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Teacher Biography - Bernadette Thomas

                             bernadette2

Bernadette has been sewing in some form for over 39 years. She originally started dressmaking at a series of sewing shop classes in Tuggeranong in the early 1990s before finally formalising her qualifications at the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) where she completed her Certificate IV in Garment Production (Dressmaking, Patternmaking and Fitting) in 2003/4. This was followed by a Clothing Design and Colour in Fashion module in 2009. She was the Chair Person (Industry Representative) on the panel that restructured the CIT Certificate IV (Garment Production) in 2008/9 and has worked with a number of fashion parade productions. 

She teaches a wide range of courses - exclusively in the Canberra region for the Cardif Collective - and her group sizes are small with class maximums set at 6 or 8 depending on the course. Until 2014 she also taught part time on the Garment Production Course at CIT. She has her own business Needlewitch – and moved from her own Fyshwick business premises in August 2016 to be co located with the Cardif Collective in Kingston. She is happy to teach courses at other venues outside the Canberra region - please contact her to discuss your requirements.

She also operates a small stand as a specialist antiques dealer (sewing, needlework, linen and jewellery) at Canberra Antiques Centre in Fyshwick and can provide specialist advice on using the vintage sewing patterns she sells.

A dressmaker, hand embroiderer/beader, machine embroiderer and quilter she can provide advice on most sewing related matters and is a member of many sewing related groups. She re-raised the Canberra chapter of the Australian Sewing Guild in 2008 and taught fitting/pattern making classes there for two years. She has also been a Craft Pavilion Judge for the Canberra Show for the last nine years.

Private Courses

Private Courses: Courses can be conducted for individuals as a package or on an as required basis (e.g. students can be assisted in producing or fitting/pattern alterations on a particular garment if they have some sewing expertise). Courses will be conducted at my design studio within the Cardif Collective. 

Students will be expected to assemble a basic sewing kit at their own cost under guidance. Whilst machines can be provided if necessary - students are encouraged to bring their own sewing machine and over locker if they have them. All such equipment is to have been serviced in the last 24 months (or have been purchased new in the same time period) and should be accompanied by its manual, foot control, accessories and power cord. Advice can be given on purchasing sewing machines and overlockers.

As Required Basis: $80/hr (includes GST) for an individual (minimum of two hours to be conducted consecutively). Lessons may be bought in bulk (lots of 6 hours or more) and a 10% discount will apply to the total cost. Costs for lessons for small groups will be negotiated depending on the requirement.

Beginner’s Private Lessons Package: This package is a series of 6 classes – each of 2.5 hours duration (15 hours in total). Total cost: $950.00 includes GST (saving $250). The content can be tailored around the individual and a plan can be provided after an initial free consultation. A deposit of $500 is payable up front on booking before classes commence and the remainder is to be paid NLT the end of the third lesson. A formal contract will be signed to this effect and tax invoices will be provided. Apart from the discounted hourly rate this package also includes an extra 1 hour shopping (FOC) to assist in buying items for the student’s sewing kit and discussion on suitable patterns and fabric.

Gift Vouchers: are available for purchase for amounts greater than $50.00 and can be used towards tuition or garment manufacture purchases.

Available Courses for Groups (maximum of 6 - 8)
Class Outline: Learn to Sew – Level 1

Time: 12 hrs. in total 
COST: $210 (Deposit $100) – includes kit valued at $30.00
Maximum 8 students 
No Pre-requisite

This class is for those who want to become comfortable using their sewing machine and want to learn what all those dials and buttons are for! You will also learn how sewing machines work and the basics about fabric, needles, threads and bobbins. You make a tote bag where you will learn the basics of seaming, pin stitching, top stitching, proper pressing, reinforcement stitching and use of a twin needle. Samples will also be stitched for basic seam finishes. Kit includes tote bag kit and assembly instructions, sample fabrics, notes and dressmaking paper.

Class Outline: Learn to Sew – Level 2

Time: 12 hrs. in total 
COST: $220 (Deposit $100) – includes kit valued at $40.00
Maximum 8 students 
Pre-requisite Applies: Completion of LTS 1

Following on from Level 1 this course explores your machine’s functions further. You will make an adult apron (Kwik Sew 3480) and learn how to make ties and sew on patch pockets professionally. You will also learn about proper application techniques for a variety of trims and sew a number of samples. Incorporating a trim or personal decorative touch into your apron is encouraged. Kit includes apron kit (colour choice available) and pattern, notes, trim sample pack and dressmaking paper.

