Review of sewing classes
I’m a self-confessed nervous sewer. It’s almost as if all the confidence I have in my knitting vanishes when faced with fabric and a sewing pattern. But that doesn’t mean the desire isn’t there. From the doll’s clothes I hand stitched as a child to self-made patterns using existing shift dresses, I’ve been a have-a-go sewer for many years. That’s suited me fine until a couple of years ago when I realised how much more I could make if I understood commercial sewing patterns and (insert music of doom) the dreaded ‘fitting’ side of sewing.
I started with a term of Sew a Skirt, a basic sewing class at Morley College in Lambeth. This was the first time for me to use a commercial sewing pattern and to make a toile. I loved this class! And I couldn’t get enough of learning new sewing skills. The teacher was very friendly and knowledgeable, but the other students were less than inspiring. By the last session there were only 4 of us remaining. I guess the downside of an inexpensive course is that students might not value it as highly as a more expensive, intensive class (such as can be found at craft shops and workshops). But that aside, it didn’t put me off learning to sew and my skirt was a delight of perfect fit and lots of new skills. Here I am modelling it with my newly knitted cardigan.
Then I talked my way into a term of intermediate sewing – Sew a Shirt. This course attracted a much more dedicated student and there were rarely less than a dozen of interested and interesting students in each session. This of course meant that the teacher had a lot to get through and helping each of us individually meant a lot of waiting around. But I thought that was to be expected as the hourly fee of the class worked out at around a fiver per hour. I know that I could have easily paid four times that in a craft store to be able to work more intensively, so it’s swings and roundabouts between how much you want to pay and how much time you want to give to learning. Certainly the teacher was excellent, usefully pernickety about accuracy, with an enormously wealth of sewing knowledge.
It took me a term and a half…which resulted in many many shirts! This is a skill that I love having and it’s also given me lots more confidence in my sewing skills.
The Thrifty Stitcher
I decided to give this class a go as it was specifically about pattern fitting. I can muddle through putting something together and the internet is a great help with photo and video tutorials on techniques, but I still know very little about how to make a garment FIT.
In this three hour class we learnt several different techniques on how to measure oneself and how to transfer these measurements onto a commercial sewing pattern. NEWSFLASH: did you know that women’s dress patterns are only written for a B cup?! As a curvy lady sporting the rather unusual size of 32E, this means that I am a size 12 with a small back and a full bust. How amazing to know that, let alone to learn how to superimpose my own 3D measurements onto a flat paper pattern.
CL (AKA The Thrifty Stitcher and sewing producer of The Great British Sewing Bee) is a warm and friendly teacher with years of professional and personal experience as a seamstress. She answered my endless sewing questions not only in the class but via twitter and email! Since taking a couple of fitting classes with her I have made 4 dresses for myself! Each fits a little better than the one before as she’s given me the skills (I still have sooo much to learn) and confidence to be able to tweak patterns to my personal shape.
MORE PHOTOS OF NEW DRESSES COMING SOON!
I am completely enthused by my sewing and couldn’t have gotten this far without the classes I have taken. Books and the internet are great, but as a crafting teacher and learner, I know that there’s no replacement for an actual knowledgeable human being with you to guide you in new skills and ideas. I’d recommend taking a class to all potential crafters!