In a world of mass production and distribution, dressmaking may seem like an antiquated art form, a bit like cobbling shoes or knitting mittens. Yet, for the aspiring dressmaker with a keen eye for fashion, a number of specialized schools offer programs and courses in dressmaking. Degrees and certificates in the field vary with each institution and the academic goals of every student.
Online Diploma at Penn Foster
Home-based fashionistas can consider a diploma in dressmaking and design at Penn Foster Career School. This online program covers line and basic pattern design in fashion, embroidery and garment decoration, as well as customization and original designs, and altering and fitting necklines, armholes, sleeves and waistlines, according to the school's website. Students receive illustrated textbooks to assist them in their studies and also can access an online video library showcasing dressmaking techniques. As with any online institution, prospective students should review the school’s accreditation before enrolling.
Diplomas and Certificates at the London Academy
For an aspiring dressmaker, what could sound much more glamorous than a stint in London? The London Academy of Dressmaking & Design offers basic and advanced diplomas in dressmaking for full-time students as well as a number of course certificates for part-time learners. According to its home page, the school specializes in practical dressmaking and design: the technical aspects of cutting, fitting and finishing garments. Fifty courses range from basic to advanced design, and from children's to adult garments.
Dressmaking Courses at Mallow College
While London offers excitement, would-be dressmakers may find similar Old World charm at the Mallow College of Design & Tailoring in Ireland. The college offers a one-year course in dressmaking that can count toward a two-year certificate in fashion design or a three-year diploma in the same field. According to the school’s website, the dressmaking course teaches students how to use sewing machines and follow commercial patterns. Students are expected to produce a number of garments throughout the year, including skirts, blouses and dresses.
Dressmaking Courses at Esaie Couture
Esaie Couture Design School in Brooklyn touts instructors who are fashion designers in the industry, having worked with designers such as Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. The school offers three courses in dressmaking. Two six-week beginner courses cover sewing and pattern-making. Students learn to make their own custom dress patterns from scratch as well as measuring and fitting techniques to adjust women’s commercial dress patterns to specific bodies. An intensive six-month course in French dressmaking covers draping, sewing and finishing, and ends with an eight-day trip to Paris. The school also offers six-month certification programs in the related fields of technical and fashion design.
Scott Neuffer is an award-winning journalist and writer who lives in Nevada. He holds a bachelor's degree in English and spent five years as an education and business reporter for Sierra Nevada Media Group. His first collection of short stories, "Scars of the New Order," was published in 2014.