At THE SEWING ROOM, we choose our instructors based on technical ability, teaching experience and people skills.  We really want to make your experience the best it can be!  See our class instructors below.

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Jennifer Serr is Owner and Lead Instructor at The Sewing Room. An Alameda mom with over 20 years in the fashion industry.  Jennifer is also Owner and Lead Designer at Bonjour Teaspoon Patterns - A sewing pattern company specializing in "Classic Style for the Modern Girl & Her Doll".

After an apparel industry career with Gap Inc. specializing in pattern making, garment construction & fitting, Jennifer spent the last 15+ years designing and creating Couture Wedding gowns for personal clients as well as teaching fashion, sewing and pattern making to students school age through college level.

"I started teaching students and about fashion and sewing almost two decades ago. I knew what it was like to have a burning passion to create well fitting, beautiful clothing, and wanted to share my skills and expertise with like minded people. Because I started sewing and designing when I was 7 years old, I know that there are very few boundaries for what drives a person to pursue a calling. Sewing and Fashion are my favorite things and I'm excited to share my expertise and passion with you on your sewing adventure!"

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Maria Chenut has spent many years living in Europe where she worked as a visual artist and making costumes for dancers, actors, hand puppets and large street parade giants. She loves collaborating and helping others get creative. Her mom thinks she can do anything! And she does do a bit of everything, including her own line of street clothes and accessories, custom collage packaging, sculptures and other strange objects that you can see on her website.


Julie Ann Silverman is a native Californian who recently returned to the East Bay to be closer to her family. She will be teaching Fashion Illustration in our Fashion Studies Program on Wednesdays. Since earning her BFA in Fashion Design at Otis, she has spent the last twenty five years creating swimwear collections in Southern California for labels such as Girlstar, bebe,Lucky Brand, Betsey Johnson, ále by Alessandra Ambrosio, Soluna and Isabella Rose. These designs have been featured in many publications including Vogue, GQ, Elle, Harpers Bazaar, and Sports Illustrated.

She has designed her life to be a constant output of creativity so that most of her time is spent making art, taking pictures, dancing, and sharing her knowledge with others. She loves to draw women and has been profoundly influenced by the works of René Gruau, Alphonse Mucha, Alberto Vargas, David Downton and Ruben Toledo.

Her personal style was developed through vintage shopping in Berkeley as a teen. She loves all of the feminine details from the 20s-60s. Her favorite shows are Mad Men, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. A student of life, she is currently working on her fluency in Italian, improving her Lindy Hop and plans to visit Paris with her partner, love and biggest fan, Mr. Brown.

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Claudia Jayne is a graduate of F.I.T. (The Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York City.
She stayed in NYC to become a buyer of Jr. Sportswear, a department manager at Saks Fifth Avenue and lastly a fashion model before moving to California. Here she developed and taught a class with Adult Education called "Sewing For Success". She concurrently  conducted a successful custom bedding business for 30 years called "Such Comforts"  which catered to wealthy clients in the Santa Barbara area.
She served in the Peace Corps at the age of 60 where she developed and taught 70 workshops- for women, children and men, in sewing techniques and machine maintenance.
Claudia has settled in Alameda to be with her daughter and her new grandson.
Sewing since she was 5 years old;  Claudia brings 62 years of experience to us.
She loves working with children as well as adults sharing her love of sewing.

Click here to see Claudia's website for Such Comforts

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Julia Lichtenstein

"I first fell in love with design when I started attending sewing classes in 2nd grade and have been sewing and designing every since. I grew up in Eugene Oregon and moved to New York City to go to Pratt, a Fashion Design school. After spending 16 years in NYC designing for some well known fashion companies and everything from women's ballgowns to active wear to menswear, I made my way back to the west coast. Most recently I designed pet accessories and toys!" - Julia

Click here to see Julia's website Tiny Curiosities, for her organic baby clothes and accessories collection

D'Arci Bruno Rhine learned to sew from her Italian grandmother at the age of 11. By the age of 13, she was sewing and designing costumes and sets for school plays and Halloween costumes for all the children in her neighborhood.  d'Arci attended the San Francisco Art Institute, where she focused on painting, art history and writing. She has lived and worked in Alameda since 2009, and is most notably known for her outrageous Rhythmix Bingo costumes (2009-2012) and her larger than life murals for the Pacific Pinball Museum.  d'Arci currently teaches Fashion Show Production Camp and beginning sewing skills at the Sewing Room.

Emily Payne is a San Francisco based fashion designer who has been building and creating looks for women since 1997. A graduate from the Art Institute of Dallas, Emily found her love for "creating garments specifically to throw amazing fashion show events" early on in her career and continues to participate in runway shows with her role in the Lifetime network series Project Runway Season 13. In addition to her time on Project Runway, Emily continues to design for her two private labels, Devon Rose,  an edgy children's clothing line named after her daughter and Leather Tongue, a high-end street wear label for fashion forward women who want to show their femininity , but with a sharp edge.

Emily is a guest lecturer and sewing teacher at THE SEWING ROOM as well as BRITEX (San Francisco).