Sewing Retreat | Pencil Skirt

Have you ever wanted to make your own, perfectly fitting skirts? And would you like to learn to draft cutting patterns for your own figure and that of customers, too? Acquire all the sewing skills needed to make the garment?

We have designed a four-day sewing retreat, teaching the iconic pencil skirt. First introduced by Christian Dior in the 1950’s, it stands for effortless style; the silhouette flatters all shapes and is the basis for all other skirt styles. Once you have the pencil skirt under your belt, you are unstoppable!

From drafting your own (or a model’s) pattern to finishing touches, this will be four enjoyable days in a relaxed atmosphere. Take your sewing skills to the next level while meeting like minded sewing enthusiasts. The workshop includes the individual pattern construction and all materials. The drafting literature is yours and will enable you to create patterns for all sizes and figures in the future.

  • All equipment (BROTHER industrial sewing machines and overlocker, VEIT steam tables)
  • All drafting provisions
  • All drafting literature
  • All materials (a high quality British wool cloth and BEMBERG CUPRO lining)
  • All trimmings, closures and threads
Required for Participation

Please bring your personal sewing kit including:

  • Fabric shears
  • Small scissors
  • Pinking shears
  • Needles and pins
  • Paper scissors
  • Mechanical pencil
  • Tape measure (metric)
  • Patternmaster ruler (if you have)

You will be working in our light-flooded, state-of-the-art workshop on the top floor of a former Macclesfield silk mill. Affordable accommodation and parking are available in walking distance. Please contact us for information.


Book your spot on the course on the Ticket Tailor platform, following this link.

Student attending a full-time course in a workroom with tailoring mannequin in the background

New Tailoring Courses

Short Courses

Online Classes: tailoring courses in pattern construction for bespoke garments, for male and female figure type as well as the custom shirt and the ever popular hand button hole class are all available in online format this October.

In-Person Classes: the long-awaited Custom Shirt Making course is scheduled for May 2024, at our workshop in Cheshire/UK. The focus is entirely on the meticulous techniques the shirt is famous for (French seams, etc). 

Book your tickets on Ticket Tailor: safe and simple to use, the platform has all the details. Once booked, you gain access to the online class with a Zoom link. PDF instructions and live recordings are provided.

Full-Time Courses

The Level 5 Diploma in Bespoke Tailoring: now in its sixth year, the course provides a regulated qualification to those who are looking for a professional career in bespoke tailoring, high-end fashion design or stage and film production. The Tailoring Academy remains the sole provider with accreditation to deliver the programme, which is open to British citizens and UK residents, as well as those eligible to enter the UK under the Youth Mobility scheme.

The International Programme offers two separate courses to overseas students. Each is approved by the UK Fashion and Textile Association UKFT alongside the Level 5 Diploma, recognising the same high standard.
We can provide access to high quality accommodation for six international students.

Online Tailoring

And finally, the 2024/25 edition of our popular Online Tailoring class: this course is designed for enjoyment and has served many of our past students as a springboard to the world of bespoke tailoring. Participants from around the world come together every Friday to learn from the same tutors who teach our full-time courses.

Find information on all tailoring courses, follow the tabs on the main menu, or drop us a line using the form below.

    An under collar, marked for proposed adjustments following the forward fitting.

    Online Tailoring 2023/24

    Can it be done on screen? That is the question when considering an online course, especially learning practical skills. Having had to switch to remote delivery during the pandemic, we learned there are even upsides to learning on screen: we now use ‘Zoom-in-the-Room’ even for classroom demos. Our full-time students never miss a detail as every process step is shown close-up. Questions during the session are directly addressed via the interconnected sound system.

    The same applies to Online Tailoring, a class attended by students from around the world: they either follow live every Friday, or catch up using the recording we provide. Between sessions, they discuss queries with tutors using our dedicated chat channel. Over the course of a year, our students learn to draft, cut and tailor a bespoke jacket from beginning to end! But don’t take our word for it. Here is Justin (who had never tailored before) about his experience:

    “The course is well structured and the quality of teaching is excellent. Every point is carefully explained, time is always made for questions, and tutors take real interest in students’ progress. The presentation of content is excellent and the online experience has been carefully considered.

    The recordings allow me to recap and the well monitored chat forum makes me feel part of a real class. The dedication for teaching really shines through as praise and encouragement. I will benefit this experience long into the future. If you are interested in bespoke tailoring, you could not choose a better course.”
     Photo credit: Titilayo Okujago

    We are delighted Justin chose not only to join, but to stay with us once he has completed his course: he will enrol on our Level 5 Diploma programme, to qualify as bespoke cutter and tailor under the Regulated Qualification Framework.

