Wednesday, 9 June 2010

What do I need to know?

I'm thinking of doing a dressmaking & tailoring course at college and went along last night for the Information Evening but unfortunately they had no information!   They are in the process of recruiting a tutor so they will have more information when they are appointed. 

What I was expecting was a syllabus of things that would be covered/achieved through the course but the details I have got are very vague - 'You will learn to understand a pattern and choose suitable material.  We will look at creating detail on your garment, including pockets and button holes.  By the end of the course you will be able to product a personalised garment from stratch.'  Now that doesn't sound very thorough to me, it sounds like you would choose your commercial pattern and then make it through the course (2 hrs/ week for 11 weeks) learning the things you would come across on THAT pattern therefore if you had chosen a simple pattern you wouldn't cover things that you would need for a more difficult pattern. 

So it got me thinking - what would MY syllabus be?  I grew up with my mother sewing loads of clothes both for me and other people and I would make dolls clothes as a child.  I later did sewing in school but at a very low level (pre - GCSE) and then did nothing until a couple of years ago.  So I have some basics but also lots of holes in my knowledge and definitely in my confidence level.  I have now improved lots of my skills (through blogs and web in general) but I know there are lots of things I don't know or am not confident about. So my question is what does a sewer need to know, I mainly make clothes and I'm interested in knowing about designing patterns so here's my brain-dump list of things I'd like to know or have trouble with:-
  • making button holes
  • fitting collars
  • fitting yokes
  • fitting sleeves
  • fitting pockets
  • handling fine fabrics
  • expected sizings (e.g. children, womens)
  • different fabric types
  • accurate measurement
  • drafting block/sloper
  • lining clothes e.g. a bodice
  • designing children's clothes, understanding proportions as they grow

Do I need to go to college to learn these things?  I guess not but I think the advantage would be someone to talk to about any problems I have as I don't have anyone in the real world that sews and could help me out.  Maybe I need to find a sewing circle or some other method to pick up this knowledge.  I live in Sussex if anyone has any information about sewing circles or course in the area.....



  1. Louise, I have also been investigating sewing classes, but like you they seem a bit vague. I keep being told that I don't need to go and that I can pick it up myself, but like you I have no one to hand who sews to ask for advice. I think I will give it a go soon and just jump in, I can just make lots of mistakes, that's how you learn right :) ?
    Kandi x

  2. hi from a fellow Sussex sewer :) I can see what you want to learn and how you feel you will not get what you want out of a class, I did sewing up till I left school and some of items in your list I self taught after leaveing school and I did exam, knew how to do it ie write it, but had never done it in life, and some bits I have forgotten, ie fabric which needle lol but to be honest to learn what you want to you may as well grab a pattern you like the fabric you want and go for it, you tube has great ''how to do it'' and if you post on ''the sewing room'' i will do my best to help along with everyone else :) to be honest clothes making is not as hard as it looks, just measure, masure and measure again before you cut pattern, as paper patterns are normally a diffrent size to buying on the high street.Sorry for long comment and Good luck :)
    witchwoopiggy x