Teaching-Needlewitch

Teaching Services

Teacher Biography - Bernadette Thomas

                             bernadette2












Bernadette has been sewing in some form for over 40 years. She served in the Australian Army for 20 years and originally started sewing at a series of shop classes in Tuggeranong in the early 1990s. During her military service she was posted all around Australia and took the opportunity to do classes with a wide variety of sewing, embroidery, beading and quilting teachers whenever possible.  She finally formalised her qualifications at the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) where she completed her Certificate IV in Garment Production (Dressmaking, Patternmaking and Fitting) in 2003/4. This was followed by a Clothing Design and Colour in Fashion module in 2009. She was the Chair Person (Industry Representative) on the panel that restructured the CIT Certificate IV (Garment Production) in 2008/9 and has worked with a number of fashion parade productions. She also taught part-time on the Garment Production course at CIT between 2008/9. She has practiced as a professional dressmaker since leaving the Army in 2004, slowly building her business until she opened her own retail/workshop premises in Fyshwick where she employed employed six staff. She semi-retired in 2017 and moved to the beautiful South Coast of New South Wales.

Bernadette has developed a comprehensive learning program based on a graduated series of classes that draws on her formal training and experience working as a professional dressmaker. Her group sizes are small with class maximums set at 6 or 8 depending on the course. She focuses on teaching garment production to those people who want a professional result - students under the age of 18 are generally not accepted in the group classes - not because they can not sew professionally, but because the classes use  adult learning techniques and this may prove difficult for young people still in school. Exceptions have occurred for young people who are more mature and can demonstrate the ability to work in an adult learning environment - please feel free to discuss your child's group or private learning requirements with Bernadette prior to enrolment in a course.

Patternmaking and Fitting classes are also part of the program but you need to sew to the requisite standard before progressing to that stage - entry into the higher level classes is subject to her prior approval and if you wish to enter the program at the higher levels you need to be able to demonstrate high end sewing skills, the ability to measure the body correctly, an understanding of the calculation of ease in a garment and basic patternmaking skills.  All these skills are taught in Bernadette's graduated program. Please feel free to discuss where you will fit into the program with Bernadette.

 For those people who do not wish to attend group classes Bernadette can offer a range of private tuition options - see further detail below. Please contact her to discuss options for you. 

Bernadette also operates a small stand as a specialist antiques dealer (sewing, needlework, linen and jewellery) at Canberra Antiques Centre in Fyshwick and can provide specialist advice on using the vintage sewing patterns she sells. A dressmaker, hand embroiderer/beader, machine embroiderer and quilter she can provide advice on most sewing related matters and is a member of many sewing related groups. She re-raised the Canberra chapter of the Australian Sewing Guild in 2008 and taught fitting/pattern making classes there for two years. She was also a Craft Pavilion Judge for the Canberra Show over a ten year period.



Private Tuition

Courses can be conducted for individuals as a package or on an as required basis (e.g. students can be assisted in producing or fitting/pattern alterations on a particular garment if they have some sewing expertise). Students will be expected to assemble a basic sewing kit at their own cost under guidance. Whilst machines can be provided if necessary - students are encouraged to use their own sewing machine and over locker if they have them. All such equipment is to have been serviced in the last 24 months (or have been purchased new in the same time period) and should be accompanied by its manual, foot control, accessories and power cord. Advice can be given on purchasing sewing machines and overlockers.

As Required Basis (Individuals): $85.00/hr (includes GST) for an individual (minimum of two hours to be conducted consecutively). For lessons located more than 45 minutes drive from Ulladulla as per Google maps) the cost rises to $95.00/hr (includes GST) for a minimum of 2.5 hours.
***Lessons may be bought in bulk (lots of 8 hours or more) and a 10% discount will apply to the total cost.

Small Private Groups (no more than 3): Costs for lessons for small groups will be negotiated depending on the requirement. A popular option is a Parent/Child session. This usually involves teaching the child various sewing techniques with the parent involved. Afternoon and morning teas/Birthday cakes can be incorporated.

