Jan 2, 2014
Readers, what downside could there possibly be to taking a professional sewing class?
I'm considering doing just that, starting later this month.
When I completed my tailored tweed peacoat a few weeks ago, I thought it might be fun to take a men's tailoring class at the Fashion Institute for Technology (FIT), which is located, literally, three blocks from my apartment building. Taking a class there is something I had never seriously considered before.
You may not know that FIT is part of the State University of New York (SUNY), and New York residents get a huge tuition break. How huge? Well, a standard 2-credit class (running January through mid-May) costs $368 for residents and $1,106 for non-residents, or roughly 1/3 the cost.
The class that interested me was called Tailoring II. Here's the description:
This course introduces students to professional tailoring practices for the menswear suit jacket/blazer. Details specific to the jacket and appropriate finishes for a high-end tailored garment are covered throughout the semester.
However, there was a prerequisite, Tailoring 1:
Students learn how to lay out, cut, and sew all of the details associated with the classically tailored trouser. Special emphasis is given to the fly, tailored pockets, and the creation of a handmade waistband curtain. Students also learn to fit the classic trouser on various figure types.
But Tailoring 1 isn't being offered right now. So I sought the approval of the department to take Tailoring II. Not so easy! The professor (to whom I made a request in writing) has recommended I first take a class called Menswear Sewing. The reason the professor gave was that I don't have experience sewing on an industrial sewing machine:
This course introduces students to the many processes involved in creating a first sample. Professional standards of construction are emphasized throughout the semester as students cut, layout, and construct a classic menswear shirt.
I reached out to a few people in-the-know, and it sounds like this may have more to do with wanting to discourage people from taking classes beyond their level, or for "merely" personal enrichment. They'd like you to be on a professional track (and this may be related to $$$ as well).
(You can view the current curriculum here.)
I'm not opposed to taking Menswear Sewing; I doubt I'd find it a waste of time. If nothing else, I'd meet other people interested in sewing menswear and I'd learn how to use an industrial sewing machine. But what I really want to take is the jacket tailoring class.
I'm not sure what I'll do yet, or if I'll even take a class at all. As a self-taught home sewer with a library full of sewing books, I believe you can teach yourself almost anything about sewing if you're committed to the process. That said, there's a mystique to professional classes that makes me curious about what I might learn from them. And as I said earlier, the cost is comparatively low. Should I just bite the bullet and take the basic menswear sewing class?
In closing, friends, have you taken professional sewing classes? Did you learn things you couldn't possibly have taught yourself, or was it more for the structure (i.e., weekly homework assignments) or for the social aspect?
Professional sewing classes -- YEA or NAY?