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Sewing Essentials For a Professional Finish

Yesterday I had the day off work to brush up on the fundamentals of sewing.

When I started sewing I took a course of 10 evening classes that were a basic introduction to reading a commercial pattern and I failed to have a finished dress by the end of the course because everything was very slow paced. After that I’ve learnt everything else at home  powered by my own curiosity and wish to become a better sewist.

Books, online tutorials and you tube video guides are all really helpful but sometimes you just want to talk to a person and say why am I finding this so hard, please help me.


I went to a class from by The Yorkshire School of Sewing, run by the lovely Gillian Hargreaves and held at Fine Fabrics of Harrogate (temptation or what!?).

Together we worked to perfect the basics, learn new tricks and think about different ways of performing tasks to see which suits you best.

We worked on so so so many things, which is why the session lasted from 10am until 4:30pm.

This is one of the many courses on offer. Some of you may remember I went on the Chanel Jacket Course a few months ago.

Here’s a brief overview of our day:

Different types of seams – top-stitched and flat-felled, hairline and french seams.

Different hem finishes – various styles of blind hems, baby hems and using ribbon and lace on hems.


Different types of zip – lapped and invisible.

Piping, facings, darts and sewing around odd angles such as square necklines.


Finally we talked about set in sleeve insertion and techniques for getting that perfect smooth finish.

I came away with plenty of samples to remind myself of the techniques I’d been practicing.


I also came away with a template for a tailor’s ham, or in my case, a tailor’s aubergine! (Vegetarian equivalent)

I bought myself some sawdust (don’t you love that smell) and sewed it up so quick. Thought I might have made a teensy bit of a mess!

When was the last time you took a sewing class? Are you regularly fine tuning your skills outside of projects?

(14) Comments

  1. Hehe…love your veggie option of a tailor’s ham! Also sounds like your class was amazing, you don’t often just get to practise and perfect techniques! I too started with a 10 week evening course at a local college and I’ve done a few pattern drafting courses since then. I’d love to do a similar class to yours though!

    1. Thanks Marie. It really helped me target my weak points which was good. I’m off on a skirt drafting course just like you did! I can never find skirts that fit well so really looking forward to it

  2. My last class was the Mathilde Blouse with Tilly at Ray Stitch. I picked it because it would cover tucks, gathering, sleeve insertion and button packets. I’m on a zips course this weekend and looking forward to it.

    1. Ooh yeah that’s a good blouse to learn a lot from. And being at ray stitch must have been fun. Can’t wait to hear about your zip course!

  3. the most i ever did was sewalong with a fashionable stitch where i learned to do a flat set in sleeve and love that technique.
    i really want an overlocker as i think that would help me finish my seams better. I currently just zig zag as i cannot get my head around bias tape finish lol

    1. I loooove setting in sleeves flat. So much easier. Overlockers are the boss of finishing seams but I’d look hard to find a bargain. I dread mine dying and needing to find a new one

  4. sweary sewer says:

    i’ve taken two classes all in. the first one was a 4 day one (1 x saturday for 4 weeks) february 2012. i had not sewn since a child, but had been gifted a machine, so i took a class in ribbon corsetry of all things and loved it so much. i never finished that corset, but i’ve been mad for sewing ever since.

    the other class i took was in april 2012. it was one of those “bring along what you are working on and i’ll help you” type classes, and so i made a muslin for a shirt (V8772). i’ve since made a few of them. 🙂

    i’d love to take more classes but don’t have the money at the moment. i’d love to take one on fit and one which helps me make my own slopers/blocks to start drafting my own patterns. i’d also like to take one like you did up there, as knowing how to sew around sharp angles would have saved me much swearing when i tried to insert that T-shaped yoke recently!!!!! :p

    1. Hehe i think you turned the air blue over that yoke.
      Ooh both classes sound interesting! Especially getting shirt help. Its nice to have someone help with a tricky new project in person.
      Sadly to get someone’s time and experience, classes can be a bit costly.
      Maybe once you’ve settled in to your new role you can suss out if any affordable fun classes are nearby!

  5. Sounds like a great class, I wish I had the time to do something like that. And I love your tailor’s aubergine.

    1. Heehee thanks! I wish I had more time for courses too

  6. How fun and satisfying! I am slightly addicted to sewing/craft classes and agree I hate when they are too slow… I took a week-end creative pattern drafting class in December which was amazing, and have a few days off so starting a jewellery class on monday which I’m soo excited for…… after which I should really join an adult learner anonymous group!!!

  7. i’ver never taken a class – i’m entirely blog taught! i’d love to tho. was just looking at the morley courses that melissa posted about but i’m never sure what level i’m at! rehanon told me about a great fitting class i’d love to do and i’d like to draft some slopers too.

    1. Ooooh which Melissa? Don’t get me started on knowing your level. It’s so hard to judge! And then does your understanding of your level match up with the course?!

  8. OH very nice, the course sounds terrific! That’s been my problem, as well, with a few sewing classes I’ve taken, they either move so slowly OR there are so many people enrolled that by the time the teacher gets around to asking your question, you’ve forgotten it! Some suggestions for sewing classes would be: limit the class size; have everybody working in the very same pattern(s) so that the teacher can demonstrate things that are relevant to everybody; make the class run at least 3 hours at a time, any less and you are barely set up before you have to take down and leave.

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