Learn in your own home - Private Lessons Package (this package is only available for teaching at a location a maximum of one hour's drive from Ulladulla - as per Google maps): This package is a series of 6 classes – each of 2.5 hours duration (15 hours in total). Total cost: $1100.00 (includes GST and is a saving of $220.00). The content can be tailored around the individual and a plan can be provided after an initial free consultation. A deposit of $500 is payable up front on booking before classes commence and the remainder is to be paid NLT the end of the third lesson. A formal contract will be signed to this effect and a tax invoice will be provided. Apart from the discounted hourly rate this package also includes an extra 1 hour shopping trip FOC - as necessary - to assist in buying items for the student’s sewing kit and discussion on suitable patterns and fabric.

Gift Vouchers: Gift vouchers are available for purchase for amounts greater than $100.00 and can be used towards tuition.

I WILL BE TEACHING SOME COURSES FOR THE SOUTH COAST COLLEGE (BATEMANS BAY AND ULLADULLA). THE INFORMATION WILL BE ON THEIR WEBSITE FROM MID JUNE 2018 AND I WILL POST A LINK WHEN IT APPEARS.  IN THE MEANTIME THE BELOW COURSES ARE UP ON THEIR SYSTEM AND CAN BE BOOKED. AS PLACES ARE LIMITED TO 6 OR 8 A CLASS IT IS RECOMMENDED YOU BOOK AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. PHONE THEIR OFFICE ON (02) 4472 9202 TO MAKE A BOOKING.

OVERLOCKER BASICS AND TECHNIQUES
SUNDAY 8TH JULY BATEMANS BAY
SUNDAY 14TH OCTOBER ULLADULLA

LEARN TO SEW LEVEL 1
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY 25TH AND 26TH JULY BATEMANS BAY
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY 1ST AND 2ND SEPTEMBER ULLADULLA

PLEASE CALL THEM TO REGISTER YOUR INTEREST FOR ALL OTHER CLASSES - ONCE THEY CAN FILL A COURSE THEY WILL SCHEDULE IT. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT COURSE PRE-REQUISITES HAVE TO BE FILLED PRIOR TO BOOKING. IF IN DOUBT WHERE YOU FIT IN PLEASE CALL ME ON 0414 453 825.


Group Tuition

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All sewing machines are to have been serviced in the last 24 months (or have been purchased new in the same time period) and should be accompanied to class by its manual, foot control, accessories and power cord.

The Courses below are grouped into:

  • Learn to Sew
  • Garment Making
  • Other Classes

****PLEASE NOTE I AM ALWAYS DEVELOPING NEW CLASSES - IF YOU WANT SOMETHING IN PARTICULAR PLEASE CONTACT ME.


Learn to Sew

Learn to Sew Level 1
Time: 12 hrs. in total
COST: TBA (includes kit valued at $30.00 - totebag fabric, handles and thread, sample fabrics, dressmaking paper, assembly instructions and notes.)
Maximum 8 students
No Pre-requisite

This class is for those who have recently got a new machine or want to become comfortable using their sewing machine. You will learn what all those dials and buttons are for, how sewing machines work and the basics about fabric, needles, threads and bobbins. You will make an upmarket tote bag where you will learn the basics of seaming, pin stitching, top stitching, proper pressing, reinforcement stitching, an easy corner technique and use of a twin needle. Samples will also be stitched for basic seam finishes. 

Learn to Sew Level 2
Time: 12 hrs. in total
COST: TBA (includes kit valued at $40.00 - apron kit, pattern, notes, trim sample pack and dressmaking paper)
Maximum 8 students
Pre-requisite Applies: Completion of LTS 1

Following on from LTS1 this course explores your machine’s functions further. You will make an adult apron (Kwik Sew 3480), learn how to make ties and sew on patch pockets professionally. You will also learn about proper application techniques for a variety of trims and sew a number of samples. Incorporating a trim or personal decorative touch into your apron is encouraged. This course is not a pre-requisite for GM1 but if you are new to sewing it is recommended you do both LTS modules before moving on to Garment Making as LTS2 covers a lot of basics in reading patterns and pattern books.


