Anyone who creates garments, whether professionally, or even strictly as an enthusiastic hobbyist, gets pretty excited about learning new techniques. Classes can be hard to find, and expensive when you do find them. Books are great, when they are the RIGHT books, and videos can be great... but some of us just need to learn in a classroom setting, with a skilled teacher who uses his/her own HANDS and HEART to teach us. This inspired me to go on a bit of a hunt for learning opportunities. This post could go ON and ON and ON... so if you want more, just ask. I'll list my findings here, and welcome any of you to chime in with your thoughts, experiences, desires, and ideas! BOOKS
When it comes to books, there are so many dedicated to sewing. Some technical manuals are far too technical, and some books written for home sewers are a bit too... well... "homemade" in their approach.
If costume design is your thing, check out The Drama Bookshop on 40th Street near 8th Ave (between NY Elegant and Sposabella Lace). You will be sure to find some inspiration and information there.
If you want patternmaking or design books, especially for the aspiring professional who doesn't want to commit to a course of study right now, you may discover some cool books in the bookstore at FIT, which is open to the general public. This Barnes and Noble affiliated store offers a good number of books and supplies, but also reveals a great deal about what ISN'T a priority for the school in these economic times. The book selection is heavy on the glitter and glamour aspects of the fashion business - not too much for the person who actually wants to design or participate manually in the manufacture of clothes. I guess that's just reality, though. If you want to be a factory worker or similar, why bother getting a degree when you can simply bootstrap it, right?
And while we're on the subject of bookstores, just WHO is the customer for $50 or $90 fashion magazines? Why do they even exist? Especially when they aren't even sealed in plastic! You can leaf through them right in the store, ya know? Someone explain!?!?
If you would like to learn draping, in my opinion , there is only one place to REALLY learn, because you really need the right equipment to do it well. Oh, and you should be able to afford the class, too. To learn how to drape, without pursuing a degree, you have to enroll in a Continuing Ed course at FIT.
Now, if you have a bit of cash to spend, you can certainly get a good sewing education at Parsons, right in the very heart of the garment district. Click here for continuing education courses Parsons offers.
If you want to be a bit less formal about it, and a bit cozier, try The Sewing Studio. In my experience, they hardly ever answer the phone, but the classes must exist, since I know Gertie from the uber-popular Blog for Better Sewing teaches there, and I'd bet you money her classes are a blast!
If you are SERIOUSLY interested in an in-depth course of study, learn more about the Maison Sapho School. Not in the garment district, but a VERY serious Manhattan school, where French dressmaking techniques are taught in a no-nonsense course for only the most dedicated dressmaking students.
Next, I'll tell you about individual teachers, and why you might want to pursue learning options with them, specifically!
To be continued... whew... my hands are tired!