Chinelo Bally was a finalist in the 2014 series of BBC2’s The Great British Sewing Bee. Before appearing on the show, Chinelo Bally had never used a sewing pattern. She wowed the judges with her ability to create stylish, fitted garments using a freehand cutting method that was taught to her by an aunt.
Her innovative freehand cutting method, which avoids the need for patterns, and unashamedly glamorous designs have won her numerous admirers. In addition to running sewing courses, Chinelo produces bespoke garments for private clients, from her studio in East London. Her first book, Freehand Fashion, was published by Pavilion in November 2015
Chinello took her time to work with all of us at different levels
I couldn't recommend the freehand cutting workshop more. Chinelo explained the steps in a way that I as a sewing beginner understood the process. It was a wonderful experience, I love my dress and can't wait to make more pieces.
Freehand cutting and sewing was a pretty daunting experience until I attended this session with Chinelo. She made every step clear and straightforward. I can't wait to get on with my free hand sewing journey!!!!
Information-packed, hands-on workshop. Loved it! Only wish it were longer.
Wonderful day spent with a very patient teacher explaining her method of cutting patterns/clothes to fit. Chinelo thank you so much. Definitely will go on another class.
Really wonderful, my dress looks amazing and fits like a glove. Made a shirt from the same block the very next day and ordered more material to make 2 more dresses!
I started sewing again because I was inspired by Chinelo, been taught by her was such a privilege as it bought out my creativity and to work outside the conventional sewing techniques. I gave the overall experience fours stars because I didn't finish the dress during the workshop but it was good value for money. I am glad I came to the workshop and I am excited to wear my dress.
Had a great time with like minded people. The class is fast paced. Got lots of tips. Time flew by. I love the idea of pattern free sewing. I'd definitely encourage others to give it a try.
A great class. Learnt a few new techniques. Worth the journey out and money well spent
I really enjoyed this class. I had a super day learning this freehand cutting method. It is a very different method of pattern cutting but definitely one I will try again. By the end of the day I had a dress cut out, sewn up and ready for first fit. A great day. Thank you.
A good introduction to the art of freehand cutting.
Awesome workshop! Chinelo is really helpful and lovely. You learn some really great new skills and have fun. Love it so much I keep coming back for each workshop.
Really great workshop, you leave armed with good tips and practical experience of how to create your dress patterns freehand.
What an amazing workshop! I cannot recommend this course enough! Chinelo is a fantastic teacher and I would not think twice about doing another course with her. She is inspiring. Thank you for a great day.
Had an enjoyable time, plan to use this technique on future sewing projects. Thanks Chinelo!
A fantastic day of sewing. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait to make more garments using this technique. Chinelo keenly shares her knowledge and explains instructions well. I love my dress and will be making more!
I really enjoyed this workshop - Chinelo was a lovely teacher and really helpful - it was a great class in which I came away with a new skill. My mum has already asked me to go and make a Maxi Dress with her!
This workshop was a surprise birthday present from my boyfriend, and was absolutely fantastic! I had wanted to learn about freehand cutting since watching Chinelo on the sewing bee and this course was really informative. I was really pleased to make a dress in a day, and have even started another similar dress in a different fabric since coming home. Although it can take a bit of time to get your head around the maths, it was really useful and has definitely made me more confident about working without a paper pattern. Thanks Chinelo for a great workshop - and also for the surprise birthday cake!
Had a fabulous time at the workshop. Although I ran late due to my delayed train I was able to catch up with everyone else with Chinelos help. The dress is lovely and demonstrated some interesting techniques which can be applied to future projects.
Totally amazing. Exhausting, because of all the learning, but brilliant. Chinelo is a great teacher, the class flowed naturally and I actually came away with a dress! I cannot recommend it enough.
The workshop was fantastic! Chinelo explained the techniques really well and took time to help each person individually when needed. Everyone was really enthusiastic and keen to help each other out. My dress turned out really well too!
I really enjoyed this and am pleased with my dress. I did have to finish off a bit at home but that was just because I was a bit slow on one bit. Others did finish in the six hours. We had lovely fabrics to choose from and I was able to borrow a sewing machine - I was travelling from a distance and didn't want to bring my machine on the train. It was good fun and a lovely group of people. Chinelo was very helpful and very patient! I was pleased and impressed that my dress fitted well, something I sometimes have problems with when using commercial patterns. If you're considering this, go ahead and do it!
Delightful day working on the maxi dress. Developing an understanding of how not using a pattern works.
I enjoyed the activity and sharing it with like minded people.
Had high expectations of this event, which were greatly exceeded. Gained lots of confidence, not just in learning a new skill but in constructing a garment.
The maxi dress class with Chinelo was terrific. She is so kind, supportive and helpful. There were lots of chances to ask questions, and get help where needed. I would love to be able to do another workshop.
