Dressmaking. 8 Week Course – Thursday Evening FULL

February 8, 2024

6:00 pm

Three Crosses Community Centre, Three Crosses, Swansea SA4 3QJ

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Please note, the blocks are not on consecutive weeks.  Please check the dates carefully before booking.

The Course
The 8 week 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.

Helen will then guide you through the basics of dressmaking and the skills you will learn to be able to create your own beautifully fitted dress, including drafting necklines, sleeves and a range of skirts.

There are four style options each for sleeves and necklines, including a flared sleeve, a capped sleeve, a sweetheart neckline or a boatneck; and five skirt options, including a fitted pencil-style skirt, a circle skirt, and an A-line, with or without pleats.

Dressmaking Skills
The skills you learn on this 8 week course are totally transferrable when working with commercial patterns.  Helen will be offering many professional tips along the way to help you pattern cut and sew your toile. Helen will then help with every stage of pattern cutting your final dress, cutting out your dress, preparing your pieces, pinning them together neatly, sewing them accurately and finishing your garment to a high standard. Every little detail will be covered in this comprehensive dressmaking course.

Please note, the blocks are not on consecutive weeks.  Please check the dates carefully before booking.

Date: Thursday Evenings
Week 1 – 8th February
Week 2 – 22nd February
Week 3 – 7th March
Week 4 – 28th March
Week 5 – 11th April
Week 6 – 25th April
Week 7 – 9th May
Week 8 – 23rd May

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

Duration of workshop: 8 x 3 hours. 6pm – 9pm.

Number of places: 6 max.

Cost: £360.  Coffee, tea and biscuits will be provided.

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.  I will have everything available to use, but it will help to have your own kit each week.

What if you can’t come one week: If you are unable to attend one week, you will be able to work independently from the book at home. I will guide you through the chapter you need and can help as much as possible where needed if you get stuck. The course will set you up to use the book to create many more dresses in the future, so it will be your bible!  There may be opportunities to attend another session to catch up but this is not guaranteed.

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: –

Week 1
* 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.

Week 2
* Minor block alterations continued.
* Adding seam allowance.
* Cutting paper patterns.
* ‘Layplan’ and cutting sample out in calico.* Preparing and sewing darts.
* Preparing to sew seams and pressing.

Week 3
* Trying on the sample and pin to fit.
* Drawing on the alteration lines.
* Transferring alteration lines to the patterns and amending the patterns.

Week 4
* Cutting out the second sample and sewing together. (Optional)
* Drafting a neckline.
* Drafting facings.
* Cutting out a new bodice and sewing the neckline and facings.

Week 5
* Drafting a sleeve pattern.
* Creating a sample.
* Completing any alterations before cutting out two sleeves.
* Sewing sleeves onto the bodice.

Week 6
* Drafting the skirt pattern.
* Learning how to draft a pocket pattern.
* Cutting out the skirt and attaching it to the bodice to complete the sample.

Week 7
* Cutting out the final dress.
* Preparing and sewing the dress, using an overlocker to neaten seams.

Week 8
* Completing the dress.
* Inserting a concealed and lapped zip.

All photos in the book by Mark Davison.

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