City and Guilds: Fashion

Part 1:7900

C+G Certificate

In September 2002, I started the City and Guilds course at West Herts. College, Hemel Hempstead. The Teacher was Janie Taylor, who then retired, and Nicola Downes took over. I really enjoyed the course as it helped me to consolidate and improve my sewing skills. 

I am enjoying the challenge of starting with a design concept, and working with it right to the final product. At times it seems a tedious journey (!)...especially when you need to document all the details, including changes, samples of seam treatments, construction sequence, etc. But, I have learned a lot. I  received the Part 1 qualification in 2004.

This page shows the work from Part 2.

Part 1: 
Basic blocks for skirt, trousers, bodice, dress, jacket.
4 garments
- skirt/culottes, blouse, dress, jacket

Sample files: small sewn samples to show your level of skill...ranges from seams, to zips, to waistbands, collars, and even decorative embellishment.

Pattern making file: 1/4 scale samples to show you know how to draft the various aspects of differing styles on garments.


Preparing Working Designs

One aspect of the course that I found to be very fascinating was the design element. We had 10 long sessions with Sue Jarman, the embroidery teacher. She helped us to develop design concepts for 6 "Preparing Working Designs" (PWD) boards; 
Man Made, Living Forms, History/Religion/Folk Culture, Media, Landscape, and Sky/Water. We explored the ideas of pattern, line, shape, black and white, colour, etc. We worked with a wide range of art type materials. For the most part, the resulting designs were fairly abstract.

Design sources I chose:

Man Made - watering can
Living Forms - mandarin duck
Folk Culture - dragons
Media - poem "Silver" by Walter de la Mare
Landscape - gemstones and agates
Sky - sunlight and it's effects

I hope to include PWD examples here in the future.


  Skirt Project "Crazy Flashes"
  Initial design idea...How can I use Crazy Quilting in a tasteful way on a garment? 
...skirt needed for Christmas performances with my flute.
front, with pocket detail

Panel line straight skirt-black cotton velvet, with jewel toned crazy quilting inserts in side and back pleats, and as faux flap at pleat edges, includes small pocket.

Comment: Now I need a waistcoat to match!

side and back, with crazy quilting detail


Blouse Project "Window Treatment"
Initial design idea...Round window with louvered section in centre. I asked myself, "Can you do this in fabric?"
 Brief...summer blouse needed.

Peasant blouse - turquoise cotton muslin, with centre front placket, released pin tucks at shoulders, waist, and lower sleeve, no cuff, wave tuck detail on placket and mandarin collar.

Comment: re: placket...Why did I have to reinvent the wheel on this one?

on display

Dress Project "From Ethiopia with Love"
Initial design idea...Received a woven scarf from a friend in Ethiopia. fascinating colours...sort of electric blue with coral, giving a blue/purple look. Can I make something to go with it so I can wear it?
 Brief...posh dress needed for fancy "Christmas work do".

                       dress bodice detail
dress hem detail
Non-formal evening dress - finely woven blue/purple polycrepe, with empire line front and princess shaping below, princess line in back, beaded motifs (same shapes found in pattern at scarf ends) on centre front bodice, at hem edge of each seam and centre edge of short sleeves, small triangle detail below bust.

     (Comment: This project about did my head in!  Initial design looked good
...but not on me.)  

Jacket Project "Sunshine and Shadow"
Initial design idea...lightweight suede leather from re-enactor market, also the idea of sunshine through wrought iron railings. How can I find a way to make something red and black? jacket needed for teaching courses and attending presentations.

 Non-tailored jacket, lined and with facings - fine red cotton baby cord, self-faced, princess line, mandarin collar, black suede leather details: faux pocket flaps, faux cuffs, design detail centre back, and removable yoke overlay...all with cut out areas. Lining of rayon(?) - black with white border print and similar motifs scattered randomly. Hand-painted metallic black buttons with cut outs.

back      (Comment: Yes! Finished! This turned out just like I thought it should. I am really pleased! For the assessment, the City and Guilds verifier choose to see this project...when I still had a couple weeks work left on it! She wanted to see a project in progress. )

inside detail


2 Full Working Designs
As a follow on from the Preparing Working Designs, we had to take ideas from one PWD and develop it further, as if presenting ideas to a (fictitious) client. The designs are not to be made up, but all information necessary for someone else to make up the designs must be included.

First full working design:
Initial designs from Dragon PWD

brief: professional skateboarder wants trousers for her wedding where she will also perform.
 Nickname..."The Flying Dragon".

Okay, this was one of my "give it all you got" projects. I really loved exploring the design ideas for this one. At our exhibition, this seemed to be the only display that caught the interest of any boys dragged there by their parents!

Second full working design:

Initial designs from Sunshine PWD
brief: afro-caribbean director of dance troupe requires a large sleeveless overshirt/tabard in sheer fabric to go over dance leotard. Troupe is performing a dance about the sun's rays in the Nottinghill Carnival.
This was great fun! Comments from the City and Guilds verifier mentioned my creativity. Tried some of my textile art techniques on this one.

Later reworked the FWD and entered it into the student category of the Festival of Quilts 2005.

I really loved doing these. I may hold off on the photos for this, as I may keep them on a back burner to create in full in the future!

SAMPLE FILES: Over the 2 years you work on files which show examples of what  you have learned.
  1. It is necessary to complete a file with samples of the pattern cutting/drafting you have done so far. Basic blocks and how they are changed to create most common styles.
  2. You are also required to have a file with sewn samples of things like hem and seam finishes, different sorts of zip insertions, pockets, fastenings,  and a few decorative fabric treatments such as fabric painting and applying trims.
  3. Another file contains info about various fabrics, how they are made and their care, various weaves and finishes, etc.
    You must also have a collection of information on designers and interesting styles and style features from museum visits, magazines, or websites. This shows your ongoing interest in the craft.

The City and Guilds external verifier/moderator came into college on the 26th May, 2004. We had to be prepared with all our work. School was to finish at the end of June, so if you were working on your last project(s), they needed to be at least in a state to show that you will be able to finish them in the next few weeks.
(I was on schedule for this!)  

The moderator asked the teacher for one project, design element and sample file. In effect, she was checking to be sure that what the teacher passes is up to standard. By asking randomly for work from various ones, she knows she is not just being shown the projects the teacher thought were the best.

As I said above, she chose my 2nd Full Working Design, My pattern cutting samples, and my nearly finished jacket project!