I had a great time on Chinelo's freehand cutting workshop. It was really fun to meet other people who were interested in sewing and learning this particular skill. Chinelo was really invested in us getting as much as possible out of the class. It was so satisfying to put together a dress so quickly and see the results of this alternative method.
Chinelo is a wonderfully genuine, kind person with such great patience. I am new to dressmaking but found the freestyle cutting technique very interesting and easy to grasp. Such a lovely class with a great group of ladies, a really nice atmosphere to learn from a truly talented lady.
A great fast paced class. Lots to learn and take in. Chinelo is an excellent teacher, very patient and positive at all times. Chinelo was always happy to help anyone that got stuck and was happy to repeat and demonstrate if anyone required. I now feel equipped and inspired to put into practice at home all that I have learnt at this workshop and I know I can achieve the same results confidently thanks to Chinelo's teaching.
Loved it! The dress we made is lovely and Chinelo made sure we were happy with each step. Really nice to meet other like minded sewists, looking forward to wearing my dress!!
I had a fantastic day with Chinelo, made a dress using the unique cutting method, met some lovely people. Chinelo was absolutely lovely and very patient. Cannot wait for the Christmas class
Amazing to be taught how to cut freehand!
Had a lovely time and learnt lots!
It was great to try a different way of sewing. The workshop was very stimulating as the freehand cutting technique invites us to be create more freely, daring into experimentation. I believe I'll be using it lots! The ambiance was super friendly and the teacher very very patient : ) Tks Chinelo.
I thoroughly enjoyed my workshop with Chinelo. She is a natural teacher and also great fun to be with. She gave clear instructions and plenty of help where needed. It was a liberating feeling not being tied to a pattern and just going for it. I would certainly attend another workshop with Chinelo and would encourage anyone to give it a go.
Absolutely loved this course! So much fun and Chinelo is so lovely and helpful. Came out with a fab top and lots of compliments from my friends. Can't wait to make more!! Thanks Chinelo!x
This was an excellent workshop covering pattern-cutting and dressmaking techniques that are unfamiliar to most sewists in the UK. It was very full-on and hard work, but well worth it. Chinelo is a good teacher: we got a very good insight into the way it's done and made a natty top into the bargain. The spacious venue was easy to find with on-street parking outside the door and the tube station and accommodation a few minutes away.
A very enjoyable and informative workshop. Chinelo is a great teacher and the techniques she shared will certainly be very useful for my sewing projects in the future.
Loved the workshop, met some lovely ladies and Chinelo was amazing. Just got to finish off my top and send photo of it to Chinelo.
This was an amazing day, it was full on from the moment we arrived. I finished my dress that evening and have the best fitting dress I own thanks to Chinelo's expertise.
I'd like one on trousers next, please!
Great teaching style. Spacious facility. All together very informative and worthwhile. Would definitely sign up for another course to make a different dress.
Fantastic workshop, amazing skill so polite and friendly. She have wealth of knowledge on sewing and so easy to get on with. After 5 min you feel as if you have known him your lifetime. Her customer service is amazing.... I will go to more workshops
Chinelo was a great teacher and her experience really shone through. I liked that we made the most of the day. It was intense but that was what we all came for!
Highly recommended if you want to challenge yourself to approach dressmaking in a new way!
The workshop was excellent value for money, spaceous well equipped venue, great choice of fabrics and trimmings, Chinelo gave clear instructions and provided individual support when needed. I learned a lot on the day and am looking forward to putting it into practice.
This was a great workshop and I learnt absolutely loads. I have plenty of experience in using paper patterns but none in freehand cutting. I left feeling educated and inspired!
As a great admirer of Chinelo when I saw her on Sewing Bee, I was thrilled to get a place on her course. I had a lovely day, learnt a lot and met many other keen dressmakers. I would love to attend more of Chinelo's classes on other aspects of freehand cutting.
Great afternoon. Chinelo is a great teacher and the technique is well worth learning. I'm really pleased with my top. Would definitely attend another to learn more.
Chinelo is charming,inspirational and sooo patient and helpful. A great day and invaluable skills learnt. Ali keen sewers need to know this method of cutting and fitting
The workshop was absolutely brilliant. I learnt loads and we all put it into practice immediately and saw amazing results. Chinello's really professional whilst being personable and down to earth, couldn't have asked for more. I'll definitely go to any future sessions she runs.
A great workshop with an amazing teacher!
Chinelo is a lovely teacher, always making sure everyone knows what they're doing and coming round to help. I learnt so much, it's a very useful workshop and I can't wait to get making new things!
Excellent experience, great teaching and good value. Chinelo was a good teacher with a clear idea what she wanted us to achieve in the class. She shared herself around the room and adapted to different needs in the class. She was a real expert!
Chinelo was wonderful, a very personable and relaxed teacher who did her upmost to ensure that everyone was attended to. All materials were provided with a nice selection of fabrics.