The Dreamstress School of Vintage Sewing

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.

Learn more about each class below, and follow the links to register from our Calendar event listing.

Leimomi Oakes, The Dreamstress, in a Japonisme style dress from the 1880s

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.

Back by popular demand!  The sold out class:

Intro to Corsetmaking – the Basic Underbust corset

Friday 9, 16 & 30 November, and 7 December, 6-8.30pm


Learn the fundamentals of corsetmaking with a perfectly fitted underbust corset.  While corsets look complicated, a few simple tricks will de-mystify the process   This course will cover every step of the process from choosing your fabric, busk, and boning types; to fitting and altering your pattern; to setting the busk; getting the boning channels to look perfectly even on the outside and inside of the corset; inserting your eyelets; and binding the edges.  Plus, we’ll look at adding Steampunk flair to your corset in the build-up to Aethercon 2012

Suitable for those with intermediate and higher sewing experience. Level 5

Materials: Students will need to bring the supply for their corset (suggestions for suitable fabric will be provided).  All other materials are included as part of the kit

Cost: $145 (+ kit fee)

The 1930s Garden Party frock & working with lightweight fabrics

Saturday 10 & 17 November, 10-5pm, with a 60 minute lunch break

Do you love the look of early ’30s garden party frocks?  The layers of floating chiffon?  The clever seaming and romance meets sophistication aesthetic?  Using the Dreamstresses personal ’30s dress base pattern, you’ll develop your own dress pattern, picking your neckline, your sleeve and shoulder details, and the cut, drape and shape of your skirt

Suitable for those with intermediate and higher sewing experience.  Level 5-8 (depending on the fabric you select – more experienced sewers may wish to tackle silk chiffon, those with less experience are advised to pick more stable viscoses and cottons)

Cost: $120

Materials: Students should bring the pattern & fabric needed for their dress to the first class.  Register and I’ll help you work through that before the class

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