Make Clothes That fit. – A Residential Retreat.

Imagine being able to see something on a passerby or in a magazine and be able to make it for yourself. No more trawling pattern sites online or spending hours in the sewing shop on your day off looking for the nearest compromise. And how would you feel if it actually fit you once you made it up in the fabric and colour of your choice?

As a trained designer and pattern cutter I am always frustrated when my students struggle to find patterns that either fit or suit their build. As a result I have helped dozens of them create their own personal ‘blocks’ which they then adapt to create a pattern that will fit them for virtually any style they choose. That way they can make clothes with confidence and not waste time tweaking and remodeling here and there for ages. 




I don’t know what your frustrations have been so far in the dressmaking game but after helping students for years achieve their goals both in an adult education setting (through City and Guilds courses) and in a less formal situation I can say I have probably seen most issues and challenges. Pair this with having spent nearly 30 years helping brides look their best on their big day in whatever style of dress they choose I am happy to help you on your journey to some fabulous fitting clothes.





So what happens on a retreat with me?

Arrival: we aim to meet up in the studio for a meet and greet session at 2pm. You will be allocated your rooms and given the tour. (Have you seen the venue? Just check out the rooms here,)

After settling in we go through the overview of the course and chat about any issues arising from previous attempts at making clothes that fit.

I will show you the steps to pattern making that we are going to do and answer any questions.

Day One:  This is dedicated to drafting and cutting out an initial block before making up your first toile. We aim to tweak for the perfect fit through adjustments and re-cutting your pattern block until we are pleased with it.

Day Two: We get to grips with the process involved in adapting blocks to make a variety of styles by using a half size mannequin. You each get a mannequin to work on along with unlimited half size blocks and written instructions. I am there to demonstrate and show you samples of what can be achieved. This is a great day to play with the possibilities.

Day Three: Choose from your half size designs to make into a pattern for yourself and then make it up in calico to try out the process.  Depending on how fast you are you can try several experiments to try out the technique.

Day Four: The time we have left on the last day is spent cementing the knowledge with questions and troubleshooting, experimenting or going over anything you feel you need more time on. This day is for you to decide on how the time is spent and everyone does their own thing, with my help.


What do you need to bring?

There’s isn’t much you need to bring since the drafting paper and instructions are provided along with the calico needed to make your toiles and samples. however you will find it useful to bring a basic sewing kit and a sewing machine. If you need to borrow a machine, just let us know.

If you want to bring some different fabric to try out some design samples then please feel free to do so.

Previous students have also found it useful to take notes or photographs as they progress so a notebook, pen and camera is a good idea.