by LEE ANN SANDWEISS
With Indiana University and Ivy Tech Community College in its midst, Bloomington is known as a college town. Now, the city can boast yet another institute of learning—the University of Sewing.
Margaret Fette, owner of The Tailored Fit, started teaching sewing several years ago, but a new, larger location at 611 W. 11th St. made it possible for her to vastly expand the educational component. “Before we moved into our present location, we could never really get the teaching going,” she explains.
Now that she has 4,000 square feet to work with, Fette can give her customers a lot more. “What we offer [at the shop] is all-encompassing—alterations, of course, plus a sewing classroom with Bernina machines, and high-quality quilting fabric along with fabrics from all over the world for clothing and accessories,” she says. “I particularly love the new Danish knits we carry.”
Fette, who taught senior-level sewing as a lecturer at Indiana University and has taught at arts and crafts schools around the country, including the John C. Campbell Folk Art School in North Carolina, says University of Sewing students range from beginner to advanced. The classes are small—just two to six people—and private lessons are an option. Currently, Fette’s youngest student is 12 and her oldest is a 72-year-old who wanted to learn to sew knits.
“The classes start with beginner sewing machine lessons using our Bernina 3 Series machines and expand into garment sewing or quilting,” Fette says. “Additionally, we offer all kinds of hand-sewing techniques, advanced lessons in fitting, and we hope to do some beginning tailoring classes starting in January. After the beginner level, students are encouraged to bring their own machines so they can learn the techniques using their machine’s specific requirements.”
Classes are taught by Fette and other experienced instructors. The frequency and duration of each class varies depending on student goals. Fees range from about $12 to $20 an hour.
“I started this because no one is teaching sewing anymore,” Fette says. “There is interest in learning, but where do you go if your mom didn’t teach you to sew? We love to sew and want to share that with everyone.”
For more information, visit universityofsewing.com.