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The Dreamstress School of Vintage Sewing: Classes for April-June

Welcome to autumn!  Hope you are keeping warm as the weather cools down.

In between my own mad sewing and research I’ve scheduled some fantastic classes for this autumn based on patterns I’ve been working on, techniques I’ve been perfecting, and requests from students.

Pictured: mad sewing

Pictured: mad sewing

I’m particularly excited about Sewing with Knits: the Simple T-Shirt.  I sewed knit dance outfits for a costume shop a decade ago, and then just got out of practice, and sewing with knits began to seem quite tricky and daunting.  Last year I made a resolution to overcome my odd fear of knits, and when I started working with them again everything came back, and I love how easy they are to work with, and how easy they are to wear.  The class is based on my own (now totally overcome) fear of knits, and is aimed at showing all sewing levels how fun and easy it is to make a T-shirt that is better than boughten.

Because it is an introduction to knit class, it’s suitable for fairly beginner sewers who know how to operate a machine but may never have used a pattern, and quite advanced sewers who have only worked with wovens.  You’ll both learn a lot from it.  Hope to see you in the class!

The simple, but perfectly made, T-shirt

The simple, but perfectly made, T-shirt

Another class that I am just thrilled to be able to offer is the new Intermediate Level 3+: Perfecting Your Techniques class.  There has been so much demand for a class where intermediate-advanced students could work on their own chosen project, but get assistance with tricky fitting, specialised techniques, and fine finishes.  In an advanced class students can do the bulk of the sewing at home, and use class time for the really hard bits.  I can’t wait to see what projects students bring in!  The first session starts April 17 and runs for four weeks (with a break between the third and fourth week) and the another session runs Wednesdays 8-28 May.

Pintucks, top joined seams, and other techniques to perfect

Pintucks, top joined seams, and other techniques to perfect

The Perfectly Fitted Trousers course that I ran in Feb and March was such a huge success, and there was so much demand from the students in it to do more classes where you develop personalised pattern blocks that I’m offering Perfect-Fit Pencil Skirt starting Thursday May 16 and running for three weeks.  Developing a pencil skirt block is easier than a trouser block, so we’ll have more time to focus on getting your finishes right: working with linings, setting hems, and putting in zips.

Perfect-fit Pencil Skirt

Perfect-fit Pencil Skirt

And do check out the awesome orange and white diagonal stripey pencil skirt currently on display at Made on Marion that I made as a class sample!  Most of you may prefer a more classic black or grey skirt for yourself, but I couldn’t resist playing with the fabric.

Another class that has been scheduled due to popular demand is the Classic Collared Shirt class, starting 29 April and running every Monday eve for four weeks.  The class is designed for both men and women’s shirt styles, so I hope to see some of Wellingtons male sewers in it!  Almost a decade ago, when we were still dating, I taught my now-husband, who had never sewn in his life before, how to sew a classic collared shirt.  He still has the first shirt we made together, and if I could get him to make a perfect shirt, anyone with intermediate sewing experience will be just fine in this class!

As always, there are Absolute Beginners classes happening every five weeks.  The April-May night session is currently fully booked, but there are still spaces in the April Daytime Absolute Beginners (the daytime classes are usually smaller, so I highly recommend them if you can make them!).

A sweet and simple pillowcase dress made in Daytime Absolute Beginners

A sweet and simple pillowcase dress made in Daytime Absolute Beginners

Once you are done with Absolute Beginners, take Level 2 Intermediate: Intro to Sewing with Patterns, with the first four-week session starting Tuesday 23 April.  It’s also perfect for those who have done a little sewing on their own but still need help reading patterns and knowing all the techniques.

Finally, for a little bit of fluff and fun, I’m thrilled to be offering French Knickers and Tap Pants again.  It’s the perfect indulgent course to make yourself some lingerie that can be as pretty and luxurious as you want (I make mine out of silk) while still being practical for windy Wellington winter weather.  The course starts Thursday June 6 and runs two weeks.  Keep a watch out for the Made on Marion display in the weeks running up to it – it’s going to turn into a veritable garden of tap pants!

French knickers

French knickers

Hope to see you in one or more of these courses!  Have a class that you’d really like me to teach, or offer again?  Leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do!

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The Dreamstress, aka Leimomi Oakes, is a textile historian and historical seamstress with a strong background in teaching.

The Dreamstress in a 1930s dress

At her School of Vintage sewing you’ll learn vintage, historical and modern sewing techniques, lots of textile history, and how to be an independent sewist who feels confident creating your own designs, drafting your own patterns, and altering commercial patterns.

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Courses are rated on difficulty on a scale of 1 to 10 –  The ratings are just a guideline to give you an idea of how hard the course will be: don’t pick something too far above your level, but be sure to challenge yourself!

1: is an absolute beginners course, for someone who has never been on a sewing machine before.

2: you’ve made cushions or something similar, and know how to set zips and make buttonholes.

3: you can follow a simple sewing pattern.

4: you’ve moved up to more complicated patterns with linings.

5: you’re ready to start making adaptions to your patterns to suit your taste and to fit you better.

6: you’ve begun to draft your own simple patterns and making up moderately difficult patterns

7: you’re beginning to play with draping, and trickier fabrics

8: you’re working your way up to difficult fabrics, evening wear, tailoring and tricky fitting issues

9: you’re making your own patterns, and working with couture techniques.

10: is for someone with experience in pattern making, couture sewing, and advanced fitting.

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