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August 2021 – Ecole Holt Couture about ‘ONE’

ONE EHC Fashion Event
Elfriede Holtkamp – Founder, EHC

It seems like a long time ago, and yet just like yesterday, since Ecole Holt Couture hosted its first fashion event ‘ONE’, that so many wonderful creatives contributed to making it a success. We’ve hosted many fashion events over the years, with all our treasured volunteers and creative experts, whom without the events would never have even lifted off the ground.  We have journeyed together and come a long way with our many students and graduates, and event volunteers we are continuing to evolve.

If you are new to EHC, this is what we do and what we don’t do. We can teach you ‘how to’ from visualizing and refining your ideas, all the in-between bits, and take you all the way to making your ideas a reality using your own hands.

Learning these skills and gaining relevant experience doesn’t happen overnight and make years to learn.  We can take the mystery out of what it takes to become competent and proficient to work at this professionally and teach you the component parts of the art and craft of dressmaking, couture, and tailoring. We don’t teach how to become a fashion designer; you already know that you’ve got great taste and ideas. We can’t teach that; you’ve either got that gift or not.

We can tell you what we’ve done to create a sustainable business, as Elfriede the Founder created an entire 65 year career on dressmaking, couture and tailoring, what worked and what didn’t work. What we can’t do is tell you how to run your own business. That depends on your lifestyle goals, your market, your vision, your resources, and your location, etc. There are so many excellent business coaches and business training options today, it really is an asset to be able to choose what suits you best.

For years we have trained and mentored students to do develop their skills, knowledge, and passion for sewing in creating high quality professional level garments. We’ve witnessed the progress, the elation when the proverbial ‘lightbulb’ comes on, and the results that the right training can achieve. We’ve also seen how hard students have worked and the dedication they put into their learning, and the sacrifices they’ve made to achieve those results. Today it is no different, but the circumstances of life have changed today.

We have also taken note of and recognized the challenges and barriers that many students today face. Whether it be with limiting finances, with family and employment commitments, and the time-limits many would-be learners must commit to full-time learning. We have responded to all these factors by changing the way we deliver will our programs.

Starting 2021 EHC have ceased to offer full-time on-site classes for Dressmaking or Couture & Tailoring, but instead will be offering our curriculum in shorter more manageable progressive modules that offers more flexibility for today’s realities.

We are developing learning space options for our students with time and financial constraints. With the advantage of using the amazing potential that online learning provides, we will offer home-study videos and online consultations, using a secure and private members platform bringing together a whole community of current and past students and graduates. And in combination with on-site workshops and events will continue to provide guidance, tuition, and support for our learners.

We say ‘learners’ because learning and sharing ideas never stops with certification awards. This art and craft always offers something new far beyond the programs. These skills and knowledge combined with new design ideas always presents new opportunities for growth and earning potential. 

With this new delivery method and our new business operating model we will still provide the same comprehensive training that we have always delivered, however at a pace that is more aligned with your own pace of learning and with multiple progressive learning modules. Still project-based learning, the cumulative result of achieving all relevant module level certifications, will offer our official dressmaking certificate and couture & tailoring diploma following successful the outcome of each respective final exam.

Another major advantage is that the cost for the training can be broken down into more manageable segments when paid for each consecutive learning module as you go, rather than paying for the full two-year program up front, as it had been mandated by the governing authority over our previous business operating model.

Although, a lump sum of several thousand dollars is a huge investment, few would-be students had that amount tucked away, and naturally needed extra student loans to access this education opportunity. In offering ongoing, and/or lifetime memberships to our learning platform will give everyone the opportunity and the time to raise funds for their education investment without being burdened with student loans afterwards that may take years to repay.  

You make the choice of how to raise funds sourced from your savings, through the support of your family, or you can continue your current employment, you could fund-raise through your community for your education using GoFundMe.com, community grants, or other crowdfunding methods. There are many ways to afford training if you’re willing to look for them. We’ve kept our modules very affordable for the type of master level training you are receiving.

