Does anyone know of sewing classes that aren't like the ones at JoAnn's?
Nothing against them, but they don't seem to teach you what you really need.
I took home ec in HS (we won't say how long ago!), and I can sew basic
things, but they all look "homemade". Not that that is a bad thing, but I'd
like a little more professional look to them. I would love one-on-one
lessons, does anyone do that? I'm in the NE Florida area if anyone knows of
anything. Thanks! Jamie
There are a lot of places that give great classes. It sort of depends on the
size of your town and how far you are willing to travel would factor in. I
have observed some of JoAnn's classes when I have been in their store and my
feeling is that it's just a good way for them to sell supplies. They seem,
from the few I have actually seen, to be limited in scope. Some of the
places that you can check, and it may take some phone time and serious
personal bonding with the yellow pages, are the Vocational schools near you;
call your dealers of higher end machines for in store classes, you don't
need to be using their brand of machine to take the classes you pay for;
community centers often have sewing classes or are waiting for calls to log
an interest to start scheduling; local community colleges often have adult
extension education courses of this type. Also check your listings for
schools in your area. Some art schools have fashion courses where sewing
skill is part of the curriculum. Be specific about what you want to learn
and most have brochures or flyers to mail you. Once you start to call around
and ask questions you may get additional information to steer you in the
right direction. If you are still interested in one-on-one lessons you could
ask the instructors of the classes you find if they would be willing to do
this. I can understand your feelings about the private instruction thing.
Sometimes having somebody at your home for a few 'in the zone' hours is far
superior to a several classes spread over a period of weeks. I have done
both and found it always rewarding,however, with classes I have enjoyed I
also get the added benefit of making some new friends with a common
I hope this helps you in what you want to find, Good luck!!
For those of you who have sewn for years as well as those who are just
beginning, the American Sewing Guild is an excellent source information
and assistance. There are chapters all over the country and smaller
local "neighborhood groups" as well.
They provide classes and training, but the best part is there are local
meetings where there are sometimes presentations, but also a "Show and
tell time" where members bring in what they have sewn to show if off, or
ask for assistance or advice, etc. Good friendships are established in
Visit their web site (below) and look for a chapter to contact that is
near you. You can visit three times before having to become a paying
Marilyn, in California
Stretch & Sew used to do great classes. I'd suggest
checking schedules at your local community college, any
classes offered by your city recreation department, and
all the sewing and fabric stores in your area. I'll bet
you'll find something to suit.
Kay - I think the facings is one area, especially on clothes I've made for
my granddaughter (she doesn't care, she's only 2!). I don't make a lot for
myself because I think they look homemade - I made a couple of simple
skirts, and they have elastic in the back. No matter what I do, that looks
"tacky". Also, even with sewing the elastic to the side seams, it still
turns within the casing (even on the baby's stuff).
Probably fitting also, as no pattern seems to fit you right in all the
places. I've never tried to alter a pattern, just don't even know where to
start. Except for pants (which I haven't made in many, many years) - I do
have to lengthen those as I have a 33" inseam, and most women's patterns
aren't that long.
I'll find some of the books/video's you mentioned, and see what they can
teach me. Thanks for your great suggestions. Jamie
FWIW, I like BanRol XL-90, a very wierd looking nonroll elastic, for
Also Linda Lee's article in Threads #83, June/July 1999
Four other books pop to mind, also:
--Susan Huxley: Sewing Secrets from the Fashion Industry
--Claire Shaeffer: High fashion sewing secrets from the worlds best designers
--Susan Khalje: Linen and Cotton: Sewing techniques for great results
--Carol Ahles: Fine Machine Sewing. (ok, it looks like heirloom sewing,
which I don't do. However, read the first two chapters and chapters 8 and 9
on hems, if you do nothing else. *Excellent* machine techniques.
You'll save hours and get better results.
Good rtw uses interfacing *much* more liberally than home sewing patterns
do. It's almost always fusible, and it's almost always lighter in weight
than what's commonly available in most fabric stores. Personally, I've
given up on standard store interfacings and just keep a stock of the
interfacings Connie Crawford sells... they're the same ones that wind
up in good ready to wear, and they're wider than most "store interfacings".
Her favorite is HTFM-4091, and when she needs more body, she'll use a couple
of layers. I use a lot of her HT15P-7927 for woven shirt collars and cuffs
you order, ask her for fusing instructions. Do not preshrink the interfacing. Use a hot (linen setting) iron, a moist presscloth andabout a 30 second dwell time. Do not move the fused fabric until ithas cooled, and it will hang on forever.
Kay Lancaster firstname.lastname@example.org
But first, a small netiquette plea... if you write to someone privately,
PLEASE put a replyable email address (not spamproofed) in your
headers. This was not done here... I normally just pitch non-replyable
Yup, you stretch it by putting one hand behind the needle and one in front,
and pulling... then you stitch, guiding with both hands. Or at least
that's how I do it. Leave an inch or so of elastic at the beginning, so
you've got a "handle" to start with; trim it off when you're done sewing
in the elastic.
Another option for online classes is Colleen Jones through
I've taken live classes with Colleen and she's
wonderful. I've seen some of the instructions she's written for the online
classes and they are very detailed. And she offers a critique option where
you can send your samples into be critiqued. Almost as good as being there
I take an on-going, work at your own pace, on your own project class with
Colleen and I'm amazed at what I've accomplished since I've started. She
calls it Sew Lab. Other store might call it sew with a pro or somesuch. I
also second American Sewing Guild - great place to be inspired, instructed
and make contacts with lots of women that can help you perfect your sewing,
while having lots of fun..
Just a very happy student of Colleen's (and Lisa that teaches with her)
Well, it appears I need to do some sleuthing, and figure out how to fix all
that. I didn't know there would be a different address in the header vs.
other places! Learn something new every day. I've had such an increase
over the past two weeks, and I've posted in newsgroup over the past two
weeks, so must not be a coincidence! Thanks, Jamie