Posts Tagged ‘learning to sew’


Under construction.

Sewing. My great grandmother was a master at it. My grandmother also sewed and designed. My mother, too. But not I.

Oh I started, pretty young but my mother actually didn’t care for sewing and she was working, so it got dropped as soon as I needed help. (Having worked full time myself most of my adult life – I understand, Mom. Who wants to drag out the sewing machine after a long day at the job?)

Over the years since then I’ve picked up a class here and there. But after the project was complete I was done for the time being until I picked it up again and started almost from scratch.

Not. Any. More.


Inside out. 


Once and for all I want to be able to make my own clothing – at least the basics and as a fashion writer, I want to understand clothing construction. I’m committed and luckily, I have found the right class or I should say, classes.

I’m just about to take class number 3 with Kamal Ragbotra through Mt. Diablo Adult Education. I’ve been binge sewing since April and so far I’ve made a pair of pants with pockets and a knit dress.

The wonderful thing is these classes are challenging but not overwhelming and it’s so much fun! I credit Kamal for all that. Her approach is serious but everything is doable and mistakes are learning opportunities. Like the time in the Knits Class when – two stitches in, using my double needle for the first time, it broke. “Why?” I screeched. Oh … because I didn’t switch the machine setting from zigzag to straight stitch. Kamal had warned us about that but in all the excitement over the double needle I forgot. Bet ya, though, that I won’t forget again.



Add a tuck and a button.

With Kamal, who has a degree in fashion design, it isn’t just about the project at hand. She spends quite a bit of time lecturing about fabrics and patterns. For example, I have never had a sewing instructor explain pattern sizing and ease of wear. I was thinking one day, “Hey we’re in sewing grad school!”

For the Knits Class I chose to make a dress from a double knit span/rayon blend – the rayon provides a nice drape. Kamal suggested I use the reverse side for the sleeves. When the sleeves were slightly too loose she showed me how to tuck them and then had the idea to add buttons. (Very handy for us that she shares her designer instincts.)




Up next is the Studio Class, to which we bring our own projects. That for me will be a skirt and my first zipper. After that? Hmm … something vintage inspired I suspect.

Read Full Post »