Class Outline: Learn to Sew – Level 3

Time: 12 hrs. in total 
COST: $210 (Deposit $100) – includes kit valued at $30.00
Maximum 8 students 
Pre-requisite Applies: Completion of LTS 2

Following on from Level 2 this course will teach you successful basic zip insertion techniques for items such as bags and cushions. You will make a lined zippered bag with a tab handle (Kwik Sew 0155) and learn how to insert a basic zip professionally (no hand basting or pins!!). You will also learn how to work with pellon and learn some basic colour theory. Incorporating a trim or personal decorative touch into your bag is encouraged. Kit includes bag kit (wide colour choice available) and pattern, notes, zip sample pack and dressmaking paper.

Class Outline: Learn to Sew – Level 4

Time: 12 hrs. in total 
COST: $225 (Deposit $100) – includes kit valued at $45.00
Maximum 8 students 
Pre-requisite Applies: Completion of LTS 2

Following on from Level 2 (and not requiring level 3) this course will teach you how to design and construct a square decorator cushion with a faced buttoned overlap closure. You will learn how to sew on buttons properly (by both machine and by hand) and the correct sewing, stabilising, positioning and orientation of buttonholes. You will be encouraged to bring a suitable feature panel for the centre of the cushion and the use of vliesofix and basic applique techniques will be demonstrated and discussed. Incorporating a trim or personal decorative touch into your cushion is encouraged. Kit includes cushion kit (wide colour choice available) and assembly notes, button and buttonhole sample pack; applique sample pack; pellon and vliesofix sample pack and dressmaking paper.

Class Outline: Beginners Garment Making – Level 1

Time: 18 hrs. in total 
COST: $330 (Deposit $160) – includes kit valued at $60.00
Maximum 8 students 
Pre Requisite Applies: Completion of LTS 2 (exemptions may apply)

NOTE: Alternative patterns are available for plus sizes and male students

Following on from LTS 2 this course is the introduction to garment making and will teach you how to make a wrap skirt (Kwik Sew 2954). Includes basic fitting adjustments for length and a simple hem finish. Learn more about needles, threads, haberdashery and pressing tools. Learn how to take correct measurements and how to read pattern books, envelopes and instructions. Kit includes pattern, textbook, simple hem finishes sample pack and a roll of dressmaking paper.

Class Outline: Beginners Garment Making – Level 2

Time: 18 hrs. in total 
COST: $290 (Deposit $160) – includes kit valued at $20.00
Maximum 8 students 
Pre Requisite Applies: Completion of BGM 1

NOTE: Alternative patterns are available for plus sizes and male students

Following on from BGM 1 this course will teach you how to make pyjama pants with an elasticised/drawstring waist, contrast cuffs and a header forming ruffle.  Includes basic fitting adjustments - hip/waist, length and crotch). Learn about the calculation of ease in a garment (the start point for all pattern alterations) to make sure you never make up an incorrect size again. Also learn about the different types of elastic, how to sew and where to use them. Kit includes pattern, elastic sample pack and notes.

Class Outline: Beginners Garment Making – Level 3

Time: pm (24 hrs. in total) 
COST: $385 (Deposit $180) – includes kit valued at $25.00
Maximum 8 students 
Pre Requisite Applies: Completion of BGM 2

NOTE: Alternative patterns are available for plus sizes and male students

Following on from BGM 2 this course includes making samples for a dart, couture seam finishes (French, Flat fell and Hong Kong finish), lapped zip and blind hem. You will learn about different types of interfacing and how to apply it properly, a few tricks for working with linings and will be shown the wide variety of pressing tools available.  You will make a lined A-line skirt with a lapped zip and fitted waistband. Kit includes pattern and sample kits for interfacings, darts, zip, blind hems and couture seam finishes.

Class Outline: Intermediate Garment Making – Level 1

Time: 24 hrs. in total
COST: $410 (Deposit $200) – includes kit valued at $50.00
Maximum 6 students Pre-requisite Applies: Completion of BGM 3

This series of classes is the foundation unit for all patternmaking and fitting techniques. It teaches you how to make a toile in order to fit a garment correctly. Start building a techniques workbook for shoulder, back, bust and arm adjustments. Learn basic dart manipulation and how to use a French curve and pattern making ruler properly. You will do a basic figure analysis and start to learn how to fit your figure. You will stitch a sample for an easy collar technique. You will focus on a collared semi fitted shirt but will not work on the final garment in class as the aim is to get an accurately fitting toile and adjusted pattern. Kit includes pattern, 2.5m of toile fabric, collar and cuff sample pack and a roll of dressmaking paper.

PLEASE NOTE:

THIS CLASS INVOLVES THE MAJORITY OF SEWING FOR TWO TOILES BEING DONE AT HOME BETWEEN CLASSES. IF THE SEWING IS INCOMPLETE YOUR TOILE WILL NOT BE FITTED CORRECTLY AND NO LIABILITY FOR AN UNFINISHED FITTED GARMENT/PATTERN WILL BE ACCEPTED.