Don’t worry if you are not quite sure this is the right fit for you. You don’t have to commit to joining our membership program right away. It won’t even be launched for several months, and in the meantime, we are uploading a load of free beginner videos on our YouTube channel so that you can dip your toes and test the waters first, to find out if our style of teaching appeals to you and if it works for you. It won’t work for everyone, and that’s OK too. We have a tried and tested method of teaching that we are very good at, but it’s not good for everyone. Education is and should be viewed as an investment, and no one should invest in something they don’t trust, or think will provide a good return.

Looking to the future, we are very excited and encourage you to watch this space for details and updates in 2021.

There are several ways to follow EHC: our website at http://www.ecoleholtcouture.com [which still needs major updates BTW], our FB page and Twitter which are current, our Blogsite, our YouTube channel all accessed from our website, and our Newsletter that you can sign up for by request at info@ecoleholtcouture.com.

Thanks to you for following us so far! Please feel free to share this with your friends and family.

cheers! J

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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July 2021 post – Ecole Holt Couture

Hi everyone! Hope you are all doing well in this almost ‘post’ pandemic period. I say almost, because with all my fingers crossed we won’t be experiencing a fourth wave of Covid19 or its variants. Please do take any precautions you feel comfortable with wherever you go!

It seems fitting, to expand on my thoughts inspired by this photo shared on Facebook by the Embroiderers Guild of Victoria – sourced from http://ouvragesdedames.canalblog.com about the exquisite  handmade button holes  decorated around the edges, dated back to 1828.

Looking at this lovely sampler, embroidered on quite possibly hand-woven linen, you can see the care and precision of the work that has been put into these buttonholes with the finely stitched decoration surrounding the hole. This embroidery was created to enhance a purely functional detail such as a buttonhole.

As with all hand stitching, it requires experience to be done well. Not only that, but it also creates a signature upon the project being done. Let me refer you to the practice used in Men’s tailoring.

In Men’s tailoring there are divisions of labour in the making of bespoke items or suit of items. One person will be the cutter, another will work on jackets [coats], another the trousers, and another will be creating the vests and another the shirts. The detailing work is also divided into another division of labour where one crafts-person will do nothing else but hand-stitch buttonholes. One can see that each crafts-person will have a particular style which you can visually recognize. This means that even though there may be many people creating buttonholes, there will never be two project pieces that are ‘identical. They will be ‘identifiable’, in effect, creating that crafts-person’s signature. So, when inspecting a piece that has been handmade in the past, you can identify, whether more than one person has been working on the same piece.

It is the same with all handwork, and in the piece pictured below. Even if two highly skilled people were to embroider the same pattern, they would not look exactly the same. They would be identifiably different.

In couture and tailoring, this is also true. Even though, two or more people will have been trained by one master, all work that is created will be identifiably different. This means, that although one designer may try to copy someone else’s garment, it will never be exactly the same. However, at Ecole Holt Couture we teach our students to never copy any garment. Each garment in couture [and bespoke tailoring] must be one of a kind. In effect, just creating a piece by single maker makes it unique because no one can exactly copy your exact methodology or your exact techniques. This is encouraging because it is tangible proof of your own unique work, if any doubts should arise.

This buttonhole sampler was made many years ago, but today our clothing is much simpler in style, and much less detailed. However even on simple clothing or a simple design, one can still add some detailing method either on the surface or on the inside of the garment which creates a signature or a style either of the creator, or the wearer, or both. This will identify a garment as uniquely yours.

At Ecole Holt Couture we emphasize the unique nature of ‘hand-made’ or creating things by hand. Beginning with the thought process that goes into creating a garment which is unique to each individual. From the intake of information, the planning, sketching, the drafting of a new pattern, the creation of a toile for the first fitting, the unique layout of the pattern pieces on the final fabric, each construction stage, to the finishing and the detailing will all be unique to the creator. And each designer/creator will in fact, be leaving their signature upon each garment. This is one of the most exciting aspects of couture and tailoring. Each and every piece is unique, not only in style but in its execution.

