Two years ago I signed up to do a City and Guilds Level 3 in Fashion at a local sixth form college. I already had an A level in Needlework and Dress from my school days, and of course many years experience, but I had only ever taught myself pattern cutting, (thank you Winifred Aldrich!) and wanted to expand my knowledge in that area. So, every Wednesday night for two years I pootled off to college, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I loved having that time to do something 'just because'. I met some fabulous people, not least my lovely tutor Heather Lightfoot.
The course included modules on pattern cutting, dressmaking, tailoring and art work. I loved having a reason to keep sketchbooks again. I have sporadically kept sketchbooks over the years, but it was wonderful to have a reason to sit with all my art work out and spend time more seriously on my 'research'. Something I hadn't done since leaving art college in 1991!
My final collection was based on the work of Japanese artist Utamaro, and included six dresses, Obi belts and an evening coat. I was thrilled to be marked a 'distinction' for each module and therefore a distinction overall.
If you are reading this and have pondered the idea of going back to college to learn anything, but especially a dressmaking course or similar, then I urge you to do so. Sadly so many adult education classes have been cut from Local Authority budgets, including the very course I have just completed. Such a shame too, but if you find one, enrol, you'll love it!