Our guide to sewing
Kristina K

Our guide to sewing

First published date August 23 2013 Amended date December 15 2014

Do you go shopping and gasp at the ridiculously extortionate prices of clothes? Does that then lead to a little rant of ‘I could have made this...it’s easy!’? Or, are you feeling inspired from The Great British Sewing Bee? If you’re still dabbling with the idea of picking up your needles and thread, stop procrastinating and start sewing. It may seem difficult, but with the right course, you’ll be a master in no time.

Whether you’re an absolute beginner, hoping to sew your first trousers or the odd seam, or an experienced designer with big dreams of rivalling Jenny Packham’s designs, our range of fun sewing courses starting from the basics up to advanced levels and challenging couture classes are perfect for the stitcher in you.


Get stitching

Sewing courses are highly practical and you will walk away with an Aladdin’s cave of knowledge. You’ll learn all about corset pattern, basic machine and hand sewing skills, understand fit and style detailing, tucks and pleats, fastenings, shaping and pockets, patchwork, pattern adaptation and cutting, and recognise different sewing terminologies.  Following some of the workshops, you’ll walk away with your own hard work; from footstools to blinds and home accessories.


Gypsy wedding dresses, clean cut lines or sensual lingerie – what’s your favourite?

Whether or not you’re a fan of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, you can’t help but be mesmerised by Thelma Madine and the dressmaker's generous use of Swarovski crystals, diamantes, silk and fine tulle – all used to make tight-fitting corsets, puffy skirts and even a five stone wedding dress! If that’s not to your taste, then Alexander McQueen’s strong aesthetic designs with edgy juxtapositional provocative themes may be right up your street. Either way, you can take sewing courses based on different interests, specialising in different areas. Or, unleash your inner agent provocateur and learn to sew sexy lingerie.


Made in China  by you

If you’re hesitant, you’re probably thinking that sewing is not for you because you don’t want to pursue a career in fashion design, and what’s the point when you shop on the high street most times anyway? Well – it’s conscience. We’ve often heard of companies that don’t pay the minimum wage to workers, and moan about how guilty we feel for buying stuff from them, but it’s difficult when the prices are so cheap. So, avoid feeling guilty, make a difference, stop supporting commercial-retail moguls and sew your own wardrobe!


Dust off your sewing machine

It’s old, it’s imposing and it makes a funny noise. Many of us dread the sewing machine sitting in the corner of the room. Why not conquer your fear of the sewing machine and learn to use it? Sewing machine courses will help build your confidence so that you don’t cringe every time you need to rethread. And don’t worry, those days of shouting ‘Miss... Miss...’ in school whilst trying to get your teacher’s attention, are over. Classes are normally small and you get a lot of guidance from the teachers.     



Learning to sew will open loads of job opportunities for you. If you want to work in theatre costume, period dress or fashion, corset-making will be a required skill. This can also spill into making bodices and wedding dresses. For footwear fanatics, shoemaking is big business. Pick up tips on basic foot anatomy and sizing, and design your own ladies’ court shoes or open-toed sandals. Of course, there are also jobs available in fashion and designing for all sorts of things like handbags, swimwear and menswear.


Famous sewing enthusiasts

There are tonnes of designers out there to take inspiration from but our favourite is Jimmy Choo. Regardless of whether you can or can’t afford his wares (maybe put in on the wedding shoe list?), we love Jimmy Choo’s humble beginnings. The son of a cobbler, Jimmy was immersed in the shoemaking world from a young age. He produced his first pair of shoes at 11 years-old and worked as an apprentice at a shoe store in Penang, Malaysia. Jimmy’s talent and skills developed and he then went on to study in London. To help pay for his studies, he worked as a cleaner in a shoe factory. He shot to fame after Vogue featured his beautiful shoes on an eight-page spread. Today, he concentrates on his Jimmy Choo couture line and is a firm favourite amongst celebrities. Now, if you’ve got the same drive and passion, then let us help kick-start your sewing career! You could be the next big thing!  


That’s sew interesting…

The distance from your nose to your fingertips equals a yard. This measurement was established in England long before the metric system.

If you’re not sure if the fabric’s silk, try setting it on fire. Burned silk smells like burned hair.

A sewing machine powered by small leashed dogs on a kind of treadmill was used in the 19th century England, until the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stepped in.

The first functional sewing machine, invented by French tailor Barthelemy Thimonnier in 1830, used only one thread and a hooked needle that made the same chain stitch used for embroidery. Thimonnier was nearly killed by a group of angry French tailors because they feared unemployment as a result of his invention!

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