Melbourne Fashion Institute


I’m guessing thats a fail mate?!

Full of trepidation I sat in the Trippy Taco gulping down a burrito before my Melbourne Fashion Institute ‘info night’. Why the heck am I even contemplating going back to study? Trouble is, I don’t know what I don’t know? The flip side of which is ‘the more you know, the more you know, you don’t know’, Is this making sense yet?! I’m a sucker for a class, so lets see what this MFI has to offer.

The Trippy Taco is a sweet little Mexican cafe on Gertrude Street, Fitzroy – the hipster end of Melbourne I’d say judging by the bearded fellas and horn rim bespectacled women wearing shirt collars buttoned up all the way. Seated at the window bar I watch a young lady couple. The younger is happy, publicly displaying her affections,  while the mature one is absent mindedly picking her teeth in an “I’ve been here before, I give it till next Tuesday… ooh, spinach!” kind of way.


Me? “I’m starving”,  as the kids say. Awaiting my ‘original’ burrito with anticipation I start wondering how many of the fashion conscious youths at the info night will have eaten and uneaten today? Will there be anyone as old as me at the ‘info night’?

Trippy Taco is an inspired business name. The window seat gives me a great vantage point from which I observe the comings and goings of Gertrude Street.  At the pavement juncture abutting the threshold of the Trippy Taco approximately 2 out of every 3 people stumble on the sandstone paving, pitching themselves dangerously down the steep hill. One skateboarder whose board refused to skate, flew bird like, managing to land a perfect ’10’ – sans skateboard. Trippy Taco indeed. I’d hoped they were referring to the food additives, some dutch courage would have been nice.

My ‘original’ burrito was disappointingly meatless, its contents dominated by beans; more specifically Mexican jumping beans. A few leap onto my freshly pressed business shirt dragging a path of taco sauce behind them. Dammit, meat would never have been so presumptuous.


Yep, I signed up for the 1 year advanced diploma of couture, except I won’t receive anything but a certificate of attainment having managed to avoid the pre cursor qualification. All day, every Saturday till November, I will not be watching school sport – whoops! The course covers tailoring (with some mention of Savile Row… but I have my reservations), tambour beading, french flowers and tailored trousers. A bit of a mixed bag really, but I’m keen as mustard and so excited to be mixing with fellow students. Heck, at least 6 of them are my age!! Yay!

Expect the odd blog post about the course, hopefully you’re interested dear reader? So do click ‘follow me’ at the bottom of the comments if you’d like to be alerted to new posts.

First up is a fully tailored jacket for a ‘client’ – Princess was an obvious victim.  We are starting with a client profile, and then must design a suitable jacket for said client bearing in mind his/her whims and needs. Its starting to look like the real thing? Tell me, do you haaaate drawing and avoid it at all costs?




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  1. Well the taco tale was interesting, but I am thrilled you are doing this course and I look forward, very much, to reading about your projects and progress. How very exciting. Apart from the course you will undoubtedly meet some amazing people too.

    As I get to the end of a year of draping on the stand I am wondering what course to sign up to next term – textiles, pattern cutting, millinery or knitting.

  2. I started my B Design last week, and while the hipsters are thinner on the ground, up here on the sunshine coast, the bikini-as-day-wear crew make up the difference. I’m older than my lecturer, and am trying to wrap my post-graduate qualified brain around a 400w first year assessment task. I’m sure we’ll both have a blast though!

    • How exciting, can I ask if the design is specific to clothing or a general design degree? Melb Uni do a general 3 year undergrad I’m trying to push my daughter towards! Maturity brings with it a whole different viewpoint, particularly relating to appropriate underwear! Growing up in Qld I never did get the bikini top as bra thing. But then my chesticles would never have been contained by triangles either!!

      • It’s general, I’m majoring in 3D and minoring in eMedia (I think!). Other options include graphic design, typography and photography. And bikini tops are considered outerwear up here! To be honest, I’m probably just jealous!

      • Sounds great Jess, I look forward to seeing all sorts of gee whizz dooberries on your blog!!

