A Couture Tailoring Course with Thomas von Nordheim

A Couture Tailoring Course with Thomas von Nordheim

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of Thomas von Nordheim's book and have referred to it often in posts over the last few years.

It's become such an invaluable resource for many sewers, and a small group of us have often talked about attending a class with Thomas in London.  

So, when asked last year by a friend if I would like to join her and three others for a custom designed course in early November,  I signed up immediately.

It's very rare that I ever get to go home alone, so I made the most of this visit by booking into a really beautiful hotel close to Russell Square, about fifteen minutes from Thomas's studio, so that I could take a slow walk through the streets every morning and evening.

It was such a lovely opportunity to slowly immerse myself back into my glorious city (and get horribly homesick as the days went on)  as well as being perfectly located for evenings out and shopping fun!


Thomas works from a studio at The Cockpit Arts  which is located in Holborn, within the Borough of Camden and while this area has changed dramatically over the years, the studio building remains a lovely, original piece of the past.

The building itself houses almost 170 artisans, holds both open studio days and tours, and has an excellent website for shopping and commissions.   It's a truly fascinating mix of skills and crafts and a lovely example of the best of British.

And the area around the studio is interestingly eclectic and safe, with lots of old and new homes, shops and restaurants, which were fun to wander around in at lunchtime.

Lamb's Conduit Street

Class started at 10am every day and finished at 6pm, and was divided into two sections - four days of tailoring and two days of pockets and buttonholes.  

It was such a fun and interesting week.  Thomas had lots of examples for us to look at as we sewed, and would walk us step by step through each stage by demonstrating them clearly and slowly before we attempted them (as well as letting us loose on his archived and vintage clothing which we definitely made the most of!)


The first four days were dedicated to the making of either a right or left half jacket, which I really liked. It's always lovely not to have to deal with the reality of patterns or fitting issues, and knowing that I did not have to finish a full garment in a short period of time really took the pressure off and let me enjoy the days more.

Tailor tacking the dart...

Balancing a dart..

Placing the hair canvas correctly on the front....

The front and side attached and basted down...

Pad stitching...

Placing the interlining on the hem...

Blind hemming the interlining..

Temporary pad stitching the lapel...

Half a collar...

Joining the half collar to the jacket..

Using a chain stitch to ease the armseye before steaming... (completely amazing!)

after steaming...

Shaping the sleeve with steam - totally worth the entire trip just to see that being done!!

The perfect sleeve - probably not mine!!

and the perfect sleeve head... (definitely not mine - thanks Faith!!)


A Jetted Pocket


And the five stages of a hand sewn buttonhole...


A finished example of a gorgeous velvet jacket....

I truly loved this class, Thomas was really so generous and patient with his time and knowledge that I would have booked more immediately had I not so far to travel each time!

I also learnt an incredible amount in six short days and while I don't think my jacket will ever look like the one above, I certainly feel more confident about attempting it (and those elusive sleeve heads!)

For anyone who is interested in tailoring, I really can't recommend the jacket classes enough... or a skirt or pocket class if you want to try a simpler project first...... who knows maybe I'll see you there next year!

(and he just added some seriously impressive tours and classes -  here      I want to go so much!)

You can also find Thomas on Instagram he often posts what he's currently working on, which is always interesting and more than a little intimidating.

I'm back to working on Marfy 3755 this week but hoping to have it finished for next Monday....

Have a lovely week everyone!

Leisa  :-)



** I paid full price for this class and received no discount or compensation, I wrote this post because I wanted to share my week with other tailoring geeks!!  x  **




















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A Final Marfy 3171 Silk Jacquard Shantung Midi Skirt

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