Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve never sewn anything in my life or used a sewing machine ever!  Where do I start?
We recommend that you start with the Machine Basics Class to familiarize yourself with a sewing machine and how it works. You can then follow it up with a project-based class. Our most basic class is the Pajama Pant class. The Bag Class is a great class, too.
We recommend the following options as a course of study:

  • Sewing Machine Basics
  • Pajama Pants
  • Decorative Pillows
  • Simple yet chic Zipper Bags
  • Upcycling 101

Why Attend The Camp Couture?
We teach you exactly what you want to learn.  We embrace creativity and are skilled enough to make and teach anything you want to learn.

I used to sew, but haven’t done so in a while. What class would you suggest?
Depending on what you remember, you might want to take the Machine Intro Class or sign up for a basic project class like the pajama making class.

What kinds of classes do you offer?

  • Baby Blankets & Clothing
  • Basic Hemming and Alterations
  • Computer bags, make up bags, purses and tote bag –
  • Corset making
  • Home Decor
  • Lingerie
  • Swimwear
  • Pajama Basics
  • Sewing Machine Basics
  • Sewing with patterns
  • Skirts with darts and a zipper or an elastic waist
  • Specialty techniques – zippers, buttonholes & pockets
  • Using a serger-
  • Yoga Pants/All things Stretch
  • Make your own prom dress
  • Alterations
  • Check the class list for more classes.

If your interests are not listed, please contact us in regard to your special interest and we will do our best to teach you what you want to learn.

I am good at sewing – what classes do you have that will challenge me?
Some of our more advanced classes include corset making & fine garment construction. All of these classes require that you have good solid sewing skills already under your belt, and involve more complicated construction methods and/or tailoring techniques. We also offer some basic pattern making classes for those of you who want to turn your sketches into reality.

I want to buy a pattern. Any suggestions?
In general, patterns labeled “easy,” “quick,” “2-hour,” or something similar are best. Patterns with fewer pieces will go together easier. Try to avoid Vogue™ patterns or any advanced skill patterns for your first projects as they have tend not to be friendly beginners.

Can you teach me to copy this vintage dress I have that is falling apart?
Yes. Vintage clothing is getting more rare & expensive, and we can learn so much from studying the construction methods. We can teach you how to copy a garment without taking it apart in most cases – it depends on how complicated the design is.

Do I need a sewing machine?
No. We provide all tools and machines needed to complete your project.  BUT!! It is beneficial to bring/use your own machine so that you can better understand your sewing machine.

Can I bring my own sewing machine to class?
All students are welcome to bring her or his own sewing machine or serger to class, although we provide machines for your use.

I do not know how to use my machine. Can you help me?
Yes. I would suggest a 1-2 hour private session on how to use your machine.

Can you recommend a sewing machine?
Try borrowing before buying. put the word out to loved ones and friends and chances are somebody out there has a spare machine with your name on it. if the lender hasn’t been used for a while, take it to a sewing machine repair shop for a check-up.

A new no-frills machine will run you around $200-$300. of course you can spend much, much more! if you’ve never sewn before, consider taking an intro to sewing machine class at make or buy from a local dealer that offers free lessons with purchase. the more experience you have sewing before buy, the better!

Viking, Bernina, Janome and some Kenmore brands have been successful for me. I have also refurbished some used machines from occasionally for sale. Please inquire for this particular inventory.  Newer machines have different bells and whistles like embroidery functions, so depending on what you want to achieve will strongly affect the direction in your purchase.

What do I need for the class?

See fabric resource list below for places to purchase fabric, Also review the class description for information and supplies. Many classes have a supply list posted on the website. If you’re unsure or have questions, please feel free to contact us.

What type of fabric do you recommend for beginner projects?
100% cotton woven fabric is the easiest fabric for beginners to work with. It’s not too slippery and it has enough body to stand up to a lot of handling. Plus, it’s comfy! If you are dead set against cotton for your project, contact us and we’ll discuss what other fabrics would be appropriate. Cotton/linen blends, heavier or raw silks, lightweight wools – all of these would be appropriate for the adventuresome in certain classes

How old do you have to be to join the camp or lessons?
Ages range from 7 – 70 years of age.

I want to learn something specific. Can I have a class in that?
If you want to learn something specific that we are not offering in a class format, you can sign up for a private class.

Do I need to bring a pattern?
If there is a specific project or pattern you want to work from, by all means, bring it. We have patterns available at the studio. I suggest taking a class on reading patterns.

When do you have classes?
Classes are on going throughout the weekday, evenings and weekends. Please refer to the Class Calendar for specific dates and times of classes. Private classes are scheduled by appointments. You can also contact us directly to ask for upcoming classes that may not have been uploaded on to this site.

Do you have private lessons?
Yes, Private classes are by appointment. Please contact us directly for more information.

Can I have a private party?
Yes! We have a variety of options for parties. Please contact us directly and or review the Party section of this site.

Do you do birthday parties?

Yes we do. Please click here to see the birthday party packages we have available.  We can customize parties to suit particular themes. “One camp, infinite possibilities.”

Where are you located?
We are located in San Mateo.1628 Palm Avenue San Mateo CA 94402

How do I sign up?
Please click on the sign up  link on this website and fill out the attached form.

Do you have gift certificates?
Yes. You may buy online on our Camp Couture Shop Page.

Can I visit the studio?
Give us a call and we’ll set up an appointment for you to checkout the studio. We’d love to see you!

What happens if I can’t make a class?
Because of the special nature of our offerings and very limited enrollment, classes are nonrefundable. We will honor transfers into alternate sessions within reasonable timelines. Summer Camp weeks cannot be split between weeks.

When should I arrive for class?
Arrive on time or 5 minutes before.

Do I have to provide my child lunch for the summer camp sessions?

Not anymore! Info coming here soon.

Can you recommend a good seamstress or sample-maker?
Please refer to the custom sewing section of this website for complete details.

Do you do alterations and hemming?
Yes. We have an experienced tailor in house, please call us for an appointment.

Do you rent workshop space and use of your machines?
Rent workshop space by the hour to use our sewing machines or bring yours. Available in the workshop: an industrial serger (4 sergers total), 8 sewing machines, professional cover stitch machine, blind hemmer, pico hemmer, heavy duty industrial singer sewing machine and iron. You must know how to use a sewing machine to rent workshop space. $15.00 for each hour, minimum 3 hour.