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Dressmaker Training and Degree Programs

Dressmaker training and degree programs can teach you how to make clothing that stays up-to-date with current fashion trends. Read on to find out how to turn your ideal dress into a reality through a fashion design program and what careers this kind of training prepares you for.

What Dressmaker Training and Degree Programs Are Available?

You probably won't be able to find any programs specific to dressmaking. Instead, you may want to enroll in a fashion design program. Associate's and bachelor's degree programs are readily available; master's degree and certificate programs are less common.

If you complete an undergraduate program, you may be awarded a degree such as an Associate in Science, Associate in Applied Science, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Fine Arts, depending on the program you choose. If you complete a graduate program, you may be awarded a Master of Design or Master of Science in Fashion Design. Online programs are not available due to the fact that most courses rely heavily on hands-on training.

Program Levels Associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees; certificates
Common Courses Tailoring, fashion history, pattern design, illustration, sewing
Career Options Fashion illustrator, stylist, pattern maker, technical designer, fashion designer
Median Salary (2018) $31,000* (for all tailors, dressmakers, and custom sewers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)10%* decline (for all tailors, dressmakers, and custom sewers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Can I Take?

A certificate program usually offers introductory courses that teach you how to use sewing machines, take measurements and alter clothing. Coursework also includes topics in fashion imaging, apparel construction, flat pattern design, 2-D design, illustration, fashion principles and textiles. You may also have to take art, fashion and costume history.

Associate's degree programs offer more in-depth design courses. You might be required to take courses in French draping, tailoring, costume design, industrial sewing and Photoshop. These programs also require you to enroll in general education courses.

A 4-year bachelor's degree program often includes courses in color design, sketching, advanced tailoring, portfolio development, art and fashion history, painting and fashion business introduction. Some programs may require you to complete an internship.

Master's degree programs will allow you to further develop your portfolio, presentation skills and fashion business skills. The major difference is that you may be required to participate in several national fashion competitions. These programs might also require you to complete an internship before graduating.

What Is My Job Outlook?

If you complete a certificate program, you could land an entry-level job as a fashion illustrator, costumer or seamstress, according to some schools. Graduates of associate's degree programs might qualify for jobs as stylists, assistant designers, technical designers, pattern makers and dressmakers. Jobs as fashion designers are usually reserved for graduates of bachelor's and master's degree programs. A master's degree program may also prepare you to start your own clothing line.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that job openings for tailors, custom sewers and dressmakers were expected to decline ten percent between 2016 and 2026 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that, as of May 2018, these professionals earned a median salary of $31,000.