Introduction to Dressmaking Course - 6 Morning Sessions

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Introduction to Dressmaking Course - 6 Morning Sessions

Begins: Monday 28 October 2019

Ends: Monday 02 December 2019

Session: 6


Time: 10.30am - 1.30pm

Level: New To Making Clothes

Our popular Introduction to Dressmaking course is the best starting block to begin making your own clothes, every year we guide and teach over a hundred fledgling sewers until they are fully equipped with the skills and confidence to progress to more advanced dressmaking and feel they can work through a pattern without assistance.

Maximum Class Size: 6

Level: This course is for those who are competent basic sewers with little to no experience in dressmaking. It is an ideal follow on course for students who have already completed our Introduction to Machine Sewing course or a series of our single sessions including 'Intro to Machine Sewing Part 2 - Essential Skills' (formerly 'The Next Step') or equivalent.

Over six weekly sessions you will learn and put into practice a variety of skills and techniques that are needed to make up a range of different garments using commercial sewing patterns. Our expert teachers will impart invaluable tips along the way by demonstrating parts of every process involved with making and finishing garments, and you will come away from the course with three wearable garments!

During the six weekly sessions you will cover the following techniques:

Weeks 1 & 2: Make a simple top with short cap sleeves and a bias neck trim

  • How to accurately take measurements in order to choose the right size pattern to cut

  • Introduction on commercial dressmaking patterns and their notations

  • How to place the pattern on the fabric

  • How to transfer markings from the paper pattern to fabric

  • How to prepare the fabric for sewing with ease and accuracy

  • Binding & finishing seams (optional French Seams)

  • Back neck opening

  • Weeks 3 & 4: Make a skirt from a choice of three, either A-line, pencil or gathered, all with pockets, a curved waistband and back zip fastening.

  • Professional garment construction methods

  • Sew straight darts

  • Sew facings with an under/top stitch

  • How to insert an invisible zip (refresher)

  • How to attach facings and waistbands

  • How to incorporate a lining (optional)

  • Front faced pockets (A-line skirt)

  • In-seam pockets (gathered skirt)

  • Weeks 5 & 6: Make a fitted dress from a choice of two, either a shift or gathered waist dress, both with a full-length centre back zip. There are many style options to choose from within each variant including sleeveless, short or long sleeves, collar, gathers, skirt vent.

  • Put the skills you have learned so far into practice

  • How to insert sleeves with an ease stitch

  • Contour darts & optional collar

  • Altering seams for a better fit

  • Make small adjustments to the pattern such as length

  • A range of professional finishing techniques

  • Materials: All sewing patterns are included but you will be required to bring your own fabric for the garments. All equipment, sundry materials and refreshments will be provided in the class.

    Some homework will be required during the course, this will entail cutting paper patterns & fabric and catching up on a bit sewing. If your do not own a sewing machine, ours are available to hire - please get in touch for more details.


    "I've just finished my Shift dress and I’m so excited to have 3 lovely items that I can wear proudly and say “I made this”. I did’t feel very confident at the start of the course, but with the help and encouragement from all of the Ray Stitch Staff, I think I might even try a project Solo! A brilliant course for a confidence boost and to take you to the next step. I highly recommend it.” - Emma

    "Love, love, love! So I looked at the patterns before hand and didn't fall immediately in love but I knew it was about learning a process and couldn't resist booking on to the course.

    Stepping into Ray Stitch I immediately felt at home, the fabrics were a inspiring and the staff friendly and welcoming. I couldn't wait to start. Our teacher has a lot of experience but best of all she's really approachable and always ready to help. She lets the class work at their own speed and makes the atmosphere in the class really enjoyable... everyone got on really well and whilst we had to focus at times there was some good conversation as well.

    After finishing the course I have to say my confidence level is really high. I had done a bit of sewing before but was completely self taught. Moyna showed us some tricks of the trade and coached us well through tricky bits. I also have the start of a handmade wardrobe!” - Kate

    “I signed up for this course having previously completed the 6-week ‘Introduction to Machine Sewing’ course. That was great to get the basics of sewing under your belt, but what I really wanted to do all along was make my own clothes and this course didn’t disappoint. Our teacher has lots of knowledge and patience! My confidence with the machine has really grown and my clothes look more professional than I could have ever imagined. I think I may have caught the sewing bug! Ray Stitch is a lovely place to learn to sew and I look forward to returning in future for more courses!” - Marije


    Fabric Requirements:

