Creating personal garments by hand, which fit our unique shapes and style preferences, is incredibly empowering, and connects us to an ancient and intimate place of making. Louisa Owen Sonstroem, author of Hand Sewn Clothing, a guide, knows there is no garment which cannot be sewn by hand. Our most beloved t-shirts and leggings, our intimate apparel — the garments we spend most of our time in, are the least likely to be made by our own hands. Yet these daily items have the most potential to be cherished. With enduring, beautiful stitches irreproducible by machine, join Louisa in this series and give yourself the gift of making your basics by hand. Travel down the seams, stitch by stitch, until your basics wardrobe is complete.
By signing up for the series you will also receive the “Befriend Your Thimble” class free of charge. All projects in this series are made with stretch jersey/knit fabric.
Hand Sewn Leggings
Start building a collection of hand-sewn wardrobe staples with a simple leggings project. Celebrate the softness and versatility of hand stitches by making a pair of attractive, comfortable leggings that you’ll want to wear all the time.
Leggings have simple construction, so they are a relatively quick, rewarding hand-sewn garment project. In this two-session live Zoom class, taught by Louisa Owen Sonstroem, you will learn how to hand sew with stretchy knit fabric. Try your hand at stitches and finishing techniques that are just right for knits. Equipped with these skills, you’ll be ready to hand sew lots of other stretchy clothes, too.
Hand Sewn Underwear
Treat yourself to some sweet hand-sewn underwear, stitched by your own two hands. With a bit of soft jersey, a needle and thread, and some elastic, you can sew a beautiful pair of undies. Wear them on days when you want to feel special, or make a few pairs to build a collection of hand-sewn basics. Either way, they’ll be your own little hand-sewn secret, perfectly fitted to your unique body.
Learn to make your own t-shirt pattern, custom-fit to your body’s measurements and to your own fit and style preferences. Embrace the empowering skills of patterndrafting, and see where your pattern journey will take you!
In this three-session live Zoom class, taught by Louisa Owen Sonstroem, you will learn how to take measurements from your own body and from stretchy knit clothing that you already love to wear. You’ll be able to make your own choices regarding fit and style. Then you’ll apply your measurements to paper and draft out pattern pieces for a truly custom t-shirt. If you’d like, you can cut and baste together a test garment, assess the fit, and make some pattern tweaks to ensure that the final garment will be a joy to wear.
Hand Sewn T-Shirt
Over the course of three weeks, participants will gradually, mindfully build t-shirts with their hands, one slow hand stitch at a time. No sewing machines will be used. Guided by teacher Louisa Owen Sonstroem, students will use light- or midweight jersey to investigate the stitches and other techniques useful for hand sewing with knits. Various options for customization and individual decision-making will be explored along the way.
The basic techniques offered will focus on creation of a slightly drop-shoulder t-shirt style, with flat-sewn sleeves and an easy fit through the torso. The neckline will feature a traditional knit neckband. Participants will learn multiple ways to hand sew seams on knit garments, and multiple ways to finish seam allowance edges. This class is an excellent primer in hand sewing with knit fabrics. After completing the class, students will be ready to hand sew many other stretchy garments, including dresses, tank tops, sweatshirts, leggings, bathing suits, and more.
Befriend Your Thimble (bonus class included with series purchase) –
Saturday, January 15th, 2022
11am – 1pm ET
Sunday, March 13th and Sunday, March 20th, 2022
11am – 1:30pm ET
Saturdays, April 2nd, 9th, and 23rd, 2022
11am – 1:30pm ET
Saturdays, May 21st and Sunday May 22nd, 2022
11am – 1:30pm ET
Hand Sewn T-Shirt–
Saturdays, June 4th, 11th, and 25th, 2022
11am – 1:30pm ET
Materials: A materials package is available for the T-Shirt sewing class. Materials needed for the other classes can be found on the class description pages.
Zoom, a link will be sent to participants
the day before class.
$900 (a $100 discount when purchased as a package)
Adventurous Beginners are completely welcome – even encouraged!
Two scholarships are available for this series. If interested, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a little bit about yourself and why you would like to join.
Payment plans are also available, please email us at email@example.com for more information.
Louisa Owen Sonstroem
Louisa Owen Sonstroem believes there is little more powerful than working with one’s hands, because manual skills are empowering, enduring, and slow. Whether she is drafting sewing patterns with a pencil and paper, hand-sewing “slow fashion” clothing, or foraging wild plant fibers to spin on a drop spindle, Louisa relishes using primitive tools in sophisticated ways.
Louisa holds a B.A. from the University of Connecticut and an additional degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she studied patternmaking and fashion design. She also studied patterns at RISD and MassArt. She has worked in the garment industry for several years, most recently in technical design at Macy’s and now Eileen Fisher. During her time at Macy’s she also ran a weekly employee mending workshop, building skills, community, and sustainable momentum.
You can find Louisa on Instagram @louisaowensonstroem
A Virtual Class with Sarah Woodyard
Saturday, February 12th, 2022
A virtual class with Karen Stevens