Jane White

Jane White – City & Guilds Fashion (Adv), Cert Ed

I’ve always been passionate about fashion and can’t remember a time when I didn’t sew.

However, my fire for dressmaking was ignited when I was just nine years old sparked by the arrival of Great Auntie Margaret’s Singer hand sewing machine into my life.

A blue seersucker nightie  – with french seams!

I made my first ever garment (a nightie in blue seersucker with pink rose rosebuds with French seams – it was so big I could have pegged it out as a tent but I was so proud of it and wore it until it dropped to pieces) on this noisy, temperamental, but nonetheless wonderful contraption, and I’ve been hooked ever since!

I brought my skills and passion together by qualifying in design, pattern cutting and garment construction at degree level with City & Guilds.

I’m a firm believer in the theory that those who can, teach, and I’ve taken everything I learnt throughout my dressmaking years and the countless private commissions I have completed, and poured all of this enthusiasm and experience into my teaching.

I have taught non-vocational dressmaking as well as certificated City & Guilds Fashion, BTech National Diploma Fashion & Clothing, BA (Hons) Fashion and construction skills at The Northern College of Costume.

There’s no substitute for good practical skills

Sadly, throughout my teaching career, I have witnessed the demise of formal dressmaking education. These days there are few garment construction and pattern cutting courses available to adult learners, vocational or non-vocational. On the whole, courses that do still run pay scant attention to practical skills, emphasising design and portfolio skills over hands-on technical know-how. In formal education, there were many students on advanced vocational courses that did not meet their aims. Whilst not everyone wants or needs a formal qualification, what most people in this position want and definitely need, are good practical skills learnt from an experienced, enthusiastic and qualified teacher.

I have a breadth of experience and expertise with a special knowledge in non-standard sizing and fitting.

In 2005, I decided to do something about this and set up as an independent dressmaking teacher. I can now offer you what you actually want in a way that fits in with your life and I’m committed to offering you the highest quality teaching to help you produce professionally finished, stylish garments with a fantastic fit.

City & Guilds Equivalent Programme

For students who would like a structured course of study, it gives me great pleasure to be able to offer the City & Guilds Equivalent programme which follows the format and content of the withdrawn City & Guilds 7160 syllabus. With its commitment to high-level practical skills, supported by simple and relevant design theory, it’s for anyone who wants to make clothes with stylish individuality to an exceptionally high standard.

Ropewalk Arts Centre – Lincolnshire

My move to the Ropewalk arts centre in Lincolnshire in 2013 ago means that I can offer a wide and growing range of classes and courses in a comfortable, fully equipped and inspirational workspace.

I regard myself as very fortunate to work doing something I love and be amongst fantastic people every day. My students are enthusiastic and friendly and make fabulous, stylish, well-fitted garments. Some of my students have gone on to study for fashion and costume degree courses with The Northern College of Costume. Some work in theatre, others in the industry as designer/makers and one returned to her native Zambia with enough skills to set up her own dressmaking business.

Theatre, dress designer, textile maker, business owner, skilled hobbyist – where will your sewing skills take you?

I love to hear what students are doing and am always delighted to add photographs of their fabulous garments and tales of their adventures in dressmaking to my student gallery and news.

You’ve a lot to answer for Auntie Margaret!