Clothes Making Basics

Suitable for students who do not have any previous garment making skills as you will learn basic sewing techniques by sampling, and then create a simple skirt to add to your wardrobe.

Who is this course for

This is a beginner course for people who have an interest in making their own garments. It is suitable for students who do not have any previous garment making skills as you will learn basic sewing techniques by sampling, and then create a simple skirt to add to your wardrobe. The pattern will be provided by the tutor but you will need fabric and a basic sewing kit. Be sure to scroll down to see what you will need.
Students will be required to do the Introduction to the Sewing Machine course which runs twice a term on a Saturday before signing up for this course. It would also be beneficial to have some basic sewing machine skills.

What does this course cover

You will learn how to make a selection of fabric samples for a variety of seams, zips, pockets, facings and hems. You will learn how to read a simple skirt pattern so that you can lay, cut out and mark up your fabric. Some tasks may need to be undertaken at home in order to be completed. By the end of the course you should be able to:
- take a set of measurements.
- select appropriate fabric for a pattern
- produce a range of sewing samples for future reference
- identify pattern symbols to be able to lay a pattern onto fabric, cut out and mark up
- construct a skirt using a range of basic sewing techniques.
- create a safe working environment.
- use the sewing machine with increased confidence

What will it be like

Skills and knowledge will be learned initially through visual demonstrations and verbal descriptions then students will work independently with tutor advice and peer assistance. This will be supported by hand-outs. Students will be encouraged to comment about each other's work (peer centred learning). Your progress is monitored by tutor feedback and initial, on-course and end of course self-assessment. Individual advice is always available and verbal feedback, support and encouragement is given to you throughout the course:

- Questions and answers during group discussions and one-to-one teaching.
- Record students' progress and achievement on an assessment sheet as they achieve the course
- Practical work produced is evidence of learning.
- At the end of the course we will review and assess the work.

What else do you need to buy or do

Please bring a tape measure and notebook for the first lesson. Students will need to buy their own suitable fabric. Advice will be given about this at the beginning of the term. As this is a beginner's class all students will work on an easy to handle fabric.
Students should get the following equipment for themselves. A list of suppliers will be available at the beginning of the course.
- Pens, pencils,
- Folder with plastic pockets for keeping hand-outs and samples
- Notebook
- Tailors chalk
- Hand-sewing needles.
- Sewing thread.
- Fabric scissors
- Paper scissors.
- Un-picker or small embroidery scissors
- Pins.
- Tape measure.
Homework- students can continue to work on their project at home if they want to but it is not essential.

What this course could lead to

This course could lead to the Intermediate Clothes-making course, Soft Furnishings, BTEC Pattern Cutting or other textile courses at the Mary Ward Centre or another further education college. The student could continue on this course, take a follow up short course or a longer term or year long course. It could also inspire self-initiated projects.

There is detailed information in Reception about all our courses at the Mary Ward Centre and a library of prospectuses for other London colleges to help you continue your studies. If you need more detailed advice, please ask a member of reception staff, and a half-hour guidance interview can be arranged for you.
Information about other learning opportunities can be obtained from Learn Direct: tel: 0800 101 901, and from the following websites:;

mwc logo

I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why come to Mary Ward Centre?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’