NYC Guide

Sewing classes in New York City: my experience at Mood Fabrics

Everyone has a bucket list, right? Some of these things are immediate projects that directly impact our lives. Others are less urgent things, but important to us in some way. Last year, I checked many of these “secondary goals” from my list: I found a teacher to improve my English pronunciation and I started to take private Spanish lessons. But my list had another thing: learn how to sew. I grew up checking fashion magazines and buying fabrics to make clothes I liked. I am from a small town, where it is easy to find a seamstress or tailor to make clothes by demand. That always enchanted me!

I knew Mood offered sewing lessons – but I never could commit to it because of the conflicting dates with my calendar. This year, I didn’t make excuses: as soon as the registrations were opened, I signed up and I already got that feeling of satisfaction from being fulfilling a goal. I posted it on my Instagram and was surprised by the comments I received: a lot of people encouraging me, saying that I would love it, and a lot of people asking me to tell how was my experience when it was over. So here I am!

For those unfamiliar, Mood Fabrics is a fabric store here in New York City (they have a location in Los Angeles too) and it is famous because of the Project Runway reality show. Visiting the store is certainly already a full plate for the people who love fashion. However, the store also offers fashion-related courses and workshops through Mood Sewing School:

  • Sewing – Learn everything from basic sewing machine operation, pattern layout, fabric cutting, garment construction and finishing techniques for a well-rounded education in the art of garment construction.
  • Pattern making –  how to use a dress form, muslin and pins to visualize your concept and make your own patterns.
  • Ilustração -learn how to draw the fashion figure; understand fabrics and how they are drawn; terminology of garment details; culminating in the creation of a mini fashion illustration presentation, including a mood board with fashion illustrations and fabric swatches.
  • Workshops – These classes go into depth, so students can learn specific skills ranging from creating professional mood boards to couture sewing. Learn more about the construction of different types of garments and home decor pieces as well.

Sewing, pattern, and illustration courses last 6 weeks, with classes once a week, one hour and a half each, on average. And the prices are affordable – around $135. In the case of the beginner and intermediate sewing course, classes are “free” –  however, you must purchase the kit for the beginner course and the pattern for the intermediate course. They also cost $135. The kit is super complete: book, scissors, pins, thread, tape measure, ruler, pattern, all the things you need to sew. If we analyze, a 6-week course + a kit for $135 is a great deal.

I didn’t know anything about sewing with a machine. I did a lot of crafts when I was a teenager. But I’ve never had dealt with a sewing machine. And I think that, for a first-timer, I’ve done well. In the beginning course, the project is a tote bag – with lining and canvas. The classes were always like this: the teacher – with extensive experience in the field – explained the task of the day and then we followed the instructions. There were also assistants, who were always available to help us and/or to answer our questions. The whole course was all  “baby steps” – that is, one thing at a time, very slowly. In one class, we cut the pattern, in the other we cut the fabrics. Only in the third class, we were introduced to the sewing machine – and Mood has machines for all students. I remember my feeling when I touched the pedal for the first time, lol, it was exciting!

I was able to finish my project and I was super happy. It’s obvious that many stitches were not perfect  – but, it was my first time, so I tried to focus on it and not demand perfection from myself right away. At first, I confess that I wanted to give up – I’m a very anxious person and I want everything done quickly. Then I relaxed, and the classes became my therapy. I loved it so much that I enrolled in the intermediate course – where we are going to make a piece of clothing.

If you live in New York and you want to learn how to sew, I super recommend it! It is worth visiting the Mood website to check the calendar.

Location: 225 W 37th St.

UPDATE: After taking the intermediate class (I made a skirt) and after trying to sew something by myself at home, I’ve realized that sewing is not for me. It is fun and it is magical to see a piece of fabric turning into a clothing item, but I figured I didn’t have the energy and time that are needed in order to achieve perfection. It was a great opportunity to realize that and definitely check out from my list and also helped me to value these professionals – now, If I need to adjust some clothes, I don’t complain about prices anymore, because I know what it takes.

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