Garment Making

Garment Making – Level 1
Time: 18 hrs. in total
COST: TBA (includes kit valued at $75.00 - kit includes the pattern Kwik Sew 2954, textbook and a roll of dressmaking paper)

Maximum 8 students
Pre Requisite Applies: Completion of LTS 1 (exemptions may apply - sufficient sewing experience will suffice)
Note: Whilst in all other levels a different male pattern is available this is not the case for GM1 - a male student may choose to make the skirt for a female friend or family member.

This course is the introduction to garment making and will teach you how to make a wrap skirt (Kwik Sew 2954). Includes basic fitting adjustments for length and a simple hem and facing finish. Learn more about needles, threads, haberdashery and pressing tools. Learn how to take correct measurements and how to get the most from reading pattern books, envelopes and instructions.

Garment Making – Level 2
Time: 18 hrs. in total
COST: TBA (includes kit valued at $20.00 - k
it includes pattern, elastic sample pack and notes)
Maximum 8 students
Pre Requisite Applies: Completion of GM 1

NOTE: Alternative patterns are available for plus sizes and male students
Following on from BGM 1 this course will teach you how to make pyjama pants with an elasticised/drawstring waist, contrast cuffs and a header forming ruffle. Includes basic fitting adjustments - hip/waist, length and crotch). Learn about the calculation of ease in a garment (the start point for all pattern alterations) to make sure you never make up an incorrect size again. Also learn about the different types of elastic, how to sew and where to use them.

Garment Making – Level 3
Time: 24 hrs. in total
COST: TBA includes kit valued at $30.00 - 
Kit includes pattern and sample kits for interfacings, darts, zip, blind hems and couture seam finishes.
Maximum 8 students
Pre Requisite Applies: Completion of GM 2

NOTE: Alternative patterns are available for plus sizes and male students
Following on from GM 2 this course includes learning how to sew darts properly, couture seam finishes (French, Flat fell and my personal version of a Hong Kong finish), a lapped zip and blind hem. You will learn about the different types of interfacing - where to use which type and how to apply it properly, a few tricks for working with linings, how to ease on a waistband properly and you will be shown the wide variety of pressing tools available with some detailed demonstrations. You will make a fully lined slightly A-line skirt with a lapped zip and fitted waistband.

Garment Making – Level 4
Time: 24 hrs. in total
COST: TBA (includes kit valued at $50.00 - includes pattern, 2.5m of 150cm wide toile fabric or 4.5m of 120cm wide fabric, collar sample pack and a roll of dressmaking paper)

Maximum 6 students
Pre-requisite Applies: Completion of GM 3

NOTE: Alternative patterns are available for plus sizes and male students
This is the foundation unit for all patternmaking and fitting techniques. It teaches you how to make a toile in order to fit a garment correctly. Start building a techniques workbook for shoulder, back, bust and arm adjustments. Learn basic dart manipulation and how to use a French curve and pattern making ruler properly. You will do a basic figure analysis and start to learn how to fit your figure. You will stitch a sample for an easy collar technique. The pattern to be fitted is a collared semi fitted shirt but you will not work on the final garment in class as the aim is to get an accurately fitting toile and adjusted pattern. 
PLEASE NOTE:THIS CLASS INVOLVES THE MAJORITY OF SEWING FOR TWO TOILES BEING DONE AT HOME BETWEEN CLASSES. IF THE SEWING IS INCOMPLETE YOUR TOILE WILL NOT BE FITTED CORRECTLY AND NO LIABILITY FOR AN UNFINISHED FITTED GARMENT/PATTERN WILL BE ACCEPTED. THE CLASS INCLUDES TWO TOILE FITTINGS – IF THE STUDENT REQUIRES MORE FITTINGS DUE TO BODY FITTING ISSUES THEN A HEAVILY DISCOUNTED RATE WILL APPLY FOR ANY SUBSEQUENT PERSONAL FITTING APPOINTMENTS.

