Sit and Sew with Susan Khalje and Kenneth King

Where to begin??? This was one of the best sewing excursions I’ve ever done. It was four days of sheer sewing bliss, punctuated by fun, adventure and frustration at the fact that there is no f***ing 14 inch spiral steel boning to be had on the island of Manhattan! But I digress

The class is taught by Susan Khalje and Kenneth King. “Class” is a bit of a misnomer. It’s more of a directed study. Students bring whatever projects they want to work on, and Kenneth and Susan help with all aspects of the project. Some of the projects included a Chanel style jacket (Kristine), a guipure lace skirt (Joanne), a strapless boned semiformal dress (Meg), pants, gowns, slopers, and lots of others. I’m telling you – it’s four days of sewing heaven! Oh yeah. The company is pretty good too.

If you read my blog earlier this month, you may know that I was out of commission for the first two weeks of August thanks to a bout of pneumonia. This had a two-pronged effect. First, it got me some reactions of, “You’re taking another week away from business???” Yes – it was paid for months ago. The pneumonia was an afterthought. Second, it meant that I, notorious procrastinator that I am, lost two weeks of doing nothing on my muslin and/or plans for my project. I lost my Marfy muslin, too, but that’s another story.

So I decided to go back to my original idea and make a lace bustier. I draped the pattern for the bustier on a dress form and I tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to adjust it on me. I figured Susan and Kenneth could help me with it, so I wasn’t too rattled by my inability to get it well fitted beforehand. Kristine pegged it when she said, “Don’t expect to walk away with many finished garments, as this class is all about quality, not quantity.” You can see from my last post that I came home with my bustier about half done. But the things I learned from Susan and Kenneth gave me the tools to tread where I never would have before. I’m almost to the point where I’ll insert the zipper and then I will do the lining, add the waist stay and then, I’ll have me one spectacular bustier to wear to singing gigs! I’ll do some blog posts all about the construction, no worries. But right now, check out some pictures from the class!

Each day started with a hands on lesson or a show and tell, and there were several breaks where Susan and Kenneth would demonstrate techniques. Here’s Kenneth showing off his broadtail coat:
Susan is next to him on the right. Here is a closeup of the broadtail/leather join, with his hand leatherwork. Fab-u-luss!

Susan and Kenneth worked with each student, and they were incredibly generous with their time and talent. Susan took me shopping for my lace and silk. How fabulous is that? Here she is working with Ellen, who was making a concert dress (she’s a violist).
Kenneth also brought in a Chado Ralph Rucci jacket that he bought at a flea market!!! I want to go flea market shopping with that man.
Here’s a detail from the jacket.
There are so many more things to say and show, but I don’t have time right now. I’ll post more progress and photos as the bustier comes together. I’m saving my pennies to try to go again next year. If you have the opportunity to work with either of these two wonderful teachers, don’t hesitate – do it!

Happy sewing!

About Gorgeous Things

I own an online fabric store, www.gorgeousfabrics.com. Everything else you need to know about me is what I tell you on my blog, darlings!
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