Coming in January 2019 – Learn to Sew Dressmaking Workshops and courses in Bawtry, Wombwell & Chesterfield

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January 2019 Courses & Workshops

Below is a list of what’s coming up and how to book. Click on the course or workshop title for more info.

New Year Sewing School – 7th-11th January in Bawtry

5 day dressmaking course (Monday-Friday; 3 hours per day)

  • Morning (9.30am-12.30) – Book here
  • Afternoon (1-4pm) – Fully Booked

Tuesday Sewcial – Every Tuesday 6-8pm in Bawtry – £5 per person

Drink tea/coffee, chat, sew & laugh!

Join my Learning to Sew Facebook Group here to find out more.


Beginner’s Dressmaking – 5 week course at StraightCurves in Chesterfield

Course start dates:

Sew Different Geo Dress Workshop – Saturday 12th January, 10am-3.30pm in Bawtry

I made this... Sew Different Geo Dress(1)

Book your Geo Dress workshop place here.


Learn to Sew Your Own Project Workshop – Saturday 12th January, 10am-3.30pm in Bawtry

You bring your pattern & fabric and I’ll support you with expert tuition to sew it up.

Book Learn to Sew Your Own Project here


Learn to Sew My 1st Garment Workshop – Saturday 12th January, 10am-3.30pm in Bawtry

Perfect beginner’s workshop, make lounge pants or a circle skirt, you decide.

Book My 1st Garment Workshop here


Sewing Time with Me – Monday 14th January, 12-3pm at Oh Sew Sweet in Wombwell, Barnsley

Another opportunity to work on your own project with expert tuition to support your dressmaking. £20 per person, booking is essential.

Call Lorrayne or Bev at Oh Sew Sweet on 01226 805955 to book.


Beginner’s Dressmaking Part 2 – 5 week dressmaking course at StraightCurves in Chesterfield

Follow on from Beginner’s Dressmaking and increase your skills.

Course start dates:


Kid’s Dressmaking – 5 week dressmaking course at StraightCurves in Chesterfield

Suitable for 11-16 year olds, make a fab dress or jumpsuit

I made this... New Look 6444

Course start dates:

  • Wednesday 16th January – 4.15pm – Book here
  • Monday 27th May – 4pm – (Mon-Fri, one week) – Book here


Dress in a Day – Sew Different Scoop Pinafore – Saturday 19th January at StraightCurves in Chesterfield

Make your version of the Sew Different Scoop Pinafore

I made this... Sew Different Scoop Pinafore

Book Dress in a Day – Scoop Pinafore here


Beginner’s Simple Skirt Workshop – Saturday 26th January, 9.30am-12.30 at Oh Sew Sweet in Wombwell, Barnsley

Suitable for age 11 to adult, start from the beginning and learn to make a simple skirt.

I made this... Simple skirt

Call Lorrayne & Bev at Oh Sew Sweet on 01226 805955 to book.


Beginner’s Kimono Jacket Workshop – Saturday 26th January, 1-4pm at Oh Sew Sweet in Wombwell, Barnsley

In this popular beginner’s workshop you will create an amazing Kimono Jacket using a simple pattern.

I made this... Kimono Jacket one size

Call Lorrayne & Bev at Oh Sew Sweet on 01226 805955 to book.


Mastering Your Overlocker – Sunday 27th January, bookable 1 hour 1:1 slots at Oh Sew Sweet in Wombwell, Barnsley

The overlocker day is fully booked, call Lorrayne & Bev at Oh Sew Sweet on 01226 805955 to be added to the waiting list.

If you don’t want to wait, book yourself a 1 hour 1:1 “Get to Know your Overlocker” lesson in Bawtry Here.


And as always if you want to chat with me about private 1:1 lessons in Bawtry, you can book at free 30 minute consultation HERE.

Hope to see you sewing soon,

Alison xx




Do you daydream about sewing? Make your dreams come true…

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Have you had dreams of all the fabulous things you would like to make once you started sewing?

