Tuesday, January 10, 2012

{Sew} Get Started: Sewing Classes

FairyFace Designs

I'm really thrilled to introduce you to Fiona who runs the great information site The Sewing Directory. Not just a directory of sewing related suppliers, services, courses and groups, it also has projects, how to guides, inteverviews, competitions, sewing news, offers, sales and workshop listings. The Sewing Directory is currently running Sewing Blogger Awards where people can nominate their favourite sewing blogs of 2011 so you should definitely pop over and check that out!

This tutorial is part of the {Sew} Get Started Series. Full list of tutorials and links can be found here.

Sew What: Finding a Sewing Class by Fiona @ The Sewing Directory.

There’s a great amount you can learn from
books, blogs and websites to help you in your quest to learn to sew. But sometimes it’s easier to learn face to face, with someone there to guide you and who you can ask questions of as you go. There may be a technique you just can’t master from written instructions, or something you really want to make but don’t even know where to start.

Luckily here are new sewing schools and sewing teachers popping up all over the place and they are all competing for customers by offering a diverse range of sewing classes as well as good value for money so now is the ideal time to try a local sewing class.

The majority of modern classes do aim to get you making a full project, not just a sample and want to make it something you will actually use. If dressmaking is the area that interests you there is a lot more options than the ‘make a simple skirt’ available, you can be walking away with a whole new wardrobe of clothes - fully tailored jackets, trousers, pyjamas, dresses, even clothing for your children. There are also classes which teach you to repair and alter your clothes or how to upcycle or customise your clothing to make your wardrobe unique.

Another class of growing popularity in the
dressmaking area is pattern cutting; learning to
draft your own patterns means you can make
clothes perfectly tailored to your own body shape. Underwear is also a popular subject, with knicker making classes proving a great idea for hen nights, there are also classes on bra making and corset making too.

For those of you who want to sew for the home, you can of course make a range of different
cushion covers if you so desire but you can also learn how to make curtains, roman blinds, and throws plus textile art or embroidery to display on the walls. A new course that has appeared at a few venues lately is making fabric covered lampshades, a great way to add your own unique touch to a room.

Quilting classes also vary greatly from the sample quilt/cot quilt to making quilted bags, cushions, purses and gifts. One venue in London recently ran a course on making a Mod Mood Quilt, you choose the colours each session based upon your mood (remember the Mood rings of the early 90s?). Often quilting classes will run over several sessions to enable you to not only learn a few different techniques but to take away a full size quilt at the end of it.

Furthermore there are a lot of classes for making
various accessories, a range of different bags,
purses, fabric jewellery, make up or sewing rolls,
corsages and other embellishments. These are all
fairly quick projects, ideally suited to beginners that can be made in a 2-3 hour session a great place to start if you are daunted by the idea of going straight into a big project. Seasonal classes can be a good place to start as well, there’s a great sense of pride in making your own Christmas stocking, advent calendar or gift for a loved one.

Many sewing teachers offer one to one sewing lessons, which although often more expensive than a class mean you can focus on exactly whatever it is you want to learn. If you are mainly learning online or through books then that can be an ideal way to get someone to help you with any problem areas.

A few tips before you start booking up classes:

  • Check what equipment/supplies you need to bring with you. A lot of places will provide fabric & a sewing machine but some don’t, others prefer you to bring your own so you learn to handle your particular machine. Some places add an extra charge on top of the class cost for materials so do read the small print.
  • Check what sewing ability you need to take part in the class, some of the classes require you to have a certain level of experience before attending, so do check if you are unsure.
  • Groups v individual tuition – Many places will offer individual tuition as well as group classes. If you like a lot of one to one guidance that could be the better option for you. Also if you want to make something specific that is not covered by one of the classes the personal tuition could again work out better.
  • Shop around. Many locations now have more than one venue offering sewing classes so have a look at all your local ones and compare prices, timings, offers, reviews etc.
  • Follow your local course providers on Facebook & Twitter, you can often pick up discounts or reduced price last minute bookings if you do so, as well as getting details of new classes they will be offering in the future. Some of them run competitions offering free classes too so worth keeping an eye on.

If you want to find a sewing class provider close to you why not look on The Sewing Directory? We have over 65 different course providers offering 1,000s of different classes every month. You can find our monthly highlights on our workshops page. Do follow us on Facebook & Twitter to be kept updated with course discount codes from our customers.

Images kindly provided by The Make Lounge which runs contemporary sewing and craft classes in