At some point in her life, a Selfish Seamstress realizes that it isn’t enough to cross her fingers and hope that next month’s issue of Burda will have something that she loves, or to flip through the pattern books at JoAnn in futile search for the perfectly sleek blouse that exists only in her head.  When I hit this point about a year and a half ago, I started hunting around Chicago for pattern drafting classes.  No more wishing it came in my size, no more wishing it didn’t cost $4000, no more feeble and uninformed hacking of patterns with questionable results. Yes, the Selfish Seamstress was determined to have *exactly* what she wanted if it meant making it herself entirely from scratch!

But it wasn’t that easy.  After countless hours poking around the web and calling places that would only teach pattern drafting as part of a fashion design certificate or degree (and I simply didn’t have 2 years worth of evenings and weekends to devote to it!) I posted a query on Yelp for drafting classes. And that’s how I found sewing instructor and fashion designer Tchad. Here’s some of his work (prepare to covet):

Simply put, if you want to learn to sew and happen to be fortunate enough to live in the Chicago area, you want to go to Tchad.  Because the guy knows everything there is to know about fashion and design, and he wants to share it with anyone who would like to learn, and he wants to do so in what will inevitably be the most enjoyable 3 hours of your week.

Tchad’s classes are sewing for grownups.  No assigned projects, no required course of learning.  Each student comes in with their own goals, be it learning basic skills, learning couture techniques, wanting to copy a Chanel dress from a magazine, or making one perfect fitting pair of black pants -Tchad works with each student individually to help him or her meet those goals.

I first went to learn drafting, but stuck around because, well, there was just so much more to learn from this amazing teacher! You can ask him about the history of the Singer Featherweight, and he’ll tell you.  You can ask him to explain the differences between dimity, batiste, voile, and lawn, and he knows.  And on top of that, he’s just the about the nicest, most encouraging and supportive teacher you could ask for. Seriously, check out his Yelp reviews— students love this guy. Check out one of his students’ projects (hope she doesn’t mind that I posted it):  


Oh yes, that is a glen plaid cashmere coat from a vintage 1956 pattern.  With bound buttonholes to boot. Second helping of covet, anyone?

Also, check out the gorgeous, open, sun-filled studio which Tchad built himself. What seamstress wouldn’t want to spend an afternoon here crafting a silk faille gown with the help of a master at his craft?

And when I say he built it himself, I mean *everything* as in designing the space, putting in the electrical, laying the floor, knocking down walls.  By himself.  By hand. With no help. Trust me, this is the kind of person you want to learn from.

If you’re wondering, Tchad’s not paying me to write this or anything. But despite the Selfish Seamstress’s overarching disdain for most of humankind, she does feel that it’s only fair to give props to certain outstanding people, especially when they answer every single one of her sewing questions, help her make cute clothes, helped her find the perfect sewing machine for her needs, and totally understand why she gets giddy over vintage pattern books. 

If you’re lucky enough to live in the Chicago area, check out his classes. But I warn you, you will get hooked.