I know I did! I was 14 when I first started sewing with big ideas of becoming a famous fashion designer when I grew up. Luckily I found a very talented friend of my parents, Janet, who taught me the basics and I started to make my own clothes, including my prom dress.
I went on to study fashion at Doncaster College and then to get a degree in Fashion Design at university to further develop my skills, but it all started from me having a really fantastic tutor to show me the ropes.

But without the foundation of Janet’s patient tuition I’m not sure my skills would have developed to the level they have today.

It is through my learning and years of building and honing my skills that I am now able to pass the benefit of my experience and teach these dressmaking skills to you.

Is this you?

  • Always pinning ideas for sewing projects on Pinterest, but don’t know how to start making
  • Looking at clothes in shops and thinking… if only something was slightly different, then it would be perfect?
  • Kids or Grandkids on the way and imagining just how cute they’ll look in clothes made by Mummy or Granny.
  • Sick and tired of shop bought clothes not fitting you properly?
  • Have a sewing machine or overlocker gathering dust because you’re too scared to try and thread it up?
  • Have been sewing for years but have never got the perfect fit with your me-made clothes and have given up making for yourself?

I have options of 1:1 lessons and packages designed to help you achieve your sewing plans and dreams.

The entry level lessons for sewing machine novices are the “Get to Know your Sewing Machine” lessons, perfect if you’ve got a new (or new to you) sewing machine or overlocker.

1 hour – £30 – Book here
2 hours – £60 – Book here

In these lessons we go through the basics of threading, different stitches and their use, seam allowance and using your machine as well as basic maintenence and care. Enough for you to feel confident using your machine on your own.
The two hour lesson goes more in depth, and is perfect if you are especially nervous of your machine or if you want to do more than the basics with your sewing machine or overlocker.

The 1:1 packages I offer allow you to learn whatever you want to learn, and are suitable for either beginners or intermediate dressmakers.

Because the lessons are tailored to your specific sewing goals, I offer a free 30 minute consultation with me to chat through what you would like to learn and how I can help you to acheive your goals.

Book a free 30 minute consultation here.

Price List for 1:1 block bookings
3 x 1.5 hour lesson (4.5 hours total) – £125
5 x 2 hour lesson (10 hours total) – £250

If you just need a one off lesson to get you unstuck with something you’re stuck with you can book a 1.5 hour lesson for £50 here.

Fit Your Make – Fitting Support

Getting the correct fit on your garment can elevate your dressmaking to the next level. If husbands/friends/partners are not helpful in pinning and adjusting garments, then you need my help to alter and adjust the fit of your garment and pattern.
If you’re nearly the finishing post with a fabulous garment ut need an extra pair of hands to get the fit spot on, book a fitting support lesson.

Fit your Make – Fitting Support Lesson – 45 minutes £20 – Book here

Of course theres still a fabulous range of group courses and workshops available and November workshops are due to be launched very soon, so watch this space.

Hope to see you sewing soon,
Alison xx

PS you can sign up to my newsletter HERE to find out about all the other group workshops and things going on at Bagladybird – Learn to Sew.

Autumn Cosy – October 2017 Workshops

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I can’t believe it’s already October and I haven’t told you all about October’s fabulous Autumn wardrobe workshops yet.

I’ve got a return of the Tilly & the Buttons Agnes Jersey Top Workshop in Swinton on Saturday 14th October. For this workshop, all your fabric is included (from a special selection from Thread Mill Fabrics), as well as your Tilly & the Buttons multi size pattern.

Here I am in the long sleeved version pointing at this fabric in the shop.

In this workshop, you will learn how to cut out and sew with jersey fabric and make one of the different versions of this fabulous top.

There are short or long sleeves, ruched, puff sleeves or straight sleeves, with a ruched neckline or scoop. The choice is yours to make the version that suits you.

Book Agnes Jersey Top Workshop Here – Pay £15 deposit

On Wednesday 18th October (6.30-8.30pm) I will be holding a brand new workshop to help you read and understand dressmaking patterns.

If you pick up a dressmaking pattern and it’s like reading a foreign language to you or you just can’t figure out the right size or how much fabric you need and what all the symbols on all that tissue paper actually mean – join me at this workshop for it to all make sense.

