My name is Sharon & I have been living & working in the village for 26 years. This is an experience that is one of the most satisfactory in my life! I teach Dressmaking at Fine Feathers Sewing School from my Studio locally.
I have been entrepreneurial all my life earning a living from designing, manufacturing & retailing creative clothing & accessories, which led to me having my own small factories & unique boutiques.
I married very young & when I got divorced & I spent a decade being trained then working as management for large companies & the most significant was Elna the Swiss sewing machine company in Cavendish Square.
I did a Small Business Development Course at night because I longed to be self-employed again, this enabled me to use all my talents again.
The first principal I learned was that successful businesses fill a need in the market place & this was obvious because the people I was selling sewing machines to during the day, kept asking me about sewing lessons. So I began teaching women & the occasional man to sew at night as a hobby for two years. This experience gave me the confidence to being successfully self-employed again!
FINE FEATHERS SEWING SCHOOL:
I teach a comprehensive Dressmaking Course & the first module consists of 13 weeks once a week for 2 hours.
I design shorter courses for individuals who want to sew practically for themselves & families putting up hems, making Soft Furnishings like cushions & curtains.
I teach as I would have liked to be taught as an individual, in a small friendly group of like-minded woman of different cultures with the occasional suitable man. I take you from wherever you are, to where you want to go with supportive structure of my own, but open to your needs & aspirations.
My youngest pupil was 8 years old & my oldest in her mid-seventies.
Some pupils have background knowledge, but increasingly this has not been the case as schools no longer offer classes in Domestic Science.
It is not necessary to know anything at all as I fill in all the gaps taking you from where you are to where your needs & aspirations take us! It often seems to me that it is easiest to teach those who know they nothing, rather than those that think they know!
EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT WITH DIFFERENT NEEDS:
But obviously our time, plus our work spent together would depending on our journey be predictive of our what we are able to achieve & make in a relatively short time. But if you do have knowledge we use it & build on that. I teach in such a way that you will never be bored because you know that we are working on, or overwhelmed because you have to keep up with others. Each pupil is working at their own pace according to their own level, previous experience & their own choice of project.
I do regular intakes according to demand by appointment booked with a deposit. I teach both hand & machine work, but sewing successfully is far wider than being able to sew on the machine.
My speciality is that I work with Commercial Patterns & start the 1st lesson with a Talk on “How to go Shopping Successfully for your Project.” I teach you how to read & use patterns adjusting them to your particular figure & tastes.
I give pupils extensive notes on this lesson which is the foundation of everything that follows, then encourage each pupil to take their own notes from then on, as there is far too much to remember in each lesson.
Everyone is different & starting from various backgrounds of experience as well as natural abilities. It is very hard to predict what you as individuals will actually achieve ultimately, but it will be success even in various degrees!
Homework is not compulsory but those who do it are at an advantage, as the easy work can be done at home & the more difficult tasks with me. We aim to finish one, two or three garments depending on the nature of the pupils & their previous experience.
My Beginners Dressmaking Course working with Commercial Patterns is 13 weeks for 2 hours & costs R2500. I can guarantee your garment will fit you perfectly & look professionally made from the first one!
I advise you to have a sewing machine of your own & I can help you buy one even if it is not from me, as I have experience dating from 1986 when I worked in Sales & Management for Elna in Cavendish Square. I am now a Dealer for Singer Sewing Machines & a Depot for servicing & repair at no extra cost to the pupil.
Pupils will need pocket money for your projects for a pattern & fabric of your choice. You will need small purchases called notions like thread, zips, interfacing & elastic depending on the garment you have chosen to make.
Pupils also need basic tools ~ the terminology is Haberdashery. I sell good quality tools that you need & recommend where to shop if I am out of stock.
If anyone would like a shorter Course which we can design together like Soft Furnishings, I am open to this to do too. Clothing is the most popular subject but we also do curtains, cushions & bedding. We would discuss the price based on the project & time frame.
The classes are Wednesday & Saturday Morning & Wednesday night but I open extra classes according to demand. My favourite number is 6 & then I open another class.
I do private lessons at the cost of R250 an hour in the afternoon.
Alternatively, if you would like to join a quiet class to learn the basics of operating your sewing machine, I invite you to an existing class which costs R175 for 2 hours.
I do Intermediate Level after the Beginners Dressmaking Course which is where it begins to become very exciting for us both once you have the basics.
Most of my pupils start this skill as a hobby & may develop it into a Small Business with time & experience. I suggest a possible market for this depending on what the ideas generated.
I am involved with a Self-Help Project & all sorts of items could be donated to this. The most desirable objects would be sewing machines but fabric etc. would be most welcome too.
I also have a special interest in helping to develop small business & over 2 decades I have consistently helped individuals to develop their talents into direction with business ideas.
I am currently involved with assisting with training Zimbabwean women in work called African Women’s Sewing Company. I find this most exciting as well as rewarding as a teacher & entrepreneur.