Why The T-Shirt Workshop?

Image of three devices, from left to right: an iPad screen with the image of a dress form and black knit fabric draped on it; a computer screen in the center with a dressform wearing a black t-shirt; and an iPhone screen with a black t-shirt with white bats all over hanging on a hanger.

Why a Sewing Course?

I have been an educator almost all my life. My first job was teaching English to Brazilian children, teens, and adults. I was 18. Since then, I have been teaching in a variety of settings and with students of all ages. Today, I am lucky enough to be a high school librarian. I teach teens how to research and evaluate information, and I (hopefully!) get them on the road to loving reading.

Sewing came into my life a couple of decades ago. At first, I was not really serious about it—blame it on the first skirt I sewed, a tiny thing (I did not know about sizing in sewing patterns) made in a less-than-attractive purple paisley fabric that I found in the discount bin at Joann. Once I found my creative rhythm, however, I never stopped sewing.

Image of a woman wearing a black t-shirt, a long black linen skirt, and Doc Martins standing in front of a wall covered in vines.

It is not an exaggeration that sewing has changed my life. 90% of everything I wear is handmade. I have a wardrobe that no one else in the world (well, I can’t really guarantee this assertion, but it is very, VERY likely that it is true) has. Even though I have not achieved the unicornian perfect fit, all my clothes fit me infinitely better than anything I buy off the rack. My clothes fit my body, not the other way around.

The clothes I sew help me express my unique style. I’ve always been a practical goth. The super goth stuff looks great at the club, but I definitely don’t want to be wearing a corset and vinyl while leading a class on research databases. Sewing has allowed me to create goth clothing without making me look like Elvira (there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with Elvira, but I really cannot go to work wearing that much cleavage!).

Image of a woman wearing a black empire-waist  dress against a white background

Sewing was such a transformational force in my life that I wanted to share it with everyone. This is why SewGoth was created—to inspire, motivate, and educate alt/goth and other nonconforming folks so that they too can take control of their body narrative and let their freak light shine through their clothes. But I wanted to go one step further and use what I know as an educator to create a structured, explicit, and systematic approach to learning how to sew. The sum of all these things is The T-Shirt Workshop.

But Why a T-Shirt?

Demystifying Knits

Image of a piece of ash rose knit fabric held by a woman's left hand against a white table with a black pair of scissors

While you sew your first (your first successful) t-shirt, you will learn how to work with knit fabrics. Knits get a reputation of being difficult. Some knits are—in the same way that some woven fabrics are. For beginner sewists, knits offer a variety of advantages, starting with fit. Because knit fabrics stretch, knit garments will fit even if you miss the fitting mark. You don’t have to finish seams as most knit fabrics don’t fray. And you can sew every single knit garment with your sewing machine—no need for a fancy serger!

Harnessing Versatility

Image of three t-shirt tops against a white background

The T-shirt is the unsung hero of our closets. Chances are, you spend more time in a T-shirt than in any other garment throughout the course of your life. They are cute and comfortable, but they can also be glamorous… and comfortable! A plain white tee is a staple in anyone’s closet; so is your favorite band’s tee. The best feature of a T-shirt is that it is super versatile not only as a piece of clothing but especially as a sewing pattern.

From my TNT T-shirt pattern, the Plantain by Deer and Doe, I have sewn more than 10 tees, and at least six dresses. I have changed the sleeves, the neckline, the length; I have split the t-shirt into a bodice and skirt and created a few empire-waist dresses. You can create a whole wardrobe with one single pattern!

And Why The T-Shirt Workshop?

A Course Grounded on Best Teaching Practices

The T-Shirt Workshop was designed to follow the best principles of teaching and learning. Each lesson builds on the previous one, and content is dripped (released some at a time) so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. There are specific and observable goals along the way, and support is provided at every step of the way. If you ever feel lost, I’m here to catch you.

A Community of Sewists

Image of a wall covered in subway tiles with "We Like You Too:)" written in black tiles

Sewing is A LOT of fun. But a lot of times, it is also kinda… isolating. Having a community of like-minded sewists can make the learning process a lot more enjoyable. You will also have people to reach out to when you have a problem. And I don’t know about you, but sometimes all I want is someone to commiserate with. So if/when things get tough, you know there are people you can vent to, ask for help, and help in return. 

Scaffolding (a really fancy name for support)

Image of two kittens, one black and white and another all black, being held by female hands

During the pandemic, I decided to learn how to code. My husband and I took a class on python, a programming language that is used in everything from building websites to machine learning. I was a very dedicated student—I read all the content, watched all the lessons, did all the homework. But it got to a point where I needed guidance to move forward. I needed a person to point me in the right direction and help me overcome the obstacles I was facing. There was no one. So I dropped the class.

Learning is challenging. To grow, you need to accept that you are going to feel uncomfortable and frustrated. This is why support is SO important. The best teachers, mentors, and coaches know that they have to push students into an area of discomfort WHILE providing them with support. When all you experience is frustration, this is when you give up. Like I did. I got your back!

The Deets

You can enroll in The T-Shirt Workshop right. Enrollment ends Sunday, May 7, at 11:59 PM. Class starts May 8, with one module (2-3 lessons) becoming available every Monday for six weeks. During this time, I will be holding Sewing Studio hours every week. The original price is $197, but you get a 50% discount because I am celebrating my first-born course.

I hope you decide to join me. I’m super excited about this e-course!

Have questions? Just email me at paula@sewgoth, or leave your question in the comments.


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