What does a live course day at Dutch Couture Academy look like?
You might wonder what a course day at Dutch Couture Academy looks like. In today’s blog post, I’ll be happy to explain. But …. It is of course better to experience this yourself.
Why is the DNA of a course day important?
When you take a course, it is extremely important to know where you are going to do so. Because in order to absorb new information you need to feel comfortable and it is nice if the atmosphere matches your experience and what you need in order to thrive. I know all about it, because I have been to many different locations and in many different contexts. It can give you wings or totally block you.
So today I would like to take you on a CHANEL jacket making course. In it, I will tell you what we do, and also show you the underlying reasons for the way the course is designed.
You are at the heart of it all
Nobody is equal, has the same interests or focus. We like to give your creativity, talent and vision the room to grow. And we do this by offering a course that is fuelled by inspiration rather than technique. This way, technical knowledge does not come to the fore as technique, but as a means to make special things.
How is this reflected in the Chanel course?
- you get personal advice on colour and style so that your jacket can become the best possible version for you
- we will help you choose fabric
- we will drape it to your body for the perfect fit (or you can do this yourself on a mannequin of your own size under supervision if you have done this before)
- you make a unique jacket that no one else makes or invents
There is also plenty of time to exchange ideas during the coffee or tea breaks or over lunch. This allows you to present your ideas to others and hear what they are doing. You quickly develop a new way of looking at things, fed by inspiration from the group.
Step by Step
When learning a new technique, it is nice to get a manual. With the Chanel course you receive a clear explanation on paper, which you can use at home as a reference for future similar projects. After all, you want to be able to progress with your homework and not get stuck. In our new course, we will add an extra element to this: an online (private) Facebook group where you can also ask questions in between.
In short, during the Chanel course you can expect us to help you keep an overview. We do this by means of:
- Always looking forward and back so you know where you are in the process
- Helpful list of required materials
- Addresses where to buy or order fabric and haberdashery
- Access to a private Facebook group where you can ask questions and share successes 24 hours a day
- Special portfolio for proofs, notes and work descriptions
- Detailed overview of homework per teaching day
Inspiration versus Technical Perfection
Through my own experiences and the tutoring of the many trainees and students who have had lessons with me in the past ten years, I am convinced of one aspect: a person learns best when he or she is intrinsically motivated to learn something new and feels free to make mistakes.
In creative professions, this intrinsic motivation manifests itself, among other things, in inspiration: that wonderful source from which we can sometimes draw! By learning new techniques, we enable students to turn their inspiration into reality. Technique is at the service of inspiration and has no elevated status with us. This does not alter the fact that for some, technique inspires to excel.
In every course, professionals (80% of course participants) as well as amateurs are welcomed. There is nothing more frustrating than being discriminated against on the basis of age (it is often no longer possible to take a day course in the arts if you are over 30 and/or have a family). Of course, your previous education or experience influences the extent to which you are able to convert the offered course material into results. However, everyone is free to enter and grow in knowledge and skills. We indicate how you will benefit most from the materials offered. It is up to you to do something with it.
During the Chanel course, your inspiration will be stirred up and nourished in the following way:
- you learn new ways of working
- you will be encouraged to take new steps and give shape to your ideas
- your self-confidence grows as you see results
Most courses in the studio last one or more days. We start with coffee and getting acquainted. It is nice to know who you are working next to and what the common points of interest are. It can be the beginning of a friendship or collaboration, finding an ally or consulting partner. Of course, over coffee, expectations are expressed and you are given an overview of what is on the programme for the day. If it concerns a follow-up day in a course, we always check if everything is clear or if there are any urgent questions.
Then we get to work! Moments of joint instruction are alternated with individual work on assignments or exercises. We reflect on the homework and on the progress of the process.
With the CHANEL jacket, you are expected to do a lot at home. There is a substantial amount of handwork involved in this project. In total you will work about 80-120 hours on the jacket. This cannot all be done during the lessons. Therefore, at the end of each lesson day you will receive assignments to do at home. Reserve time for this in your diary, because the amount of work is often a challenge. It is important to keep up, so that you can continue with the next step during the lesson.
We have lunch together and take some time for that. In my experience, this is essential for live courses: so many ideas come up here and so many interesting ones are exchanged. Your muscles are rested and your head is used in a different way so that after lunch you can start working again with renewed energy and courage.
More than CHANEL
The facets that I explain above and that are part of the way of teaching at Dutch Couture Academy, make that taking a course is much more than just learning a new technique. Students go home with all kinds of new ideas, that reach further than just making a CHANEL inspired jacket.
Take Anja, for example. She had bought more of her blue CHANEL fabric than she needed for the jacket. She therefore decided to apply the technique she had learned to a waistcoat and a skirt, and with beautiful results!
Or take Sabina. She discovered that with her amateur sewing skills, she was perfectly capable of designing a dress with embroidery!
Professional Photo Shoot
At the end of the course given in the autumn, photographer Robbin van Turnhout made a series of photos of Anja’s result. Her jacket is beautifully made, fits perfectly and was developed by herself.
She spent a lot of time looking for the right trim, for example. She made a series of tests and compared them with each other. This was a beautiful and insightful, but also time-consuming process. And since Anja had a lot of time available, she also made the waistcoat and skirt at home during the course. This gave her a good understanding of the techniques and the possibilities they offer. And … The results are impressive. Congratulations!
Jacket: Anja. Photographer: Robbin van Turnhout
In most cases, it is possible to obtain a certificate if you keep up with the homework and do the assignments well. This is not an obligation. Some people don’t want to experience any pressure and come just for fun, and that is totally OK.
Are you getting an idea of the atmosphere? Does it appeal to you?
Do you collect Chanel Bags?
Maybe you are that collector of Chanel bags who dreams of making a Chanel-inspired jacket yourself. Then this course is really something for you! This course is given about once a year in the studio of Dutch Couture Academy.
Make sure you stay informed about the courses offered in the studio and subscribe now to the newsletter. You can find the form on the homepage of this website.
Saskia ter Welle’s programme of workshops, master classes and training courses is aimed at (prospective) professionals in the fashion industry who are looking for an opportunity to specialise in couture techniques. Enthusiastic amateurs are also very welcome! In the courses, a balance is sought between technique and inspiration, between knowledge and skill and artistic expression. Discovering one’s own handwriting is seen as crucial to the distinctive craftsmanship of each course participant.