Book the Read & Understand Patterns Workshop here – £25

Then on Saturday 21st October in Bawtry I will be holding a grand celebration for my first year in business and participating in Sew Magazine’s Sew Saturday.

The full day workshop will be making the Patterns for Pirates Cocoon Cardigan, £55 including a multi size pattern. Fabric is not included for this workshop, allowing you to make something perfectly suited for your style, Full guidance will be given on booking. £15 deposit secures your space.

Again this pattern has lots of options, for a cropped or tunic version (mine is a tunic) and short or long sleeves and a narrow or wider band. It’s also a jersey fabric, so you will learn how to cut and sew with jersey.

Since I made this sample last week I have worn this cardi every day, it’s such a good autumn wardrobe staple and so comfy too!

If you can’t attend the whole workshop, do pop in and join the party, get a free goody bag and a slice of cake and see what a Bagladybird – Learn to Sew workshop is all about.

Book Cocoon Cardi Workshop Here – Pay £15 deposit

Last but not least in October I’ll be hosting an upcycling workshop in Austerfield on Wednesday 25th October (7-9pm), as the weather’s getting chillier we’ll be upcycling your jumpers into winter woolies, (option for hat, scarf or fingerless mittens).

Keep them for yourself or give them to your loved ones for Christmas. This workshop is £25 per person and you will turn something old into something new & fabulous.

Book Upcycling Winter Woolies Workshop here – £25

There will be even more lovely workshops coming in November and if you want to hear about them first, sign up to my newsletter here.

I look forward to seeing you at a workshop soon.

Alison xx

What to expect at a Bagladybird Workshop…

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I’d love to tell you some more about my dressmaking workshops.

I’ve been asked a few times recently about what exactly happens at one of my Learn to Sew Workshops, so I thought I would talk you through a typical workshop…

If you book your place on a full day workshop (except Learn to Sew Your Own Project Workshops), I will ask you for your measurements and from this I will make your pattern to the nearest size to your measurements. This pattern will then be available for you to use on the day and to purchase for £10 to use again.
If fabric is not included, I will also give you guidelines on the amount and type of fabric required and also recommendations on where to shop if you need advice.

As you arrive at the venue, I will greet you and introduce myself and the other participants and get you settled in to a space for you to work. Usually each person has a cutting table all to themselves, so there’s loads of space for you to lay your fabric and pattern out, and if you need it we can often get a second table out for you to use to give you even more space. (If you’re used to cutting out on your living room floor or on your bed or your kitchen table, you’ll understand what a luxury many people find this to be.)

I’ll talk you through the project we’re making and show you a sample. For example, recently we were making shift dresses, so spoke to the ladies about the dress, the different techniques we will be using, and explained the different options available to make.

I will spend some time chatting to you individually, finding out about your chosen fabric and your sewing experience, so that I can help you get the most from your Bagladybird Learn to Sew Workshop.

If you’re lucky, my little helper (Jack) will come and take your drink order and offer round biscuits. On other days you just get me as your waitress!

You’ll then spend some time, laying out your pattern, pinning and cutting your fabric, getting guidance and tips from me as you go. Preparation is key, so we take our time to get this right. All the tools you need are provided, however if you prefer to bring your own, please feel free to do so.

The sewing table is a group area, where we all sew together, making it really social and friendly and you can pick up knowledge from more experienced sewers in the group.
We use Janome 525s sewing machines and they will all be set up for you, ready to use and if you have never used a sewing machine before or need a bit of a refresher, I will show you all the functions we will be using throughout the workshop and make sure you feel happy to thread up your machine.

You will each have a set of written instructions for you to refer to if you wish, but I am on hand to show and tell for every step of the way. Feel free to ask as many questions as you need, you are here to learn and have an enjoyable day, and my job is to make that happen, so I will happily answer any questions you might have.

Everyone works at their own pace and this is perfectly ok, don’t worry if you’re getting ahead or if you’re not as fast as others, I will make sure everyone gets as much input from me as they need. We will take a break for lunch when we reach a suitable point, you will be ready for it as sewing can be hungry work and you won’t realise how hard you’ve been concentrating until you take a break.

