I recently completed a 12-week Classic Tailoring Course at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. As my business has grown, so, too, have the local requests for alterations. I’ve hemmed pants, taken in prom dresses and hemmed dresses.  I never had the confidence that I was making the alterations correctly and had no idea how much to charge, so I registered for the course.

The class is taught by John Ballom, a tailor and fashion designer in Cleveland.

Our first project was a tote bag.  We learned to thread and sew using the industrial machines. I really enjoyed the opportunity to work on industrial machines.  By the end of the class I felt quite comfortable using the Juki, although I was probably at about a medium speed.

The blind hemmer was a bit tricky to use, but I would like to get one for my studio. I am going to look into a desktop model.  We also used industrial sergers.

The steam irons with suction tables for pressing were amazing!

We learned how to mark pants for hemming and how to make basic hems, cuffed hems, and tricky hems on jeans!
To continue working on our sewing skills as well as build knowledge of pants design and construction, we made five sets of mini muslin pants.

We then used those to learn various alterations, including replacing zippers…..

sewing a plain hem and cuffed hem….

and taking in the seat, waist and thigh.  Quite a few times I heard, “do it again.”  I guess I didn’t get it quite right….  It’s a good thing I learned how to use a razor! Wow, that was scary, but what a fast way to rip out seams!

That was just one of many tips and techniques we learned. We created hand stitch examples to use as a reference.

We were an eager class. We started bringing clothes from home and/or thrift shop finds. I brought in a raincoat to shorten. We learned how to pin and mark.

I brought my winter coat in to replace the lining. Mine was an embarrassment to sewists everywhere. The lining was shredded and the pockets were holey.

I decided to jazz up my boring jacket with a black and white checked fabric. John taught me the steps of removal, marking and using the pieces as a new pattern.

Another skill we learned was how to shorten a sleeve and miter the corner of a suit jacket. That was tricky, but we got it!

I am glad I took the class and look forward to expanding my sewing services.   I am also glad I had the opportunity to meet and learn from John. We were all amazed at the speed at agility of his hands.

It was also fun to be in a classroom again! The best part – chatting with my teacher and classmates as we stitched away (with a few cuss words thrown in once in a while….)

With our shared love of sewing, we hope that we can remain connected.  I created a Facebook group and I invite anyone in the Cleveland and Akron area to join this group. I envision it as a place to network. A place to share resources, ideas, and possibly arrange meetups. Stop by the Seamster’s Union!