Photo source: click on image.

 

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We’ve reached the end of Term! Sort of.

We’ve reached the end of term, as well as the end of the 2019-2021 Certificate Program. Sort of.

Because of the accumulation of Covid19 restrictions during the last 18 months, putting us a little behind schedule, we haven’t actually completed the term. So we will continue our classes for another couple of months with a flexible schedule so that all current students receive all the instruction and input that had been our method for the last 13 years.

When that has been accomplished we will plan the celebrations that the graduates are so looking forward to. We are very impressed with their commitment and talent, and anticipate a very interesting result!

Stay safe, enjoy the summer… will keep you informed!

Cheers! J

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Why you haven’t heard from EHC for 2 months!

My sincere apology for dropping the ball and not posting any new videos for the last 2 months! As life would have it sometimes curve balls get thrown at you that need your full attention. So that’s the reason. But also, we are committed to completing our full-time studies program with our amazing students. They’ll be graduating this spring, and with the pandemic restrictions we are about 2 months behind and catching up slowly. We will run overtime for a few weeks in the best case scenario, but we want to make sure every student receives the program full instruction.

Thank you so much for continuing to follow us, we appreciate every one of you and hope to get on with our new delivery system soon, albeit a little later than what we had hoped.

cheers J

 

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EHC Pattern Drafting – What it is, how we teach it, why we teach it this way.

Probably better to watch the video, it has more information than me rambling on here…but in summary:

Pattern Drafting is a skill in huge demand in the fashion industry, and Ecole Holt Couture teaches pattern drafting in the traditional ‘hand drawn’ way as distinct from CAD, computer assisted drafting.

We also teach draping and modelling as an aid to pattern drafting. EHC teaches pattern drafting as an integrated part of the whole curriculum for Dressmaking, Couture and Tailoring.

We believe that pattern drafting cannot be separated from the designing, construction methods or detailing of any garment, and especially for custom or bespoke garments. A practitioner who doesn’t fully understand pattern drafting doesn’t fully appreciate the interconnections between the design, the numerous construction methods, sewing techniques, or even the chain of processes involved in professional dressmaking, couture and tailoring.

At EHC we use different means to help students learn pattern drafting, and we strive to make sure all students fully comprehend all the curriculum by the time they have achieved their Certificate and Diploma awards.

If pattern drafting were an easy skill to learn, then many more designers, dressmakers, couturiers and tailors would be doing it than actually are able to. To be clear, pattern drafting is a highly specialized skill that commands high rewards.

cheers! J

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ecoleholtcouture

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EHCSchool

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ecoleholtcouture

Website: https://ecoleholtcouture.com/

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Indicators for success at Ecole Holt Couture

It is important to know beforehand if the career you’ve chosen to invest the time and money in is the best one for you. This short video may help you to decide whether a career in Couture, Tailoring or Dressmaking is appealing to you and whether Ecole Holt Couture is the right school for you.

Ecole Holt Couture School of Couture Sewing and Design is specifically aimed toward people who are dedicated and passionate about 1) sewing, 2) love the notion of working solo, or at least in your own space, 3) are concerned about the sustainability of fashion in our natural environment and how to do our part to protect our environment, 4) want to earn a sustainable living, and see a need in your local economy, 5) are not drawn to running as part of the pack, but thrives on standing out, and have the courage to swim upstream, 6) consider yourself an artist or artisan, 7) looking to develop a fulfilling, life long career – one in which you can always learn something new. This is not a dead end job. And finally, 8) you love working with your hands, your mind and your soul.

https://youtu.be/1Jx6ItLynJs

 

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Did you Know? at Ecole Holt Couture…

Graduates at EHC receive their final awards for attending and completing 600 hours of instruction and 1800 [2400hrs] hours of practical [projects] lab-work for each of the Dressmaking and Couturier/Tailoring awards.

