• Do you have a passion for fashion?
  • Do you crave the satisfaction of making something entirely from scratch?
  • Do you have a business idea?
  • Do you want to celebrate craft traditions of a relative or friend who’s no longer around or rediscover the styles of a bygone era?

These are all real and diverse reasons why some of our students enrol in a sewing, fashion or design course with CAE.

To give us a better understanding of these programs, we spoke with two of our most experienced teachers: Karine Larché (Pattern Making: French Draping and Sewing: Lingerie & Fine Fabric) and Jan Bowles (Sewing: Beginners and Pattern Making from an Existing Garment).

Jan has been teaching at CAE for 30 years. A qualified pattern maker, her extensive teaching experience still brings her great enjoyment in helping others.

“I love the look of fulfilment students get when they produce their finished garment. That satisfaction is wonderful to experience with them,” Jan says.

Karine has been delivering classes for the last four years and she has similar sentiments.20210321_152921 “As a teacher, I learn from other people’s experiences and can adapt how to transfer my knowledge in a teachable, digestible way. I love to connect with people through this medium,” she says.

Katrine has a background as a costumier, set and costume designer, and worked with the Australian Ballet. She says these disciplines are the perfect convergence between thinking, designing, feeling and making.

“Clothes are about telling stories; fashion and design can tell you about the person, the time, the climate, the political context, everything about the time and the place of the wearer,” she explains.Lingerie example detail bust

Sewing, Fashion and Design courses at CAE cater to different skill levels. Karine says some basic sewing skills will be beneficial for the Lingerie course as students will be working with fine fabrics and techniques. Students are wowed by the level of detail in this class and the outcomes are intricate and couture.

As for French Draping, she says that this discipline is democratic, intuitive and creative. “Pattern Making is an advantage but not necessary, even school age students who are 17 and 18 do really well. The attendees are amazed by the world of possibilities opened to them by being able to create their own patterns, it’s very empowering.”

Sewing experience is also required for Jan’s pattern making classes but she says attendees for the Beginners Sewing class can come in with absolutely no prior knowledge. She will take you through the fundamentals of using a sewing machine, and each student will have their own machine in class to work with. Beginners’ Sewing is also a great way to test the waters before investing in your own sewing machine.20210803_212846

With Jan’s hands-on approach, after learning the basics she instructs students to go to the fabric store for the next phase of the program, making their own pyjama pants. She believes getting a feel for the fabrics is the best way to make the right choice for making your own PJs – and if you do choose the incorrect material, never fear, your creation will be loungewear instead!

Karine says if you are unsure which course will be the right fit for you, please get in touch. Our friendly and helpful team can guide you to the class that will meet your needs and skill level.

“People come to CAE with a purpose. They already have a hunger to work with fabrics, sewing and making. Some come with side projects already underway and all are from varied backgrounds. I love the ingenuity of people and how they find a way to bring their concept to fruition.”

“I have recommendations of work and patterns, but students are also welcome to bring their own ideas and concepts – we adjust the mannequins as close as possible to their size and we are happy to discuss further options and possibilities to achieve desired outcomes,” Karine says.

With small class sizes in a supportive environment, Karine and Jan are able to give students the individual attention they need to help them realise their vision and achieve their goals.Getting ready for Fed Square Dior Toile

“The feedback from our courses are overwhelmingly positive and I’m rewarded by how happy people are when they complete the course,” says Karine.

Jan says that students are quite surprised by their own talents and what they can produce by the end and that students often come to rediscover an old passion they might have lost – or to find a new one.

“There is humour, elation and drama when things go wrong. There have been many funny instances of small ‘disasters’ in my classes but these are not the be all and end all and we can usually find a solution quite easily. And I tell them it’s not just newbies – things can go wrong even for the pros and the best sewers, it’s all about having fun with it,” says Jan.

So if you have always thought about taking the next step in your sewing and design skills or want to get started on the basics, what are you waiting for? Our classes are accessible, fun and informative. Get started on your creative journey today and explore the range of fashion, sewing and design classes we have on offer.