How Long Does Dressmaking School Take?

Strictly speaking, you don’t need a degree to become a dressmaker. For as long as you know how to use a sewing machine, can follow a pattern, have a sense of style and can make a garment, you can call yourself a dressmaker. That being said, many employers don’t hire dressmakers who don’t go to dressmaking school. This is understandable, especially in large fashion houses and clothes shops.

They want to be assured that they are dealing only with professionals who know the terms they use and speak the same language with them. They are not only looking for creative individuals but those who are professional enough to understand the importance of working as part of a team and following instructions given by the head designer. These skills and attributes can be learned when one goes to dressmaking school.

There is no college degree specifically for dressmaking alone. There are art schools that offer certificate courses in sewing which is the lifeblood of the dressmaking profession. Students interested in learning how to sew and make patterns can take classes offered in two-year colleges. They can take one or more courses and hone their skills in these areas. Certificate courses can last anywhere from a few months to a year. They can also be offered in online schools which allow students to learn the program at their own pace. For example, Penn Foster Career School has the dressmaking and design program which students can complete in as short as two months.

If you want a more comprehensive preparation, you can enroll in a four-year bachelor’s degree in fashion design. In a way, this is the ideal course to take because many fashion houses prefer to hire those with a college degree. These courses do not only offer preparation on sketching and designing clothes but in patternmaking, draping and similar subjects. They also require students to take general education courses.

A bachelor’s program typically takes four years to complete. A shorter, more direct way to earn a degree in fashion design is to opt for an associate’s degree. These courses typically take only a couple of years to finish. With both bachelor’s and associate’s degrees, the vital internship component gives you a chance to experience the day-to-day challenges of the job and provides the opportunity to put together your portfolio which is what employers look for as evidence of your ability as soon as you get out of dressmaking school.

A master’s degree in fashion is also available for dressmakers who want to take their career to the next level. Many dressmakers find that a two-year or four-year undergraduate course to be generally sufficient for this career.

Another type of educational preparation for many dressmakers is to learn the craft from those who have many years of experience tucked under their belts. These apprenticeship programs don’t give any certificates or diplomas but allow individuals to really learn the trade hands-on from the shop owner himself from day one. One advantage about this type of “dressmaking school” is that it enables the student to master the particular specialty of the more experienced dressmaker.

For example, if the dressmaker specializes in making bridal gowns, the apprentice will not anymore need to spend additional time training for this specialty if this is where he wants his career to go. The disadvantage with this kind of approach is that it limits to a certain level the proficiency of dressmakers.

Career Spotlight: Dressmaker

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