ABOUT ENGLISH COUTURE

English Couture was originally set up to provide the home dressmaker with quality products not available on the domestic market. I still continue to do this today. Some of the products are exclusive to us including Fusible Interfacings & our own Point Presser & Clapper, which is made here in Leicestershire by an expert craftsman. I brought together the products & the courses under one roof some years ago, so, now you can get the complete package in one go. Whether you are shopping & booking courses online, in person at the Syston shop or attending one of the many dressmaking & tailoring courses available, I try to maintain the highest standards I can. So you get the best service & expert advice possible.


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POPULAR COURSES

Six-Day-Tailoring

Ladies Professional Tailoring Six Day Course

Ladies Professional Tailoring Six Day Course is a tailoring course,...
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Advanced Bra Making

Advanced Bra Making, once you have done the Bra Making...
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Speed Tailoring the Michelle Pye Way

Two days to be introduced to Speed Tailoring. You will...
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The Sewing Guide That Helps You to Sew Like a Professional

The Sewing Guide course will help you to update your...
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Advanced Bra Making

Advanced Bra Making, once you have done the Bra Making...

FEATURED PRODUCTS

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Fine Sheer Fusible ECC21 Fusible Interfacing

£6.99
Fine Sheer fusible is a lightweight fusible interfacing which doesn’t...
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Bra Maker’s Manual ECB01

£69.99
Bra Makers Manual. Volume one includes tips on fitting and...
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Terrific Tailored Trouser DVD ECC86

£17.50
Terrific Tailored Trouser DVD The Terrific Tailored Trouser DVD will...
Coat Padding Small

Padded Coat Fabric ECF226

£9.99 m
Padded Coat Fabric. This fabric is perfect for making winter...
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Gift Card

£10.00£100.00
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Point Presser & Clapper ECP3

£32.99
Point Presser & Clapper The Point Presser & Clapper or...
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Swimwear Elastic – 6mm – 8mm ECL32

£0.39
Swimwear Elastic. These are waterproof elastics suitable for swimwear.  Also,...
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Supersoft Superior ECC19 Fusible Interfacing

£6.70
Supersoft Superior fusible interfacing is our most popular fusible interfacing....

LATEST BLOGS

Writing a Book

When I was around 4 or 5 years old my mum taught me to read. Ever since then I have been fascinated by books. My ambition was to at some point write my own. I’ve started several books but never got much further than a few thousand words. Imagine my excitement, in September 2019,  when out of the blue I was contacted by a company called  Crowood press by email asking if I would be interested in writing a book on tailoring. After a split second I wrote back saying yes. They had seen my website and decided to contact me to see if I was interested. I wrote a synopsis of the book I wanted to write, and I had a meeting with a lady called Rachel, she came  to Syston, and we had a meeting in the workroom above the shop. I then had to wait until she had a meeting with her boss, to see if the book could go ahead. About a week later I got an email to say that they wanted to go ahead with the book. I was teaching a class at the time the email came in and could not contain my excitement and blurted it out to the students on the course. I then had to swear them to secrecy, just in case I didn’t get the book finished. Thank you to those ladies and a couple of other people who I told. No one has revealed my secret. I was given until the end of October 2020 to get the writing of the book finished. Loads of time!!! I devised a plan as to how I was going to write it and took my notebook everywhere I went, including the hairdressers. My plan was to write all the instructions for making the jacket and then read them all to make a jacket. That way, I reasoned, I wouldn’t miss anything out. The first thing I came across that I hadn’t planned for was making the toile. I have lots of toiles in all the sizes for my courses. I’ll just use one of them. Of course that didn’t work, you can’t take making up photos of a finished garment. I spent ages playing with bits of pattern paper showing alterations. I was photographing them on my floor in my workroom at home. I then had to redo them all after sending proofs to the publishers as they didn’t like the wooden floor background. That meant I had to put a cloth down on the floor and had to make sure that the photo didn’t take in any of the surrounding floor. I continued to write and photograph the stages. I was amazed how much I’d missed out of the text, when I came to make up the jacket. The other thing which caused a problem was space. My workroom at home is not large,  and I needed photography lights to make the photos look better. Then lockdown happened, which was good for giving me a bit more time to write. I was planning to bring everything down to the shop for a bit more room but that didn’t happen. We had to make a bedroom into a home office for Wendy as she had to work from home. I used one bit of it for taking photos for my book. We couldn’t, at first get rid of a double mattress, so we propped it up against a wardrobe and draped a cloth from it to create a backdrop for the pictures. Some days she was stuck in the smallest space doing her work, whilst I spread out to get everything in shot. I had a bit of a panic towards the end of the time allowed, as I didn’t think I was going to make the deadline, but I managed to do it. I’m not the most organised person in the world, so I employed Wendy to finalise everything with the correct numbered photos going in the right place. I then had to read through the book from start to finish for any mistakes. Eventually I sent it off to the publishers in October last year. Now you would think that the book was nearly done, not a chance. The book was sent to an editor who had to go through the book, and I had a list of questions about things that weren’t clear. It also went to a proof-reader, and then finally to the typesetter. Once the typesetter had done her job, I had to go through the whole book again to check for any mistakes. Finally in February this year the book was ready for printing. Since then I have been desperate for the book to be ready for everyone to see. I had a great time writing the book and I’ve read it several times! So, I’m hoping you will enjoy reading it. The launch date is not set as yet, but it will be sometime in August this year. You can pre-order it now. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Tying Up Loose Ends

