The Sewing Place

Good enough to teach sewing / dealing with imposter syndrome


Re: Good enough to teach sewing / dealing with imposter syndrome
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2017, 14:51:13 PM »
I too would never pay to be taught by anyone unqualified
Triumph of hope over experience :D


Re: Good enough to teach sewing / dealing with imposter syndrome
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2017, 17:13:17 PM »
I moved from the corporate industry into teaching dressmaking, soft furnishings and creative textiles. The first thing i did was get a sewing qualification. If you intend to go down the trainee teacher route then you need at least a level 3 qual related to the subject you want to teach. It took 12 months to get qualifications in soft furnishings and creative textiles (1 afternoon a week per subject) and at the same time i did a Preparing To Teach In the Lifelong Learning Sector, again 1 evening a week. This course gives you an introduction to what is required to teach in a classroom i.e lessons plans, all the paper work that goes with teaching and how to incorporate different learning techniques into your lessons.
Once i had that under my belt i registered with an Agency, Protocol, who specialise in tutor posts in Adult Ed. Once i had secured a post i also enrolled on a Cert Ed course in order to become a qualified Adult Ed tutor (you need to be in a teaching post to enroll on the course). This took 2 years but again it was 1 afternoon a week (plus lots of homework.) I applied for a grant to cover all the costs, this is not means tested and everyone on my course got one.
If you decide to teach in Adult Education be prepared for lots of hard work and paperwork. I did 4 x 2 hour classes and i would estimate i did as much prep work as i did teaching, but you don't get paid for prep work. At the same time i set up my own business, dressmaking, soft furnishings and tuition, which i did from my own home. Tuition was on a one-one basis. You need Liability insurance and to register with HMRC and don't forget to notify your house insurance co. as well as check with the Local Authority re running a business from home. This is a good site for info.
This a good site for info on getting into teaching.
Hope this doesn't seem too daunting.
It's not easy being this perfekt



Re: Good enough to teach sewing / dealing with imposter syndrome
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2017, 19:04:54 PM »
[quoteI too would never pay to be taught by anyone unqualified[/quote]  I hear you!  I guess that would narrow down my customer base for a while. So be it until I can afford course fees.

I guess the qualification issue didn't cross my mind because the woman who taught me to sew when I was a child was so obviously talented.  I have no idea of her  formal qualifications.  Same as the ladies who taught me to curtain make, I was a bottom the pile trainee and they were harsh (which is why I sort of forget that I did that job...) but the stuff they produced was amazing  (methods backed up by well known reputable authors), both for the contract sector and private homes...again not a formal qualification between them.  Perhaps it's a shame to write off anyone not formally qualified because years and years ago we didn't worry anyway.

But, either way it's good to know some people may have an issue with it. 


Re: Good enough to teach sewing / dealing with imposter syndrome
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2017, 20:31:44 PM »
A qualification would not bother me as long as I could see garments made by the tutor and/or the students. The ability to teach and communicate and above all enthuse is so important, I want to learn to do it myself and sort out my problems - not sit and watch an expert do it for me because it will be quicker. I'm old school but I also don't want to be told it's good if it's awful - I'd rather discuss ways of making it better next time.


Re: Good enough to teach sewing / dealing with imposter syndrome
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2017, 21:22:12 PM »
If you want to teach people who aim to use the knowledge they gain from you to go on and get qualifications for themselves then yes you would need to be qualified, and it would probably also mean teaching in some sort of formal setting - college or Adult Ed, and they don't take kindly to very low class numbers.  When I was in Adult Ed 10-12 students was usually the lowest acceptable number with 14 or 16 being the target, sometimes more.

If your target student group are people who want to learn a new hobby, or just be able to make things for themselves and their family then your ability to explain things, show them what to do and inspire them to want to sew are the important qualities and paper qualifications aren't relevant. In the end a lot of it comes down to word of mouth.  Informally teach one or two people, be enthusiastic about it, have things to show them and they will spread the word if they like what you offer.
Brenda.  My machines are: Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born 1940, Thirza a Featherweight 221K born 1949, Azilia a Singer 201K born 1957 and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.


Re: Good enough to teach sewing / dealing with imposter syndrome
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2017, 22:34:02 PM »
What qualifications would you want a tutor to have?   There is a difference between a qualification in your chosen subject, such as dressmaking, patchwork etc and a teaching qualification. 
As I had no desire to teach in an environment that would force me to teach so many people that no one would get the attention they needed or deserved, I chose not to waste my time doing a teaching qualification.  I enjoy the small groups and it has led to some nice friendships. 
Many of the textile school teachers I meet in my job seem pretty clueless about the subject.  I find that worrying. 
When I did C&G my tutor was fantastic.  Your work would not pass if it was just OK.  She was always pushing you beyond what you thought you were capable of.  But then, for various reasons, we got an extra tutor and she was hopeless.  It was sometimes embarrassing because the ladies in the class kept asking for my opinion because she either couldn't answer their questions or they didn't like the answer they got.  When problems with machines arose she was completely stumped.  It didn't take long for her to take a bit of a dislike to me!   But she had the qualifications!
Word of mouth is the best recommendation.  I have students who have been with me for several years so they must be learning something.....or I am really good at fooling them :)


Re: Good enough to teach sewing / dealing with imposter syndrome
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2017, 10:55:13 AM »
My husband teaches photography (private lessons) he doesn't have any qualifications and he's never been asked by any perspective clients if he does. What he does have is many years experience and testimonials on his website.

