The Dreamstress School of Sewing: Winter ’14 Classes

Winter is almost here, the days are short and the nights are long, dark and cold. Time to think about a warm, snuggly winter wardrobe, and about booking in some night classes to keep your evenings bright and fun.

So come join me for a sewing class this winter and improve your sewing skills and your winter wardrobe!

If you are just starting as a sewer, there are monthly Absolute Beginners Sewing Sessions.  June is already full, but there are spaces available in the July & August classes. I do recommend booking early, as these always fill up!

Absolute Beginners Pyjama Pants, Made on Marion

The perfect follow-up to Absolute Beginners is Pick Your Own Project: the class where I help you work through whatever pattern you are working on at your own pace.  It’s also great for more advanced seamstresses who want to tackle an ambitious project with a little help.  June’s class runs Friday evenings 13, 20, 27 June & 4 July, 6-8.30, and July’s class runs Tuesday’s 8, 15, 22, 29 Jul 6-8.30.

If you are a little more advanced than that, I’m offering the Perfect Fit Pencil Skirt class.  Pencil skirts are classic, versitile garments, and knowing how to make the perfect one is invaluable.  The class is a great introduction to pattern drafting, and to thinking about your own shape and getting a custom fit.

Perfect-fit Pencil Skirt

The four session class runs Tuesday evenings 10, 17, 24 June, 1 July 6-8.30 pm.

For a more casual, but equally versatile garment, take one of my most popular classes: Intro to Knits: the Simple T.  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.

The simple but perfectly made t-shirt

It’s so popular that I will be offering the three session twice: Thursday evenings 19, 26, June & 3 July, 6-8.30, and then again on Wednesday evenings 13, 20 & 27 August, 6-8:30.

And if you have already taken Intro to Knits and are comfortable whipping up T-Shirts, upskill your knit talents with Advanced 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 Mondays 14, 21, 28 July.

In August join me for Intro to Corsetmaking: the Underbust Corset, where you’ll learn a whole new set of skills as you make a gorgeous perfectly fitted underbust corset.

Basic underbust corset

Intro to Corsetmaking runs Friday evenings 15, 22, 29 August, & 5, 12 Sept 6-8.30.

For a quick, easy fun winter class, join me for Make a Muff.  I think muffs are awesome: quirky and pretty, they keep your hands warm, and my pattern includes a zippered pocket so that you can keep your keys, cards and lipstick on hand!

Make a Muff class
Make a Muff runs Friday evenings 18 & 25 July, 6-8:30.

Wide-legged Vintage-Inspired Trousers is perfect for anyone who want an easy introduction to sewing trousers, and is highly recommended for anyone else who wants to learn some nice finishing techniques.  We’ll be using Wearing History’ wonderful Smooth Sailing trouser pattern, perfect in wool  for winter.  The pattern makes a wonderful, flattering, versatile pair of trousers.

Wearing History Smooth Sailing trousers 2


The four session class runs Wednesdays 12, 19, 26 August,  2 Sept 6-8:30pm.

Finally, for something really exciting (and suitable for everyone, because you don’t even have to know how to sew!) we’re introducing Fashion History evenings on the 2nd Friday of the Month.  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.  July’s evening focuses on glittery, sparkly textiles and cloth of gold and silver, and August’s evening looks at how the ‘fiesta’ fashions and fabrics of Mexico and South & Central America influenced textiles and fashions as far afield as New Zealand.

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.


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