Dressmaking and Design: Online Diploma

Research diploma programs in dressmaking and design. This article provides an overview of the online diploma options in dressmaking and design. Explore online course topics, career opportunities, salary possibilities and continuing education information.

Essential Information

Online diploma programs in dressmaking and design are rarely available online, and those that do exist are primarily offered at private, for-profit schools. Students learn how to alter and fit clothing, use a dress form, embroider garments and draft patterns. These online diploma programs usually involve several independent exercises performed with sewing materials, and a sewing machine is necessary. Programs may be completed in as few as two months and may end in a final project that consists of producing a garment.

Related Program Options

Associate's and bachelor's degree programs that are similar to dressmaking and design can be found online. These undergraduate programs can lead to related jobs in design and merchandising. Program topics include:

  • Fashion design
  • Fashion merchandising
  • Accessories design

Online Diploma in Dressmaking and Design Overview

Through an online diploma in dressmaking and design, students learn about the different types of fabric and their required care, how to use sewing machines and ways to alter and embellish clothing. Students complete this diploma program at their own pace, so there aren't any time constraints or requirements.

Program Information and Requirements

No campus visits are necessary during an online dressmaking and design diploma program. They work independently to finish the lessons included in the program's instructional manual. However, Internet support is available for students who have questions or want help.

To complete the modules in dressmaking and design, learners must have the books and lessons; schools often send these via mail. A sewing machine is also required.

List of Common Dressmaking and Design Courses

The dressmaking and design diploma program prepares learners to create original dresses and other garments, as well as alter clothing so it fits better. Students learn to read patterns, select fabrics, cut fabric correctly and add ornamentation.

Using a Sewing Machine

This introductory class covers the different types of sewing machines and the attachments they need. It addresses threading the machine and the types of stitches it can make.

Fabric Selection

Students learn how to care for different fibers and remove stains using various techniques. They also discover how to read patterns to determine the type of fabric required for particular designs.

Garment Decoration

This course covers the types of flair that students can use to make their designs more interesting and attractive. Adornments used include fringe, beads, sequins, lace trim, ruffles, tassels and embroidery.


Through this course, learners explore methods for altering sleeves, holes and necklines. They also learn how to eliminate wrinkles and adjust patterns to fit a specific body shape.

Pattern Design

Students create their own patterns for unique clothing designs. They learn how to customize their designs and use techniques, such as draping, to achieve the fit they desire.

Career Information for Graduates

Graduates can become tailors, work at a fashion design agency, design patterns or simply create clothing for themselves. They could also start their own clothing or tailoring business. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that the employment of dressmakers, custom sewers and tailors would decrease by two percent between 2008 and 2018. As of May 2010, tailors, dressmakers and custom sewers made a median annual salary of $26,560, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

Although higher-level degree programs are not available online in dressmaking, distance learning degree programs in fashion design and merchandising are offered at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. Graduates can also complete individual courses for credit or non-credit.

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