THE CLASS INCLUDES TWO TOILE FITTINGS – IF THE STUDENT REQUIRES MORE FITTINGS DUE TO BODY FITTING ISSUES THEN A HEAVILY DISCOUNTED RATE WILL APPLY FOR ANY SUBSEQUENT PERSONAL FITTING APPOINTMENTS.

Class Outline: Intermediate Garment Making – Level 2

Time: 18 hrs. in total
COST: $310 (Deposit $150) includes kit valued at $40.00
Maximum 6 students 

Pre-requisite Applies: Completion of IM 1

This series of classes includes making samples for a variety of pocket styles and elastic application techniques. Add to your techniques workbook with samples for sway back, prominent stomach, crotch issues and flat/prominent bottom adjustment techniques. The garment we will fit is a pair of semi fitted casual trouser/pants. Kit includes pattern, 2.5m toile fabric, elasticised waistband sample and notes. 

PLEASE NOTE:

THIS CLASS INVOLVES THE MAJORITY OF SEWING FOR TWO TOILES BEING DONE AT HOME BETWEEN CLASSES. IF THE SEWING IS INCOMPLETE YOUR TOILE WILL NOT BE FITTED CORRECTLY AND NO LIABILITY FOR AN UNFINISHED FITTED GARMENT/PATTERN WILL BE ACCEPTED.

THE CLASS INCLUDES TWO TOILE FITTINGS – IF THE STUDENT REQUIRES MORE FITTINGS DUE TO BODY FITTING ISSUES THEN A HEAVILY DISCOUNTED RATE WILL APPLY FOR ANY SUBSEQUENT PERSONAL FITTING APPOINTMENTS.

Intermediate (Part Three) Garment Making (24 Hours): Working with linings - Includes how to make linings if none are available with the pattern and an invisible zip sample. Assemble a worksheet on various linings and their properties. Add to your fitting workbook with more adjustments for busts, shoulders, backs and bottoms. Garment: Lined semi fitted or fitted skirt or lined shift dress.You have to have completed Intermediate Part Two to enrol in this course.

Intermediate (Part Four) Garment Making  (24 hours - 8 weeks): Techniques for working with specialty sheers and slippery fabrics - silks, satins, chiffons. Add to your fitting workbook with more adjustments for busts, shoulders, backs and bottoms. Garment: Loose Fitting Over shirt with front buttoned placket in a specialty fabric. You have to have completed Intermediate Part Three to enrol in this course.

Advanced Garment Making (Part One) (24 hours): Make a fitted and fully lined formal dress. Garment: Fitted and Fully Lined Formal Outfit. You have to have completed Intermediate Part Four to enrol in this course.

Advanced Garment Making (Part Two) (24 hours): Make a fitted and partially or fully lined trousers – including samples for relevant zips. Garment: Fitted and Fully Lined Trousers. You have to have completed Intermediate Part Three to enrol in this course.

Advanced Garment Making (Part Three) (24 hours): Make a fitted and fully lined jacket or coat – including samples for shawl and notched collars, welt pockets, self made shoulder pads and buttonhole treatments. Garment: Fitted and Fully Lined Jacket or Coat. You have to have completed Advanced Garment Making Part One or Two to enrol in this course.


Class Outline: Over locker Basics and Techniques

Time: 6.5 hrs. in total
COST: $145 (Deposit $60) includes kit valued at $15.00
Maximum 6 students 

Learn about the parts of your overlocker, basic care and maintenance, conquer threading, and understand basic tension problems and the use of your differential feed capability. Learn tips for corners, curves, gathering and working with elastic. Find out how to achieve a perfect rolled hem. Learn the troubleshooting basics and walk away with a detailed workbook of samples and settings for your machine. Suitable for 3, 4 and 5 thread overlockers with differential feed. This class is not suitable for Baby lock ATD machines. COVERSTITCH capability is not covered in this class.

PLEASE NOTE: IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOUR MACHINE IS IN WORKING ORDER - I.E. IT IS NEW OR HAS BEEN SERVICED WITHIN THE LAST 18 MONTHS. IF YOUR MACHINE IS INCOMPLETE OR MALFUNCTIONS THE TEACHER/SHOP DOES NOT HAVE THE TIME OR THE MECHANICAL EXPERIENCE NECESSARY TO FIX IT AND YOUR MONEY WILL NOT BE REFUNDED - YOU ARE WELCOME TO REMAIN IN THE CLASS AND TAKE NOTES. THIS STATEMENT HAS BECOME NECESSARY DUE TO THE LARGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE TURNED UP WITH INCOMPLETE OR MALFUNCTIONING OVERLOCKERS. THE SHOP CAN REFER YOU TO A SUITABLE MECHANIC - MOST SERVICING LEAD TIMES ARE 1-2 WEEKS AND THE COST FOR A BASIC SERVICE AND TIMING CALIBRATION IS $120.

