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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Couture Trouser Class with Jon Moore

L-R: BAD, Jon Moore, and Lady T
Some days you hit it lucky. You’re in the right place at the right time. That was me last summer when the email from Kathryn Brenne’s Academy of Fine Sewing popped up on my computer announcing the Couture Trouser Class with Jon Moore. I jabbed the Reply button so eagerly, I almost dislocated my finger.

Good thing my reflexes were so fast; the class sold out immediately. Anyone who hesitated or was vegging on vacation ended up on the waiting list.

They missed a most excellent class.

As I discovered last year when I took his Couture Jacket Tailoring class, Jon is a fabulous teacher. Skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced – he’s also surprisingly modest. I didn’t realize why he was so skilled, knowledgeable and experience until after last year’s class when I googled him. Most people talk up their credentials, but not Jon, not even on his own website. He didn’t just work for The Royal Couturier Hardy Amies, he was a Royal Couturier. (Just imagine, he’s custom fit me and the Queen! Now that’s a not-to-be-expected-in-this-life combination.)

My trouser draft

As a student, I especially appreciated his inexhaustible patience and his ability to explain why one (time-consuming) technique was used instead of another (simpler). By the way, the answer always centred around control of the fabric, which reigns supreme in couture sewing.

For the first step, I drafted a pattern using my personal measurements. The crotch curve was the trickiest line to get right. Jon corrected the line on my draft, then further refined it on my muslin. The end result was something that looked like it had truly been designed for me. (Not too surprising, since it had, but it still came as a shock that my pants fit so well.)

My dainty behind highlighted in muslin
Once my pattern had been adjusted, I cut out the pieces from the softest, lightest, drapiest wool flannel ever. No lining for the legs, though. Jon feels that lining interferes with the fabric’s ability to stretch and drape. Plus it’s very difficult to press lined trousers. If a lining is needed, he prefers the wearer to don a trouser “slip”.

Immediately after the trouser pieces had been cut out, I finished the raw edges with a simple zigzag stitch, with the zig on the fabric and the zag falling off the edge. Alternate methods: hand overcasting (traditional couture seam-finishing technique that barely changes the hand of the fabric), or serging (standard RTW and/or home sewing technique that can be stiff and bulky). As I always race the clock during classes (and usually lose), I was happy to use the quick, but still unobtrusive, zigzag option.

Lined fly and yet-to-be-lined contour waistband
The zipper fly was constructed with two separate facing pieces plus a lining. The lining wrapped around the fly facing creating a mock piping edge. It was a time-consuming construction process but unbelievably elegant.

By far, the lined contour waistband took the longest to construct, involving oodles of basting, stab-stitching, crossing-stitching and fell-stitching. The entire waistband was interfaced with canvas, giving the rest of the pants a firm foundation from which to hang. Again, it’s a time-consuming technique but oh so elegant!

SAW from Ohio
KH from British Columbia

Lady T's squishy tushy (Hey! How did those drag lines get there?)
All in all, it was a fab week. I ended up with a great fitting pattern, a fuller understanding of couture sewing, and the inspiration/synergy that comes from spending a week with a dozen highly creative people. 

    - Lady T


  1. Amazing! I am in deep, deep envy! The pants look fabulous, like a million bucks! This is the kind of experience you treasure for a lifetime. Well done!

  2. Those are GREAT pants. The fabric is amazing and the fit is absolutely gorgeous. (And the difference between the muslin colour and the grey is intersting, too. Must be a fabric thing?) That looks like a great class. Thanks for posting!