Workshop & Tour 2021

“BEHIND THE SEAMS: London & Paris ”



As a practising couturier and costume tailor, as well as internationally in demand as a lecturer, Thomas von Nordheim is a well connected industry insider. Once again he will share his knowledge and insight, offering 3 modules of practical workshops and field trips. This time the experience will extend from London over to Paris and back to Kent.
Learn the basics of Couture tailoring whilst enjoying London’s amazing shopping resources and learn about the history of fashion crafts.
Visit some old establishments, discover hidden collections in London and Paris. Have fun during social interaction with like minded international participants, whilst enjoying fabulous surroundings and being looked after in luxury accommodation.
Be guided by a couture expert whilst working on your own tailoring project in the sewing retreat by the beautiful Kent coast.
All the three modules may be individually booked, giving you flexible options.

An Introduction to Tailoring


This module is our Couture Tailoring course and encompasses all the techniques as covered in our publication “Vintage Couture Tailoring” which many sewers are familiar with.

The style of tailoring you will be exploring is technically a slightly more relaxed ladies version of traditional Gents tailoring, as practised by the best tailors in the world. You will be learning the fundamental elements of tailoring, which include employing loose interfacings in the construction, as opposed to fusibles.

You will learn to appreciate the benefits of using different types of canvas to include hair and linen, as well as utilising stays and padding. A rarely taught subject, this course also covers ironwork, which is shaping fabric panels by stretching and shrinking the cloth to fit it to individual physiques.

Over the 5 days you will be building a half jacket made from English flannel from scratch, starting with tailor tacking through to applying embroidered buttonholes and hand felling lining in at the end. The finished piece will be an invaluable reference tool to all your future tailoring.

The module starts on Thursday afternoon with a High tea at one of London’s most loved luxury old style hotels, Claridge’s, where the participants get the chance to acquaint with each other over the ritual of a scrumptious full English afternoon tea. You can check in at your Mayfair accommodation a few minutes away, this afternoon.

The workshop itself starts on Friday morning for the following 5 days and is being held at Thomas’s Mayfair club, The Lansdowne. The club is housed in a beautiful 18th century building and was former home to two English prime ministers and at one point town house of department store king Mr. Selfridge. The USA independency treaty was signed here in the round room, which is now a bar. The tuition will be held in the bright art deco Sun Room. It will be equipped with machines and tools required for your tailoring project and all materials and trimmings will be supplied. All you need to bring is your basic hand sewing kit. Tea/coffee is served in the morning and afternoon breaks. The room is available from 9.00am to 4.30pm.

The club is in the heart of central London’s elegant Mayfair and during the one hour lunch break or after the class, there will be time to explore some famous shops and establishments such as Fortnum & Mason in Piccadilly, Liberty’s in Regent Street, Selfridge’s in Oxford Street, Bond Street and Jermyn Street, all literally a few minutes walk away. Soho with its abundance of fabric shops is also close by. One evening we will jump on the tube for a few stops to explore Joel’s and Jason’s famous luxury fabric emporiums. Thomas will be on hand to advise and guide.

5 nights luxury accommodation at the Lansdowne Club is included in the price. All rooms are single occupancy with a double bed, en-suite bathroom, TV, free Wifi. A full English breakfast served in the beautiful dining room is included every morning. Guests may use the leisure facilities of the club such as the gym, steam room and beautiful original Art Deco pool during their stay. The concierge will be on hand to help with any needs. Although located in central London, the club is an oasis of calm in this bustling metropolis.  If you have booked also onto module 2, you will keep your accomodation for the next 3 nights.

Besides the accommodation incl. breakfast, all tuition, guidance, tea/coffee during the class, Claridge’s afternoon tea, materials and notions for the project are included. You also have a £15 daily allowance towards beverages ordered at the club.

Module Week 1 – Five Day Course

Day One

Day One

Marking the garment, ironworking, preparation of the inner canvas construction, closing dart and side seam, mounting shell fabric and canvas together, pad stitching of the lapels, finishing the outer edge and break line with stays.

Day Two

Day Two

Application of a double jetted pocket, closing the back seams, interfacing the hem.

Day Three

Day Three

Making and applying a traditional padded tailored collar, finishing facings and gorge seam

Day Four

Day Four

Making and inserting a properly tailored 2 piece sleeve, using the appropriate interfacings

Day Five

Day Five

Making and fitting of lining, application of handmade buttonhole

This module is suitable for anybody who has previous sewing experience and who is proficient in hand and machine sewing. It is most beneficial to students who have had some previous experience in dressmaking and soft tailoring to include the techniques of making a Chanel style jacket. It is not recommended to absolute sewing beginners.

Students who complete this module may go straight to module 3 to apply the techniques they have learned to their very own tailoring project, or they may wish to include the educational module 2 of week two exploring London’s and Paris’ wealth of inspiring resources.

Module Week 2 – Six Day Tour


For several centuries the European metropolis of London and Paris have been bastions of fashion, style and associated craftsmanship, London particularly for Gentlemen’s Tailoring and Paris for Ladies Haute Couture. This is now as true as it was in the 17th century and indeed in both cities there are companies still in business, who were established back then. We will be visting some shops and establishments concerned with tailoring, embroidery craft, fabrics, trimmings and haberdashery and you will also get exclusive access to some collections of world class museums and institutions.

Price: £3200
including 6 nights luxury accommodation in London and Paris, breakfast and meals as listed, transport to and from Paris by Eurostar, admissions

Day One

Wednesday 24th June

Today we will have exclusive access to the sacristy of The Brompton Oratory, England’s second highest Catholic church build in the Baroque style. During our visit we will be shown the astonishing collection of antique vestments with their museum quality embroideries going back to the 17th century for close up study. The exquisitely embroidered vestments are still in regular circulation during mass and feasts. During this private visit, you will have a chance to marvel at the stunningly beautiful details of different embroidery techniques executed in polychrome silks, gold and silver thread.

After having lunch in a nearby restaurant, we will visit the Victoria & Albert Museum, a world renowned museum of applied arts with a breathtaking collection of costume. Behind the scenes and away from the crowds, we will be shown a collection of period costumes in the archives to study close up and inside out.

All admissions and lunch is included.

Day Two

Thursday 25th June

Today we are visiting the ancient embroidery firm of Hand & Lock, established 1767 in London’s Westend. We are given a tour of the ateliers and are made familiar with different embroidery techniques by the head of workrooms and designer.
After lunch at a lovely French restaurant in the heart of St. James, we will explore this most exclusive of area for gentlemen’s sartorial supremacy since the 17th century. We have a look at the ancient shops of hatters, Lock & Company established 1676 and John Lobb, shoemakers on the premises since 1849. We will visit a bespoke shirtmakers to the rich and famous, including the fictitional character James Bond.

Day Three

Friday 26th June

 After checking out at The Lansdowne Club, leaving your luggage for later collection, our morning visit is to Royal tailors Gieves & Hawkes in 1, Savile Row, where the firm has been since 1771. We will visit the workrooms, see tailors at work, as well as marveling at their archive room where also the gala uniforms made by Gieves of the household guards of HM The Queen are stored.
In the afternoon we are going by Eurostar from the magnificent St. Pancras International station to Paris which takes just over 2 hours. Arrived at the Gare du Nord we will check into the trendy 4* 25hours Terminus hotel, which is most conveniently located vis-à-vis the station. The accommodation is based on single occupancy. You have your own en suite bathroom, free wifi, TV and air-conditioning. A generous buffet breakfast is offered in the morning and included in the price.
Tonight we will have supper at a beautiful Art Deco Brasserie near Bourse, not far from our hotel, included in the price.

Day Four

Saturday 27th June

After breakfast we shall be visiting the famous puces (flea market) of Clignancourt. The market is immense and has numerous “markets in a market”. It can be overwhelming if you are not familiar with it, so you will be guided a few specialized merchants and shops who sell vintage and antique supplies: buttons, fabrics, flowers, trimmings. One family business here has been supplying Chanel and other Paris couture houses with trimmings for generations and is selling old stock. There will be ample chance to ferret around the market for yourself.
To keep up strength we will have lunch (included) at the beautiful Café Paul Bert.

Day Five

Sunday 28th June

This Sunday we are starting at the beautiful Trocadero by the Eiffel tower, and will walk over and around the famous Golden Triangle of Haute Couture. Dior, Chanel, Balmain, Givenchy…all houses around. Following Yves Saint Laurent’s death, his salon and ateliers have been transposed into a museum and archives, now the Pierre Berge Yves Saint Laurent Fondation, which we will visit as part of the couture tour. Step into the studio of a fashion legend, see sketches, garments, fabrics, everything laid out as if YSL just left his desk for another cigarette.

We will refresh ourselves at the famous turn of the century restaurant Angelina in the Rue de Rivoli, opposite the Louvre, famous for its hot chocolate and “Mont Blanc”, amongst other amazing confectionery.

For June 2020 it was planned to visit the landmark Chanel exhibition at Palais Galliera, one of the worlds foremost fashion museums. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the exhibition never opened and Palais Galliera is closed until autumn 2020. Whilst it is not known yet which exhibitions will be shown by May 2021, whatever it is it will be equally wonderful!

Day Six

Monday 29th June

On the agenda today is a visit to the costume workrooms of the Paris Opera in the historical Marais district. Here we will get a 2 hour private tour behind the scenes. Get a glimpse of how the amazing stage costumes for this world famous opera are created, made, used in the productions and maintained involving many people from designer, makers through to wardrobe mistress.

We will also be visiting some amazing long established fabric and trimming establishments and fournisseurs in the neighboring arrondissements. Some are not shops as such and generally supply the trade and you would never know of their existence behind the Hausmann façades.

Tonight we leave Paris by Eurostar back for London. Those who have booked onto module 3, will disembark the train at Ashford International with Thomas and head by private transport to the nearby seaside town of Folkestone to check into your hotel.
If you wish to book module 3 independently from module 2, it includes accommodation in the Folkestone hotel on Monday night.

Module Week 3 – Seven Day Workshop

Sewing retreat by the sea

Price: £2500 incl. accomodation

The last module offered will be a relaxing respite from the bustling metropolis of London and Paris. Folkestone , positioned on the Kent coast between the two cities and conveniently serviced by Eurostar, is a tranquil sea side town. In Edwardian days it was the most elegant and wealthy resort in England. Through mayor regeneration in recent years, the town has become a magnet of creative people and artists. In the summer Folkestone attracts visitors who enjoy the beautiful beaches and stroll along the clifftop promenade. The quaint harbor area has many charming restaurants, pubs and bars. The Harbour arms has an open air cinema, craft beer stalls, flea market, the “best tapas bar outside Spain”, live music at the weekend and houses a beautiful champagne bar in the old light house with a fabulous view of the famous White Cliffs of Dover. The Old High Street features quirky shops, art galleries and cafes. Thomas studio is located in a Victorian glassworks building right in the centre.

Day 1


Check in at your Boutique hotel on Folkestone’s beautiful promenade The Leas

Day 2

Workshop 10am-5.30pm
After a restful night and breakfast in your beautiful hotel overlooking the English channel, have a short stroll along the famous Leas promenade to Thomas’ studio in Folkestone’s buzzing Creative Quarter.
The studio is a working tailoring atelier equipped with individual sewing machines, dress stands, irons and all tools for use by the students. Tea/coffee/biscuits will be available in the morning and afternoon. For lunch there are numerous places in the close by from excellent seafood stalls in the harbor serving the freshest catch of the day to quirky cafes in The Old High Street.
The workshop will today begin by fitting the muslin/toile the participant has prepared for their tailoring project. After having made the necessary changes to your pattern, prepared the fabric and cut out the garment, you will be individually guided through the manufacturing progress step by step.
Perhaps you have bought a beautiful fabric whilst on field trips in London and Paris for your project? Thomas will be on hand to advise on the best possible use of interfacings and trimmings throughout your sewing project. A range of fabrics, canvasses and notions will be available for purchase throughout the classes.

Day 3

10am-5.30pm workshop

Day 4

10am-3pm workshop

Today the workshop will finish early and we will be picked up by private transport and driven to the quintessentially English cinque port village of Rye, not far away. Marvel at the beautiful ancient architecture, narrow cobbled lanes and ferret around the antiques shops in the harbour.
We will visit a well established couture milliner to get a look at their beautiful creations and learn about the craftsmanship. If you have a wedding coming up, you may be tempted to buy one of their beautiful fascinators or hats…

A few minutes away is the headquarters of “Merchant & Mills” which we will be visiting to have a look at their iconic beautifully packaged high quality haberdashery and sewing tools. From their shop they are also selling the whole range of sewing patterns and plain and printed fabrics in lovely qualities.

As a crowning end to this outing we will have supper at the ancient and atmospheric Mermaid Inn, a guest house with a turbulent history which goes back to mediaeval days. Queen Elizabeth I once visited and in the 18th century the pub was infamous for being frequented by gangs of smugglers. The house is supposed to be haunted by several ghosts.
After our supper you will be escorted back by private transport to your hotel in Folkestone.


10am-5.30pm workshop



10am-5.30pm workshop


10am-5pm workshop
After the workshop you will have time for a rest at your hotel, before joining the others at Thomas’ elegant apartment at “The Grand” for a farewell supper party. “The Grand” is a magnificent listed building on the sea front, a short stroll from your hotel. King Edward VII opened the ballroom in 1903 and many illustrious people visited and lived here over the decades: Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express in her suite, The Prince of Wales & Wallis Simpson, Omar Sharif, Princess Margaret and Liz Taylor were frequent guests at balls.

Enjoy the sea view from the balcony whilst drinking a glass of champagne on this summer evening. Relax and reflect with your fellow sewing friends on your experiences and achievements and get valuable feedback on your project, before enjoying the buffet style supper. We hope this evening will be a nice farewell to the workshop, whose last day is tomorrow. (All dietary requirements will be catered for if you advise in advance)

Day 8

Check out at your hotel, 10am-4pm workshop, end of course



7 nights accomodation in a beautiful 4*boutique hotel on Folkestone’s beautiful Leas is included. It is based on single Folkestone/Ashford occupancy in a double room, en suite bathroom, TV, free wifi and a generous breakfast every morning.
Besides the accommodation, the price includes all tuition during the times listed in Thomas studio, private transport to and from Rye, dinner in Rye including drinks and the farewell supper party at “The Grand”.

London is 55 minutes by train from Folkestone
Paris is 1h20min by Eurostar from nearby Ashford International

Contact us

If you wish to make a booking, please send us a message through this  contact form

Week 1Week 2Week 3

Please leave this field empty.