Course Information

10 Weeks - One 2.5hour session per week

Note: Due to the school holidays, there will be no class on the 16th Feb. 2016. The last session will be on the 22rd March.

Taking body measurements; understanding and adjusting the flat pattern; specialty seams and seam finishes; sleeves; darts, pleats and gathers; fitting and alterations; inserting facing and linings; using an overlocker; buttons and buttonholes; inserting a collar; hems and finishing techniques.

Students will use learned techniques to complete a garment, from a selection of patterns, in a fabric of their choice.


What Do I Need to Bring?

For the Intermediate Dressmaking Course you will need:

  • A basic sewing kit (see below), plus French Curve.
  • Fabric & Thread - You won't need to purchase your fabrics or haberdashery until after the first lesson. We'll be using this session to talk about fabric requirements. 

Do I Need To Bring a Sewing Machine?

No, but you are welcome to if you wish. We have a Janome CXL301 sewing machine available for each student to use. We also sell a range of Janome machines, and offer discounts on these to our students.

If you're planning on bringing your own machine, please contact us and let us know the make and model. 

The Janome CXL301 - We have 10 of these in our studio for student use. 

The Janome CXL301 - We have 10 of these in our studio for student use. 

How Do I Pay My Balance?

If you booked your place with a deposit, you're balance is due no less than 14 days before your course begins. For instructions on how to pay please visit our balance payments page.

If you're thinking of cancelling your booking, for any reason, please let us know as soon as possible, so that we can offer your place to someone on the waiting list. And also please have a look at our Cancellations & Refunds Policy on the FAQs page before doing this. Thanks.

The Basic Sewing Kit

For this course you'll need a basic sewing kit. You can buy all the items separately or, alternatively, you can purchase a sewing kit from us here at The Stitchery as seen below. 

If you're purchasing kit items separately, we've listed some essentials below. You can read more about these in our blog post and we'll be going over them during class. 

  • A French Curve
  • Fabric scissors
  • Paper scissors - for cutting patterns
  • Seam ripper (you can use embroidery scissors if the tip is sharp)
  • Dressmaking pins
  • Sewing machine needles (size chart)
  • Hand sewing needles
  • Thread (Gutermann Sew-all thread recommended)
  • Tape measure (not the kind Tradesmen use!)
  • Sewing gauge
  • Bobbins (Janome compatible, sold at The Stitchery, 50p each)
  • Temporary markers - this could be tailor's chalk, fade or wash-away pen, or tracing paper & wheel.

Fabrics & Haberdashery 

We'll be covering this information in more detail during your first lesson, so we recommend not purchasing your fabric until after this.

Your fabric requirements depend primarily on three things:

  1. Your own body measurements.
  2. What garment and version of the pattern you've chosen to make.
  3. The width of your fabric; 44" (115cm) or 60" (150cm).

In the first week you will learn how to take your own body measurements and check them against the fabric requirements chart on the back of your pattern envelope. We've also got a comprehensive blog post on this subject.

If you fancy a sneak peak at this chart, you can follow the 'see more' link below your chosen garment on our pattern selection page. This will take you directly to the pattern on the supplier's website where you can find information on fabric requirements.


Students are free to purchase their fabric from wherever they like. And there are a small handful of local fabric shops in Glasgow, such as MandorsRemnant Kings and John Lewis Fabric Department

But if you're looking for a little help choosing fabric types for your chosen pattern, we happily recommend The Splendid Stitch;  a fabulous online store based here in the city. The Stitchery has our own dedicated section on their site, with a handy course-by-course guide on what fabrics are suitable for each pattern. Access this by going to the sewing schools section and entering THESTITCHERY (capitalised and no space) in the box; then click 'Go'.

Note that Stitchery students can receive 10% off their first purchase at The Splendid Stitch by simply entering THESTITCHERY again in the discount code box at the checkout. And if you do wish to see any of the fabrics in person, please contact Amy at the Splendid Stitch directly. 

If you're unsure about your fabric choice, then you can always purchase a sample and arrange to bring it in to the studio for us to look at before your course begins. 

Some fabrics from the Splendid Stitch.

Some fabrics from the Splendid Stitch.

// THREADS // 

Although the all-in-one kits mentioned above do include some basic threads, these tend to be a little flimsy and can create unwanted fluff. For most sewing projects we recommend Gutermann Polyester Sew-all thread or an equivalent product.

Your thread should generally be a colour that matches your main fabric. If you cannot find a match, then always look for a shade darker rather than a shade lighter.

If you're a little more experienced you may wish to use contrasting thread colours. These are ones that purposely stand out against your main fabric, thereby becoming decorative. 


It's always a good idea to pre-wash your fabric, either by hand or machine, before coming to use it. This means you will be able to wash your finished project without fear of it shrinking! 

Course Overview

// WEEK 1 //

  • Class introduction
  • Essential supplies for dressmaking
  • Overview of commercial patterns, multi-sizing, symbols, layouts & instructions
  • Taking body measurements
  • Cutting out and/or tracing pattern
  • What is a toile?
  • Basic pattern adjustments: grading between sizes, lengthening/shortening
  • Overview of sewing machine including maintenance
  • Sewing machine needles, thread and feet
  • Homework: trace out and cut paper pattern

// WEEK 2 //

  • Techniques: Staystitching, darts and gathering
  • Large and Small Bust Adjustments
  • Demonstration and sample making
  • Fabric terms and types (woven vs knits
  • Pressing for sewing
  • Lay out and pin and cut garment
  • Homework: Pin, cut and mark pattern

// WEEK 3 //

  • Techniques: Specialty Seams & Seam Finishes: Zigzag and overlocked, French seam, flat felled seam.
  • Demonstration and sample making
  • Choosing fabric and interfacing
  • Time for garment sewing

// WEEK 4 //

  • Techniques: Patch pocket, Buttons and Buttonholes
  • Understanding the Pattern Design Process: the basic dress foundation and block patterns
  • Demonstration and sample making
  • Time for garment sewing

// WEEK 5 //

  • Techniques: Facings, collars, understitching, topstitching, edgestitching and grading.
  • How to use interfacing
  • Demonstration and sample making
  • Time for garment sewing

// WEEK 6 //

  • Technique: Invisible Zipper (side seam)
  • Demonstration and sample making
  • Time for garment sewing

// WEEK 7 //

  • Techniques: Pleated Set-in Sleeves with Hong Kong seams and binding
  • How to choose a dress form
  • Demonstration and make necessary alterations to toiles/garments
  • Time for garment sewing

// WEEK 8 //

  • Techniques: Using an Overlocker & Sewing with knits
  • How to make bias binding and use the rotary cutter
  • Demonstration and sample making
  • Time for garment sewing

// WEEK 9 //

  • Techniques: Hems and Finishing Techniques
  • Demonstration and practice adjustments
  • Time for garment sewing

// WEEK 10 //

  • Techniques: How to insert a lining
  • Demonstration and sample making
  • Time for garment sewing



Making a Toile

A toile under construction

A toile under construction

A toile { pron: twal } is simply a sample or test garment, typically made out of a less expensive fabric. Referred to as a muslin in North America, we in the UK get this word from the French for 'linen cloth'.

Making a toile during this course is optional, but highly recommended. It gives you a chance to try out new techniques, make adjustments to get the perfect fit, and play with different ideas, before applying them to your more expensive garment fabric.