Basic Skills for Garment Construction, Alterations, and Mends

Do you have a sewing machine that you haven’t used for years because the last thing you made didn’t fit, and the whole experience was too frustrating?  Or maybe the machine is just confusing and you don’t know how to adjust it or thread it properly.  Or maybe you would like to make or fix some clothes for yourself but have never tried sewing at all. These classes will provide you with some tips and practice to learn or improve your sewing skills.  

Registration for this event is closed.

The first week (Feb. 1) will focus on common hand sewing stitches, plus common mending and alteration projects like hemming pants/dresses, sewing on buttons, fixing snags, mending small tears, using a seam ripper, discussion of letting out/taking in garments for a better fit.  If time permits, we will also talk about commercial sewing patterns and how to choose the right size. 

The second week (Feb. 8) will focus on sewing machines: how they work, common adjustments, sewing machine needles, practice sewing straight and curved seams. Bring your own machine if you want help with it, or use one that we will provide.

The third (Feb. 15) and fourth (March 1) week topics will be chosen by the participants with possibilities including pattern cutting, pressing, choosing fabrics, knits vs. woven fabrics, help with zippers, sleeves, collars, darts, pockets.  

The classes will be conducted by Nancy Cullen and Marge Hottmann and we will give you as much one-to-one assistance as possible.


Nancy Cullen

I have been sewing since a very early age, so at least 60 years!  Though my first instruction came from my grandmother, a professional dressmaker, and then Junior High Home Economics classes, when that was still a thing, I am mostly self-taught with the help of many books, many magazine articles, and many many mistakes. My particular interest has always been sewing/tailoring clothing for myself and family members, and the mending and alterations just followed.  When other people needed to go for a run or dig in the garden to de-stress, my refuge has always been my sewing room. 

Marge Hottmann

I have been sewing since I was 12 years old. My mother sewed most of her clothes and I learned from her. My first sewing attempt I hid from my mother when she was doing chores on the farm. She would tell me not to touch the sewing machine when she was outside and the rest of the story is history. I made my own wedding dress in 1977 and numerous bridesmaid dresses. 

Community Room