Barbara M. McDowell

Los Angeles, CA

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About this pro

How does your business stand out?

I am professional, skilled, confident, thorough, and patient with my sewing students. We have fun while I am teaching them in the privacy of their home. I want the questions...and I explain until the students(s) understand the answers. I insist that my students have patience, and confidence while learning to sew. Basic, beginner, intermediate, and advanced sewing instruction is available. Instruction for draping, basic alterations, and basic pattern making also available. My quotes are reasonable, and competitive. Discounts are available with certain requirements. All lessons are conducted at your location. For group sessions, and a different quote is submitted which provides less cost per person. Long distance travel outside of the greater Los Angeles area is available, too. Customer must meet certain requirements and conditions. Travel expenses, lounging and meals may be required. Thank You

What do you enjoy about the work you do?

Meeting new people, and helping them learn to sew and/or increase their skills by teaching how to use and care of their sewing machine, fabric characteristics, reading and understanding patterns and instructions, pattern fitting, etc. Seeing the smiles on their faces as they are looking at their accomplishment is priceless.
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Los Angeles, CA 90047

Years in business


Number of employees


Times hired on Thumbtack



4 Reviews
  • Jamie S. Dec 14, 2016
    Custom Arts and Crafts
    Verified Review
    4 stars because she was so flexible to come last minute.
    Barbara M. Jan 20, 2017

    Thank you so much Jamie. I look forward to seeing you again.

  • Patricia S. Jun 22, 2016
    Sewing Lessons
    Verified Review
    well versed in instruction on my new digital machine. Patient and knowledgeable. Will use again.
    Barbara M. Oct 11, 2016

    Thank you Patricia. I'm looking forward to seeing you again.

  • Kirsten H. Jun 6, 2016
    Sewing Lessons
    Verified Review
    I found Barbara after looking for quite a while for a sewing instructor. She came in and helped me finish some projects that had been languishing and we are now starting some new projects together. She is well spoken, knowledgable and is a patient instructor. She also thinks of innovative and creative solutions. I'm very much enjoying my sessions with her.
    Barbara M. Jun 17, 2016

    Thank you Kirsten. I find you a pleasure to teach, abd appreciate your perfection. You're doing a great job sewing..

  • Petra O. Jun 4, 2016
    Sewing Lessons
    Verified Review
    Barbara has been teaching me for several months helping me complete a project with two dresses, a jacket, a blouse and a pillow case. I am very blessed to have found Barbara! She has been teaching me through every step of the project. Her experience, her knowledge on different techniques, her amazing personality and extreme patience with teaching, make her an exceptional teacher. Barbara, you have been an angel shining light into my project and I will be forever grateful to you.
    Barbara M. Jun 17, 2016

    Thank you Petra. Under the circumstancesof your time constraints for submitting your sewing projects you are doing quite well. I appreciate your questions, and success in recalling sewing terms and techniques.


What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
Realizing there are competitors I quote an hourly rate for sessions lasting from 2 to 3 hours. The quoted dollar amount you see is multiplied by the total hours and minutes of the conducted session(s). One example is $25.00 per hour for a session that lasts from a minimum of 2 hours, and a maximum of 3 hours, the total fee would be from $50.00 to $75.00, accordingly, and NOT $25.00. Group sessions are also available and less cost (than the above example) per person.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
Start anew with instructions and info, and refresh things they may have forgotten. I encourage questions, explain and demo until they understand, and review often.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Certified Trained Sewing Instructor with decades of sewing experience and have sewn countless garments, and home decor. I constantly read articles, view videos, watch other seamstresses on their TV shows, previously worked in a large fabric store and help customers with their sewing projects, and fabric choices. Recently learned how to make patterns manually, and hone pattern fitting issues.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I've known how to sew for decades, and know how to sew well. Before retiring from full-time work, I decided to teach sewing more diligently, more frequently to share the craft, and inspire others to learn to sew.
What types of customers have you worked with?
Absolute beginners, some with little experience, and some with years of experience. Teach them how maintain and use their machine, how understand pattern instructions, pattern alterations, fitting, sewing techniques, fabric characteristics, garment construction, draping, and pattern making.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
Two of my most recent wanted to finish garments they had started to put together and needed guidance. They both are serious, determined, and are increasing their sewing skills with my help. Also, teaching someone to make a quilt. She's excited, creative, and comprehends. Also made patterns for a client, and she was very pleased.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Keep your sewing machine in good working order, use the best supplies and notions that you can. Also, when learning to sew be very patient because we all make a lot of mistakes when first learning to sew, and many of us still do.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Their budget, patience and dedication. I'm competent, skilled, and continue to learn. Price quoted is based on the distance to travel to the student.