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This weekend was my second 3 day weekend class. The first one was Fundamentals of Fine Garment Sewing (part 1) and I just did part 2. There is also a part three. I LOVE THIS SCHOOL.

First the instructor: she's been making clothes for money for 50 years, since she was NINE (her aunt was a tailor). She's been teaching for 30 years when she was working at the Bernina shop and realized there were no classes that actually taught people how to sew and make clothes the professional way. She developed all her own course material over time and has had a few designs published in books. She's very exacting and obviously LOVES tailoring. She expected you to get to work and pay attention, but had no problem with people saying "hey I don't get this, can you show me for a third time".

The classroom: The school has two classrooms. The main classroom has giant windows for walls on two sides and great lighting, carpeted, decorated, and just so relaxing. Each sewing station has a Bernina machine and Koala table. There are also sergers that we can use, 4-5 no-shut-off irons, and 4 cutting tables. The second classroom isn't as nice (low end Berninas, different cabinets) but that's considered the "children's classroom". The shop area is pretty small, but she's mostly carrying specialty fabric (imports, high end linens), not any crafting stuff or patterns.

The classes: Oh my did I learn a ton. The first three day set we learned multiple seams and finishes (hong kong finish, felled seam, false felled, french seam, serger) and two kinds of zipper, did easing and gathering, multiple kinds of darts and curves, and got to play with lots of different kinds of fabric: alpaca, corduroy, seersucker, loose woven linen, organza, etc. We got nice big samples to work with and she was letting us play with good stuff, some of the stuff we were working with was $45 a yard. We started to make half of man's shirt and half of a blouse. We constructed the bodies and got the sleeves attached learning the difference in construction of each.

The second set of three day classes we did the cuffs for both shirts and the collar on the man's shirt, we also did the hems on both by hand. We also learned four different ways to do princess seams and the tailor basting stitch, along with multiple handsewing stitches. We then constructed a little girl's skirt. We had to install the invisible zipper (and I fell in love with the invisible zipper foot for the Bernina and now want one), put in four darts, construct the body, construct the lining, install the lining and gather the extra fabric in the opposite direction of the darts. Then we had to hand sew the lining around the zipper, handsew the waistband (which had a custom end she designed), and handsew the hem of the lining and the skirt (all use different stitches. During all this we made lots of samples to take home in addition to our handouts, so we all have our own 3 ring binder to help us in the future. I love all the professional tricks she taught us and definitely think the two weekends were worth the $600.

So now I'm qualified to take the other classes offered, including studio time. Studio time is a small class that meets weekly where each person is working on their own project, but you get to use all the equipment there and the instructor is there to offer guidance and help you through your stuff. They have students that have been doing studio time for 10 years, so they are doing really advanced designs. I want to take Part 3 of the Fundamentals later (hand sewing, buttons, snaps, hooks & eyes, welt pockets, hand made button holes) and Fitting Commercial Patterns, Custom Jeans, Beginning Quilting. I don't think I can afford Studio Time right now, but man it would be nice to have a real sewing space on a regular basis.

I am so glad I found this school.

Lara Amber
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