Dress Pattern Cutting
with Alice & Co
Sun 27 March £100
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
This class will use Dame Vera’s wardrobe to explore the way the fashionable silhouette changed through the decades of the 20th Century. From the classic feathery ‘flapper dress’ from when she was 11years old, through the boxy tailored war time styles, the quintessentially glamorous fitted designs of the 1950s, to the relaxed floaty style of the 1970s. Taking Dame Vera’s wardrobe as inspiration this class will demystify the art of pattern-cutting, showing you how you can achieve all these styles from a single block. The day will culminate in a full-scale ‘pattern-along’ recreating Dame Vera’s iconic 1952 Little Black Dress (as worn on cover of New Musical Express announcing Dame Vera as the first non USA citizen to reach No. 1 in the Billboard) to your own measurements, with the option to go authentically vintage, or to tweak to a more modern style. At the end of the day you will leave with a full-scale self-drafted, pattern to your own measurements, ready to sew up in your own time, as well as buckets of ideas for how to create further designs inspired by Dame Vera. The class will include a guided tour of the exhibition with tutors Alice + Lilia. It’s sure to be a lot of fun!
No prior pattern-cutting knowledge is required, but you will want to have made a garment before. The class will be a perfect introduction to pattern-cutting for newbies or for the more experienced it will be a great chance to practice and hone your skills under the guidance of expert pattern-cutting tutor Alice Prier. The class will cover all the basic pattern-cutting techniques as well as offer lots of insights into fit, fabric choices and pattern design and drafting.
All materials will be provided, including a multi-size block for you to work from for the full-scale pattern recreation (the block size range is UK 6-22 – if you fall outside this please get it touch so we can accommodate you).
Approx outline of the day:
10.00-10.30am: tour the exhibition as a group, focusing on the garments and the design details/era-specific silhouettes (1920s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s).
10.30am-12.30pm: follow-along pattern-cutting demonstration – how to take a block and create the different styles seen in Dame Vera’s wardrobe. Alice/Lilia to demonstrate and students to follow along on pre-printed mini-blocks (A4 size).
1.15-3.30pm: full-scale ‘draft-along’ based on recreating the 1952 black dress in the exhibition. Students will learn how to draft this dress to their measurements from scratch. We plan to use heavy-weight tissue paper for this so that students can pin and fit the paper pattern as they go.
3.30-4.00pm: Trying on and admiring the paper patterns and any final questions.
Alice & Co Patterns are designed in London by mother and daughter team Alice and Lilia. Alice is a designer, pattern cutter and teacher, with over 30 years’ experience making fabulous made-to-measure clothes for women under her label Alice & Co.
Lilia has been making her own clothes since she could thread a needle, and now works as a Textile Conservation Display Specialist at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
In 2017 they co-authored Pattern Cutting Templated for Skirts and Dresses (Searchpress) and now split their time developing new pattern designs and teaching pattern-cutting classes in person and online. Fashion history is a particular source of inspiration and in 2019 they were delighted to be invited to design two free sewing patterns to compliment the V&A Mary Quant exhibition, (available now to download and sew at home!)
They believe that dress making should be fun, with fast and simple techniques so you can sew inventive and stylish outfits at home that fit well and you love to wear. They are passionate about demystifying the art of pattern-cutting to the home sewer through their classes and patterns and love to share how fashion history can inspire modern designs.