EHC awards are printed with the graduate’s name, two official signatures, an EHC embossed seal, the date of issue, and possesses a unique serial number registered with the school. You can check the authenticity of our awards if you see one, and want to make sure it is real!

The award costs $40 for paper and graphic work, but is worth more than $60,000 and its value is truly priceless for the recipient. Most importantly, the recipient has the skills to work as a professional dressmaker, couturier and tailor!

The knowledge and curriculum are not copied or borrowed from any other institution, and is original to EHC. We have retained all of the original hard copies of work notes, sketches, and documentation, by the Founder from its inception, and development, to now, and and all of it is copyright protected.

We still create original patterns drafted by hand using 60+ measurements taken from each individual client.

That it took 16 years to develop the innovative curriculum based on the Founder’s 60 years of professional experience in couture and tailoring. It all added up to a life time achievement award and recognition by the Universal Womens Network in 2019 for Elfriede Holtkamp [who now is retired but is still available for sage advice].

These skills are as much an Art as a Craft, and impossible to exactly duplicate the work from one artisan to another. Experienced crafts-person or artisan’s work is unique and cannot be convincingly reproduced, which is awesome!

We continue to be committed to preserving authentic couture sewing and tailoring skills by sharing, teaching, and mentoring. And we really do connect with and love our students!

New* – EHC is developing online instruction to reach further reaching geographic locations, for those who it is impossible to attend in person. We are continuing on-campus workshops and masterclasses launching in the fall of 2021. Who knows, we may even do traveling workshops in the future!

Please subscribe to EHC’s Youtube channel, Facebook page, and follow our WordPress blog for up-to-date information:

https://www.youtube.com/user/ecoleholtcouture

https://ecoleholtcouture.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ecoleholtcouture

And follow us at www.ecoleholtcouture.com

 

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EHC – 8 part Project Video Series – Inside the Studio

As we are making preparations to resume on-campus classes the beginning of September 2020, we wonder how it will all work out in the midst of physical distancing precautions, extra sanitising, and how to minimise time wearing a mandatory face mask during this Pandemic. We admit we don’t have it all figured out, and in one month, circumstances could yet again change, but all of us will be doing our best to make sure everyone is safe and has the best experience possible.

Normally during summer breaks we take advantage of our empty studio to host workshops, and take on a few projects that we otherwise would not have time or available space for. This summer one such project came in that we could accommodate was a prêt-a-porter wedding gown alteration. We usually do not take on alteration projects unless they are particularly complex or noteworthy for our students.

Our client granted us permission to share these videos with you > sewing practitioners, ensuing couturiers and tailors, and future brides. Some insight to what a professional alteration outcome should be, and look like, may help shape your expectations or gain some freedom of choice as to whether to consider ‘alterations’ as a sewing career option/add on. And for the bride-to-be, whether to go for couture made or buy a ready-made wedding gown realising that some altering may be a highly-likely extra cost.

The question often arises: why do alterations cost what they do when they appear to be very straight forward nip-and-tuck changes?  This video series attempts to clarify why experienced dressmaking skills are required to do alterations of some complexity, and why the amount of time is necessary to accomplish the adjustments.

This project is divided into 8 separate video segments according to the various tasks following the initial fitting, to the final fitting, and delivery. They are titled and numbered 1/8 to 8/8 to make it easy for you to refer back to if you happen to have interest in one segment over the other. Together it is about 1 hour and 20 minutes in length, and we recommend that it first be viewed in its entirety putting everything in sequential context.

We hope you find the series informative, useful, and enjoyable and thank you for taking the time to visit with us inside the studio!  

Part 1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uzem3dlrVEU

Part 2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmuFixUop9A

Part 3 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsuRxaGY4DQ

Part 4 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8BpyCwjp-Q

Part 5 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYpJ3q7-O60

Part 6 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-sZQCkPhs0

Part 7 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4WoAIm2jLI

Part 8 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDkYOkohtZU

Cheers! J

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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Ecole Holt Couture COVID-19

COVID-19 has certainly changed how we presented our final term for year one of the Certificate and Diploma program. Interactive online classes replaced on-campus classes for 10 weeks. We necessarily compressed two terms of theory into one term online instruction, deferring all practical instruction for the same two terms until the fall when we plan to resume on-campus classes. This process was a huge learning curve for all of us – and not without its losses, but certainly not without space for creating new opportunities for online instruction in the future.