    The new Online Tailoring class starts 15th September. Get in touch if you are interested in what it can offer you:

      Last Few Places

      *** Fully booked for 2023/24. Admissions open shortly for 2024/25 ***

      The Level 5 Diploma in Bespoke Tailoring (RQF) continues to grow its reputation as a government regulated qualification for those who want to build their bespoke tailoring and cutting skills to a professional level. With its growing popularity, we have received a record number of applications this year and are close to filling the last remaining places. Please note we do not operate a submission deadline but admit suitable candidates on a first come, first serve basis.

      Approved as a Higher Education (HE) qualification by the UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT), the course delivers the full skill set – Bespoke Cutting AND Tailoring  – in ONE structured curriculum. Uniquely, we teach both skill sets for male and female figure types. Our graduates are highly sought after by bespoke tailoring companies, stage production as a well as high end fashion houses. Long-standing experts with decades worth of insight into Savile Row agree The Tailoring Academy is fast becoming *the* place to learn traditional bespoke tailoring skills.

      The Tailoring Academy is the benchmark for Bespoke Tailoring education and this
      should be celebrated 
as the exemplar in the UK.”

      Alan Cannon Jones MSc. F.FCDE, Chairman of the Judges
      The Golden Shears competition

      Once we receive your application, we invite you to a personal interview. This is your opportunity to tell us about your background and motivation to join. Within a few days of your interview you will receive written notification as to whether or not we can offer you a place on the course.

      Our programme is hugely popular with candidates from around the world and has just become accessible to
      international students following our accreditation by the British Accreditation Council (BAC).
      We have now opened the application process for our new International Programme starting 2023.


      UKFT awards Approval

      We are delighted to announce the UK Fashion and Textile Association UKFT has awarded the first course on our new International Programme its stamp of approval! In recognition of its high delivery and assessment standards, the Sector Skills Body will list the Bespoke Jacket course alongside its government regulated qualifications (the Level 5 Diploma in Bespoke Tailoring being one of them).

      The UKFT Approved scheme recognises and promotes high-quality provision that will equip candidates with the skills required to progress in their chosen career. It is worth noting the panel of assessors pointed out this is the first non-regulated training provision approved by the skills body – proud doesn’t cover it.

      Admissions are now open: join us for your approved next career move and apply for your place on the programme.
      Any questions? Send us your enquiry using the form below:

        Apply Now

        … for your place on our 2023/24 Level 5 Diploma course:

        We have had an exiting academic year culminating in the award of accreditation by the British Accreditation Council (BAC) and approval of our new International Programme by the UK Fashion and Textiles Association, UKFT (more on this shortly). But the Academy also just received another ringing endorsement of its highly acclaimed course for UK students. The testimonial comes from no other than Liveryman Alan Cannon Jones MSc. F.FCDE, Chairman of the Judges of the prestigious Golden Shears competition:

        “The Tailoring Academy is the benchmark for Bespoke Tailoring education and this should be celebrated and encouraged as the exemplar in the UK.”

        Responsible for quality assurance on our Level 5 Diploma programme, the expert with vast experience from across the British tailoring industry added:

        “The career progression of graduating students over the past two years has proved that the knowledge and skills acquired provide the springboard that the trade requires.”

        If you are thinking about a career in bespoke tailoring and look for a government-regulated qualification that equips you with the all-important practical skills, this is the course for you. With previous experience in garment making,
        acquired either through formal or self-study, you can now submit your application, to be considered as one of the first candidates for a place on the full-time course starting September 2023. *Please note we limit the offer to only eight places this year, to also provide for overseas candidates on our newly approved International Programme.

        Find the key facts below, or get in touch by email for more information! If your application is successful, we invite you for a personal interview. Within a few days you will receive notification as to whether or not we can offer you a place (we always include feedback). We hold your offer for 14 days to allow you to complete the formal registration process. A non-refundable enrolment fee is payable upon agreement.

        IMPORTANT: to protect the wellbeing of our staff and students, we will only consider applications from candidates who have been fully vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants (evidence required).

        Course Structure:
        Qualification SEG Level 5 Diploma in Bespoke Tailoring (601/8252/0)
        Cutting AND Tailoring Pathway (two qualifications)
        Regulator Ofqual
        Assessment Internal assessment, internal and external moderation
        Grading Pass
        Dates 11 September 2023 to 12 July 2024
        Format Full Time
        Fee £9,995 incl. VAT 
        Payment Schedule Enrolment Fee: £2,495 incl. VAT (upon agreement, non-refundable)
        1st Instalment:  £2,500 incl. VAT (1st August 2023)
        2nd Instalment: £2,500 incl. VAT (1st December 2023)
        3rd Instalment:  £2,500 incl. VAT (1st April 2024)
        Sector Fashion and Textiles
        Ofqual SSA Sector Manufacturing Technologies
        Stakeholder Support UKFT and The Savile Row Bespoke Association
        Visit UKFT’s website


        Going International

        We are thrilled to announce that, following a rigorous process of inspection, the Tailoring Academy was awarded
        accreditation by the British Accreditation Council, obtaining the leading mark of educational quality within the independent further and higher education sector. The council’s independent panel of experts judged that we meet all their standards in the following areas:

          • Teaching, learning and assessment
          • Governance, strategy and financial management
          • Academic management and administration
          • Student support, guidance, recruitment and progression
          • Premises, facilities, and learning resources
          • Quality management, assurance and enhancement.

