Couture. The word alone strikes fear in many sewers. Don't let it scare you. In it's simplest form the word couture means to sew . Couture expert, Roberta Carr, says, "Couture is an attitude." It's a way of thinking about, as the title of her book suggests, "The Art of Fine Sewing". To me, couture means attention to the details, using the best techniques, having patience and striving for excellence.

Somewhere I read the quote, "An ounce of experience is worth a pound of theory." You can learn many things from reading books and listening to lectures, but when it comes to sewing, doing is best. That's why I love teaching individuals and small groups. It is very rewarding to work with a student one-on-one and help them solve problems and develop their skills. And I love being able to give everyone in a class individual attention and help as well. In small hands-on classes, students get to focus on the techniques and details. I see real improvement in both their sewing and self-confidence.

For most of my classes there are no more than 6 students. The focus is on learning new techniques and improving skills. Classes are designed for sewers who want to take their sewing ability to a higher level and to learn the details that will make their sewing exceptional instead of average.

My inspiration for classes comes from you, the students. You share with me what you would like to accomplish in your sewing, where you get stuck and when you are ready to try something new. I share with you my many years of experience as a custom clothier and teacher, my couture "attitude" and my love of the details.


Please see Classes & Workshops for a complete list of all classes I currently have scheduled. Once there, click on a class title for more detailed information about each class.

Private Lessons

Individual or group private instruction is available to sewers of all levels at my studio in Tigard, Oregon. I can offer you help learning new sewing techniques, assistance with fitting patterns and garments, or guidance on a specific project. You may schedule as little as an hour or as much as several days. Nearby hotel accommodations and transportation are available for out-of-town students.


If you can't come to Oregon, I am available for seminars and hands-on workshops for stores, private groups or organizations in your city. Choose from a variety of topics including:
  • Fabric Collage a la Koos - the collage techniques used by designer Koos van den Akker (1/2 day trunk show or 1 day workshop or 2 day workshop)
  • Pro Tips - tips and techniques from a professional dressmaker to improve sewing, pressing, and design skills (1/2 day trunk show/lecture)
  • Sheer Magic - tips for working with sheer fabrics (1/2 day trunk show/lecture or 1 day workshop)
  • Lining and Underlining - techniques for lining/underlining all types of garments (1/2 day trunk show/lecture)
  • Inside Out - inner structure of garments (1/2 day trunk show/lecture)
  • Sensational Sleeves - setting in the perfect sleeve and exploring sleeve designs (1/2 day workshop)
  • Simply Perfect Seams - perfect seams, smooth edges, trimming, grading, clipping, notching, understitching and pressing (1/2 day workshop)
  • Fabulous Shirts and Blouses - changing the design details on a basic pattern (1/2 day trunk show/lecture or 1/2 day workshop or 1 day workshop or 2 day workshop)
  • Jackets - Design and Conquer - changing the design details on a basic pattern (1/2 day trunk show/lecture or 1/2 day workshop or 1 day workshop or 2 day workshop)
  • It's All in the Details... - techniques and tips to polish your sewing skills and add creative details (1/2 day trunk show/lecture or 1 day workshop or 2 day workshop)
  • Tailoring: Before You Cut - planning and refining a tailored jacket pattern before you cut your fabric (1/2 day lecture)
  • That's a Buttonhole?! - Spanish snap, triangle, and bound buttonholes (1/2 day workshop)
  • Wonderful Welt Pockets - several methods for making welt pockets (1/2 day workshop)
  • Tailoring Tune-Up - create samples of tailoring techniques - notched collar, bound buttonhole and setting in a sleeve (1 day workshop)
  • Tailoring Crash Course - sew half a jacket as a sampler of tailoring techniques (2 day workshop)
  • Fitting Burda Patterns - measuring and creating a fitting chart to draft and cut out Burda patterns,combining sizes and customizing your fit (1/2 day lecture/demo or 1 day workshop or 2 day workshop)
For more information or to schedule a lesson, seminar or workshop, contact me at or phone 503-624-4822.

Even though I had been sewing for more than thirty years when I first took one of Marla's classes, I learned so much. In each of the classes I have taken, I learned those little tricks that take a garment to the next level. I would highly suggest Marla's classes to any one who wants to improve the garments they make.

Ann G.
Vancouver, WA
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