Introduction to Dressmaking Course - 6 Sessions

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Maximum Class Size: 5 (reduced due to social distancing measures)

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 sewists until they are equipped with the skills and confidence to progress to more advanced dressmaking and feel they can work through sewing patterns without assistance. 

Level: Students for this course must already know how to thread up a sewing machine and have experience making a couple of simple sewn items such as tote bags, cushions, pencil cases etc. This course follows on from both our ‘Introduction to Machine Sewing Course’ or 'Intro to Machine Sewing Part 2 - Essential Skills’ 

Over six weekly sessions you will learn how to use commercial sewing patterns and put into practice a variety of skills and techniques that are needed to make up a range of different garments. Our expert teachers will impart invaluable tips along the way by demonstrating every part of the process involved with making and finishing garments. You will leave this course with three finished garments; a top, skirt & dress.

Six weekly sessions are broken down into two weeks to make each garment, the techniques you will learn are as follows… 

Week 1 & 2: An introduction to using commercial sewing patterns and how to make a simple top with short cap sleeves and a bias trim neckline

  • Take accurate body measurements to choose the right size pattern to cut
  • Read & use commercial dressmaking patterns effectively, understanding their notations & instructions
  • Transferring marking from paper pattern to fabric
  • Use fabric lay plans to prepare for cutting 
  • Stay stitching
  • Attach bias binding & finishing seams (optional French seams)
  • Neat finishing, create a back neck opening.

Weeks 3 & 4: Make a skirt from a choice of three styles, either A-line, straight or gathered waist. All skirts feature pockets, waistband and centre back zip fastening.

  • New garment construction methods
  • Sew straight darts
  • Insert an invisible zip 
  • Insert in-seam pockets 
  • Attach waistbands
  • Sew a waistband with an under/top stitch 
  • Finishing techniques for a neat finish (inside & out!)

Weeks 5 & 6: Make a fitted dress from the choice of two styles, either a shift dress or gathered waist dress. Both feature a centre back zip and contour darts for a more flattering fit. Within each variant you can choose to make your dress sleeveless, or with short/long sleeves and with either round or ‘V’ neckline.

  • Attach facings to the neckline & arm holes
  • Insert set-in sleeves with an ease stitch
  • Sew contour darts
  • Make basic fit alterations
  • Make small adjustments to the pattern such as length
  • Put the skills you have learned so far into practice

Materials: For this course you are only required to bring fabric for the garments. The machines, equipment & sundry materials, such as basic thread colours and interfacing are all provided. All three sewing patterns are included, and each pattern has other garments and variants of style which you can try at home after you complete your course.

Homework: Some homework will be required during the course, this will involve cutting the paper paper patterns & fabric and catching up on a bit sewing if needs be. If your do not own a sewing machine, ours are available to hire for £15/h.



"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