Monday, April 14, 2008

Ta Dah! The New Classes Are Here!

Ta Dah! The new classes are here!

I've been thinking about how so many people think sewing is a mysterious skill, with tricky stuff like zips and buttonholes, and machines that Go Fast! I've read the books with titles like Sewing Industry Tips and Trade Secrets. Well, the biggest trade secret is that by making people think that, they can sell more books and stuff. It's like most marketing. By making you feel like someone else knows more, has more, or is more, we'll want to buy what we think will make us more like them.

Guess what? You're good enough already. Even if you can't sew a stitch, there is no reason to think it's a skill that's beyond you. The clothes you are wearing were probably sewn by a un-educated person under high pressure to complete their one seam faster faster faster. They were shown on day one how to line up the fabric, and push their foot down, and they don't wobble because.... machines sew straight (true, they do. Even yours).

I've worked as patternmaker foor the sewing industry for ages. I make my own samples.
If my patterns are hard to sew, money is wasted. Factory patterns are like assemble-it-yourself furniture. It should be pretty much self-evident how to make it, because there is no time to read instructions, (and the sewer might not understand the language, or even be able to read anyway). All the components must fit together. No fiddling, just grab and sew.

So, where is this leading? I bet you've guessed. I've taught sewers for ages, and feel like there has to be a better way than home sewing methods. It's a bit obvious, really. I don't use these methods myself, why teach them? Well, partly it's because domestic machines are a bit different to industrial ones. They have a tiny, raised work area, so you have to deal with the weight of fabric pulling away from the needle, and they chug along slowly, leaving plenty of time for fabric to slip around so you need lots of pins. And partly it's because the patterns are made using a format that has fossilised and can't change because the home sewing industry has been set up around them. Don't get me wrong, I love patterns. I have thousands. Probably, I don't have time to count. But I rarely read the instructions, and I don't use them the way they come out of the packet. Actually, I often find getting the pattern ready to sew takes more time than sewing it. I like them because even fussing as much as I do, it's faster than drafting from scratch. And I like the insight into other designer's heads.

So what has this got to do with anything? Here it is. I'm offering classes in which you can learn to sew by learning principles, not techniques. I've made a bunch of patterns which are pretty much industrial patterns with a few changes that accommodate domestic equipment. They fit well, they look good, and if you make all of them in co-ordinating fabric, you'll be able to pack a suitcase and be well dressed for weeks. Even better, each garment is planned to introduce new sewing features sequentially. If you complete the series, you'll have a solid skill set and the knowledge of how to apply these principles to any new garment you want to make. I explain the whys of what you're doing as you go, so you can learn to make considered decisions about your sewing.

OK, so how about if you can already sew, and want to improve. You're very welcome and will learn a heap, but .... you'll need to go with the flow. Leave what you already know at home, and be prepared to upgrade. It'll be fun, and I'll show you how my patterns are different, so you'll have a good idea how to convert any pattern.

Now, this being a blog and all, I'll get a bit personal. We're heading away for the school holidays tonight, on the redeye special with two little kids. The cheap tickets, so no frills. I decided to cover some small pillows for the kids to use as they sleep on our laps. Well, my son wanted a go. He's seven. Far Out Brussell Sprout! He made the pillow. At first he sat on my lap, while he got used to the idea, but then we put the pedal on a stepstool and a pile of books on the chair, and he sewed. And sewed. And when he finished the pillow, he made a tote bag for it, and the only way we could get him to stop for dinner was to promise him he could finish it tomorrow. He woke me up, asking to keep going. When I said we there would be a sewing machine where we are going, he ran around punching the air yelling "Yes, Yes, Yes!". And guess what? He's good. Really good. And even better, when he stopped for a loo break, his sister took over. She was at least as good, possibly a bit better. She turned five last Wednesday. Am I boasting? You bet. But, what makes them so good is something everybody can manage. They had no fear, no preconceived ideas, and they accepted my instructions at face value. I can see I'll need more machines. And don't worry, no-one needs to sit on my lap to learn to sew.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Internet Links I love

I've been having a fun time on the internet, and decided to share, so here's a bunch of links to some great sewing sites.

I can't seem to get the links working properly, so you may have to copy and paste. Sorry!

This first one is from Central Saint Martins in the UK. The fashion nerds amongst us will recognise this as the training ground for many of the best designers in the worls, including John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney. They have a series of tutorials introducing patterncutting and block making. This is a must- see.

The next link is to PatternReview. Ordinary sewers review patterns, share tips and techniques, describe fabrics in a glossary, and much much more. I almost hesitate to share this because it makes me almost redundant!

My regular students know how much I love Burda patterns. Well, now they are available for free on the internet. You just have to download them, print them, trace them and add seam allowances, but then you can upload photos of yourself wearing them and share the fun!!

I'm also a blog tragic. I love the way the information is not moderated by focus groups, market research or commercial concerns. So many blogs are full of passion and that's something that advertising agencies just can't fake.

The absolute world leader in sewing and apparel blogs is Fashion-Incubator, by pattern-maker and apparel industry expert Kathleen Fasanella. She so generously shares her knowledge and dazzles me with her intellect. I have to confess that a lot of the manufacturing discussions she holds are way beyond my experience, (I've never had to deal with huge overseas factories, for example) but she offers a fascinating behind the seams look at how clothes are made. I love her News From You posts, because I end up places I would never otherwise see, and I'm definitely a frustrated adventurer.

