Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

New Member

amarie | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi Everyone,

I am hoping to find fellow sewers interested in sewing formalwear.  This is a fairly new interest for me.  I have been sewing, doing everything from tailoring to costuming to slipcovers, for 30+ years now but never had the chance to do any of the really nice gowns you find in the better formalwear stores.  I have found very few books on the subject.  Does anyone know of a website or good book on the subject?  I would like to learn both the foundation building and draping techniques.

I am lucky enough to have two beautiful daughters. I have sewn for them all their lives but now that they are older formalwear is in constant demand and they wouldn’t be caught dead in something that even hinted at “homemade”!  I have seen the unfortunate results of some of the commercial patterns that are available.  Without the foundation these dresses hang helplessly under their own weight and are pitifully frumpy.

Any Help?




  1. WandaJ | | #1

    Hi, Welcome aboard. Try any information you can get from, and by Susan Khalje. Go to her website by typing the name into your favorite search engine. Too, I am sure you will find lots of help in this forum as there are some really knowledgeable people here.

    1. amarie | | #2

      Hi and thanks for the welcome.  I am ordering the bridal sewing book, hoping this will help.  I would love to take some classes but have found nothing available in my area.

      This is different from any sewing I have ever done.  All the heavy stiffening and boning are a mystery to me.  I did manage one project  for a pageant that was boned and had a built in bra and extra support at the waist, due to the overall weight of the gown.  Actually it looked great on and nobody but I knew that the inside looked like a train wreck!  The down side of that was that each step was done and redone two or three times and I had a very hard time getting the flowing, draped outer shell of the gown to lay smooth and fitted to the inner gown.

      I hope there are other sewers out there trying to learn these techniques so we can work through some of these issues together.

      1. WandaJ | | #3

        by the way... on 2nd thought see if you can get the book at the library until your comes. Also, check in some back issues of Threads Magazine for articles, perhaps by Susan Khalje, on boning.


        1. SewistKitty | | #4

          I would also suggest looking at the "Pattern Reviews" website. I think that they might be having an online class coming up on boning in garments. I have taken several of their classes online which have been very useful. I have no affiliation with this website.

          1. amarie | | #7

            What a great site.  I am thinking about taking a class listed on the site which could help with the bodice construction, which is where I had so much trouble.  Thanks for the reply!  Not only do none of my friends sew I have had no luck finding classes in the area.

          2. SewistKitty | | #10

            I am glad that you saw this site. I warn you that reading this site is habit-forming. Many of the members including myself read more than we sew. I am just finishing the interfacing course and the Begin to Sew Part 1. I sewed most of my clothes, son's clothes and some of my husband's clothes many years ago. As many other members on this site I am catching up on new products and techniques.

          3. amarie | | #11

            Same here!  I sewed just all the time while my daughters were little then they entered the teen years where they wanted to shop at the mall and buy those clothes that looked like they came from a second hand store.  Now my oldest is in college and a sorority and she seems to have constant social events so she is once again back into dresses and pretty things I CAN make.

            I went to sewing for my home and a little upholstery during the years where mom's sewing wasn't cool.  I have been brushing up on my skills too but mostly want to re-learn my pattern drafting. 

            Isn't it funny?  My sewing is cool again!

            I can see how it is pretty easy to get hooked on this site!  At least when we can't be at our sewing machines we can talk about sewing.

        2. amarie | | #5

          Good idea.  I live in a VERY small town but I think our local library can do an inter-library loan.  Hey, this is fun.  I am enjoying reading about everyone else's projects.  I am the only person who sews around here.  Not one of my friends can thread a needle!  Makes me feel less "alone".  I really appreciate the help.

          1. rodezzy | | #6

            I'm glad you joined us, this forum has been a joy.  What other fibers do you manipulate?

            Edited 10/26/2007 10:38 am ET by rodezzy

          2. amarie | | #8

            Thanks for the welcome!  I love sewing but have never really enjoyed the "basics".  I don't like working from commercial patterns.  Now and then I get an urge to do something different....Tried an embroidery machine for a while but once everything in the house had a name, sort of gave that up.  I do knit too.  I have to ride a ferry boat to work each day so I keep my knitting in the car.  How much water can you look at?

            I worked as a commercial artist many years ago but decided I like to eat too much to make a career of that.  I have tried just about everything once.  Crochet, knitting, quilting, tatting and my current "sideline" passion is making mosaic tile tables.

            I really love how "wild" you can get with formalwear and since I have two very "social" daughters, the end product will actually be used.

            What sort of things are you making?

          3. rodezzy | | #9

            I've been crocheting and knitting ponchos, sweater coats and scarves lately.  I have been sewing ponchos and coats here and there.  I will be making my grand daughter an Indonesian princess for a halloween party this weekend, probably finally starting tonight.  I've got fabric lined up for other jackets/coats and just doing whatever, whenever I get the need for a crafty fix.   

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All