You may find that having some sort of sewing qualification might help speed the business up growth wise but then you've got to account for the time and money that would take. If you are a competent sewist and you can show this with your work then personally I wouldn't be too worried about qualifications, and once you've taught a few people encourage them to leave testimonials (we offer money off another lesson if they do).

He was also asked a few years ago to teach at the local Adult Ed centre,  they didn't require him to have any photography related qualification but they did say they would pay for him to do the PETLS I think it was which is a teaching thing. In the end he didn't do it because the money wasn't very good when you took into consideration the hours he had to put in both in the classroom and writing the course etc.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2017, 11:00:13 AM by Samantha »


Re: Good enough to teach sewing / dealing with imposter syndrome
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2017, 23:47:49 PM »
Having attended a couple of courses run by 'qualified' teachers who were about as much use as a chocolate teapot I have been sorely disappointed.  Also I attended an accredited course taught by a very able (qualified) tutor but came away disappointed because the course content was overplayed and numerous times when a question was asked the reply was - for that you need to take our xxx course or our yyy course and the bottom line was an expensive course for not much real substance.

On the other hand I've learnt from some very skilled people, some of whom never even had a CSE, O Level, GCSE or certificate of any kind.

If paying for a sewing course, I prefer a tutor to be competent in the sewing area concerned and able to communicate and structure the learning session well.  That's more important to me than someone who has a qualification in either teaching or sewing. 

There is a whole can of worms about what 'qualified' means, especially when they've paid to go on course that doesn't have a pass or fail or a minimum performance assessment.    Often in reality a certificate means someone attended, followed the course programme and completed the assignments but there's little in the way of meaningful assessment of their aptitude or actual ability. 

Other than School/FE or HE teaching, The Teaching courses available are usually concerned with learning about teaching techniques, lesson planning, monitoring, assessment, etc. and are not about the subject matter of sewing.  In the absence of alternatives, the level 3 type 'teaching' courses offered by FE colleges can be a starting point such as this example of 36 hrs (12 x 3hrs per week)   

If you have trained as an instructor, teacher, coach, tutor in an organisation then those skills are transferable to other subject areas.  You will have an idea already whether you can actually teach and whether you are any good.

Unless you want to work in an FE college or in HE or schools, if you can actually teach already, you don't need to have the "accredited" qualification certificate.

Perhaps by 'Qualified' you meant taking some kind of accredited sewing course with some form of certification that will indicate to potential students that your sewing expertise is above a certain level.

As for the actual area of sewing -
The old C&G dressmaking / tailoring courses no longer exist although there are some sewing tutors around the UK who now offer their own courses that follow similar formats.  The individual schools would have to submit their courses for assessment by an organisation's Accreditation Board to attract some form of 'Qualification' status.  A couple of examples are
  Alison Smith's Diploma course which is accredited by the Open College Network West Midlands
Jane White's Courses which may not be currently formally accredited with an Ofqual or QAA regulated awards organisation.

Another alternative for dressmaking is to invest in a Palmer & Pletsch teaching course and become one of their tutors (renewing your licence periodically to use the P&P name).

For Curtains and Soft Furnishings, several FE colleges offer a Diploma course for Curtains and Soft Furnishings for professionals.  (The version of this course at my local FE has been discontinued which is a pity because it was a good skills building course for setting up or working for a soft furnishings business.)

FE and HE courses on offer these days tend to be Fashion Design or Interior Design courses and have a minimal focus on the sewing skills component which is where the C&G courses excelled.
Often the way forward now for developing competent sewing skills is the short course / workshops plus self-development route.

Maybe what may help your confidence is to have something that helps you to judge for yourself whether your sewing knowledge and expertise is at a level that you think is sufficient to teach the skill.

You can test your own skills by setting your own personal exam by working through a programme based on the content of relevant courses.  Below are just 3 examples of course content that you could use to create your own personal skills check.

Re costs of fees -
If you don't qualify for free or discounted fees, to pay fees for courses run by FE colleges, you can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan.

Finally, for the business side of setting up your own classes, it's well worth going to your local business startup workshops/seminars/courses.  You'll get a lot of help with working through some planning and help to consider different ways you could start your business to keep costs down.
If you do decide to provide machines for people to use, don't buy them - there are other ways around that.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2017, 10:02:30 AM by Morgan »


Re: Good enough to teach sewing / dealing with imposter syndrome
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2017, 08:28:27 AM »
It’s interesting to hear what you did on your workshop Roger, thank you.
Can I ask how it works when people bring their own machines?  I did a sewing day with a friend a few months ago (just for fun, a day of child free sewing), she brought along an ancient old beast of a thing that charged off at full speed with when she so much as looked at the foot pedal.  The machine had other issues (it probably needed servicing) so all in all she didn’t enjoy it as much as she might have otherwise.  It was a world away from the experience that you can have from a nice well-behaved modern machine!  I know that you should be able to sew on anything, but I thought if I was in control of the type of machine used then I could provide a better experience. On the other hand, in the area that I live in some people interested in learning could well have bought a machine that was the price of a small car.

