Design and Make Your Own Clothes Course


Dip your toes into creative pattern cutting and design and make your own clothes! This inspiring and imaginative course is suitable for childrenswear and adult garments, takes place on Tuesdays and runs in 5-week slots.  Please see below for more details.

TIME: 10.30-13.30

STARTS: Tuesday 20th February 2024
ENDS: Tuesday 19th March 2024

LOCATION: Streatham and Brixton Quaker meeting house, SW2 3LU

PLEASE NOTE: This is not an online course.

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This design and make your own clothes course gives you a full introduction to the design process.   You’ll learn all about:

  • Drafting and fit a block to your personal measurements;
  • Applying creative pattern cutting technique;
  • Creating master plans to generate a range of styles for your chosen garment;
  • Sewing up your designs as a toile – to check that you’re happy with what you’ve done – and making up your designs in your final fabric.

You’ll particularly enjoy this course if you already have some experience with clothes making, and are interested in creative freedom beyond the confines of commercial sewing patterns.

It’s also ideal for people who have their own design ideas, or are fed up with constantly fitting commercial patterns to their bodies.

You can join the design and make your own clothes course at any time, and there’s no need to begin with part 1 if you already have your own block.  There’s enough flexibility for me to meet you wherever you are in your clothes making journey.

Part 1 | Making your bespoke block

  • Taking a full set of body measurements;
  • Drafting a block based on your body measurements – you can choose from a bodice, skirt, or trouser block;
  • Adapting the draft block to fine-tune the fit;
  • Tracing the finalised block onto card for longevity.

You’ll also learn how to use pattern cutting equipment such as a set square, notcher, awl, tracing wheel and hole punch.  See below for more details.

Creative pattern cutting tools, including a set square, straight ruler, curved rulers and mechanical pencil

Part 2 | Creative pattern cutting

This is where you bring your design ideas to life!  It’s fun and rewarding to see how it all comes together in the pattern.  You’ll learn how to create a master plan to keep a record of all the ideas, variations, and style details.  Style details include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Dart manipulation;
  • Creating gores and yokes;
  • Adding gathers;
  • Adding pleats.

You’ll be able to take these techniques and apply what you’ve learned and practiced to design your own skirt, top, or trousers.  Because you’re using your bespoke block, you’ll have the comfort and security of getting an excellent fit with very little effort.  You’ll also have a peer group around you so that you can learn from each other’s fitting journey and application of pattern cutting techniques.

Creative pattern cutting tools, including a tracing wheel, awl, notcher, and chalk tracing wheels.

Part 3 | Making your clothes – toiles and garment construction

You can use fabric from your stash for your final design, but advice and support will be given throughout the course as we work through your ideas.  On the other hand, if you’d like to design something especially for fabric in your stash, let me know closer to the time and I’ll give you special guidance.

You’ll also learn fundamental techniques such as staystitching, understitching, and hemming.  Other construction techniques will be covered with special reference to your design.

There are 6 places and 6 sewing machines available, but you can bring your own sewing machine if you’d prefer.

Interior of an unlined blue ramie skirt with bias bound seam allowances. Also featuring a pincushion and thread conditioner.


Equipment and materials

You’ll need to bring:

  • Your own sewing kit (fabric scissors, paper scissors, sewing pins, a pincushion, tape measure, hand sewing needles, assorted thread);
  • A notebook and pen or pencil;
  • A set square or pattern master – both are available from Morplan, but you can share one for the first few classes.  I strongly recommend getting your own;
  • A mechanical pencil, 2H-4H hardness.  I recommend a mechanical pencil for pattern cutting because it will always stay sharp.  You can bring a wooden pencil, but be prepared to sharpen it a LOT!
  • A needlepoint tracing wheel – not the serrated kind you use with carbon paperThis one or this one, also available at Morplan, are ideal.  Again, I suggest you buy your own, but I do have one that can be shared.

Paper, card and calico will be provided; you’re welcome to bring your own calico if you prefer.  Other specialist equipment, such as the notcher and awl, are also available at Morplan, but you won’t need this until a few weeks into the course.  That said, it’s easier to get everything at the same time; sometimes there are threshold spend discounts.

Location and timing

The Design and Make Your Own Clothes course takes place at the Streatham and Brixton Quaker meeting house, Redlands Way, SW2 3LU.  The venue has step-free access and is close to the junction with Christchurch Road.  An interactive map is linked here.

DATES: Tuesday 20th February 2024 – Tuesday 19th March 2024

TIME: 10.30 – 13.30

Local area map of Streatham Hill, with a red pin showing the location of the sewing classes.

What about designing coats and dresses?

Coats and dresses are the next step!  These garments are derived from the bodice block, so you’ll need to make this before you move onto coats and dresses.  The same goes for jumpsuits and all-in-ones; these are a combination of tops and trousers, so you’ll need to have created both these blocks first.

What can I do after the course ends?

Enrolment is on a rolling basis – you can stay as long as you like, or as long as it takes for you to get whatever you need from the course.  My ultimate goal is for you to end up with a wardrobe full of clothes that represents you exactly as you are and includes exactly what you want to wear.  You decide when the course ends, and if you go, you’re welcome to come back anytime.

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Any more questions?  Let me know!

If you have any questions that can’t wait, please get in touch using the contact form below. This will go straight to my inbox and I will pick up your message as soon as I can.  This form also serves as a waitlist between course dates.


Design and Make Your Own Clothes Course


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