The experience has shunted us towards a clearer vision of the future for Ecole Holt Couture. The notion of migrating a selection of instruction modules to an online version has been in the planning for over a year. But now we have real time practical experience to create an educational experience that can potentially reach a further reaching audience. Although, still in the early stages of development, we do have a grasp on what works and what does not work in our specialisation, for an online format.

Thanks to my assistant and our current students who have stayed the course with us through this difficult time, even though only temporary, we were able to discover the strengths and weaknesses of online learning firsthand. We are much enlightened with the experience.

COVID-19 and the mandatory isolation regulations imposed on us all, has changed our world. Along with everything else that has impacted us, even a little bit, in the last 12 months, it seems there is not a week that goes by without news of another natural disaster or global movement affecting everything we thought we knew to be normal. It also feels like now is the time to be taking a firmer stand on issues that affect how humanity is being treated, as well as how we ought to be treating our unique planet earth.

At Ecole Holt Couture, we took a stand on using natural fibres in regard to minimising long-term negative effects on the environment, years ago. Natural fibres are by a long shot, the best in comfort and function to be wearing next to your skin, have the most long-lasting desirable characteristics, and the longest useful lifetime, and the safest decomposition properties, than any synthetic fibres to date. Yes, synthetics have their place in fashion and in utility, but should be used minimally and only for their ideal or optimum purpose.

We also believe that every human being, as well as all other beings in our natural world, has a valuable valid place and room for potential on our precious planet earth and should be treated with respect, understanding and with genuine kindness.

The problem is with our collective definition of value. The most contentious issue in society seems to be how we decide upon and prescribe value, and what characteristics we deem to be of value, which has changed and continues to change over time.

What we in truth value is tangibly reflected in how we live and treat other human beings, treat all creatures, and treat our natural environment. Why is our Earth continually mistreated and then also regarded as an unlimited provider of resources? What makes one human being more valuable than another? Who decides which skill is more important than another? What makes one creature’s existence worth more than another’s? Well, one thing that has been proven is in recent months, is that people on the ground keeping all essential services going are now invaluable where before they were disregarded as being insignificant.  

We still, however, face severe injustices of poverty & violence, and persistent resistance to human rights equality for women, indigenous peoples, LGBTQ communities, people of colour, and immigrants even after all the protests and riots around the world bringing it to everyone’s attention. We still face climate crises around the globe.

How then can we as individuals improve and change these unjust situations? It begins with each of us doing our part. Without that grounding no organisation, corporate or charitable, nor any level of government, is able gain any forward momentum for positive and equitable change.

… my condensed list of 2019/2020 events, disasters, catastrophes – the aftermath of what we are dealing with:

  • Major flooding, land slides, and melting of polar ice-cap disasters
  • SA Amazon rain-forest fires, and Australian bush-fire catastrophes
  • Global climate change denial and climate action demonstrations
  • Mass migration, and immigration conflicts,
  • #MMIWG movement, #MeToo movement, #BlackLivesMatter movement
  • Truth and Reconciliation reparation stalls for Indigenous peoples in Canada
  • Indigenous land-rights disputes and demonstrations,  
  • Acts of violence, mass shooting tragedies, and police brutality
  • Human rights demonstrations
  • Brexit and Megxit  fallout,
  • USA impeachment hearings and trial,
  • Rise of populism, return of fascism,
  • Major retailer bankruptcies, foreign trade-relation wars
  • Global deficiencies from COVID-19 Pandemic
  • And with 7 months of 2020 left to go…

I hope things will improve, and am doing what I can. I know you will too…

Cheers, J

 

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