I have just realised that between this blog and my newsletter I have left a few loose ends. Photos I promised to post after projects were finished. So, here is the catch up so you can see what I’ve been doing. Just after Christmas I started to make a shirt using the beautiful grey stretch satin. I did post a photo of the collar as it was being constructed. I was very pleased with the collar, as this sort of fabric is not easy to construct a collar usually. I used the new stretch interfacing on it, and it turned out well. Here is a photo of the finished shirt. I haven’t worn it yet I’m waiting until I start teaching again to give it its’ first outing. The second project I mentioned was a denim dress. I love wearing dresses during the Summer and decided that a winter weight dress would be nice. I chose the black stretch denim to make it in. There was a lot of pieces to the pattern, but it all went together very well. I particularly like the pocket details on the bodice. I have worn this dress to go down to the shop to send out the orders. It is very comfortable. Now, I’m working on some bits and pieces for my bedroom. I recently wallpapered it and now the soft furnishings need renewing. I’m waiting for the fabric to come in for the curtains, but I’ve managed to get some sheeting to make bed linen. I’ve made a fitted sheet which actually fits the bed! The quilt cover I wanted to make involved painting panels with the same pattern as the wallpaper. When I got out my fabric paints, I discovered that they had gone hard. When I tried to replace them, I discovered that the company no longer exists. So, I’ve had to use another brand. They are not quite as good as the original paints, but I think I can live with them. This is the first panel I’ve done. This is a project which is going to take time. Once that’s done, I’ve only got the curtains, a bedhead a light shade and a stool to cover, and the room will be finished. I guess that’s me sorted for a couple of weeks!

Using up my Lingerie Fabric Stash

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I needed to make some new lingerie. I opened my lingerie drawer and almost everything seemed to be the same grey/beige colour. That’s one of the problems with making your own lingerie, it doesn’t wear out in the same way as the shop bought stuff. The fabric is still good, but the colour has faded. Great idea, new lingerie always makes me feel good. It doesn’t matter what you are wearing on the outside if you know you have beautiful lingerie on it really makes you feel special. I have been collecting pieces of lingerie fabric of all shapes sizes and colours for over 20 years. A long time before I had English Couture. The last time I sorted it out, I went out and bought a couple of the storage boxes which go under the bed. I then had to go out again and buy another two, so I could house all the fabric!  This still left a couple of carrier bags over. This time I have sorted the pieces out, into colours, well I had to start somewhere. I left out the pieces that I fancied working on first. Some of these pieces of fabric came from a contact who had worked in the lingerie industry and sold off some of her samples. There are still some fantastic pieces from her, along with some odd pieces which came from a factory I bought a lot of stock from when they closed down. I always finish up with the odd dirty pieces from the ends of the rolls when they come into the shop. I can’t bear to throw them away until I’ve tried washing them first. With all the sorting out done it was time to start cutting out. I think my favourite fabric is the one with embroidered butterflies on it, (you can see this fabric on the knickers picture) I only have a small amount of this left now. It was a piece I bought from a supplier who only had this one piece in stock. I tried to get a roll for the shop but it wasn’t available.  A few of the small pieces of plain fabric make great linings for the bras, leaving more of the really special fabric for the main pieces of the bras and knickers. Of course, when it came to the trimmings, I had a lovely time matching up the colours for the lace, strapping and elastic etc. There was a few bits missing but I know a great shop that filled in the missing bits. One of the garments I’ve been meaning to make for a while is a vest like garment with built in padding on the shoulders. I have one of these to wear underneath a big, knitted dress, that I quite often wear in the shop. It gives me a bit more shape in the shoulders and adds another layer of clothing to keep me warm. It is a very lightweight garment as well, so doesn’t add bulk. I have also cut one of these out. To date I have made a couple of bras, and 3 pairs of knickers that match. I have got a few more things cut out as well. My aim is to use enough of the fabric up, that I can empty the carrier bags into the storage boxes. I don’t think I need to ever buy any more lingerie fabric in my life but don’t tempt me, I know, the next beautiful piece that arrives in the shop will somehow find its way into my stash!

Fabric Bargains on the Website.

Just before the lockdown in November I had a delivery of fabric pieces in the shop. These pieces are usually snapped up by my students in the shop. I don’t normally put them on to the website as it takes so much time to do it, but, as I’m not teaching at the moment, I decided to put some of them on to the site. The picture shows just one of them. These fabrics are beautiful mainly pure wool fabrics. The length of each piece is on the site and I haven’t any more or less of this fabric. You will have to buy the piece if you want the fabric. Most of the pieces are around 2mtrs in length, so, there should be enough to make a jacket, coat or skirt on each piece. I could send out a sample of the fabric if necessary, but the piece will remain on the website and I only have one piece of each fabric. So, if it sells before you get the sample, I’m sorry. The cost of each piece is on the website but because they are only pieces the price is reduced, from the normal cost for pure wool. For the time being these are the only pieces I’m putting onto the website to see how they go, if there is a big demand for them, I will put on more. So, if you fancy grabbing a bargain this week, go ahead and order now. Once the piece is gone that’s it.

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