Beginner Hand Sewing Series

A Virtual Class Series with Sarah Woodyard

Sewing machines were invented to imitate the work of the hand. Prior to the machine’s invention, clothing was exclusively hand-stitched for over 30,000 years. The sturdiest and most beautiful stitches are still those produced by hand. It is the hand which possesses the sensitivity to work with the most delicate of fabrics.  

Hand sewing is a wonderful way to cultivate well-being, and connect to our shared, ancient past.  Join Sarah Woodyard of Sewn Company in this beginning hand sewing series to reconnect to yourself, the past and clothe with needle and thread. Over four sessions you will gain the skills and confidence to tackle techniques found in historical and contemporary garments and accessories. You will be amazed at what your hands can do!

**All classes of this series will be recorded. A link to the recording will be emailed to all registrants following the live session.

The Series

Hand Sewing I

The perfect first step on your hand sewing journey. Great for those with no hand sewing experience, or for those seeking to reconnect the hand to needle and thread. In this class you will make a sample piece to learn how to:

  • Thread a needle
  • Knot your thread
  • Hand sew ergonomically
  • Use a thimble
  • Stitch a running stitch
  • Stitch a hemstitch
  • Stitch a back stitch
  • Applications of these stitches for your sewing practice

Friday, February 3rd, 2023
12pm – 2:30pm ET

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Hand Sewing II: Seams and Hems

Practice fundamental hand-sewing techniques for garment construction with an exploration of different seams and hems. These seams are self-finished, strong and perfect for the body seams of unlined garments. We will also practice straight and curved hemming techniques to create beautiful, finished edges. At the end of class you should feel confident to seam and hem an unlined, hand-stitched garment. In this class you will make sample pieces to learn how to:

  • Hand-stitch a backstitched flat-felled seam
  • Hand-stitch a mantua-makers seam (the hand-sewing alternative to a French seam)
  • Hand-stitch a straight hem
  • Hand-stitch a curved hem
  • Applications of these stitches for your sewing practice 

    Friday, February 10th, 2023
    12pm – 2:30pm ET

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Hand Sewing III: Lining and Gathers

Hand-sewing creates a beautiful finish. In this class we will practice hand-stitched gathers that are used in cuffs and waistbands, and how to set in a lining. Drawing from her foundation in studying and construction historical hand-sewn clothes, our instructor Sarah will teach you these techniques based on 18th and 19th-century examples she has studied. In this class you will make sample pieces to learn how to:

  • Gather fabric by hand using a stroke gathering technique
  • Attach a sample “cuff/waistband” to gathered fabric
  • Put a lining into a 1/2 “bodice” sample

    Saturday, February 18th, 2023
    12pm-2:30pm ET

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Hand Sewing IV: Buttons and Buttonholes

Have you ever wanted to finish your garment with hand-sewn buttons and buttonholes? This class will explore the foundations of this historic, handmade closure. We will create a sample shirt placket and practice positioning and stitching hand-sewn buttons and buttonholes. This class will demystify the buttonhole, giving you confidence to place buttons on all of your hard earned, hand sewn projects.

In this class you will make a sample and learn how to:

  • Position button and buttonholes
  • Hand-stitch buttonholes
  • Hand-stitch buttons

    Saturday, February 25th, 2023
    12-2:30pm ET

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The Beginner Hand Sewing Materials Package will get you started with the fundamental tools. Please refer to the individual class pages for specific materials required.

Sarah Woodyard

Sarah Woodyard is inspired by the labor of historical dressmakers. She spent seven years apprenticing at the Margaret Hunter Millinery Shop in Colonial Williamsburg to learn eighteenth-century mantua-making (dressmaking) and millinery (accessories). After completing her apprenticeship she became a Journeywoman mantua-maker and milliner. Sarah holds her M.A. in Material Culture from the University of Alberta. After ten years of sewing and interpreting at the Margaret Hunter Shop it was time to take this knowledge into the twenty-first century. She opened Sewn Company in 2019. Sewn Company arises from a legacy of hand-stitchers past and present. Through Sewn she teaches historical hand-sewing to historical sewists and modern makers. She is currently taking commissions for hand-sewn items both historical and modern. She is passionate about preserving the skills and stories of hand sewing, through research, design and education.

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