Instructor Profile: Aisha Ali

Why do you think Sewing Skills is so popular?

A lot of people in the class want to learn how to make their own clothing but have found it difficult to know where to begin on their own Sewing Skills Studio is a way for people to get started with professional support. It is also a manageable number of classes. The course is long enough to learn substantial skills without requiring not a huge time commitment.

Many people also have a sewing machine at home already but don’t know how to use it. When you are first learning to sew, there are a lot of variables to keep track of. Why a machine works and why it does not can feel mysterious. Learning with an instructor helps students skip the frustration and confusion that getting started on their own can bring.


What sort of projects do students work on?

Some of the courses, such as Sewing Skills Studio, are focused on a specific project that is meant to develop technical skills and build an understanding of how clothing is made. Other courses, such as Upcycle Fashion have more open-ended projects that allow students to develop their own creative voice.


What are the skills students are eager to learn?

A lot of students want to learn to make and modify their own clothing. They come to class wanting to learn foundational skills such as understanding sewing patterns, and how to sew clothing in a professional and efficient manner. Often, they want to use these skills in order to create clothing that fits them well and suits their personal creative visions.


Can you talk about the new course you are developing on visible mending?

The course in mending textiles is meant to complement the garment construction courses in the program. While other courses teach students how to make and modify clothing, this course will teach them how to repair existing clothing, in particular through patching and darning. Together, these courses address the construction and care of clothing throughout its lifespan. We will discuss how to make these repairs functional and long-lasting, as well as how to incorporate repairs into the design of the garment. Visible repairs draw attention to themselves, allowing a garment to change and develop as it is worn out.


What projects are you working on right now?

Right now I am doing a special commission for a very fabulous wig. The client cut a couple feet of her own hair off decades ago and I am turning it into a lace wig for her, which involves knotting many individual hairs into a mesh so that it looks like it is coming out of her scalp. Her hair is bright red and curly. It’s a fun piece.