With the ‘BYOM’ I did, the teacher asked me a few questions about it (conversationally) over email, I was very straight forward about the age and oddness of the machine, but at least knew the model. Checked I had a manual too. I think she did a minimum amount of research on it to check it wasn’t anything too wild and woolly. When I arrived she had a machine set up in her workshop that I assume was for in case mine was a nightmare  :fish:

Primarily she worked from the manual, in terms of how to get a stitch or effect or thread the machine (a bit different on an older slant-o- matic) but used her experience to adjust tensions  (bottom and top, I’d been sewing School trousers most recently and the thread was sturdy! ) stitch length (per inch) and to check the quality of the stitching, and of course how to apply the techniques.

She did decide to do the day as a one to one, because it wasn’t a machine she was familiar with.

I did read her website ahead of enquiring I was looking for experience, examples of what she made that sort of thing. She had several aspects to her site: tailoring and alterations, regular sewing clubs, quilt and chat clubs, and a range of classes, ie all make a skirt, or bring your stuck sewing project, own patterns, overlocking days too, and a few 2day workshops too around quilting or finishing a complete project. She also sold some pdf guides she had put together and fabric packs to support them and packs for specific courses she ran.

I sew for fun, and to keep machines, and hadn’t had any formal training since high school (terrible) so I wasn’t fussed about formal qualifications I wanted a route into better sewing.

Hope that helps

A bit of a vintage sewing machine nut! Singers: 500a, 401g, 48k Elnas: lotus SP & grasshopper, Bernina 530-2 F+R 504, Pfaff 30, Cresta T-132


Re: Good enough to teach sewing / dealing with imposter syndrome
« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2017, 21:09:06 PM »
Thank you all so much for your comments and links and information about starting up sewmuchmore and Morgan. This has all been so much help.

I don't want a teaching qualification as such yet, although this may change in the future, I also have no desire to be bound by rules (I've always been a bit of a maverick) or bogged down by paperwork so it's really helpful to read that it's possible to forge ahead without those. I'm mainly aiming to teach people who want to sew for pleasure rather than to any qualification level.

I'd love to do some courses and self study to further skills that I could pass on.  I'm working my way through the skills set links too, thanks again for those.

Having looked at a few sewing tutors etc locally, many of them had HND's in pattern cutting or similar, had spent years working in costume or textiles and then decided to come out of it and teach.  I just felt rather inadequate!

In the end I invited a couple of freinds round for a trial beginner lesson yesterday morning.  It went very well!  Both of them went away happy and want to come back so that felt like a good start. I did have things to hand that I had made to use as visual aids, this wasn't particularly  planned, we were talking about some of the things that they could make and I happened to have a few bits handy as examples.

I have a freind who did the PETLS course Samantha, gosh it was long winded! She now works in a school.  I like your idea of money off for a testimonial too.

Lots to think about, thanks so much again for all your comments!


Re: Good enough to teach sewing / dealing with imposter syndrome
« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2017, 20:57:35 PM »
Best of luck with your venture! Don’t forget to advertise on here, and set yourself up a face book group to add interested people to and advertise opportunities to.

A bit of a vintage sewing machine nut! Singers: 500a, 401g, 48k Elnas: lotus SP & grasshopper, Bernina 530-2 F+R 504, Pfaff 30, Cresta T-132


Re: Good enough to teach sewing / dealing with imposter syndrome
« Reply #26 on: December 05, 2017, 06:28:46 AM »
Thank you so much  Roger!  I will.  I'm working on names this week, I keep thinking that I've found 'the one' and then more ideas come to mind. 


Re: Good enough to teach sewing / dealing with imposter syndrome
« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2018, 14:19:47 PM »
How are you getting along?


Re: Good enough to teach sewing / dealing with imposter syndrome
« Reply #28 on: March 16, 2018, 12:16:30 PM »
I'd go! I think it's a brilliant idea so good luck. I wouldn't want paper I'd want tips and experience.
Have a poll when you have the names down to two or three.  :D
Fashion fades, style is forever!


Re: Good enough to teach sewing / dealing with imposter syndrome
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2018, 17:24:01 PM »
@Morgan  Hello, I took a bit of a hit health wise at the start of the year, so things got off to a slow start!  I'm back to it again now and thankfully at full health as long as I look after myself.

I have decided to use my own name for cards, website etc.  Looking for the perfect name was serving as a huge distraction and lots of names that start with 'the sewing...' can look like 'these wing...' when pit into a url (I'm probably over thinking things). Plus the really simple, good names are taken.  I also have children at 3 different schools, so if I am chatting to any parents who are interested I will be easy to find.

Thank you for the encouragement!  :loveit: