“I love teaching and seeing that light go when an idea clicks”: Case study with dressmaking tutor, Lesley Thomas

Becoming a tutor is a wonderful opportunity to share your hobby or profession with others. Our tutors at City College Peterborough come from all kinds of backgrounds but with one thing in common – they’re passionate about what they teach.

As we look for new tutors to join our College community, we spoke to dressmaking tutor Lesley Thomas about her journey to becoming a tutor and why she loves it so much.

Lesley’s journey to becoming a dressmaking tutor
Always passionate about art and dressmaking, Lesley originally completed a degree in fashion and then worked as a designer before going on to work freelance whilst the children were young. Once they had started school, Lesley went into teaching fashion, design and pattern making.

After 10 years of teaching post 16s Lesley went into recycling education & was teaching others of all ages how to reuse and recycle. That’s where Lesley first came across City College Peterborough: “I first came to know of the College whilst in my previous job, where I rerouted recycled materials into art education. The College was using the creations for their family learning and for the recycled fashion shows they regularly hosted.”

Then, five years ago, Lesley started doing the occasional workshop for City College Peterborough in family learning. Lesley said, “I started to do some Saturday fashion sessions alongside various events, which eventually led to me be asked to take over the dressmaking classes when the tutor retired..

“I haven’t looked back since!”

Being a dressmaking tutor
Today, Lesley still loves being a tutor at City College Peterborough, and regularly takes part in events like the Green Festival in Peterborough and other community events the College is involved with.

Lesley said: “I love teaching and seeing that light go when an idea clicks! It doesn’t matter if it’s the first time they sew a straight line or when they make their first lined jacket, it’s still magic.

“That growing confidence someone gets from learning something new has a real knock on effect – it doesn’t stop in the classroom.”

Lesley explained to us what a student in one of her dressmaking classes could expect: “In my classes beginners learn right from the start how to take accurate measurements, read patterns and take sewing in small steps. That way, when it comes to bigger projects they are confident that they can work their way through instructions and understand them.

“The confident class works on their own projects, ranging from a first dress through to a dressing up wardrobe for a lucky granddaughter!”

The growing popularity of dressmaking
Lesley’s classes are some of the most popular at City College Peterborough, thanks to Lesley’s hard work and talent. Lesley also explained, “the sewing bee on the telly recently, alongside general interest in crafts, has really boosted the classes.

“Plus, sewing machines have got a lot cheaper and you can get patterns easily on the Internet. It’s made the world of difference and made sewing much more accessible.”

What can you do, if you want to become a tutor like Lesley?
At City College Peterborough we’re always looking for new tutors. Whether you would like to share your passion with others or would like to give teaching a go, the College is open to your suggestions about what sort of courses you would like to teach.

Lesley gives her advice to those considering becoming a tutor: “If you think you would like being a tutor, give it a try! It might be what you’re designed for.

“Call the College. It might be they need exactly your skills, it might be that you can offer a great new subject they haven’t thought of or become another tutor for a growing area.

“Get in touch, that’s how I started.”

If Lesley’s story has inspired you, why not get in touch with us today? Call us on 01733 761 361 or email choices@citycollegepeterborough.ac.uk

Or if you want to find out more about another of our tutors, Becky Toughill, who teaches a range of art courses at the College read her case study.