Class Outline: Over locker Fancy Finishes

Time: 5 hrs. in total
COST: $130 (Deposit $70) includes kit and thread hire valued at $30.00
Maximum 6 students 
Pre-requisite Applies: Completion of Over Locker Basics and Techniques

Moving on from the basics class we will do a refresher on using roll hem techniques on different fabrics – including sheers and knits. Learn about and play with a variety of specialist threads and techniques and experiment with flat locking and ladder stitch. You will add more sample sheets to your workbook. Suitable for 3, 4 and 5 thread overlockers with differential feed. This class is not suitable for Baby lock ATD machines. COVERSTITCH capability is not covered in this class.

Class Outline: Basic Stretch Course

Time: 7 hrs. in total
COST: $150 (Deposit $80) includes kit valued at $45.00
Maximum 8 students 

In this class you will make a maxi skirt with a separate cased waistband (the skirt can be altered to any length in class) based on the New Look pattern 6288. You will have to trace off and adjust your pattern (calculating ease) with assistance. You will learn how to work in knits and stretch and the differences between these types of fabrics – notes provided. You will get a comprehensive information sheet on elastics building on what you learnt in my beginner’s class. Specialist stretch and knit sewing techniques, haberdashery and threads will be discussed in detail. Depending on adjustments needed the class MAY be shown basic shortening and lengthening, hip and waist adjustments. Sway back, prominent and flat bottoms and stomachs adjustment and be shown how to pivot a skirt panel to increase or decrease fullness. Kit includes: pattern, 1.5m plain Ponti weight spandex knit (Scuba), 30cm x 6mm steam a seam, 2 x woolly nylon threads to match your fabric, 1.3m x 38mm knitted or non-roll woven elastic and notes.

NOTE: This class is designed to use both your sewing machine and overlocker. (Just bring your overlocker if that is what you have) It can be completed just using a sewing machine but it will take you longer and you may not finish your skirt in class. 

Class Outline: Custom Panties Course

Time: 6.5 hrs. in total
COST: $165 (Deposit $90) includes kit valued at $65.00
Maximum 8 students 
Pre-requisite Applies: Completion of Basic Stretch Course

This workshop will include pattern alterations for crotches, bottoms and tummies (as necessary) and lots of tips for working with stretch and knit fabrics, lingerie elastics and laces. The kit will include a Kwik Sew lingerie book valued at $35.00 plus all the makings for a pair of panties in your own preferred style (colour choice available – fabric needs to be picked up and prewashed before class) (classic cut, bikini etc.).  

Class Outline: Performance Costume (Leotard/Swimwear) Workshop

Time: 7.5 hrs. in total
COST: $190 (Deposit $90) includes kit valued at $75.00
Maximum 8 students 
Pre-requisite Applies: Completion of Basic Stretch Course and Overlocker Basics and Techniques (if using an overlocker)

Learn How to read a specialist stretch pattern including markings and instructions. Correct Measuring, size selection and the differences between one way, two way and four way stretch. How to trace, lay, cut and mark a pattern on stretch fabric - including some basic alterations. Assembly/pinning techniques and different types of elastics for performance costumes and how to apply them (includes use of double fold elastic). Topstitching Techniques and Stitching on Stretch Trims. Decoration techniques including Swarovski hot fix crystals and the use of a Be jeweller and basic hand sewing/glue techniques for beads and sequins. Kit includes 1m of Lycra (colour choice available, Kwik Sew pattern, dressmaking paper, two reels of woolly nylon thread, leg elastic, DF elastic, reel of thread and sample crystal pack.

PRE-REQUISITE APPLIES: You have to have completed the Basic Overlocker Techniques Class to attend this course or be extremely comfortable with your overlocker - you will need to convince Bernadette of this!

NOTE: This class can be completed with a sewing machine but it will take longer and you may not finish the item in class.

Class Outline: Funky Pencil Roll Workshop

Time: 4.5 hrs. in total
COST: $95.00 (Deposit $50) includes kit valued at $25.00
Maximum 8 students 
Pre-requisite: Basic Sewing Skills

This workshop is open to anyone who can sew straight lines! You will make a funky pencil storage roll with 24 compartments using a pattern I have designed myself – feel free to modify the inside compartments to suit yourself. You will learn how to sandwich layers easily with basting spray, use some of the decorative stitches on your machine, use directional stitching, bind edges and make and insert a tie. These pencil rolls will make a great gift for any age. The kit (valued at $25) includes the pattern and instructions (so you can make it over and over again in any fabric you have!), fabric, thread and use of the basting spray in class.







I am always developing new courses - please contact me if you are after something not mentioned here.



 

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