The Dreamstress School of Sewing: Spring ’14 Classes

It’s spring!  Birds are singing, bulbs are blooming, the weather is warming up, and it’s time to pull out those light fabrics and freshen up your summer wardrobe.

If you are just starting as a sewer, there are monthly Absolute Beginners Sewing Sessions – fun, easy, worry free introductions to sewing.  As of the writing of this post, there are just two spaces left in the October class, November is half full, and there even a booking in the December class. Register early, as Absolute Beginners Sewing classes always fill up!

Absolute Beginners Pyjama Pants, Made on Marion

If you are a little more advanced than Absolute Beginners, and want to do something a bit different, how about Make Your Own Knickers (Wednesdays 22 & 29 October)?  This fun, quick class is super easy, and the result is incredibly satisfying!  No more $15 knickers that crawl up on you!

UPDATE: And, due to popular demand, we’ve added another session of Make Your Own Knickers, running Fridays 5 & 12 Dec.

Make your own knickers class

Or, if you are interested in knits, but knickers aren’t your thing, take one of my most popular classes: Intro to Knits: the Simple T (running Tues 7, 14, 21 Oct).  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.

Intro to Knits

And if you have already taken Intro to Knits and are comfortable whipping up T-Shirts, upskill your knit talents with Working with Knits: Making a Cardigan.  We’ll be using my personal pattern to make a classic V-neck buttoned cardigans, with or without wrist and hem bindings.  The class runs Wednesdays 12, 19, 26 November.

The Mackenzie Cardigan

To keep you modest under all your summer frocks, come along and make a pair of Tap Pants or French Knickers.  These fun, lacy undershorts are perfect for wearing under skirts in the Wellington wind or as you dance, and also make great summer pajamas.

French knickers
French knickers

Tap Pants & French Knickers runs Thur evenings 4, 11, & 18 December.

If you have a specific item you want to make that doesn’t fit into a class, Pick Your Own Project is the course for you – you can work through your own project with assistance from an experienced teacher.

Sewing at Made on Marion

Pick Your Own Project runs Tuesday evenings starting the 25th of Nov.

If you want to learn some general skills, rather than make a specific garment, you might be interested in either Intro to Pattern Resizing, or Know Your Fabrics.

Intro to Pattern Resizing (Monday evenings 3, 10, & 17 November) will cover easy techniques for altering and re-sizing patterns, perfect for the home sewer.

Know Your Fabrics (Friday evenings 14 & 21 Nov) is an indispensable class for every sewer.  Understanding fibre and weave, and how your fabric will affect what you sew, is crucial to sewing successfully.  This fun class will give you a detailed overview of all of that – plus you’ll learn how to identify fabrics from feel and burn tests.

Brocades, jacquards & damasks


Finally, October will feature the last of our Winter Fashion History evenings series.  These fun evenings involve tea and cake and a discussion of fashion history using my collections of antique textiles and garments, and my reproductions of historical garments.  October’s evening will look at the quirkier side of 18th century fashion, from dancing marmottes to cabbage headdresses.  (suitable for everyone, because you don’t even have to know, or want to know, how to sew!)

1780s Wedding Dress thedreamstress

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.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. shona

    Hi i wondered if you had any plans to do a class on fitting adjustments. i saw one on the tilly and the buttons website and it looked fab, only problem being its in London.
    And Happy New Year

    1. Made Marion

      Hi Shona, All of our dressmaking classes incorporate fitting adjustments – instead of learning ones you don’t need, you learn how to fit your own body while making the project you are working on. This is a great way to learn your own needs in the context of a finished piece. 🙂

  2. Sunder Croucher


    Do you have sewing classes for children after school. My daughter who is 11 years old is interested in learning. Look forward to your response. Thanks.

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