Students who hope to enter the fashion industry need to learn these skills. Everyone who sews also needs to know them.

The Contemporary Fashion Education Program

Contemporary Fashion Education’s fashion technology program presents the basic drafting, fitting, grading, and sewing techniques everyone who sews and anyone who hopes to enter the fashion industry needs to know.

Rated graduate level, the program is written for students ages 13 through advanced age. The procedures were previously tested with 4-H children before being developed for college courses.

Developed for continuing professional students at two Philadelphia universities, most students who have tested the program are college-educated career women. Students include design room personnel.

Minimal equipment is needed. A feather-weight sewing machine is all that is needed.

All procedures can be done in the home with minimal equipment.

Students learn high-end sewing: for example, cutting and sewing chiffon to match.

What students learn

The program addresses both men and women’s apparel production. All instructions are high-end.  Included is custom fit, hands-on pattern making, grading, and sample making as done in industry’s designing departments. This is the information you need to know if you wish to enter the fashion industry, start a fashion business or have one, and/or sew for yourself and your family.

During the six-course program the student develops personal slopers that fit (basic patterns from which pattern styles can be drafted to fit) and grade-rule coordinates that enable grading patterns to her custom fit; makes a four-piece outfit: a skirt, blouse, shirt, jacket, and pants; and completes two sample books.

Educational materials included in the program

Making samples and putting them into a sample book provides technical references.

Program materials include the Program Directory,  syllabi, and sample books. Each sample book includes a pattern book and a printout of the sample book’s pages that includes the sample book’s printed material – table of contents, titles, captions, etc. Supporting videos are online and indexed. The program is also supported with indexed blog posts.

The six-course program is supported with eight textbooks

Ambitious students can take this program as independent study. With the exception of three textbooks nearing completion, all of the materials, textbooks, syllabi, sample books are available from Contemporary Fashion Education’s website. Students who wish to obtain a certificate of completion can send their work in to, have it evaluated, and then receive a certificate from Contemporary Fashion Education, Inc., once the work is declared professional.

With the exception of Grading and Sewing a Blouse and Grading and Sewing a Jacket to Fit, the courses can be taken in any order.

Sewing Techniques provides the basic sewing skills needed to make professional sample garments.

Sewing Techniques from the Fashion Industry Basic sewing techniques. Students make a sample book as they work through the textbook. Textbook: Sewing Techniques from the Fashion Industry  Book purchase includes file that presents the sample book, its printout, and the patterns needed to make the samples.

Students learn how to take measurements, then draft to fit in the pant course.

Students learn how to take measurements, then draft to fit in the pant course.

Drafting & Fitting Pants and Skirts 

Students draft first a skirt sloper to their custom fit, then use the sloper to draft a pant pattern to their custom fit. Students learn the sewing techniques in class that they will need to cut and sew the skirt and pants at home. Textbooks: Drafting & Fitting Pants and Skirts, Sewing Pants and Skirts. Sewing Pants and Skirts book purchase includes file that presents the sample book, its printout, and the patterns needed to make the samples.

Students select a favorite shirt, then learn how to trace off the pattern without removing any stitches, as done in industry.

Copying a Man’s Shirt  students take a pattern off a shirt, cut and sew a muslin, then correct its fit. They learn the techniques used in industry to sew shirts. Textbook: Copying a Man’s Shirt ( nearing completion, not yet available).

Fitting Home Sewing Patterns textbook

Fitting Home Sewing Patterns students learn the professional techniques they need to know to develop personal slopers from any grade-rule. Home sewing patterns are used because they are available. The students then determine coordinates that will enable them to grade a chosen grade-rule pattern size to their custom fit. In the process they learn, hands-on, industrial grading procedures. Textbook: Grading to Fit  book purchase includes 2 to 30 standard-size slopers.

The Blouse course textbook.

Grading and Sewing a Blouse students use the grading coordinates developed in the prerequisite class, Fitting Home Sewing Patterns, to test their coordinates, then grade and sew a high-end blouse. Prerequisite: Fitting Home Sewing Patterns. Textbook: Grading and Sewing a Blouse to Fit.

The jacket course textbooks. Tailoring a Jacket can be used independently of the program if one has a jacket pattern that fits.

Grading and Sewing a Jacket to Fit students use the grading coordinates developed in the prerequisite class, Fitting Home Sewing Patterns, to grade, then sew a tailored jacket. Prerequisites: Fitting Home Sewing Patterns, Grading and Sewing a Blouse  Textbooks: Grading a Jacket Pattern to Fit, Tailoring a Jacket Not yet available. Both books are nearing completion.

About the books

The books are comb bound for now. It is the only solution at present for publishing limited quantities. Comb binding allows printing on the spine. The comb binding has a lock at either end to prevent the books from coming undone. The comb binding also allows the books to lie open on the table as one works through the procedures.

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© Laurel Hoffmann, 2021

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