for those with no or little previous skills, or those wishing to brush up on their skills, which was the category I fell into. As a self-taught pattern cutter, I wanted to compare my skills and techniques to those taught by the professionals, as well as forcing myself to get some regular practice in.
As a 13 week course, the first couple of weeks were a very gentle introduction- learn to use a set square, draft a Dirndl skit, then draft a tailored skirt block, in both full size and half size. We all drafted a size 12 block, for consistency and to reduce confusion- we had a very mixed ability in the class, so it made sense. With everything from fashion graduates to those who had neither any pattern cutting or sewing experience (seriously, how awesome is it that someone who can't sew would sign up for a technical class like this?!), making sure everyone was working from the same page was important. It's very much a flat pattern cutting class- while we did cut out a toile for the basic block (which I eventually sewed up), we haven't done any other sewing. For me, that's perfect- the sewing skills aren't what I need practice on (usually...!), but it's something to be aware of if you're hoping for more sewing.
From there, each week concentrated on a particular skill or skirt style- adding or removing flare, adding pleats, moving/removing darts, waist treatments, etc. Our tutor, Linda Powell, is very experienced, and does a great job of talking to a particular student's needs- everyone progresses each week.
I've learnt a lot from the class. Most reassuringly, I learnt that I was doing the right thing (hooray!), and that I do understand the underlying principles in the way that I thought I did. I've also refined some of my skills- marking notches, for example, is much quicker now than it was before, as I've worked out the quickest way to use them. Maybe this is obvious to everyone but me, but I always used to cut out a little wedge of fabric at the notches (protuding from the seam allowance, not into it). Now, I just cut a little snip into the seam allowance. Mind = blown. I've also been able to have a lot of really interesting conversations with both Linda and the other students- about sewing, what people look for in patterns, how people go about learning the skills they want.
Each term focuses on a different block- skirt in autumn, bodice in winter and trousers in the spring. I'm sad that I won't be around to take the bodice and trouser classes- the regular practice is really valuable for me. The bodice classes with Linda are already booked up, but there's a Friday evening session still available with a different tutor- I definitely recommend signing up if you're interested. Morley courses are really well priced compared to some others in London, and the quality is great. If I had one wish, I'd wish for a little more room to spread out by having a few less people in the class, but I guess they need to make their Central London rent somehow!
P.S. That Vionnet book in bottom right corner of the top picture is stunning- check it out if you ever get a chance.