Motherhood.Adventure.Slow Fashion.Sewing.Womanhood

Monday, 28 April 2014

"Beauty school drop out.....Go back to highschoooool" Garment Construction Course review

My husband often sings this song to me in reference to my pink hair, and reminding him of Pinky from Grease...however this is a reference to going 'back to highschool', or rather, going to college for the first time.


Pinky herself

I left school after my exams when I was 16. I had always intended on staying on to study, and going to university to become a journalist (I was going through a Hunter.S.Thompson stage at that time) and that was my life's ambition. To be a rockstar gonzo music journalist...funny how things never work out how you thought, but hey ho, such is life.

Even when I left school at 16, I kept intending to enroll on some kind of course at some point, but again, life managed to get in the way of things...So for my 23rd Birthday in February, my husband's present to me was to attend a short course in Garment Construction at the local college. My mum signed up and came too.

The description on Southend college's website is thus:


This introductory course will provide you with the knowledge and skills that are required to construct your own unique garments. Based in the College’s fashion centre you will have access to a range of garment construction resources and professional tutor support. If you are interested in pursing a career in fashion, or you would simply like to create your own garments as a hobby, this course will meet your personal needs.
This course is delivered on a Wednesday evening between 19:00 - 21:30 over four consecutive weeks.

At the time of us booking this course, myself and my mum did see ourselves as beginners in the sense that we had had no formal training. However, we didn't realise this would be a BEGINNERS course, as in 'this is how you wind a bobbin' etc. I think we lacked confidence at this stage. We didn't really see ourselves as more than beginner home-sewists with big ambitions.

The course was led by Tilly Batchelor, who along with her mum Candy, run a vintage reproduction dress company called Bamboo Bettie. At the time of attending this course, I had already come across Bamboo Bettie on Facebook as a suggested page and was quite surprised to have the course being run by someone who isn't just a teacher/tutor, but actually lives and breathes sewing. Perhaps this was naive of me, but hey, remember I left school at 16!

Dresses by Bamboo Bettie SWOOOOOON!


Tilly is a brilliant tutor, and you can see she has so much passion and enthusiasm for what she is creating. She always had time for each person, and handled the varied range of skills within the class brilliantly as I don't  believe that anyone ever felt bored, or uninspired at any time.

By the end of the short 4 week course, each student had managed to complete a wearable skirt, all with a vintage twist.

We both really enjoyed this course. It was nice to be around some like-minded people and have a few hours of time just to focus on honing skills. Even though there were people on the course who were complete beginners, I don't feel this held us back at all.


Overall, although this class was probably intended more for complete beginners, rather than shy, under confident competent sewists, I still felt that this was a worth while and knowledgeable course to attend. Even if you hadn't managed to learn any new skills per se, you would still come away with buckets of enthusiasm and inspiration that the wonderful Tilly brought to the table. 

Lastly, and most valuably to me, was the amount of confidence I gained by going on this course, and I definitely have Tilly to thank for that. Along with some skills I wasn't quite sure how to do (felled seams, inserting a zip etc), I now have the confidence to believe in my sewing and trust what I am doing, and really, that's invaluable to me. 

The wonderful Tilly herself, at a recent fair selling Bamboo Bettie's beautiful 50's inspired clothing
Picture Perfect. All of the skirts we made on the course lined up in a row!








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