One of the reasons why I went on a brief hiatus in May was due to a ‘secret project’ I was embarking on – the dream of becoming a seamstress.
My Sewing Dream
It is nothing new as I’ve always enjoyed sewing pouches with my dream brand, ‘Deenise Glitz’ emblazoned on them. As a kid, I dreamt of being a fashion designer because it was cool to design dresses and clothes back then. But now, I realised it was way cooler to create your own clothes from scratch.
Thus, this dream is nothing new to me. It just happens that the time was right and the Facebook ads on basic sewing courses had caught my attention. Besides, the price was right. It costs me less than $200 to enroll in this short professional course.
So, in the month of May, I was all out to pick up a new skill. After much deliberation, I decided to just sign up for the basic sewing and drafting course at a Fashion design school called Textile and Fashion Industry Training Centre or in short, TaF.tc.
Classes at TaF
It was a bitter-sweet experience for me there. As much as I enjoyed making and sewing my new clothes, I also had some minor qualms about the school itself – particularly with one of their administrative staff which I wasn’t very pleased with. Other than that, I am satisfied with the course overall. The training centre is equipped with good quality JUKI sewing machines.
They have two training centres – one near Redhill MRT and the other is close to Tiong Bahru MRT. The training centre I frequent is at Thye Hong Centre, which is a 5-minute walk from Redhill MRT station.
Before the course…
If you are interested to find more about the course, you visit their website to find all the necessary information. But be prepared to purchase some sewing tools as they do not provide some of the tools like the Industrial bobbin case, steel bobbin, measuring tape and fabrics. The school would provide a list of items to purchase from Sim Mui Heng but you will only need to buy what you need.
As for the other drafting tools like rulers and French curves, they have extra sets in the classroom for students to use. However, I am not too sure if the tools are always available there for students to use.
They gave each of us a course booklet which contains all the explanations and steps of sewing each apparel. It even covers the basics of sewing like the tools required and types of stitching.
What made this sewing course so memorable?
Our instructor was an amiable and genuine lady. Even though she is not very well-versed in English, she tries her best to explain all the sewing and fabric jargons to us. Trust me, it is a whole new world out there when it comes to sewing and tailoring.
What made this course so memorable is the silly jokes my classmates cracked during class. I was grateful to learning sewing with a bunch of friendly ladies (yes! Our classmates are all females).
During our second last class, we had a mini potluck session together before lessons. There was a kind lady in our class who constantly cooked dinner for us and kept us well-fed. Since it was an evening class (from 7 pm to 10 pm), most of us did not have a proper dinner. So it was really kind of her to prepare food for us.
Challenges I faced
It was a really steep learning experience for me as I am a total beginner while some of the ladies learnt sewing before, back in their school days. Thankfully, some of them were really patient and would help out the clueless (like myself). For once, I felt totally vulnerable and uncomfortable to be in learning something totally new to me. I was struggling in the beginning but after some practices, I got the hang of it.
Operating the Sewing Machine
It wasn’t easy to operate the industrial sewing machine at all! The threading of the machine involves many steps and if you made a mistake in the steps, the machine could not function optimally.
Besides learning how to operate to the machine, we also learn how to do drafting. It involves taking measurements of the body and sketching of the clothes construction blocks on paper.
Besides measuring tape, you need to use other measuring tools like the French curve, curve ruler and set square. All the mathematical notations on angles, parallel lines and geometric shapes I’ve learnt in school have all come to play during the drafting lesson. I guess what I’ve learnt in school is indeed very useful after all. I may not have seen value in what I’ve learnt back then but now I do – after 20 over years.
So after learning how to operate the sewing machine, I had to overcome another challenge – how to cut the fabric and stitch them together in a sequential manner. And supposedly if you sew wrongly, you have to unpick the seams one by one. It is a terrible nightmare if you realised that you had stitched the wrong side of the fabric and had to undo your mistake. To me, that’s the most challenging part because unpicking the seams requires more time and effort than sewing itself.
Stitching two pieces of cloth is easy but not when you are sewing the finishes and seams of the clothes. The neck and arm pipings are especially difficult and it requires experience to sew them properly.
My Finished Work
In total, I made 2 skirts and 2 tops using old fabrics given by my mom. The whole point of me learning how to sew is also for me to learn how I could upcycle clothes instead of buying more new clothes. Sustainable fashion is what I preached and ever since I’ve started to appreciate the beauty of minimalism, I’ve embraced this concept of ‘buy less and recycle more’.
I’ve completed sewing the skirts but not the tops yet as I needed to make some alterations. If you scrutinize the photos below carefully, you can see that the seams are not sewn yet. Pardon for that!
Top with Pleats
Top with Empire Cut
Overall, learning how to draft and sew really made me appreciate each and every clothes in my wardrobe more. It really requires a lot of time and effort to create a quality piece of clothing from scratch. Now, I know how to differentiate good quality clothing from those poor quality ones. You can tell them apart by looking at the workmanship, fabric and stitchings.
Moving forward, I am hoping to revamp some of my old clothes and make new ones from old fabrics. Wouldn’t it be cool if you can wear what you make? It sure takes time but since God created time, I’m sure He will bless me with some.
I am really looking forward to participate in more sewing courses to hone my drafting and sewing skills! Who knows? I am definitely looking forward to the day when I can make a living out of making clothes and promoting sustainable fashion.