    WEEKS 1 and 2 - Simple Top (New Look 6217)

    Fabric 45”/115cm wide:-
    Size 8-14 = 1.3m
    Size 16-22 = 1.4m
    Fabric 60”/ 150cm wide:-
    Sizes 8-16 = 0.8m
    Sizes 18-22 = 1m

    Recommended fabrics: light weight cottons, cotton blends, voile, lawn, poplin, linen, linen blends

    WEEKS 3 and 4 (Three Skirt Options - require a 9" invisble zip):

    1. A-Line Skirt (New Look 6106 - fabric requirements below are for a mid-length skirt)

    Fabric 45”/115cm wide:-
    Size 10-16 = 1.3m
    Size 18 = 1.4m
    Size 20-22 = 1.5m
    Fabric 60”/ 150cm wide:-
    Sizes 10-22 = 1m

    2. Pencil Skirt (New Look 6290 - fabric requirement below are for knee length skirt)

    Fabric 45”/115cm wide:-
    Size 8-10 = 0.8m
    Size 12-14 = 1.2m
    Size 16 -18 = 1.3m
    Fabric 60”/ 150cm wide:-
    Size 8 -18 = 0.8m 

    Recommended fabrics: Cotton and cotton blends, Needlecord, Chambray, denim, twill, linen, linen blends, light weight wool.

    3. Gathered Skirt (Simplicity 1369 - fabric requirements below are for a mid-length skirt)

    Fabric 45”/115cm wide:-
    Size 6-20 = 2.2m
    Size 22 = 2.4m
    Fabric 60”/ 150cm wide:-
    Size 6-12 = 1.4m
    Size 14-18 = 1.5m     
    Size 20-22 = 1.7m 

    Recommended fabrics: Medium-Light Weight Cottons, Chambray, Linen, Satin, Poplin, Voile.

    WEEKS 5 and 6 (Two Dress Options - require 22" invisible zip):

    1. Shift Dress (New Look 6145 - fabric requirements below are for long sleeve option with collar)

    Fabric 45”/115cm wide:-
    Size 8-12 = 2.6m
    Size 14 = 2.8m
    Size 16-18 = 2.9m
    Fabric 60"/150cm wide:
    Size 8-10 = 1.7m
    Size 12-18 = 1.8m

    Recommended fabrics: cotton and cotton blends, chambray, lightweight wool, and wool blends.

    2. Gathered Waist Dress (New Look 6262 - fabric requirements below are for cap sleeve option)

    Fabric 45”/115cm wide:-
    Size 10 = 2.1m
    Size 12-14 = 2.2m
    Size 16-22 = 2.4m
    Fabric 60"/150cm wide:-
    Size 10-12 = 1.6m
    Size 14 = 1.7m
    Size 16 = 1.8m
    Size 18-22 = 2m

    Recommended fabrics: cotton lawn, crepe, linen blends.


    Jess R has been sewing for several decades having taught herself on an old hand-turned Singer machine, she learned how to make clothes by taking apart old garments, making patterns from them and re making them. Jess has more recently done formal training in men's tailoring at CityLit and in producing digital drafts of her hand drawn patterns at London College of Fashion. Her current sewing passions range from made-to-measure men's shirts to baby clothes and quilts and she's also designing a range of sewing patterns. Jess loves to pass on her sewing and pattern making knowledge to others by teaching our fledging students.

    Moyna Hamilton studied clothing technology at London College of Fashion before going straight into the fashion industry and working as a pattern cutter. For over 18 years she worked for a wide range of companies from designers to high street suppliers and, after having children, she also successfully set up and ran her own children’s bed linen and accessories company called Eazy-Tiger. More recently she has been teaching in primary and secondary schools and is pleased to be combining her experience in schools with her years of experience in fashion to teach others the art of sewing, pattern cutting and making their own clothes.

    Penny Follows has sewn since an early age, indeed she does not remember a time when she didn’t sew! She was fortunate enough to have a mother who was a skilled needlewoman and who created all sorts of stylish clothes for herself and Penny. Penny was encouraged to sew for herself by her mother and two grandmothers, one of whom was a tailoress. Penny worked with Janome as a sewing consultant at John Lewis and taught machine sewing at their flagship store in Oxford Street for a number of years. Penny joined our team of teachers at Ray Stitch in 2016 and leads a variety of workshops, sharing her passion and enthusiasm for sewing and making clothes. She combines teaching with running her own business called The Village Seamstress taking most pleasure in creating bespoke garments for clients.