The one hour dress

July 4, 2016

“This is a ‘one hour dress’ … and you are going to make one before you go home.” There was a moment of silence ...

I found myself in the strange circumstance of attending a sewing class. I say strange because I claim no great skills in this area nor have I ever really aspired to create my own, or anyone else’s wardrobe fillers.

Some of us are born with an almost instinctive ability to create with fabric and thread, the rest of us are doomed to frustrating hours of broken needles, crooked hems, lopsided sleeves and a basket of half-finished projects.

But when my friend and talented seamstress, Indra, announced her intention to branch out of her bespoke business to conduct sewing classes, what else could I do but at least stand helpfully supportive in the background at her first sewing class.

And so it began …

So down in the large Helvetica room (the rooms are named after type fonts in the writing themed Letters Lounge Café at Red Hill), I helped plug in the sewing machines, and Indra began by holding up a little dress on a coat hanger.

“This is a ‘one hour dress’ … and you are going to make one before you go home.” There was a moment of silence before a nervous laughter filled the room.

She smiled in utter confidence of the outcome and pressed on, holding up brown paper patterns and explained the strange markings, “This means cut, this means fold”.

Scepticism swept away

Then it was time to choose a fabric from the pile on offer and lay it out on the large table and take that scary first step of actually picking up the scissors and making the first cut. If there was a little scepticism at the beginning of the class it was quickly swept away.

Everyone took home a garment they had cut from a pattern, fitted and stitched together.

She had explained to me that over four weeks the class will tackle a new project each targeting a new area of learning. I could see even the most timid will be handling their sewing machine like a Top Gear guest star on the test circuit in almost no time.

Those with higher skill levels can skip a class or work on a special project. Her aim is to offer a series of courses eventually allowing you to tackle a formal dress or suit jacket with confidence.

An outing to remember

It was a lovely relaxed morning, and after the class we stayed for a delicious lunch chosen from the literary themed menu (who could resist the Much Ado About Muffin or the Tart of Darkness).

So sipping tea while loitering on the margins, I learned why seams are pinned together with the pins horizontally across the seam, and why my turned armholes always rolled and crimped.

I know what you are going to ask. Did I catch the sewing bug and is my pile of half-finished projects going to get a new kick start? I’ll have to have another cup of tea to think about it.

You can request more information about Indra’s sewing classes—BYO sewing machine—on her Facebook page.

The course was informal, fun, and absolutely supportive. Ideal for anyone who would love to be able to make beautiful clothes or furnishings and will definitely answer your question of “How did you do that?”

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Kelly Lyonns
Kelly Lyonns is a post self-employed environmental scientist and fledgling creative writer. Kelly cohabitates with three cats, two children and a husband.

Burning questions about the sustainability of our cities and how to tie a Regency bodice, keep her on the internet deep into the night. She enjoys tea, meditating, Jane Austen, solar punk, science fiction, sculpting and scientific papers.

She frequently succumbs to the need to write. She rarely succumbs to the need to vacuum.