No matter if you think so or not, sewing has recently become quite popular again as a Saturday and Sunday hobby for both men and women.
You may think of sewing as a pastime your grandma might have spent hours in front of the fire doing on a cold winters night in July, but not only grandmas are learning how to sew!
So whether you're simply wanting to fix some old clothes, learn some basic sewing techniques with your favourite fabric, how to thread a needle, or you want to make something for a special person in your life, what better time to take up sewing lessons!
In this article, we'll cover the best ways to learn sewing, including going to a workshop, learning online and hiring a tutor.
Can Everyone Sew?
If you are a beginner or you already have experience with a sewing machine, everyone will naturally learn at their own speed. Some people may want to:
- Start a career in design and cloths production.
- Be able to customise the clothes they already have.
- Do everyday tasks like patching and shortening, or loosening different stitches.
- Complete personal projects for loved ones and close friends, perhaps as a birthday or Christmas gift.
While anyone can learn how to sew like in any skill, in sewing there is one important thing to note: Whether you’re a total beginner or improving your skills week by week, having the right equiptment is essential. This means you'll have to put down some dollars into certain things, such as;
- A sewing machine (the Singer brand is extremely common and specific models are highly advised for beginners).
- An embroidery machine.
- A serger.
- Sewing patterns.
- A sewing kit with a needle, thread, and scissors.
- A sewing book.
There are heaps of materials and books for dummies (including the series with that very title) that can help you get the basics down pat before you move on to more complicated tasks and being able to create your own garments.
Sewing is a useful skill and is used in many professions and fields including;
- Furnishings: cushion covers, upholstery, etc.
- Wardrobes: made-to-measure clothes, suits, costumes.
- Haute Couture: High-end fashion designers, etc.
So, we've covered the essential items that you need to start sewing, but how much do they cost?
The Price of Sewing Lessons in Australia
Learning is always easiest and the best when you work with someone passionate about the skill you are learning, and sewing is no different. You may want to learn from someone like a fashion designer or a seamstress. Whether it's a serious job for them or just a Saturday night hobby, they’ll teach you the basics including how to use a sewing machine for your own personal projects.
Now, it must be stated, they won’t do this for free. The cost of your tutors' course will depend on a multitude of factors:
- The location of the lessons (capital cities, country towns, villages, etc.).
- The type of lesson (lessons for adults, children, groups, online lessons or one-on-one private tutorials).
- The length and time of the lesson.
- How often you take the lessons.
- The equipment provided (do you have to bring your own sewing machine, for example?)
In Australia, prices generally stick to these principles. Due to the cost of living, sewing classes in Melbourne, VIC are generally more expensive than other places around the country that have a cheaper cost of living.
In smaller cities, Adelaide, Perth, Newcastle etc, the average price of a sewing lesson will be lower.
While these prices are just averages, you should keep in mind that the rates will also vary according to the tutor's experience, qualifications, the exact type of sewing they teach, when and how often you get your classes, etc.
Now, you can find cheaper classes with the following methods.
- Going to group classes.
- Searching for special deals on sites like Groupon, for example.
- Negotiating with your tutor, perhaps by paying for a group of lessons at once.
- Taking online lessons.
Sewing classes are becoming increasingly popular as individuals seek to work on their creative side. Especially after 2020 and the year of lockdowns, people had the time to practice creative hobbies. For this reason, a lot of designers have now jumped on the increased demand to offer deals in a workshop, group setting or individual one to one classes.
Professionals Can Teach You to Sew
Learning to sew in a fashion school or the fashion industry at large is great because learning from motivated professionals will really boost your sewing skills. Even better, some schools can even offer sewing as part of the school curricular, but outside of school there are also opportunities like:
- A workshop for adolescents.
- Adult classes and classes for kids.
- Summer workshops.
- Beginners’ classes.
- Creative and fashion design workshops.
You can also study and practice more specific courses:
- Thematic workshops (haute couture, carnival, etc.).
- Sewing circles where you can discuss your creations.
- Made-to-measure workshops.
- Fashion design with dressmakers’ mannequins.
The fashion industry depends on people who know how to sew. Not everyone can produce their own made-to-measure clothing or be able to repair stitching and holes just by watching a Youtube video. This is where like-minded professionals with experience in the industry can make a big difference.
Again, hiring these people to teach you does not come free. Their rates will depend on more than just what city you are in. Generally:
- The average rate per hour for a sewing tutor in Sydney is $43 per hour.
- Group workshops are less expensive than private tutoring because the price is distributed around the group.
- Expect to pay several hundred dollars for any courses that go over a number of weeks.
- Save money by buying lessons in bulk. The cheaper, the better, right?
“I offer a beginners course on the basics of sewing for small groups as well as private lessons on how to customise your own clothes” explains Émilia, a private tutor who offers her first hour of tutoring for free.
Private Sewing Tutoring
Private tutoring can eventually help you to master the cross stitch or even just get you started on the basic skills, so hiring a private tutor is a great place to start.
They will also teach you embroidery, how to use your sewing machine, and how to sew by hand.
The biggest advantage of private classes is you can choose when, where and how you do your lessons. You could take lessons day by day, week by week, in the evening, at the weekend, etc.
Again, the hourly rate will differ depending on the number of hours you do, the equipment required and the preparation time required of your teacher.
The most popular types of tutoring include:
- The average price for an embroidery tutorial in Sydney, NSW is $43 per hour.
- Fashion design classes in Melbourne, VIC, average $36 per hour.
- Knitting costs on average $29 per hour around Australia.
These classes are predominantly available from beginners level to advanced level, and your teacher will always adapt their courses to what you know and what you need to work on.
Individualised classes will provide a faster rate of learning and help you master the basics faster than if you take group classes.
On the Superprof platform, you can search through a massive list of willing and enthusiastic teachers who may be able to travel to your home, to teach you the skills of sewing, knitting, and embroidery. Though occasionally you might be asked to pay a travel fee.
Tired of relying on your Mum to fix your clothes?
Why not learn to do it yourself with a few sewing lessons?
You will quickly realise that it's easier than you thought. Within even weeks you may be able to fix some basic problems with your own clothes.
More on Sewing Lessons
This art form and skill has existed for centuries, but it wasn’t until the 19th century that it was specifically made into a recognised trade as clothing production in factories and personal workshops skyrocketed.
Over the years, the trade grew bigger and it became a job largely done by women by the start of the twentieth century.
While it's still a job that is mostly done by women, there are now more and more men entering the industry as society diversifies what are typical jobs for both genders.
Despite you probably thinking of sewing as something that's quite old-fashioned, a lot of research and development is constantly evolving the fashion industry, with the new technologies at hand you'd be surprised by the depths of how technical it can be!
What can I expect from a sewing class?
Well, there is a range of things you can do, and that choice is yours.
- Quilting or creating a patchwork
- Working with fusible interlining or interfacing
- Stitching a garment back together
- Creating a hem or a seam on a dress or a skirt
- Learning to add a zipper or buttons
- Knitting, embroidery, embellishment, etc.
- Creating items with a sewing pattern
- Beginner sewing projects like creating a pillowcase or a tote bag
When you're not actively in class, you can still develop and learn about sewing in several ways.
For example, you can always read books and blogs for the latest information and tips, or watch videos online to recap some of the theories you may have done in a previous class. So you can always refine those tricky techniques and even look for online classes which are usually at a cheaper rate than in-person classes.
Find a sewing course in your city: if you live in Melbourne, VIC, simply google "sewing classes Melbourne" to find plenty of teachers.
There are so many different methods and techniques to learn, so control your temper when you tangle a thread - we've all been there!
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