Sewing, embroidery and accessories

Pattern cutting and dressmaking – a shift dress with Maria Pulley

Ref: S3D09401


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About this course

Learn pattern construction and adaptation for a made to measure classic shift dress. Using your pattern, make a dress with a great fit and professionally finished in your chosen fabric. Some sewing experience is essential.

Course Description

Learn pattern construction and adaptation to produce a pattern for a classic shift dress which fits you perfectly. After making a toile based on your own measurements, you construct and sew a dress in your chosen fabric, that has a great fit and a professional finish.

Some sewing experience is essential; you need to have experience of dressmaking, even though you may be new to cutting your own patterns.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • Spot and cross paper for pattern making.

What students need to bring

  • Required Preparation : Bring 2m of woven fabric i.e. cotton, linen, wool, silk, or mix are suitable. Knit or stretchy fabrics are NOT suitable. Unless the material is unusually narrow (under 114cms wide) 2m should be enough but that is only a guide. It depends on size and length, and also whether there is pattern matching needed. If in doubt, bring more i.e 2.5 - 3m. Matching thread and a dress length zip 55cms.. Matching lining (optional).
  • Sewing equipment and sewing machine (a sewing machine can be provided, please email to reserve one)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Some machine sewing threads
  • Pins, hand and machine needles
  • Fabric scissors
  • Marking chalk
  • Stitch un-picker
  • Calico
  • Interfacing (black and white)
  • Available from tutor:
  • Some invisible zips in assorted colours

Please note: If you wish to use a College sewing machine, please email us to reserve one:

"A wonderful and inspiring introduction to creating your own patterns and to understanding what changes are required to make something fit."

Kay, 2019


Maria Pulley

After graduating in 3D design from Kingston University in 1978, Maria I worked in London as a graphic designer until 1986 when she moved to Cambridge and set up a business designing and making dresses. In 1998, after gaining a PGCE, she taught textiles and art at a secondary school in Cornwall.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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