If you are an aspirational sewer- someone with the ability to thread a loose button back but dreams of handmaking garments, then the thought of enrolling in a full fledged sewing course is simultaneously daunting and utterly tempting.
I confess over the years, I must’ve searched online countless times for a sewing class without ever actually enrolling anywhere. Shameful.
It was always an idea that hovered just out of reach. It wasn’t until I was almost 9 months pregnant, when all the sudden the impending thought of motherhood and all the beautiful things I’d like to make for my daughter crystallized this burning desire: I NEED a sewing machine and I need it NOW!
So I waddled into the nearest Spotlight store, set my sights on a Brother sewing machine, grabbed up a couple meters of the softest fabrics I could find and then lugged it all home in an Uber. T
Unpacking the box, I quickly realized I truly didn’t know the first thing about using a sewing machine – so I pulled up a couple Brother sewing tutorials on Youtube and set myself to work.
I’m proud to say that without the faintest idea of what I was doing, I managed to sew her a little dress complete with a ruffle that very same day. But let’s be real - the seams and stitches were a HOT mess.
I definitely needed a teacher and I needed one pronto. But first I had the baby…
So a few months later, fresh out of the newborn stage, I discovered Ms. Kalpana Singh and her fantastic sewing courses at D Sew Club in Bangsar.
Had I been smarter, more thoughtfully prepared, I would’ve done all my lessons in the leisurely calm of my pregnancy, you know - that period when all that time was my own…but no, instead I went to ALL my lessons with my bebe in tow.
I loaded up the baby, my sewing machine, my sewing kit, her car seat, her diaper bag...
It was pretty darn ridiculous but I was determined.
It was a measurement of both Kalpana and the other students patience and kindness, along with my genuine desire to learn, that we made it lesson after lesson. Even thought, they were sometimes cut abrupt because of needing to tend to bebegirl.
So while it was do-able and we made it work, I highly, highly, highly recommend any mother or father to-be who is keen on taking up this hobby - start BEFORE the child is born!
Kalpana’s dynamic hands on style of teaching was tremendously useful for a beginner. I went into my lessons believing I needed help with learning “how to use a machine” and how to ‘pretty up’ the hems.
I left with the knowledge of how to create and draft a pattern, how to consider the elements of a garment and the different methods of stitching by hand and by machine. Having a teacher right by my side whenever I was unsure was invaluable - I simply couldn’t have done it properly any other way.
When you are first learning a skill such as sewing, that hands on support makes all the difference - especially in giving you confidence to start sewing on your own.
In those first couple classes, as I worked on a small piece of fabric, I’d chat with the other students who were drafting dresses and shirts and asked them how long they’d been sewing - assuming it was months due to the complexity of their patterns. I’d be utterly amazed that they’d often started only a couple classes ahead of me – the bar was set high and the students (especially those with the luxury of time) seemed to quickly grasp the concept of drafting and the elements of pattern making under Kalpana’s guidance.
As I worked on my pieces, I started filming short clips – so that I could replay them at home in case I got confused about a method or step. It was definitely a helpful reference for me and I thought potentially useful for other budding sewers. I’ve included some of the clips here (and more under our BatikandBubbles Instagram/Facebook).
I was luckily enough to have a course tailored to my desire to hand make clothes for my bebe. Initially I chose a simple A lined dress as my first design but a couple lessons in, I realized I ought to be more ambitious.
Why choose something easy when I have a teacher at my elbow helping me to work through the patterns and the stages of sewing? So I switched and decided that I wanted to created a chuba, a Tibetan dress, for my daughters first birthday.
A chuba looks looks deceptively simple but there are all these inner pieces and folds that made it quite complicated for a newbie!
As I slowly pulled all the pieces together and watched the chuba come to form, a true feeling of delight arose. Just knowing that I could create something beautiful for her was so gratifying.
Sometimes we take a class here or there, and then slowly whatever we learned is forgotten, set aside and hardly ever picked up again.
This was not the case with sewing. D Studio’s carefully tailored program ensured that I learned the fundamentals of sewing and even more importantly, of drafting so that I could actually start to dream of making my own pieces. I knew I wanted to share my experience but I wanted to wait to show my friends and readers that I’d taken what I’d learnt in the classroom into my real life- right into my kitchen where I started sewing all on my own.
It’s a testament to Kalpana’s course - well thought out and perfectly paced to suit your needs (whether or not that includes lugging around a newborn!) that I was confident enough to make my daughter her first proper Halloween costume!
A simple, sweet Snow White with big puffy sleeves and long silken bow inspired by a pretty little costume that I saw on Instagram.
But let’s be frank, creating a Halloween costume is one thing — it can be fun, funky and nowhere near perfect and no one would be none the wiser, what with all the distracting vampires and ghosts running around demanding their trick or treats.
The real test came when I decided to make her Christmas dress, two days before Christmas Eve! There is simply no chance I would’ve ever felt confident enough to do that without D Sew Club — I mean this is Christmas, there would be friends gathered and a lively party happening at our house!
But I felt optimistic and capable. Soon, bebe was adorn in a pretty little plaid Christmas dress, which she happily twirled and danced around the Christmas tree in.
That’s not to say that I’m done though, I haven’t mastered sewing - not by a long shot.
I’m still a very early student and in clear need of more practice, more lessons and as any parent knows, more free time! Thankfully, D Sew Club has designed a series of different types of courses - both in person and online, that I can choose from to take my sewing up to the next level.
That’s what next for me — and I simply can’t wait because I really want to improve my crafting of the inner linings because as per Steve Jobs and the Apple ethos - “For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”
Besides, I’ve got quite a few more ideas and designs in mind for bebe - especially now while she’s still young enough to happily wear whatever I craft . Whilst thinking of my next steps in sewing, I thought it’d be interesting to sit down with my teacher, D Sew Club Founder, Kalpana Singh and share a bit more about the history of D Sew Club and her thoughts and ideas. I’m so pleased to share these vidoes here with you - hopefully it inspires you to bring your own vision to life too.
I cannot recommend D Sew Club enough — many of us harbor a secret dream of our own but are unsure how to make it happen; learning to sew, and more meaningfully, sewing for my daughter is something I’d always dreamed of. I can’t wait to teach my daughter in due time. Mind you, if I had a son, I’d also teach him. This is not for women only, this is for all creatives.
D Sew Club is now offering proper, certified tailoring courses along with the more hobby style courses I took, so if you’ve also ever had a small inkling or desire to make something beautiful with your own hands then definitely go check out D Sew Club online at https://dsewclub.com/ !
Let me know if you do, send me a photo of what you create and I’ll share my latest piece with you too… let’s sew together!
D Sew Club
Address: 5A, Lorong Kurau, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
Telephone: 016-372 1912