Our students often ask me after Beginning Sewing- What class do I take next? Its an important question, because each month I offer up to 3 classes, and there is an order to the experience that I think works best. Read on to understand how the classes are designed to build upon each other to increase your understanding of the material and improve your skills.
For Sewing- Start Here:
I believe to that to develop a passion for sewing, you must have the experience of making something and having it in your hands- right away. I design Beginner's Sewing to teach you how to know the dials and settings on your machine, I focus on hand and eye coordination, and help you get comfortable sewing right from the start. The class project gets made right away, so you have the satisfaction of having something you made in your hands- that night. That's the key to experiencing satisfaction with sewing- sewing is utilitarian, its useful and it enhances our lives with the objects that we make. Why do I love sewing? Because I have things in my mind that I MUST SEE in this world and want to have, and I'm never going to find it in a store. This has been my quest my entire creative life- I have had an idea, and I want to see it in form. I have a passion for soft goods, and how happy it makes me to see them made and the happiness of creating them makes my life more beautiful. I want to share this happiness with you.
The next step if you love Beginner's Sewing is to take Intro to Clothing. That way, you can learn how to do a project from a pattern from start to finish. And learn more about your machine and how to use it more effectively to make construction easier. I'm not going to lie- sewing takes practice. LOTS OF IT- which is why I've started posting tutorials for you to practice and to share how I use this skill. Sometimes I make useful things, sometimes I'm just making something to have a laugh and make someone else have a laugh. For instance this weekend, I had to make my husband a Christmas cats shirt. Because Paul is the best, and he and I share the same sense of humor, we both thought it would be amazing to make Christmas outfits for when we visit our family in Iowa. And it was! Seriously, he's wearing this shirt today and people think its as hilarious as we think it is.
That's why I sew- because our experiences are just that much more funnier, or that much more happier, and these things are seen and living in the world instead of in my head. You can do this too. It takes passion and practice.
I design our curriculum with the idea in mind that you may only have one day to practice. Some of my students don't even have that one day, the time they have is the class that night. To deal with our limited time, I try to push students out of sewing has to be perfect mindset. If you get wrapped up in the idea that everything is a certain way, its going to block you from the satisfaction of completing the project. I've seen perfectionism block people from enjoying creativity. I know sewing was taught with more perfectionism and principles in the past, and yes- these should be taught in fashion school- but if you aren't making a career out of it where you have to know the fashion language of other professionals, then I want you learn how to make something good and in a way that can fit into your busy lifestyle.
After Intro to Clothing, you can dig deeper into construction by taking Good Shirts, Great Dresses, or My Favorite Pants. This will teach you fine finishing, details, more complex assembly, different kinds of parts like zippers, waistbands, pockets, and plackets. When you get to a class like Good Shirts- just know that you should be doing a little practicing at home. And practicing some of what you learn in class. The other classes are fine intros, but when you jump to Shirts, there is an investment on your end to start practicing at home to lock in the info. That's why I recommend the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing. This guide has helped me learn the basics and has good drawings and illustrations for the times when I forget a construction concept and need to see it again step by step.
For Design- Start Here:
I want to teach you how to design your own clothing- that's my passion. Its my goal that when you take construction classes, you begin to develop an interest in design and making your own clothing. When Paul busts out another pair of his custom made pants on Sundays- I'm always so happy to see him applying his skills as a pattern maker and designer. Check out these amazing pants he made as part of his Christmas outfit.
To learn design, I feel you must get some construction practice first. That way, you can see a pattern, cut it out, learn and see how it is sewn together, and have the experience of customizing the fit on a ready made pattern. Before starting our Pattern Making 101 series, I think you should have at least taken Intro to Clothing or better yet- Shirts. That way you have had some experience with sewing and you have seen how flat 2 dimensional cut fabric becomes a 3D item that you can use or wear.
The Pattern Making 101 series is mean to introduce you to pattern making in ways that help overcome the huge investment of time and energy it takes to understand this awesome craft. You don't want to know how long it took me to learn this skill- in fact I'm still learning- and the amount of money I invested in classes. I hear often from students that they really want to learn pattern making, but how? You really have to see it, it is very hard to learn it from a book or video. This series is design so that you get to see the principles in action. The first class How to Make a Pattern, teaches you how to pattern from an existing item of clothes, something thats a favorite item from your closet. The reason why I introduce patterns to you in this way is because it will show you the translation from 3D back to 2D, and is a way for you to see and understand construction on a different level.
The next class will be How to Pattern Draft. In this class I teach you how to make basic blocks. Every designer has a set of their basic blocks, and that's what all patterns are designed from. I will teach you the basic principles of how blocks are made, and then you can make your own set.
After that, the third class is How to Design a Pattern. This will teach you how to make your own pattern for one basic item of clothing.
These classes are taught in a series, and is meant to build conceptually right on top of another. If you have an interest in design and making patterns, don't miss out on the first class that starts in January.
For Color and Textile Design- Start Here:
I'm a color lover. I adore textile and surface design and have an MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I am an expert in this level of design and have base my clothing collections around experimentations in this medium. I have 2 classes that I teach- The Immersion Dye Workshop and Direct Application Dye and Print Workshop. They only pop up on the schedule every so often because they are such an investment. However, I recently started offering Private Dye Lessons so that I can share this skill with you on a more convenient time schedule. You can do so much by learning how to color your own textiles, last week I shared a quick tutorial on a few dye methods that I frequently use. This level of "painting" goes way beyond clothing in its application and use that it can bring to your creations.
if you see a class you want to take- don't wait
We try to offer Beginning Sewing and Intro to Clothing Monthly. Sewing with Sergers is offered every 2 months and Alterations every 3 to 4 months. Dye classes are maybe offered twice a year. Our advanced construction classes are offered every 3 to 6 months, depending on the group taking the classes and if they are ready to go those deeper levels of understanding. That being said, keep me posted if there is something you want, or if you are wondering when something is offered next. I'm here to help you customize your learning experience.