Garment Making – Level 5
Time: 18 hrs. in total
COST: TBA includes kit valued at $40.00 -
- includes pattern, 2.5m of 150cm wide toile fabric or 4.5m of 120cm wide fabric, elastic for the sample and a roll of dressmaking paper)
Maximum 6 students
Pre-requisite Applies: Completion of GM4

NOTE: Alternative patterns are available for plus sizes and male students
This series of classes includes making patterns and samples for a variety of pocket styles and elastic application techniques. Add to your techniques workbook with samples for sway back, prominent stomach, crotch issues and flat/prominent bottom adjustment techniques. The garment to be fitted is a pair of semi fitted casual trouser/pants with pocket features.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS CLASS INVOLVES THE MAJORITY OF SEWING FOR TWO TOILES BEING DONE AT HOME BETWEEN CLASSES. IF THE SEWING IS INCOMPLETE YOUR TOILE WILL NOT BE FITTED CORRECTLY AND NO LIABILITY FOR AN UNFINISHED FITTED GARMENT/PATTERN WILL BE ACCEPTED. THE CLASS INCLUDES TWO TOILE FITTINGS – IF THE STUDENT REQUIRES MORE FITTINGS DUE TO BODY FITTING ISSUES THEN A HEAVILY DISCOUNTED RATE WILL APPLY FOR ANY SUBSEQUENT PERSONAL FITTING APPOINTMENTS.

Garment Making - Level 6
Time: 24 hrs in total
COST: TBA
Maximum six students
Pre-requisite Applies: Completion of GM5
Note: Alternative patterns are available for plus sizes and male students

This series of classes is focussed on working with linings - it Includes how to draft lining patterns if none are included in the pattern and you will assemble a work sheet on various linings and their properties. You will also complete an invisible zip sample and learn how to apply hooks and eyes and lining keepers correctly. Add to your fitting workbook with more adjustments for busts, shoulders, backs and bottoms. Garment: Lined semi fitted or fitted skirt or lined sleeveless shift dress.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS CLASS INVOLVES THE MAJORITY OF SEWING FOR TWO TOILES BEING DONE AT HOME BETWEEN CLASSES. IF THE SEWING IS INCOMPLETE YOUR TOILE WILL NOT BE FITTED CORRECTLY AND NO LIABILITY FOR AN UNFINISHED FITTED GARMENT/PATTERN WILL BE ACCEPTED. THE CLASS INCLUDES TWO TOILE FITTINGS – IF THE STUDENT REQUIRES MORE FITTINGS DUE TO BODY FITTING ISSUES THEN A HEAVILY DISCOUNTED RATE WILL APPLY FOR ANY SUBSEQUENT PERSONAL FITTING APPOINTMENTS.

Garment Making - Level 7
Time: 24 hrs. in total
COST: TBA
Maximum six students
Pre-Requisite Applies: Completion of GM6
Note: Alternative patterns are available for plus sizes and male students

This level includes techniques for working with specialty sheers and slippery fabrics - silks, satins, chiffons. Slippery fabrics will be examined in detail and working techniques and finishing treatments explained. A cuff sample will be sewn with tips and techniques being given. Add to your fitting workbook with more adjustments for busts, necks, arms, shoulders and backs. Garment: Loose Fitting Over shirt with collar, cuffs and front buttoned placket in a specialty fabric.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS CLASS INVOLVES THE MAJORITY OF SEWING FOR TWO TOILES BEING DONE AT HOME BETWEEN CLASSES. IF THE SEWING IS INCOMPLETE YOUR TOILE WILL NOT BE FITTED CORRECTLY AND NO LIABILITY FOR AN UNFINISHED FITTED GARMENT/PATTERN WILL BE ACCEPTED. THE CLASS INCLUDES TWO TOILE FITTINGS – IF THE STUDENT REQUIRES MORE FITTINGS DUE TO BODY FITTING ISSUES THEN A HEAVILY DISCOUNTED RATE WILL APPLY FOR ANY SUBSEQUENT PERSONAL FITTING APPOINTMENTS.

