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Dressmaking – Intensive Weekend Course.

The Course
The hugely popular intensive weekend course is run by dressmaking expert and bestselling Author, Helen Rhiannon. Helen has gained extensive knowledge over the last 18 years from designing and creating bespoke clothing and bridal-wear. Helen has also taught sewing and dressmaking for many years, which led her to publish her best selling book, ‘Dressmaking. The Easy Guide’.  ‘Dressmaking: The Easy Guide’ was launched in June 2023 and is already on it’s third reprint.  It is one of Search Press’ fastest selling titles and is taking the sewing industry by storm!

Using the book, Helen will hand hold you through measuring yourself before choosing the exact size that fits and flatters you from a bespoke sizing chart, which ranges from a UK 6 – 44.  You then learn how to trace off your dress block, before making alterations to fit your own unique body.

Once you have cut out and sewn your ‘toile’, you will experience a bespoke fitting from Helen Rhiannon to make the toile fit you perfectly.  Helen will explain the fitting process and help you transfer those alterations to your pattern pieces to complete your well fitted block.

During the remaining time, you will have a choice to work on necklines, sleeves or a skirt.  It will be very dependent on time and what you personally want to try. Please see the course content below for more details on what you can achieve over the two days.

A freshly prepared balanced lunch is provided each day, along with tea, coffee and cake.

Dressmaking Skills
The skills you learn on this two day course are totally transferrable when working with commercial patterns.  Helen will be offering many professional tips along the way to help you pattern cutting and sewing your toile.  You can then take those skills and your new patterns, and create your final garment at home, or you could book onto a Sewcial Session to make it with Helen’s help.

As the course is run over two days, it will be comprehensive and will move swiftly through the content to make sure it is all covered.  If you would prefer to work at a slower pace, the 8 Week Course may be more suited.  It does depend on your personal experience as to how much you can do. To leave with a finished block to fit you is the main objective and whatever you achieve on top of that is a bonus!  We will work at your individual pace.

If you are travelling far to attend the course, please let me know as I can help with travel or accommodation.  There are lots of lovely places to stay in Swansea and on the Gower.  I am working with local businesses to offer a discount for those attending the course.


Next available courses: –
Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th October, 2023 – FULL
Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th December, 2023 – FULL

January    – Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st. FULL
February  – Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th. FULL
March      – Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th. FULL
April        – Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th. FULL
May         – Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th. FULL
June        – Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th. FULL

Please email me at helen@allsewnupwales.co.uk to be added to a waiting list or to enquire about weekday courses.


Duration of course: 7.5 hours both days (including a lunch break). 9:30am – 5pm.

Number of places: 6 max.

Cost: £265.  A freshly prepared lunch by Dragonfruit Catering will be provided each day, along with coffee, tea and cake.

Where: The workshop will be held in Three Crosses Community Centre, Swansea.

What to bring: You will need to have a copy of ‘Dressmaking. The Easy Guide’.  This can be purchased at the start of the course.  You should bring your own sewing machine but you can borrow one if you need. You will also need pattern paper and calico for each week.    A full tools list will be sent once the course is booked.  Helen will have everything available to use, but it will help to have your own kit.

Cancellation and refund policy: We try our best to price our courses fairly and offer good value for money. We therefore have a clear non-refundable policy to ensure that we cover our costs and the ongoing viability of the course.  We do appreciate that sometimes-unforeseen circumstances may mean that you can’t attend a course, so we are happy for a friend to take your place.  We will need their name and contact details prior to the course.

If you contact us at least 14 days in advance of the start date of the course, then we can offer a transfer to the same course on an alternative date, providing there are places available or a course is planned. If there are no suitable future dates, we can provide a voucher to be used for a future course booking.

Should we need to cancel a workshop due to unforeseen circumstances, we will aim to give you as much notice as possible of the cancellation and rearrange a suitable date for all attendees. Unfortunately, we cannot accept any liability for travel or other costs.


The breakdown of the course is below: –

Day One
* Introduction to dressmaking and the processes you will learn over the course.
* How to measure yourself accurately.
* How to trace off a block.
* Labelling a pattern correctly.
* Minor block alterations.
* Adding seam allowance.
* Cutting paper patterns.

* ‘Layplan’ and cutting sample out in calico.
* Preparing and sewing darts.
* Preparing to sew seams and pressing.
* Trying on the sample and pin to fit, if time.

Day two

* Trying on the sample and pin to fit, continued.
* Drawing on the alteration lines.
* Transferring alteration lines to the patterns and amending the patterns to complete your well fitted block.

During the remaining time, you will have a choice to complete one or more of the following tasks.  It will be very dependent on time and what you personally want to try.

1. Cut out a new bodice and skirt to try on after alterations.

2. Drafting a neckline and facings. Then, cut out a new bodice and learn how to sew the neckline and facings.

3.  Drafting a sleeve pattern and creating a sample.  Then, sew a sleeve onto the bodice.

4. Drafting the skirt pattern. Cutting out the skirt and attaching it to a new bodice to complete.


All photos from the book are by Mark Davison.

Please email me at helen@allsewnupwales.co.uk with any questions about the course.