Space to Sew UpdateBlog

23 March 2014

Sewing Courses for Beginners

It was brought to our attention recently through some of our client feedback forms that, although we run a number of courses that are accessible to beginners, a number of them might not immediately appeal to beginners without sewing machines at home. This is sometimes because some of the courses are sample based, for example our Roman Blinds and Basic Curtains Courses which are accessible for beginners as most of the sewing involved is simple straight machine and hand stitching. However these require you to have a machine at home in order to create your own window treatments once you have taken your own window measurements at home. Obviously if you don't have a sewing machine at home this isn't possible, though you can bring in your own blinds and curtains to work on at your own pace during Club sessions using our machines. Still, if you're anything like me, if you can't join Club for whatever reason, you won't want to leave too long a gap before sewing again so as not to forget what you've learnt. Much of sewing is learnt by reinforcing so it is important to keep practising, especially in the early stages when using a machine is not yet second nature.

We've pondered this for a while in house and, as a result, the lovely Clare has come up with a new set of courses specifically aimed at beginners wanting to practise and reinforce the skills recently learnt, whether or not you have a machine at home.

First up is Clare's Drawstring Laundry Bag Course, perfect for practising straight stitching and remembering how to zigzag, while also showing you how to piece together different fabrics to achieve a bespoke and personal look all your own. You will also learn to make a drawstring channel, which is a useful skill if e.g. you want to go on to make pyjama bottoms, trousers or a skirt with a simple drawstring waist at a later date. These bags can of course be used for many more things other than laundry, so once you have the skills you can adapt the size and design to suit your needs.

If you prefer to make items for your kitchen, May and June offer the opportunity to make your own bespoke Oven Mitts, and Kitchen Apron.

The Oven Mitts are great for improving your straight stitching (you'll do a lot of it!). The course will also introduce you to working with wadding and bias binding. For those not familiar with using bias binding, it is a practical and attractive way to finish off many items, including blouses such as the one I made last year. The Apron Course is a variant to our Vintage Half-Apron: the Vintage Half-Apron is designed to teach slightly more developed dressmaking skills, i.e. how to make pleats and gathered pockets. The Kitchen Apron can also have a pocket, but it is of the simpler patch variety. It is also great for learning how to create neat hems with mitred corners, while creating a useful item to use in your kitchen or garden.

If getting into Dressmaking is what you long to do, Clare's Simple Summer Top Course will show you how to create a gathered ribbon channel and sew and neaten basic seams and hems, while creating a useful top for hot summer days.

Last up from Clare (for now!) learn to sew a useful make up / pencil roll (or, if you knit as well as sew, make a longer version to keep your knitting needles tidy!). Once again this is great for improving straight stitching and it is also ideal for learning to create crisp corners and ribbon ties. All of the above courses are also suitable for group bookings and/or parties, so if you have a group of friends who know how to use a sewing machine, why not bring them along for that special celebration.

I can't finish a blog post on Beginners' Courses without mentioning Louise's new A-Line skirt course. Other than Clare's Simple Summer Top, a basic skirt is the most straightforward dressmaking project you can make. However even the simplest skirt does require a bit of fitting, so Louise will help you with that on the day. Once again you don't have to be a beginner to benefit from this course, but you can attend without any more experience than a Basic Machine Skills Course. So if you can spare a whole day, choose one of the many recommended patterns and come and learn to make your first skirt. You'll learn the essential 'how to' skills in class and be able to replicate the same skirt again at home in different fabrics, while adding a classic staple to your summer wardrobe.

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