Advanced Garment Making - Level 1
Time: 24 hrs in total
COST: TBA
Maximum six students
Pre-requisite Applies: Completion of GM7
Note: alternative patterns are available for plus sizes - no male pattern available

In this advanced class you will make and fit a toile for a fitted and fully lined formal dress in a specialty luxury fabric with sleeves. Garment production will commence although the garment may not be fully finished in class you will be given all the techniques to do so at home. Garment: fitted and fully lined Formal Outfit.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS CLASS INVOLVES THE MAJORITY OF SEWING FOR TWO TOILES BEING DONE AT HOME BETWEEN CLASSES. IF THE SEWING IS INCOMPLETE YOUR TOILE WILL NOT BE FITTED CORRECTLY AND NO LIABILITY FOR AN UNFINISHED FITTED GARMENT/PATTERN WILL BE ACCEPTED. THE CLASS INCLUDES TWO TOILE FITTINGS – IF THE STUDENT REQUIRES MORE FITTINGS DUE TO BODY FITTING ISSUES THEN A HEAVILY DISCOUNTED RATE WILL APPLY FOR ANY SUBSEQUENT PERSONAL FITTING APPOINTMENTS.

Advanced Garment Making - Level 2
Time: 24 hrs in total
COST: TBA
Maximum six students
Pre-requisite Applies: Completion of GM6
Note: alternative patterns are available for plus sizes and male students

In this class make a fitted and partially or fully lined pair of trousers – including samples for relevant fly front zips and information on the variety of pant leg hems.

Advanced Garment Making - Level 3

Time: 24 hrs in total
COST: TBA
Maximum six students
Pre-requisite Applies: Completion of GM6
Note: alternative patterns are available for plus sizes and male students - please note male students pattern is not for a tailored jacket.

Make a fitted and fully lined jacket or coat – including samples for shawl and notched collars, welt pockets, self made shoulder pads and buttonhole treatments. Garment: Fitted and Fully Lined Jacket or Coat.


Other Classes

Over locker Basics and Techniques
Time: 6.5 hrs. in total
COST: TBA includes kit valued at $15.00
Maximum 6 students
No Pre-Requisites

Learn about the parts of your overlocker, basic care and maintenance, conquer threading, and understand basic tension problems and the use of your differential feed capability. Learn tips for corners, curves, gathering and working with elastic. Find out how to achieve a perfect rolled hem. Learn the troubleshooting basics and walk away with a detailed workbook of samples and settings for your machine. Suitable for 3, 4 and 5 thread overlockers with differential feed. This class is not suitable for Baby lock ATD machines. COVERSTITCH capability is not covered in this class.
PLEASE NOTE: IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOUR MACHINE IS IN WORKING ORDER - I.E. IT IS NEW OR HAS BEEN SERVICED WITHIN THE LAST 18 MONTHS. IF YOUR MACHINE IS INCOMPLETE OR MALFUNCTIONS THE TEACHER/SHOP DOES NOT HAVE THE TIME OR THE MECHANICAL EXPERIENCE NECESSARY TO FIX IT AND YOUR MONEY WILL NOT BE REFUNDED - YOU ARE WELCOME TO REMAIN IN THE CLASS AND TAKE NOTES. THIS STATEMENT HAS BECOME NECESSARY DUE TO THE LARGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE TURNED UP WITH INCOMPLETE OR MALFUNCTIONING OVERLOCKERS. THE SHOP CAN REFER YOU TO A SUITABLE MECHANIC - MOST SERVICING LEAD TIMES ARE 1-2 WEEKS.