        BAC accreditation adds another layer of quality assurance for all our students, staff and other stakeholders. It also enables us to enrol international students onto our new short term courses of up to six months in length. The first of our programmes for international students will launch in September and is already fully booked.
        Please get in touch using the contact form below if you would like to add your name to our mailing list for updates on subsequent courses starting in February 2023.

          Applications are Open

          … once again!

          Our previous cohort left the academy having signed employment contracts, accepted freelance offers or getting ready for the launch of a company. We are immensely proud of our graduates and will keep following their progress. Our new cohort is only a few weeks into their training but students already impress us with work that would typically be expected of trainees much further into their course or apprenticeship.

          The secret lies in the fact that students follow a structured programme with us, rather than running alongside their employer, to pick up odd jobs here and there – the nature of the traditional apprenticeship! But let’s not forget the fact they are, first and foremost, immensely talented and determined to learn. It is a joy to see them soaking up the new knowledge and skills, transferring them into sterling results, even this early on.

          Following our move to larger, beautiful new premises we are ready to welcome new candidates to our Level 5 Diploma 2022/23 intake. We will keep student numbers low as is our well-proven custom, allowing everyone ample space keeps being important, not just for health reasons but also because our craft demands freedom of movement and of course each student needs room to accommodate their alter ego – the tailoring dummy (long time followers know they have a special place in my heart).

          Get in touch if you’d like to hear more, including about our Community Tailoring scheme that allows you to earn whilst you learn. Drop us a line using the contact form or come and see us for a tour and chat on either of our Open Days. The dates are:

          Saturday 13th November for those who can attend in person
          Saturday 20th November for those further afield, including international applicants

          Participation in an open day is not a pre-condition for your application. Get in touch straight away if you wish to be considered for our 2022/23 intake. We look forward to hearing from you!

          Our family of dummies


            Case study shows dual tailoring qualification opens up progression routes for fashion and costume designers

            Glyndebourne beckons!

            Our dual qualification has just been confirmed as a pathway to a fulfilling career – the ABC Level 5 Diploma in Bespoke Tailoring opens up veritable progression routes for those with previous experience in garment making:

            John joined our very first cohort studying for the newly launched qualification in September 2018, as a recent fashion design graduate from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. During his admission interview, he explained he was looking for solid traditional tailoring skills, as well as training in pattern construction – both areas the more conceptual BA fashion design courses do not generally deliver. His admiration for meticulous hand craft was immediately evident and he knew that adding this specialist expertise to his existing skill set would enable him to follow a more ambitious career path than the fashion degree alone would have afforded him.

            His previous experience in design and garment making helped him to hit the ground running. His diligence and inquisitive mind played a significant role in maximising the learning opportunities the qualification has on offer. He was particularly appreciative of the fact that the academy delivers both pathways of the qualification – the cutting and tailoring route – to all students.

            From the second term onwards, John began working on customer commissions within the academy’s ‘Community Tailoring’ scheme. He engaged in bespoke selling, advised customers on style options, material choices and technical detail concerning individual figure and posture. He carried out cost calculations, provided quotations and placed orders for materials with suppliers. He then moved on to tailor, fit and supply the bespoke garments.  John worked hard and achieved extremely positive outcomes on each occasion, which was evidenced in the feedback he received from customers – valuable experience he will be able to build on in the future. He passed the final assessments with flying colours in July 2019. His practical work is of professional standard and his exemplary portfolio received particular praise: meticulous and beautifully accomplished, it will serve him as reference throughout his future career.

            The Level 5 curriculum is an intensive programme, hands-on and within the real environment of a working bespoke house, with all the challenges this entails. It is designed to equip graduates for a career role with considerable responsibility, including setting up their own bespoke business, if they so wish. John made full use of this opportunity and I was delighted to learn that, following his graduation from the academy, he accepted the offer of a tailoring position within the men’s costume department at the prestigious Glyndebourne Festival Opera. The application process at Glyndebourne involved two interview stages, both entailing a practical exam. John was able to demonstrate his proficiency on both occasions owing to the practical skills training he received as part of the qualification.

            John was generously supported by a student grant made available by the CapitB Trust, in recognition of the fact that the qualification, designed by the Savile Row Bespoke Association as an alternative to the traditional apprenticeship, is becoming available outside of London.