Last night, I needed a sewing fix and I signed up for a lingerie workshop at The New York Sewing Center. The session promised to teach me how to make a pair of “perfect panties.” Frankly, achieving perfection in 1.5hours seemed like a bit of a stretch, but I was game. My solo attempts at constructing knickers were somewhat disastrous. My machine’s feed dogs have a taste for expensive lace.
After work, I darted uptown to the New York Sewing Center studio near the Garment District. The tiny space offered just enough room for the four attendees and our teacher, Jen. Despite its size, they managed to pack in pretty much all the things a sewer could need – cutting tables (x2), six sewing stations, pressing area, plenty of notions, plus an inspiration board. Ahhh, the resourcefulness of my fellow New Yorkers.
Class started promptly at 6:30pm. Within minutes, we’d collected our materials and snuggled up to our machines. Jen, our fearless leader, guided us through the assembly process from laying out and pinning the pieces to sewing the gusset and installing the leg elastics. She checked on us periodically to make sure we were following along.
Everyone sewed the same pattern and fabrics. In future classes, it would be great if you could choose your size or pick from a rainbow of laces. Unpicking tiny black stitches from fine black lace was a challenge. Though I’d take unpicking over ripping my project from the unforgiving jaws of the feed dogs. (Perhaps, all sewing machines enjoy chowing down on lacy bits). The teacher did offer a way to prevent this: Start sewing about 3/4 in from the top edge and backstitch to the beginning. I tried out it a few times and found it had a 50% success rate. Does anyone have other ideas? I’d love to bump that rate up to the 80s or 90s.
Normally, after I finish a project, I’m eager to try it on and twirl before my mirror. In this case, I let the resident model/monster do the honors. Isn’t he cute?! I shall call him Marvin, the Modelster. I found him hiding behind one of the sewing machines. While I’m fairly pleased with the results, I get the feeling he’s a bit less impressed – ha!
Sewing underwear is far easier than I had imagined and really took no time at all. With a little practice, you could easily churn out four or five pair in an hour! Post class, I’m certainly inspired to figure this out. Laundry tops my list of things I prefer to ignore. Plus, sewing a fresh pair of underwear sounds way more fun than washing it. Wouldn’t you agree?
Overall: ♥♥ out of ♥♥♥♥♥. While I enjoyed parts of the class, I was disappointed overall. I wouldn’t have enrolled had the description been more clear that we were merely sewing pre-cut pieces together. Since there is no customization of the pattern, I sadly didn’t walk out with a pair of wearable knickers. My favorite classes are the ones where the teacher welcomes everyone, kicks off a quick round of introductions, and then gives an overview of what to expect from the class. None of this happened when I arrived. In my opinion, the instructor, while lovely, could have done a better job of explaining sewing terms for the beginners in class (e.g. Right vs Wrong sides, seam allowance, etc). For $90, I would have also appreciated a handout with tips on sewing lace, where to source materials, and list of next steps if you want to learn more.
If you have any sewing experience, I would skip this class and try Beverly Johnson’s Craftsy course – Sewing Panties: Construction & Fit. If folks are interested, I will post a review of this course later on.
Ciao for now!2