  3. I think this is a great plan, and I hope you, and I’m sure you will, squeeze as much information as possible out of that tutor. The great thing about being older is the lack of embarrassment at asking questions. Enjoy yourself, but you’re correct, the more you know, the more you don’t, for a while anyway!
    I prefer simple line drawings, with technical details, similar to the drawings on bought patterns, have a look at them in more detail, this could be your self inflicted homework.

    • Thanks Linda, yes I need to be more assertive in the classroom. I’m always aware of taking too much of the teacher’s time!! Have been drawing like crazy but it doesn’t come naturally!

      • Whatever you ask, the others will learn from it too, especially if you’re working on similar projects. Make the drawing easy for yourself, try enlarging images you like and use them as a template, you’ll develop your own style later. You’d be amazed how long students can take to be happy with their drawings, it’s practice.

      • Great idea and good advice Linda, thank you x

  4. Ok now I am so so so envious. This is awesome!!! Congratulations and good luck!! Now I am really going to be embarrassed to show you my amateurish sewing. 🙂 I hope it turns out to be as great as it sounds.

    Oh and the Trippy Taco sounds like exactly my kind of place. I loved Melbourne when I stayed there for a few months in the 1990s…

  5. Sounds amazing 😀

  6. Oh lucky you . I did a year with them a few years back . I did pattern making every Saturday for a year . It was a wonderful experience

  7. Oh I am so pleased for you .ma few years ago I did a year with them . I did pattern making every Saturday for a year . I loved it . It was such a treat to just concentrate on one thing for the whole day . Even though I did only pattern making it really lifted my skills overall. I think it was just the coming together of scattered learning from years of home sewing and reading whatever I could . Enjoy it

    • So relieved to hear good things Mem, thanks. Sometimes it’s the confirmation that one is not a complete twit! I’ve been really pleasantly surprised at what I do know, such a shot in the arm for the confidence. But then it comes crashing down when a youngster looks at my drawings!!

  8. I’m so jealous. There isn’t anywhere close to me that seems to be offering the sort of course I would like so I am looking forward to seeing how you enjoy this one. Remember, the only silly question is the one you didn’t ask – and you can be sure that someone else is probably itching to ask the question too. Have fun while learning.

    • There’s always the 5000GBP one on Savile Row Material Lady!! One lady in my class has waived her grown up kids good bye and moved to Melbourne for a year to do this course and and another. I think a residential would be a wonderful thing to do, like the gap year you never did! What kind of course would you like to do?

      • Morley College in London always has something unexpected and appealing. Sadly I don’t live in London. I keep hoping to find a similar college in Birmingham I could travel to but without success so far.

  9. This is great news, Lesley, and how exciting!! I’m following your progress, like, already!

    I have mixed feelings about sewing courses, always wondering if I’ve made a mistake to invest so much time, especially travel, and money, when I could probably find out the same information online but then something amazing always happens – I guess I discover what I don’t know – and I realize there’s no substitute for being there in real life.

    The youngsters in the class will be in awe of you and I look forward to receiving any crumbs of knowledge you’re willing to share!

    • I see no evidence of awe in the youngsters!! One lady is a bona fide pattern maker of 30 years experience, another a bridal designer, and a few Degree graduates so I’m hoping to absorb their knowledge by osmosis!
      I think being a ‘proper’ college it feels so far like it will be very fruitful (she says scratching her head at the pattern making task at hand!).

  10. I think it is a great idea to do a course. To me, being older means that you really want to learn about the subject and give it your all. On top of that, the people you meet on courses are generally really interesting. Over the years I have embarked on quite a few, mostly not sewing related and they have all been enjoyable ( except for Caligraphy where nobody spoke to each other and was very tedious!)
    Hope yours is fun.

    • Totally agree Sheree, I’ve met some awesome folk, so varied in their interests and skills. I can imagine calligraphy might be somewhat intense! Would take me back to grade 1 script classes though its something I really admire.

  11. Susan McKee-Nugent 16/03/2016 — 10:31 am

    I just started following you and it looks like a great time! Looking foreward to all your brilliance shining thru!

  12. You are a sucker for punishment! (But super fun too!)

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