A lot of people may have noticed that the environment is big news at the moment. There's plenty of discussion going around that questions the consumerist idea, and plenty of people who are opting out of not just conspicuous consumption, but consumption itself. That's pretty radical for most people, but for those who sew, we're already partly there. Sewgreen and Wardrobe Refashion are two sites that take the idea of reduce reuse recycle and show it really isn't the second best option.

And finally (for now - it's a big cyberworld out there!) for sheer unadulterated eyecandy, you can't go past Net-a-Porter and the Sartorialist. Net-a-porter is an online luxury goods shop which displays the designer clothes so well you'll get a gazillion ideas for your next project, and the Sartorialist is the blog of a photographer who likes to photograph well-dressed strangers. He has an amazing eye, and sometimes points out subtle details that are the key to the look. It's not all trendy, either - he loves classic menswear, and one recent photo was of a hand-tailored suit 30 years old and seriously fraying. It was all about the perfect fit, and yes, it looked amazing.

Well, that should keep you going a while. Enjoy!!


Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Long Awaited Zip-With-Facing Tutorial

Zips and Facings

Well, here it is. The long-awaited zipper tutorial I've been promising my students. Without further ado...

1. Prepare your pattern. Remove the seam allowance from the CB edge of the facing pattern piece, (or don't add any, if you're using BurdaMode or BurdaStyle patterns). Notch the seam line of the back pattern piece with a small clip at the neck edge

2. Sew the CB seam below the zipper opening.

3. Baste your zip to the seam allowance of the garment according to the style (centred or lapped).

4. Sew the CB seam of the facng to the CB seam of the garment, over the zip tape. It will look like the facing doesn't match the garment, but don't worry, it will in the next step.

5. Fold the garment on the seam line so it's inside out and the facing now matches the neck edge. The notch will be exactly on the fold. Stitch the neck edge. I generally use 0.5cm seam allowance, because I cut the excess off the pattern before I cut the garment out. Then there is no need to trim or clip, it will sit smoothly from the start. My picture just shows the back, but you need to plan ahead a little if the facing goes around the front as well. Either you need to have your shoulder seams already sewn, or you stop about 5cm short of the shoulder seam and complete it after sewing the shoulder seams.

6. Turn the garment through carefully. I'm very fussy about controlling where my seam allowances end up, so I fold them over my thumb and hold them in place as I turn. If you just turn and then poke at the seam allowances, they get all bunchy and bulky.

7. Topstitch the zipper from the outside according to the style, centred or lapped. I haven't mentioned pinning, but if you need to at any stage, please do.

8. From the inside, the join between garment facing and zipper should be nice and neat, with the facing seam offset from the CB, taking all those bulky seam allowances with them. If you placed the zipper quite low, so you've toothless tape at the top, sew on a hook and eye. I generally place my zipper fairly high, so I don't need to. When you're starting out with this technique, I recommend a lower zip, because turning the corner over the metal stopper can be awkward.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Sewing Fun Begins

After a lot of hard work, we are underway!! We have finished painting our walls with a beautiful mural, and now each day we can look up and be inspired to blossom. We have our sewing classes up and running, we've made two samples for our own label, and spring sprung today (although that wasn't entirely due to our own efforts)! What more could a pair of girls want! Well, photoes, actually. My camera just retired from active duty. However, that will be fixed very shortly and then there will be no stopping us. So much to share - the mural! the projects! the glamour!

But first, a teaser.

I made these jeans for my son, and decorated them using a badge I unpicked from a worn out tee shirt, some heavy thread and my ordinary sewing machine. It's an easy thing to do, in fact even a beginner can do it. And guess what, one did! And when we have a camera again, we hope to be able to show it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Welcome to Aeracura.


Aeracura is an emerging talent in the fashion design industry. Together the founding partners have over 20 years experience in sewing, design and patternmaking.

We offer you the opportunity to learn the skills to give your home sewn garments professional flair.


Aeracura offer sewing and patternmaking classes in a modern and well appointed studio in Malaga, Western Australia, as well as an evening class at the Blend(er) Art Gallery in Joondalup.

Classes run at a variety of times to suit your individual requirements.

All we require is that you bring along your own sewing machine and materials and we can help you every step of the way.


Have fun in a friendly environment whilst learning new skills and creating the project of your choice. Students are guided through all steps necessary to complete a professionally finished garment.


For those with sewing experience who would like to get REALLY creative and design their own garment. Patternmaking classes are sequential and teach the process of manipulating basic shapes into complex designs.


Sewing classes

Blend(er) gallery
6:30pm - 9:00pm

Malaga Studio
13:30pm - 3:00pm

Malaga Studio
6:30pm - 9:00pm

Patternmaking Class

Malaga Studio
9:30am - 12:00noon


Malaga Studio

5B / 31 Century Rd
Blend(er) Gallery
4 / 48 Central Walk


All classes run for 2 and a half hours at a cost of $20 per session.

Fees are payable as a five week block.


Contact Sandra on 043 717 6629

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]