The Dreamstress School of Sewing: Classes for Summer 2015

The holidays are over, fun has been had, and it’s back to work and real life.  That’s great for me though, because work is teaching sewing, and I love that!

There are lots of fantastic classes scheduled for the coming months, from absolute basics, to nice refreshers, to sewing challenges.

First up is the 1930’s inspired ‘Ngaio’ blouse, (Tuesdays 3, 10 & 17 Feb), with a clever gathered bow-effect front.  The blouse is an effortless make in easy fabrics, or a chance to improve your fabric wrangling skills with trickier materials.

The 1930s Ngaio blouse
If you’ve been out of sewing for a while, and want a refresher, but have too much experience for Absolute Beginners, Home Decor: Cushion Covers (Wednesdays 11, 18 & 25 Feb) is the class for you.  We’ll cover all the sewing basics, including two different kinds of zips, buttonholes, and machine applique as you make three fabulous cushion covers.

Applique cushion the dreamstress

For something a bit different, Make Your Own Knickers  (Mondays 9 & 16 March) is a fun, easy introduction to knits, and the result is incredibly satisfying!  No more $15 knickers that crawl up on you!

Make your own knickers class

If knickers aren’t your thing, but you want to learn to work with knits, take one of my most popular classes: Intro to Knits: the Basic T-Shirt  (Thursdays 26 Feb, 5 & 12 March).  Sewing with knit fabric is a different skill to woven fabrics, but it’s really easy to master, and this class will teach you how to make tees that look better than the ones you buy in the shops.

On the other end of the shirt scale, it’s been over a year since I offered the Classic Collared Shirt class (Wednesdays 11, 18, 25 March, 8 & 15 April) where you learn all the tricks of creating a beautifully tailored collared shirt.  Make it crisp and business-like, or create a softer casual version in light fabric

The Classic Collared Shirt

From tailored to fluid, the 1920s Vionnet Chiton panel dress class (Fridays 13, 20, 27 March).  My article on this dress was just published in Threads Magazine (insert happy skip), so it’s the perfect opportunity to offer this class again.  In it you’ll learn basic pattern drafting, working with ease, and a series of vintage couture techniques which have been adapted for modern machines.  And, best of all, the dress is amazingly fun to wear and looks great!

The 1920s Vionnet Chiton Dress

For a different set of skills, take the class for my favourite wear-everywhere garment: the Henrietta Maria Tuck-Pleated Shift Dress (and Blouse) (Mondays 23, 30 March, 13 & 20 April).  It’s easy to make, very adaptable, and a great addition to your wardrobe.

The Tuck-Pleated shift/smock dress

If you are a straight-up novice to sewing there are monthly Absolute Beginners Sewing Sessions – fun, easy, worry free introductions to sewing.  As of the writing of this post, there is just one spaces left in the February Class, March is half full, and there are plenty of spaces in April. Register early, as Absolute Beginners Sewing classes always fill up!

Absolute Beginners Pyjama Pants, Made on Marion

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!


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

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.


Wondering if a course is too advanced or easy for your sewing level?  Check out my discussion on difficulty levels

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.

Leave a Reply