When you think about learning to sew there are probably a few key words that will pop into your head - dressmaking, quilting and soft furnishings.
Many people think that sewing classes consist of sitting around making cushion covers that you don’t really need, starting a quilt but not having time to finish it in class, or making a skirt because it’s one of the simpler items of clothing to make.
Luckily this is most certainly not true of sewing classes anymore. There are new sewing schools and sewing teachers popping up all over the place and they are all competing for customers by offering a diverse range of sewing classes as well as good value for money.
The majority of modern classes do aim to get you making a full project, not just a sample and want to make it something you will actually use. If dressmaking is the area that interests you there are a lot more options than the ‘make a simple skirt’ available. You can be walking away with a whole new wardrobe of clothes - fully tailored jackets, trousers, pyjamas, dresses, even clothing for your children. There are also classes which teach you to repair and alter your clothes or how to upcycle or customise your clothing to make your wardrobe unique.
Another type of class growing in popularity in the dressmaking area is pattern cutting. Learning to draft your own patterns means you can make clothes perfectly tailored to your own body shape. Underwear is also a popular subject, with knicker making classes proving a great idea for hen nights. There are also classes on bra making and corset making too.
For those of you who want to sew for the home, you can of course learn to make a range of different cushion covers but you can also learn how to make curtains, roman blinds, and throws plus textile art or embroidery to display on the walls. A new course that has appeared at a few venues lately is making fabric covered lampshades, a great way to add your own unique touch to a room.
Quilting classes also vary greatly from the sample quilt/cot quilt to making quilted bags, cushions, purses and gifts.
Often quilting classes will run over several sessions to enable you to learn a few different techniques and also take away a full size quilt at the end of it. Most places teach both traditional quilt making techniques as well as offering modern quilting classes.
Something which is proving hugely popular at the moment is free motion embroidery classes. Using free motion techniques you can learn how to make stunning pictures or give a unique touch to any textile product. Many of the sewing teachers on our site now offer free machine embroidery workshops. For the more artistic among you mixed media classes will allow you to learn textile art skills.
Many sewing schools offer courses to make purses, fabric jewellery, make up or sewing rolls, corsages and other embellishments. These are all fairly quick projects, ideally suited to beginners that can be made in a 2-3 hour session and are a great place to start if you are daunted by the idea of going straight into a big project.
Seasonal classes can be a good place to start as well, there’s a great sense of pride in making your own Christmas stocking, advent calendar or gift for a loved one. Check what's available in your area.
A few tips before you start booking up classes:
- Check what equipment/supplies you need to bring with you. A lot of places will provide fabric and a sewing machine but some don’t; others prefer you to bring your own so you learn to handle your particular machine. Some places add an extra charge on top of the class cost for materials so do read the small print.
- Check what sewing ability you need to take part in the class, some of the classes require you to have a certain level of experience before attending, so do check if you are unsure.
- Groups v. individual tuition. Many places will offer individual tuition as well as group classes. If you need more help that could be the better option for you. Also if you want to make something specific that is not covered by one of the classes the personal tuition could again work out better.
- Shop around - many locations now have more than one venue offering sewing classes so have a look at all your local ones and compare prices, timings, offers, reviews etc.
- Follow your local course providers on Facebook and Twitter, you can often pick up discounts or reduced price last minute bookings if you do so, as well as getting details of new classes they will be offering in the future. Some of them run competitions offering free classes too so they're worth keeping an eye on.
You can of course search our site to find your local provider, and find individual classes listed on our sewing workshops page. Do follow us on Facebook & Twitter to be kept updated with course discount codes from our customers.