How to Alter and Repair Garments with Lauren Taylor—A new intensive sewing class at Workroom Social

How to Alter and Repair Garments with Lauren Taylor—A new intensive sewing class at Workroom Social

I'm so excited to share that Lauren Taylor is teaching this March at our Brooklyn studio! It will be our very first in-person class since March 2020, and I can't wait to host sewists in real life again.

Lauren joins us March 10–11, 2022 for Workroom Social's new class How to Alter and Repair Garments. As a self-taught, professional, on-set tailor for film, television, bands, and more, Lauren brings her unique perspective to this very special 2-day intensive sewing class.

I interviewed Lauren recently, and here's what she had to say about the class, working as an on-set tailor for film, TV, and bands, and what she hopes for sewists everywhere.

Tell us more about How to Alter and Repair Garments.

I am so excited about this new class! I have been working in garment alterations for the last few years and it has been super fun to dive into a completely different realm of sewing. As much as I love making garments from scratch, there is also something immensely satisfying about taking a piece that isn’t working (whether related to fit or style or needed repairs) and figuring out how to change that.

How to Alter and Repair Garments with Lauren Taylor—A new intensive sewing class at Workroom Social

How to Alter and Repair Garments is all about teaching you those skills! Students bring garments that they love but maybe don’t wear because they aren’t quite right. Working together as a class, we go through each piece and determine why it doesn’t work. Does it not fit correctly? Would it be better with small or large style changes (such as removing sleeves, adding or removing pockets, dramatically changing a hemline, etc.)? Does it need repairs or embellishment?

We go over these steps as a class discussion to determine the best course of action for each piece. Then, I show students how to make those changes. Each student focuses on their own garments, and I encourage everyone to participate in our all-class discussions and demos. This ensures students learn about more than just the pieces they brought for themselves.

Not only will students leave with a refreshed stack of garments, they will also have a better understanding of the overall process of how to tackle alterations in their sewing practice outside of the class.

You and Jennifer developed the class together. What was that like and how did that collaboration work?

This class was actually Jennifer’s idea! She made the suggestion and helped me develop it into an actual class. Together we worked through the series of steps involved with assessing and executing an alteration to create a systematic approach that students could use to better understand how the process works—including, and most importantly in my opinion, where to even start. It’s easy to “know” how to do things, but sometimes it is hard to transfer that knowledge to students. With Jennifer’s help, we were able to break the process down in a way that is easy to understand and execute.

How does your experience as an on-set, entertainment tailor shape the way you work with students in this class?

Tailoring is such an interesting line of work. It’s not well understood outside of those who do it, and it can come across as magical to everyone else. Even the smallest tweak can make a huge difference in whether or not a piece will work. 

Working professionally in this realm has given me a great opportunity to interact with different body shapes, style choices, and types of garments. I’ve altered everything from inexpensive T-shirts purchased at Target, to multi-thousand dollar evening gowns and suits. When working on set, one is often presented with fresh challenges that need to be done as quickly as possible. It involves A LOT of thinking on your feet, pivoting, and making quick decisions.

My experience means that I feel very confident with any piece that comes my way, even if I don’t know from the start how I will execute the adjustments needed. Interpreting a pin fitting and taking everything apart to understand how it’s put together is part of the fun! It’s always a learning process and there’s always something new and exciting to discover.

What's your one big wish for students in this class?

I want students to be excited about the possibilities that alterations and repairs can open up for their wardrobe! I think alterations are so fun and fulfilling, and I truly hope to pass that excitement along to my students.

How to Alter and Repair Garments with Lauren Taylor—A new intensive sewing class at Workroom Social

Further, I want my students to understand the basic principles that go into clothing alterations, and get a general understanding of how to systematically approach the steps needed to make these adjustments—how to read the pins and apply those changes to the garment at hand.

My goal for this class isn’t to teach you how to do the steps (although that’s a big perk of this class!)—it’s to teach you how to think with a tailor’s mind. By the end of class, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence necessary to handle whatever future adjustments your wardrobe needs, even if it is something you’ve never done before.

Who is this class best suited for?

This class is best suited for intermediate to advanced sewists who already have a good understanding of clothing construction and fit, and are comfortable using their sewing machines for fiddly sewing.

It’s perfect for someone who wants to learn how to alter and repair existing garments, someone who is nervous about taking apart existing garments, someone who is nervous about making changes to existing garments and/or sewing patterns, or someone who is interested in learning more about garment construction from a perspective that's different from using sewing patterns.

To be successful in this class, you need the following skills...

  • Experience setting up, operating, and troubleshooting sewing machines.
  • Experience sewing straight and curved seams.
  • Experience easing fabric together.
  • An understanding of garment sewing patterns.
  • Experience constructing garments.
  • A general understanding of fitting concepts.

Why should a fashion sewist making their own clothes take this class at Workroom Social?

These skills are so awesome for really upping your sewing knowledge well beyond what just a pattern and a good book (or the Internet) can teach you.

Taking this class will...

  • give you a greater understanding of clothing construction and fit as it pertains to your body.
  • teach you to be fearless with your sewing (my personal sewing mantra is “Try it and see what happens!”).
  • make it easier to shop for ready-to-wear (and make thrifting more fun), and allow for opportunities to further tweak the fit and style of your handmades once they are completed.
  • challenge and stretch your brain, especially if you tend to be an auto-pilot sort of sewist who follows directions.

It’s incredibly sustainable, super satisfactory, and a really great life skill to have in your tool belt, even if you choose to not share those alteration skills with other people! #selfishsewing.

Learn more about our How to Alter and Repair Garments 2-day intensive sewing class, coming to Workroom Social this March 2022.

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