I’d been looking for a beginning sewing class for awhile and really had a hard time finding a suitable one. Many were too expensive, too basic, or didn’t fit my schedule. There seems to be a shortage of suitable places to take an affordable yet comprehensive beginning class. So after talking to a few people, doing lots of research etc. I finally decided to try Purl Soho. They were the friendliest on the phone, their store assistants are always knowledgeable and nice, and they have a cute store! Their store is also a wealth of (high-end) treasures for knitting, crochet, and sewing from tools to yarn and fabric.
Purl Soho ~ 459 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013 ~ (212) 420-8796
Left: Purl Soho’s old storefront on Sullivan St. Right: Their new location on 459 Broome St. I’m taking the Introduction to Machine Sewing with Cassandra. It’s a 3-day class, every Saturday, for 3 hours each session. It’s pricey, $175, but Cassandra is an excellent teacher so far and it’s obvious she knows her stuff! It wasn’t quite what I was looking for in terms of classes when I first started researching but I thought I’d give it a shot and start somewhere.
I had my first class last Saturday. It’s a small 6-person class and we’ll be making a tote as our project. The sample of the finished tote looks great. It has lovely details like optional piping, a front pocket, and several inner pockets. For a 9-hour beginner sewing class, I thought it was very ambitious! Here’s my completed tote project and full review of the class. I loved it! Comprehensive yet customized!
Purl Soho also teaches everything from knitting and crochet to embroidery. And have a craft blog called The Purl Bee.
Some other popular places I looked at:
This place is by far the trendiest and most popular. Written up in magazines galore. However, I read the reviews on Yelp! and decided against it for now.
Love Sewing New York
This was my most favorite pick from reading the website. The class curriculum seemed great, the class schedule feasible, and the fees decent. However, I could never get in touch with someone at this studio. I did end up trying it after I did my Purl Soho class. Here’s the Beginner Sewing Class I took there. My completed skirt project.
Sew New York
Located in Brooklyn Heights. Laura McCracken gives private or semi-private sewing lessons. This was a bit too ambitious for me and quite a pricey investment so I did not end up choosing this place. The student projects displayed on the site are really lovely though.
Sew Fast Sew Easy
This place is a bit of an institution here and has been around for ages. However, I did not choose them because it’s quite dingy in there and the Yelp! reviews for a particular “teacher” were horrendous. So I decided to skip them. They also sell sewing machines and notions in this tiny store.
Update: I ended up taking a “Copy Your Own Clothes” class here. The class turned out to be extremely advanced but VERY GOOD! Our teacher, Marco, was just THE BEST. Despite how unprepared I was for it, Marco was able to get me through it! And successfully. The class itself is intensive so great for an ambitious sewer and for the price? Well worth it.
Manhattan Sewing Machine Center
This place used to give free sewing lessons! Alas, I think it is no more.
I came here in search of a quilting ruler or rotary cutting ruler. And found it! However, I also checked out their sewing room in the back where I suspect the classes are held and it looked quite unappealing. Fluorescent lights, drop ceilings, gray, and sort of depressing. It felt like a bad stock room. However, the classes themselves may be brilliant for all I know.
There are also many in Brooklyn that looked very promising. However, I wasn’t in the mood to trek to Brooklyn, so places like Brooklyn General, Fiber Notion, and Etsy Labs have not been included in this list.