Once your garment starts coming together, you will try it on and we can make minor fitting adjustments before sewing the hem and adding the finishing touches. I love the look of joy and excitement on everyone’s face when they realise that they have created a wonderful item of clothing that they will love to wear.

Once we are getting close to the end, I will pop a note on your table with the balance owing and just be sure to settle up before you leave.

To see a full list of upcoming workshops: Click Here.

If you have any other questions, either specific to workshops or more general, email me at and I will get back to you.

Hope to see you at a workshop soon.
Alison xx

Back to School – Learn to Sew in September

The kids are going back to school.. you can too!

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It’s that time of year again when the summer holidays are in full swing but all the adverts and shops are shouting about Back to School!

Well I’m joining in their chorus to say that as the kids go back to school it’s also time for you to learn something new. What better time for you to Learn to Sew?

This September there is a bit of something for everyone in my workshop programme, whether you are brand new to sewing or are a bit more experienced, check out what I’ve got coming up…

Saturday 2nd September – Learn to Sew Shirt Dresses – Oh Sew Sweet at the Hut, Wombwell (S73)

This relaxed fit shirt dress is flattering and comfortable. Learn how to sew a yoke and a collar as well as making buttonholes.

£45 – To allow you to create something more personal, fabric is not included for this workshop, but full guidence will be given on booking. (£10 extra if you want to keep your pattern to use again.)

Call Oh Sew Sweet to book – 01226 805955


Saturday 9th September – Learn to Sew Shift Dresses – Bawtry (DN10)

This workshop is always so popular. Make your own version of this easy to wear shift dress. This workshop is ideal for beginners as there are no zips or buttonholes used to fasten it.

£45 – To allow you to create something more personal, fabric is not included for this workshop, but full guidence will be given on booking. (£10 extra if you want to keep your pattern to use again.)


Monday 11th September – Learn to Sew Upcycling T-shirts to Big Knickers – Bawtry (DN10)

Bring a new lease of life to tired old t-shirts or leggings and create a pair of knickers similar to the ones below.

£25 – bring any t-shirts, leggings etc with elastane content – all other materials & tools are provided for you to use.


Saturday 23rd September – Learn to Sew Your Own Project – Bawtry (DN10)

You bring the fabric the pattern, fabric and any other notions required to make your chosen item and I’ll help you learn the skills to make it.

£45 – Sewing machines & tools are provided for you to use.


Thursday 28th September – Learn to Sew Jersey Techniques Workshop – Bawtry (DN10)

I get asked a lot about sewing with jersey fabrics without using an overlocker, I’ll show you tips and techniques so you can get the best results with this tricky fabric with just a regular sewing machine.

£25 – all materials included


Saturday 30th September – Learn to Sew Kimono Jackets – Swinton (S64)

Create your own version of these brilliant easy to wear Kimono Jackets at this workshop in association with Thread Mill Fabrics.

£55 – all materials included from a selection from Thread Mill Fabrics (£10 extra if you want to keep your pattern to use again)

If you need any more info on any of the upcoming workshops, just email me at and ask any questions you might have. 

Hope to see you at a workshop soon,

Alison xx

Amazing April! Make it happen. Only 3 spaces available.

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March has been an amazing month for Bagladybird – Learn to Sew, with lots of exciting opportunities coming my way. It has also been a strange month as my poor little Clio failed it’s MOT big time and I have been without a car since the beginning of March and that looks likely to continue for another few weeks! But I’m not complaining as the weather has mostly been fine and I have been able to make use of my lovely bicycle to get about locally. (If you see me, please don’t beep your horn!)

It’s been a fantastic month for my awesome 121 clients and we have had some great successes.

  • Jess was a complete novice and was able to replicate an old favourite dress. She said that getting 121 lessons for Christmas was the best gift ever.
  • Anna had received a lovely pattern and fabric for Christmas and she was terrified of cutting into it and not doing justice to the thoughtful gift that her daughters had given her. We worked together to fit the pattern perfectly to Anna’s body so she could confidently cut out and make up the lovely dress which would fit her comfortably.
  • Angie was fed up of feeling frumpy in ill-fitting clothes, she is an experienced seamstress but hadn’t been able to make herself anything that made her feel confident and professional, she is now part way through her booking and is happy that she is well on her way to getting a great fitting basic block that can be adapted to create a great fitting work wardrobe.

So whether you are a novice or more experienced, there is lots you can learn in private lessons with me.

  • Have you been invited to a wedding this summer and do you want to make sure that you feel amazing in a dress that nobody else is wearing?
  • Do you struggle to get a good fit from patterns and want to know how to alter a pattern to fit you?
  • Have you got a craft business and you want to up your skill level to make more money?
  • Has your body shape changed and you want to know the how to get the best fitting clothes?
  • Would you love to see your children dressed in clothes that have been designed and made by you, but you just don’t know how to start the process?
  • Have you dreamed of making your own wedding dress but need some help to make it happen?

There are a million and one reasons why you might want to book private Learn to Sew lessons with me, but the best thing about them is that they are completely tailored to you and to your creative and technical needs.

Reply to this email with your phone number to book a free 30 minute consultation with me to talk about what you would like to learn in your private lessons. I only have space for 3 new 121 clients in April, so don’t delay, do it today.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Alison xx

PS. I know that it’s important to you to know the price before you commit, so…

1.5 hour (single lesson) £50      Perfect if you need help with something specific.

4.5 hours (3 x 1.5 hour lessons) £125       You can make a simple garment in this time.

10 hours (5 x 2 hour lessons) £250       This is enough time to learn how to create a pattern from scratch, or for a total novice to make a couple of simple garments.


PPS. If group workshops are more your thing, there are still places available on April workshops. Click here for more info.

Get to know your Sewing Machine – Ten Top Tips

Have you got a new sewing machine? Have you had a machine for years but are still a bit intimidated by it? Do you sew regularly but are never fully confident of your stitching?

Whether you are a novice or are a bit more experienced, I have putt together ten top tips that will help you get to know your sewing machine better and make you a better sewer!

Ten Top Tips #1

Only turn the handwheel forwards.

Turning it in the opposite direction can cause your threads to get tangled and/or snap.


Ten Top Tips #2

When putting your thread onto the machine always make sure the thread is coming off the spool in the right direction.

If on your machine, the spool lies flat then the thread should be coming from underneath. If your machine has upright spool pins, any writing on the spool should be the right way up.


Ten Top Tips #3

Use the correct needle for your fabric.

The lower the number the finer the needle, and the finer the fabric, the finer the needle you should use.


Ten Top Tips #4

Remove your thread from the machine, by unthreading your needle first and then cutting at the top near the spool and pulling from the bottom.

Whipping the thread out from the top can upset the tension discs.


Ten Top Tips #5

Understand your machine dials – read your manual

  1. Tension
  2. Needle position/stitch width
  3. Stitch Selection
  4. Stitch Length


Ten Top Tips #6

If you are having tension issues, thread the top and bottom in different colours so you can more clearly identify the issue.

If the thread is bunching up under your fabric it is an issue with your top threading.

If the thread is bunching up on the top of your fabric it is an issue with your bobbin.


Ten Top Tips #7

Change your needle regularly – you will not sew well with a blunt needle.

It is recommended that you change your needle after 8 hours of sewing, but I tend to change it at the start of every new project.


Ten Top Tips #8

Use the seam guides on the machine base to keep your sewing straight.

Your pattern should tell you what seam allowance to use, find the guideline that corresponds and keep the raw edges of the fabric level with this line.


Ten Top Tips #9

Play about with the different stitches, so you know what your machine can do.

Consult the manual.


Ten Top Tips #10

Find out what the different presser feet you have are for.

The only ones I ever use are:

  1. Regular presser foot
  2. Zip foot
  3. Invisible zip foot
  4. Automatic buttonhole foot


If you want to get to know your sewing machine or overlocker better, for £30, you can book in for a private 1 hour get to know your sewing machine lesson at my home sewing studio in January. Just click here, pay & I will be in touch to book your date and time.

Alison xx

PS. If you want more tips and advice, inspiration and support, join my Facebook Group, Learning to Sew, here.