“Fashion is very important. It is life-enhancing and, like everything that gives pleasure, it is worth doing well.” - Vivienne Westwood
A large number of those teaching sewing have worked in the fashion industry or done jobs where either hand sewing or machine sewing was their primary responsibility.
Even though the fashion world can sometimes be precarious, there’s no lack of passion from those working in it. They love transferring their knowledge whether working with kids in a school or students who’ve signed up for a sewing workshop.
Would you like to learn to sew, do a bit of quilting, or brush up on a few sewing techniques that you learnt a number of years ago?
How can you choose the right sewing tutor with the right experience and what other criteria should you consider?
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know!
Choosing the Right Tutor for Your Project
For your arts and crafts project, it’s important to have a tutor that meets your needs. Depending on the project, different levels of experience are acceptable:
- If you want to learn a few sewing basics (like how to thread a needle, a few basic stitches, or how to make a simple seam) your tutor won’t need a lot of experience.
- To master certain techniques, your tutor will need some experience
- To complete a project where you're making made-to-measure clothes or wedding dresses, for example, you’ll need someone with a lot of experience and advanced instruction.
Thus, there are three main groups of sewing tutors according to their experience:
- Beginners who are just out of university with very little experience.
- Experienced professionals who’ve been in the game for a while.
- Independents whose portfolios act as their business card.
Given that no two tutors will have followed the exact same career path, you can’t base your decision solely on their experience.
But what about the latter ones who’ve no professional training?
How much does an hour of sewing lessons cost?
Qualified Teachers with Varied Experience
When we talk about the sewing teachers with little experience, we’re generally talking about those who’ve done it for less than 6 years. That said, that doesn’t mean they don’t have any qualifications.
While there’s a range of qualifications they could have done, they’ll have definitely covered the following topics:
- Fashion design
- Art courses
This training, along with any practical experience, means that they’ve probably got a good amount of sewing experience and may have even worked in fashion. Since fashion design is a very vocational pursuit, most graduates in the field will have also worked in fashion.
As you can see, much like with other artistic fields, there’s not a single guaranteed route. If you want basic sewing courses, these tutors could take you from your first steps to completing your own project. It’s always reassuring to have a tutor with real-world experience, professional training, and the right qualifications.
In my first sewing lessons, I opted for a young tutor with a qualification in fashion design. Since I was just starting out, I didn’t need someone with a lot of experience: she helped me choose the right sewing machine, how to make a hem, which materials to use, and techniques such as working with fusible interlining and how to make clothes with the help of sewing patterns. This helped me get started without being embarrassed about my level.
Experienced Tutors from the World of Fashion
Not just anyone can become a sewing teacher, even if you have a lot of experience in the world of fashion. Generally, those who choose who end up teaching in private fashion schools or in public schools already have experience in the business. You’ll find them working in:
- Public Schools
- Fashion Schools
Of course, the teachers who work in these places have to have the right qualifications in both fashion design and the relevant teaching qualifications (such as the PGCE).
Once they’ve become a teacher, they’ll have a wide range of skills that can help their students to progress:
- The technical knowledge that they’ll have learnt during their own education.
- People skills that they’ll have developed through their professional and teaching experience.
- Teaching skills that they can use to promote learning.
Of course, they can’t just become a teacher based on their professional experience, they need to transform their experience into qualifications that are recognised by the places they’re applying to.
You can find those who’ve worked in fashion for 20 years but don’t have any formal qualifications and know far more than someone who’s just out of university. However, an academic qualification will probably still be needed to work at any academic establishment.
It can be challenging to change your career. However, if you turn to vocational teaching, you can draw upon your professional experience and use it to help you become a better teacher.
Getting in Touch with Private Sewing Tutors
Given how exclusive the world of fashion can be and the competition inherent in the fashion industry, a lot of designers and fashion experts are also teaching private tutorials for a number of reasons:
- To supplement their monthly income
- To supplement the education of students learning to sew at fashion schools
- To transfer their knowledge
- To participate in local sewing projects
Nobody really stops learning once they’ve finished their schooling. Thus, training and professional experience go hand in hand. A teacher with the right qualifications and experience will have a lot of options available to them.
They could also provide professional training in a variety of different places and ways:
- As their main job.
- Teaching sewing at SMEs offering private sewing workshops.
- As an independent tutor offering private tutorials.
No two teachers will have the same experience: there are former fashion designers who’ve become private tutors just like young kids fresh out of university. When you choose a private tutor, it’s important to choose both their personality and experience because you need someone who’ll keep you motivated.
Those new to tutoring aren't necessarily bad tutors. In some cases, their teaching methods can be more important than their experience. This isn’t like getting a teacher at a fashion school, either.
Find online sewing classes thanks to Superprof.
What’s the biggest advantage of choosing a private tutor near me?
They can work around your schedule.
“I’m currently doing sewing tutorials with an amazing tutor who adapts to my needs. I’m progressing and what really sold me on her was that she’d previously worked in secondary education and a master’s. She’s passionate about what she does and it shows.”
Finally, choosing a sewing tutor isn’t just about their experience, it’s also about seeing how you get along and if they work for what you’re trying to achieve.
A beginner will struggle to learn a new skill if they don't enjoy spending time with their tutor. Even something simple like making a tote bag or a pillowcase can quickly become a chore if you're not enjoying your sewing class.
Find sewing classes Leeds.
A good tutor will have some good tricks up their sleeve. In order to teach effectively, they need to work with your strengths and weaknesses, encourage your creativity, and encourage you to discover things for yourself, rather than explicitly show you.
Think of a private tutor like a sewing coach. When you're taught by a private tutor, you're the only student they care about because you're the only student in their class. You also have a lot of input into what kind of topics you cover.
If you want to work with fusible interlining/interfacing, you can discuss this with your tutor.
Need beginner sewing tutorials covering the absolute basics?
Your tutor can explain different types of threads, what sewing supplies you should pick up, and help you with threading the needle.
Your tutor can also find you a sewing pattern to work with, books and resources to help you study when they're not there, and bring specialised equipment for certain lessons (though you may have to pay extra for this).
What’s stopping you from finding the right tutor?
What Is a Sewing Tutor?
Can a School Teacher Teach Sewing?
You can become a sewing tutor even if you’ve gone down the academic route. As long as you have good people skills, teaching skills, and sewing skills, there’s nothing stopping you from becoming a tutor and helping transfer your skills to aspiring fashionistas.
How Do You Prove Your Abilities?
Of course, if you want to prove your abilities, a recognised qualification is one of the best ways to do it. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to complete a degree in fashion design. However, as a tutor, your reputation on sites like Superprof can prove to potential students that you’re as skilled as you say you are.
Don't forget that most sewing tutors will probably also teach you other skills like embroidery, how to knit a quilt, etc.
Whether you want to learn how to sew for fun, need to stitch a damaged garment, want to start knitting a few quilts, or need some help stitching a zipper onto the first ever bag you made, there are plenty of options available to you!
Find sewing lessons online.