Sewing classes a la mode

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by Alexia Johnston

Sewing is fashionable in Timaru – or so it would seem.
Weekly Tuesday and Wednesday evening classes tutored by Raewyn Payne are almost full and a waiting list for the sessions shows no signs of shrinking.
A Wednesday morning session still has some vacancies.
“There seems to be another phase coming through,” Mrs Payne said.
Mrs Payne’s classes, each a three-hour session, are offered in the Timaru Sewing Centre’s new Stafford St complex.
Those who have called on her expertise range in age and skill levels. Some are absolute beginners, while others know their way around a sewing machine but want to further their knowledge.
Some of them are so dedicated to improving their skills they booked themselves into classes each term for the year.
Mrs Payne said the trick to that was booking early.
Others book term by term.
One of her students, a young girl, travels from Fairlie with her grandmother for lessons each week, while another young girl, who is home-schooled, attends with her mother.
Helen Bolton, who has been taking the lessons regularly, said as a parent it was a good opportunity to get garments sewn without distractions.
She was also grateful for Mrs Payne and centre owner-operator Linda Butler’s help and guidance, especially when she came up against challenging tasks.
The courses are held in what used to be the vault of the old BNZ Bank, which flows through to a another area known as the “cutting room”.
Timaru Sewing Centre hosted its first class from its new premises last week.
“Until now, our classroom has been up a steep set of stairs, which has discouraged those that haven’t been able to get up stairs,” Mrs Payne said.
There was a ramp outside the new site, providing customers with better access to the shop, she said.