If you want to really improve your dressmaking, and add some elite skills, home-study may limit your growth. Taking a dressmaking course to make fast gains and challenge yourself in your art might be a great way to move up a rung or two in the competitive dressmaking world. You can up your skills, gain insight and knowledge, and get some exposure to folks who really know their stuff. One of the top dressmakers, Mavis Cox shares her skills in her ecourse – “Mavis Cox’s Sewing 101”, providing tips and advice for first-timers as well as some golden nuggets and forgotten keys for old hands.
You may think dressmaking can only be a hobby, or some side-work entailing replacing zippers or buttons, or letting out hems and waistlines? Catch up to the reality.
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For the last five years, there have been well over thirty THOUSAND Americans working as dressmakers every year. Dressmaking can be a very gratifying, lucrative full time career. If you have the sewing skills, the design aesthetic, and the interest in dressmaking, and you’d like to make a go of it, why don’t you jump into the fray and try your hand as a professional dressmaker?
Contrary to popular belief, dressmakers aren’t part-timers or wannabes, but critical workers in the American economy. Many dressmakers have their own businesses and work full-time or more. The average earnings for a dressmaker range between the mid-twenty and mid-thirty thousand dollar range, though some earn nearly six figures per year, just by working their craft carefully and well. Another option that you can add to your repertoire to increase your earnings include basic tailoring, menswear work, and custom pattern-making. A good tailor or pattern maker tan make between fifteen and twenty dollars per hour, and an elite craftsman can make as much as ten times that amount.
The work that dressmakers do:
Day to day chores performed by dressmakers are made up of recording measurements, helping clients, basic sewing and alterations. You’ll also be called upon to help clients with style, pattern, and fabric choices to help them choose the very best ideas for their style and body type. If you’re unable to find a pattern to suit the needs of a specific customer, your work will include designing unique garments to meet their needs.
If you’re wary of going it on your own, and would like the relative security of working for someone else, you might consider seeking a dressmaking job. Generally, hiring managers are looking for someone with impeccable design, needlework, pattern-making, and fabric knowledge, as well as some experience in the industry. If you’re unable to demonstrate professional experience, you might consider a dressmaking course as a means of gaining exposure to the production environment and elite skill-sets.
Where can you get dressmaking training? There are various classes offered at community college, adult ed centers, and even high schools around the country. Don’t be shy about signing up for a class full of folks who are significantly older or younger than you are – the skills and information are the same. You may see weekend or three-hour courses that cover the basics, or long-term, 15-week or longer sessions meant to really challenge you with completed work and measurable outcomes. Whatever you have the time and money for, you will see improvements. You may even be able to find associates degrees or certifications in dressmaking – just make sure that they are nationally recognized before you sign up.
If you want to take your work to the highest level, academically, you might consider pursuing a masters degree in fashion and design. You should be aware that your pursuit of this penultimate degree will provide you with rote skills and historic perspectives that few share, but may provide little in terms of real creativity and innovation (which some consider to be innate and unlearnable). These advanced degrees and certifications may help you to find placement with a company or academic fashion project, but will give you little practical knowledge that you cannot gain through experience. Some who love classroom learning grow significantly though dressmaking courses, while other learn nothing through talking and learn only through doing.
Time limitations need nod prevent you from taking dressmaking courses. Online classes exist with dressmaking as with all fields. The bonus here is that you can watch specific procedures being performed, day after day, from day one, over and over again until you really understand the work. If you need direct and personal feedback from instructors, sure, you might want to explore another option – otherwise, think about online classes as a means to bring the very best craftspeople into your home to teach you.
Whatever dressmaking course approach you choose to take, make sure not to neglect discussions and responses with regards to clients, marketing, and driving traffic. Many instructors may not know how to fill their daily schedule – truth be told, once you can fill your schedule and demand specific pricing, you’re less interested in customer care, too, but for beginners, this is critical information. Don’ t let your instructors gloss over it, and challenge them to come up with personal successes that will give you critical information.
You’ll need this sort of information if you’re serious about building your business. Even if you don’t want to fly solo, and are just trying to improve your skills so that you can work for someone else – this information and the courses themselves may give you an edge over your competition, and help you to get in the door.
If you can’t afford to take a dressmaking course, or the classroom environment doesn’t appeal to you, you might look into internships or apprenticeships. Depending on the work you do, you may learn new and practical skills an an incredible pace, with the added bonus of seeing exactly how these skills are applied in a production environment.
As with any other vocation, working in dressmaking has its good days and its bad days, but the stronger your skills, the more good days you are likely to have. If you take this reality to heart, you’ll see that constant betterment and education are the path to long-term success and fulfillment. Dressmaking courses are a great way to keep challenging yourself to better serve your clients.
Recommended Read; Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew, One Project at a Time