Over locker Fancy Finishes
Time: 5 hrs. in total
COST: TBA includes kit and thread hire valued at $30.00
Maximum 6 students
Pre-requisite Applies: Completion of Over Locker Basics and Techniques

Moving on from the basics class we will do a refresher on using roll hem techniques on different fabrics – including sheers and knits. Learn about and play with a variety of specialist threads and techniques and experiment with flat locking and ladder stitch. You will add more sample sheets to your workbook. Suitable for 3, 4 and 5 thread overlockers with differential feed. This class is not suitable for Baby lock ATD machines. COVERSTITCH capability is not covered in this class.

Basic Stretch Course
Time: 7 hrs. in total
COST: TBA includes kit valued at $45.00 - pattern, 1.5m Scuba fabric (ponte weight), elastic, thread, steam a seam, 2 xwooly nylon threads (if using overlocker or equivalent in sewing thread)dressmaking paper and notes.
Maximum 8 students
Pre-Requisite Applies: Overlocker Basics and Techniques if using an overlocker or GM2 preferred if using a sewing machine 

You will make a maxi skirt with a separate cased waistband (the skirt can be altered to any length in class) based on New Look pattern 6288. You will have to trace off and adjust your pattern (calculating ease) with assistance. You will learn how to work in knits and stretch and the differences between these types of fabrics. You will get a comprehensive information sheet on elastics building on what you learnt in my beginner’s class. Specialist stretch and knit sewing techniques, haberdashery and threads will be discussed in detail. Depending on adjustments needed the class MAY be shown basic shortening and lengthening, hip and waist adjustments. Sway back, prominent and flat bottoms and stomachs adjustment and be shown how to pivot a skirt panel to increase or decrease fullness.
NOTE: This class is designed to use both your sewing machine and overlocker. (Just bring your overlocker if that is what you have) It can be completed just using a sewing machine but it will take you longer and you may not finish your skirt in class.

Custom Panties Course
Time: 6.5 hrs. in total
Cost: TBA - includes kit valued at $65.00 - Pattern - classic cut, high leg, bikini etc, 0.5m viscose spandex in colour choice, stretch lace, elastic and thread.
Maximum 8 students
Pre-requisite Applies: Completion of Basic Stretch Course

This workshop will include pattern alterations for crotches, bottoms and tummies (as necessary) and lots of tips for working with stretch and knit fabrics, lingerie elastics and laces.
***Please Note:The fabric needs to be picked up and prewashed before class.

Performance Costume (Leotard/Swimwear) Course
Time: 8 hrs. in total
COST: TBA includes kit valued at $75.00 includes 1m lycra in colour choice, Kwik Sew pattern, dressmaking paper, two reels of woolly nylon thread (or equivalent sewing thread, 1m leg elastic, 1m fold over elastic, notes and matching thread.
Maximum 8 students
Pre-requisite Applies: Completion of Basic Stretch Course for everyone and Overlocker Basics and Techniques (if using an overlocker) - or  you will you need to  be extremely comfortable with your overlocker - you will need to be able to convince Bernadette of this!

Learn How to read a specialist stretch pattern including markings and instructions. Correct Measuring, size selection and the differences between one way, two way and four way stretch. How to trace, lay, cut and mark a pattern on stretch fabric - including some basic alterations. Assembly/pinning techniques and different types of elastics for performance costumes and how to apply them (includes use of fold over elastic). Topstitching Techniques and Stitching on Stretch Trims.

Decoration for Performance Costumes Workshop
Time: 4 hrs. in total
COST: TBA includes kit valued at $25.00 - lycra sample squares. sequins, beads and Hot fix Swarovski crystals sample pack, notes. Includes use of suitable glue and Bejeweller Embellishment tool in class.
Maximum 8 students
No Pre-Requisites.

Decoration techniques including Swarovski hot fix crystals and the use of a Be jeweller and basic hand sewing/glue techniques for beads and sequins. 


 

ACT Licensed Antiques Dealer No. 17200205    ABN 43 950 367 267