October 2021 – Ecole Holt Couture

Pentagon shaped lampshade I created from scratch – yes the frame too!

My dear EHC followers. As you may have guessed we’ve taken some extended down-time during the summer months which has led into September and October is quickly coming to an end as well. After running on full blast for 13 years, I’ve realized that I’ve been burning my candle at both ends resulting in a little bit of burn out. Which is why I’ve taken more time off than first anticipated to attend to some long overdue self care.

Being so passionate about the art of couture sewing, and other priorities, has strongly motivated me to always be there for our students, and for my family and for my spiritual community. As you can imagine some things have suffered.  I realize that a burned out candle can never shine a light on anything.

For good or bad, the pandemic was the catalyst for slowing down, allowing us time to analyze which pathways to keep following, or which to adjust direction, or which to abandon altogether. So even though I reproach myself for dropping the ball on many things, for what I feel is too long, the gifts that have been handed down to me are worth sharing and will not be kept under a rock.

Our plan was to seamlessly transition EHC from full-time onsite classes to a combination of online instruction and onsite workshops within a few months. This schedule, as all schedules go are destined to change, and has been extended somewhat.

Not necessarily a bad thing, this time of resetting focus has clarified a lot in terms of what is most important and more sustainable in terms of ‘long run’ goals. So, I am taking some of my own advice in taking the longer view. I had seemed to assume that everyone else had already got a handle on the affects of the pandemic which we have all been forced to adapt to. Relieved to be very wrong about that, I feel going forward from here will be with a better perspective.

Let me leave you with this to ponder upon…

Traditional or ‘granny’ skills are making a comeback. I prefer that we place this term at one end of the couture sewing spectrum.

I’ve just read an article, from a healthy living and lifestyle magazine, about skill building for a sustainable and resilient life. Fortunately, my mother and father were great mentors from whom I learned many skills which resulted in me trusting myself in the knowledge that I am deeply connected to an ancestral place of knowing about things without much extra deliberation.

Sewing and pattern-making are two of them. There are so many applications to practical living that have been employed with these two alone. Sewing skills means that I have reattached buttons and snap closures since I was in grade school, made simple clothing in high school, sewn home furnishings like cushions, slipcovers, drapery, roman shades, and lampshades for my own home as well as for designer clientele. More complex projects like creating suits and evening gowns for couture clientele didn’t come until my late 20’s onward. Pattern making skills were formalized with training from my mother at Ecole Holt Couture, but I used the basics early on for crafting my own doll house and dolls clothing. Later I created form fitted slip covers for sofas and easy chairs that were in rough shape but not bad enough to be reupholstered saving thousands of dollars.

Being self-sufficient in many areas has helped me to live more sumptuously than my budget otherwise would allow. Honestly, I didn’t give it a second thought about how on earth to get the job done, I just did it. One of the best parts of that was I got what I wanted, not what was on offer.

Don’t become discouraged if you haven’t had these early advantages early on. I firmly believe it is rarely ever too late to learn! These so called ‘granny skills’ are making a comeback. The other best part of these traditional hand skills is that they are fulfilling and extremely satisfying.

Thank you again everyone, very sincerely, for continuing to follow Ecole Holt Couture school of couture sewing and design. We will do our very best to post updates as they happen. They will not come thick and fast but be paced sensibly and mindfully. Hmmm… just like sustainable fashion. Cheers! J

Roman Blind – 35 years old now and still in great condition!
Piano Bench cushion I made from a hand loomed table cover from my grandmother.

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