Norwich Fashion Week: John Lewis dress-making workshop

“Everything you need to know, to make a dress in two hours” Sounds too good to be true? My thoughts exactly, but I was wrong!

 The event was held in the haberdashery department of John Lewis.  A wonderland stuffed full of amazing patterns, materials and craft making kits, heaven for anyone interested in the art of sewing!

The session was lead by the lovely Elvis, who is a very talented dressmaker, with years of experience. A small group of people gathered around the table while he talked and showed us through everything you would need to know to make a dress.  The style of choice was a gorgeous fitted ‘smart’ dress and there was one he made earlier hanging on a mannequin for us to gaze at in awe.

We learnt everything you would need to know to make any dress –  the difference between overlocking and overcasting, what to do and what not to do on darts, how to interface, hem, add in a zip and finally put the finished product together.  He gave us hints and tips and lots of cheats, but more importantly made everything so easy to understand, giving us all the confidence to go away and make dresses ourselves. One of the best aspects of the workshop was the relaxed atmosphere, we all had a good natter and it wasn’t an intimidating school style lesson, anyone could ask anything, no matter how basic or how complex it may be.

This was a wonderful event that encouraged people to get back to, or even start sewing. People with a range of abilities were there, whether they were complete novices or experienced clothes makers; but each of us left feeling like we had learnt a lot!

Hopefully, John Lewis will be running more events like this and I would definitely recommend everyone popping along. Dressmaking and sewing are ‘becoming trendy ’ again, following the recent knitting and crafting crazes.  It is a brilliant and useful skill to have and I bet you didn’t know you could make a dress in two hours, or even less!


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Shelley Hazlewood

July 2021
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