CIAM’s technical workshops provide the perfect opportunity to learn couture sewing techniques that you will be able to apply to garment construction at home. We have courses appropriate for complete beginners as well as for those who want to take their sewing to the next level.

Course Requirements

Students should bring their own sewing machines. It may be possible to hire one from CIAM on prior application.

Students will require basic sewing essentials, including pins, needles, threads, fabric scissors and thread snippers.

Students will be provided with kits providing fabrics and notions required for the class.


The workshops are $22 per hour, including GST ($66 per afternoon). We require the full payment in advance for each course.


Arrival and set-up time 12:45 pm – 1:00 pm
Morning Session 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Pack-up 4:00 pm – 4:15 pm


7th March: Get to know your sewing machine

Content An introduction to how to use and care for your sewing machine, including the role of different feet and needles.
Requirements Bring your accessory box and instruction manual
Level Beginner

This class teaches the use of traditional sewing machines, not overlockers or coverstitch machines


21st March: The basics of couture sewing 1

Content An introduction to sewing
Requirements Hand-stitching; darts; simple seams (the couture way!); princess seams
Level Beginner – intermediate


4th April: The basics of couture sewing 2

Content Seam finishes
Requirements French seam; Hong Kong finish; flat – fell seam; pleats, gathers & easing
Level Beginner – intermediate


2nd May: Necklines

Content Sewing different neckline finishes
Requirements Stay-stitching; simple facing; bias edging; piping
Level Beginner – intermediate


16th May: Hems

Content Different methods of hemming a garment
Requirements Hand sewn; bias binding; facing; narrow hem
Level Beginner – intermediate


30th May: Zippers

Content Different methods of zipper insertion
Requirements Hand-picked; lapped; centred; invisible
Level Beginner – advanced


13th June: Collars

Content Collar and stand
Requirements How to sew a professional collar and stand onto a shirt
Level Beginner – advanced


27th June: Cuffs

Content Cuffs and plackets
Requirements 2 methods of sewing a shirt sleeve placket and how to add a cuff
Level Beginner – advanced


22nd August: Sleeves

Content How to set different sleeve styles
Requirements Easing; gathers; pleats; capped sleeves
Level Beginner – advanced


29th August: Pockets

Content Applying different types of pockets
Requirements Patch pockets; jeans-style pockets; in-seam pockets
Level Beginner – advanced


5th September: Bound Pockets

Content Pocket with a flap for a tailored jacket
Requirements Bound pocket with piping variation that can be adapted for a bound buttonhole
Level Intermediate –  advanced


19th September: Fly Front

Content Fly front
Requirements How to construct a fly front for a pair of trousers (including jeans)
Level Intermediate –  advanced


10th October: Skirt Vent

Content Skirt vent in a tailored skirt
Requirements Constructing a vent with integral lining rather than a free-hanging one
Level Intermediate –  advanced


24th October: Introduction to sewing knit fabrics 1

Content Using and sewing knit fabrics
Requirements Selecting & cutting-out knits; how to use your sewing machine and overlocker to sew knit fabrics
Level Beginner – advanced

Note: Bring both your sewing machine and overlocker (if you have one) along with accessories and manuals to the class.

It is not essential to have an overlocker to sew knits. This class will teach you how to use the zig-zag stitches on a normal machine as well as an overlocker. It does not teach the use of a coverstitch machine.


7th November: Introduction to sewing knit fabrics 2

This is the second part of a 2 week course. You must have attended week 1 to participate in this class.

Content Construction techniques
Requirements Seam & hem finishes; neckbands
Level Beginner – advanced

Note: Bring both your sewing machine and overlocker (if you have one) along with accessories and manuals to the class.