Intensive Introduction to Dressmaking - 3 Daytime Sessions

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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: 5 (reduced due to social distancing measures)

This is a condensed version of our 6 week course, taking place over 3 consecutive days. 

Level: This is a condensed version of our 6 week course and the speed is quite fast paced so students should be proficient & competent sewists but with little to no experience in dressmaking, ideally you should own a sewing machine but this is not essential. This course is an ideal follow on 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' or equivalent.

Over three days 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 three sessions you will cover the following techniques: 

Day 1: 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

  • Make a start on your skirt

  • Homework: Cut the paper pattern for your dress (half an hour)

    Day 2: 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)

  • Homework: Cut the fabric for your dress (one hour)

    Day 3: Make a dress from a choice of two styles, either a fitted or loose 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 and 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. A sewing machine and scissors will be allocated to you. We recommend you either bring with you, or purchase from Ray Stitch, small tools such as pins, a tape measure, unpicker, needles, and thread snips.

    If you are under 16, you will need to bring a responsible adult with you who has also booked a place.

    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.


    Fabric Requirements:

    DAY 1 - 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

    DAY 2 (Three Skirt Options - require a 9" invisible zip):

    1. Pencil / A-Line Skirt (Pattern New Look 6843) 

    Fabric 45”/115cm wide: Meterage is for Short to Mid Length
    Size 8-12 = 1m
    Size 14 -20 = 1.1m-1.3m 

    Fabric 60”/ 150cm wide:
    Size 8 -18 = 1m

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

    2. Gathered Skirt (Pattern Simplicity 1369)
    Meterage is for Short / Mid Length

    Fabric 45”/115cm wide:
    Size 6-20 = 1.8m / 2.6m 
    Size 22 = 2m / 2.8m

    Fabric 60”/ 150cm wide:
    Size 6-12 = 1.3m / 1.8m 
    Size 14-18 = 1.3m / 2m 
    Size 20-22 = 1.3m / 2.2m 

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

    DAY 3 (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.



    "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