Monday, 4 April 2011

10 minutes on the couch with…. Fiona, the founder of Oh Sew Brixton

Never heard of Oh Sew Brixton? It’s a gem, in the heart of Brixton, across the road from the tube, it is a great place to learn to sew or even to scratch up on the experience you already have and learn something new from a variety of courses for all levels.

Tell us more about Oh Sew Brixton?

I started Oh Sew Brixton a couple of years ago now as I had had enough of corporate life.  I’ve always loved to sew (I learned at about the age of 12) and I could see that it was at last making a comeback.  I still might not have opened the school if it hadn’t seen the studio space in Piano House.  It was just perfect (light, spacious and a stone’s throw from the tube station) and I really didn’t have any excuse not to go for it!

What workshops do you have to offer for beginners?

Beginners are our speciality.  We have a one day Introduction to the Sewing Machine which gets people up and running on the sewing machine.  I really love teaching this class as, in the space of 5 hours, people go from slow and diffident to mowing up and down with the machine.  Everyone makes a bag, they are all different and all great.

Which classes are your most popular?

Beginner Dressmaking is probably our core course.  This runs as a 6 week evening or morning course and also occasionally as a 3 day Intensive.  Everyone makes a simple dress and we cover how to follow a pattern and some of the basic construction techniques.

What class would you recommend and why?

We’ve more recently started an Easy 50s dress course which is a follow in course to Beginners Dressmaking.  We’ve run this a couple of times and the dresses are just gorgeous.

Have you got any new courses coming launching this year?

I’ve got Rosie Martin of diy-couture coming back to do a workshop in May on her elasticated dress.  She is writing a series of books on how to make stuff without using patterns and the workshop is based on one of these.
The majority of your courses take place during evenings and weekends, we’ve received requests for daytime courses, in south London, Do you also run classes during the day?

I’d love to run more classes during the day, but I don’t seem to have the demand.  When I first set up, we put making children’s clothes on the schedule but didn’t get enough people for the class to run.  Maybe I should put it back on the schedule for after Easter?  I’m also thinking of running a patchwork club to use up all the lovely scraps I have left over from the dressmaking classes!

Your workshops are really on trend, giving people the opportunity to make a piece of clothing from the 1950’s, do you have any examples of what’s made in your class?

Latest on the schedule is a 50’s beachwear course.  This is a bikini top and shorts based on a 50s pattern, but using pattern software for made to measure shorts.

Describe Oh Sew Brixton in 3 words?

I can’t do this in three words!  Hopefully my students will vouch for the fact that I am very committed to teaching people to sew and have pledged to support those that continue their sewing journey.


  1. oh wow, absolutely love the 1950s beach top and shorts. What a fab course! xx

  2. I think that would look very cool on you.. Oh! by the way I'm at number 7 for my top 10 things that make me smile :-)


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