In Florida, students interested in sewing classes can choose from adult or continuing education courses or associate's or certificate programs in fashion design that include classes in apparel construction and tailoring. Additionally, costume design and sewing courses can be found at five colleges and universities that have bachelor's and/or master's programs in theater arts and technology. Much of students' education incorporates hands-on learning and the practice of skills. Specializations are available through some schools. Students may need to provide their own sewing tool and equipment and are often required to complete a project of some sort prior to graduation. Profiled below are nine of the private non-profit and public schools offering sewing courses and programs in Florida.
Florida Atlantic University
Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton was the first public college in America established specifically for upper-level students. The Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters is one of ten in the university, and through its School of the Arts, undergraduates can pursue programs in dance, music and theater.
The Bachelor of Arts in Theater program allows students to specialize in design and technology, and the curriculum includes topics in costume, lighting and scenery design. In particular, the course in costume technology provides aspiring theater professionals with training in clothing construction, millinery and patterning.
Florida Southern College
The only campus architect Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed is located in Lakeland, and the site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Florida Southern College is comprised of four schools and a graduate education division, and the theater arts program is available through the School of Arts and Sciences.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Technical Theater/Design program includes courses in stagecraft and production, as well as one four-credit course in costuming. In addition to learning about the overall design process, students receive training in basic sewing, costume construction and tailoring.
Florida State University
Florida State University in Tallahassee is a leading research institution with 16 colleges. At the School of Theater, undergraduates can earn a liberal arts degree in theater, and must complete a technical stagecraft requirement. Currently, the department offers a significant number of courses in costume design, construction, draping and patternmaking. Through the introductory course, future professionals become acquainted with standard sewing techniques used in most costume shops, and advanced studies cover topics in fabric modification and millinery.
In addition to the bachelor's program, the department has a three-year master's program in costume design that includes projects associated with dance, film and television. Graduate students can also pursue training in flat pattern drafting and draping, as well as electives in advanced construction and tailoring.
Lindsey Hopkins Technical Education Center
The first technical and vocational center in the county, this Miami school has career, general education and English language programs. Students who enroll in the certificate program in fashion design and production services complete 1,050 hours of coursework in custom sewing, dressmaking, patternmaking and tailoring. This school is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE) and is part of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
Marion County Community Technical and Adult Education Center
In Ocala, the Marion County Community Technical and Adult Education Center provides both young and mature learners with the opportunity to pursue low-cost programs in a variety of professional and recreational areas. These include an arts and crafts course in design and sewing that provides instruction in alternations, fabric selection and the use of interfacing. Sewing machines are not provided, and students must bring their own equipment to class. This technical center is also accredited by the COE.
Miami Dade College
This Miami-based institution is the largest postsecondary school in the United States, and the college currently provides academic services to more than 174,000 students. Through the School of Continuing Education and Professional Development, aspiring professionals can find courses in beginning, intermediate and advanced sewing, fashion design and pattern alternation. Each 18-hour course takes place during six three-hour sessions.
Through the beginning course in sewing, participants acquire basic hand and machine skills, and the advanced course includes a project. In the pattern alteration courses, students learn to tailor a sleeveless sheath and work with sleeves and skirts.
Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern in Fort Lauderdale is among the eight largest private not-for-profit schools in the United States. At the Division of Performing and Visual Arts, undergraduates can complete a Bachelor of Arts in Theater program that includes technical design electives in costuming, lighting and scenery.
The three-credit course in costuming and makeup covers topics in fabric selection, patternmaking and sewing. In addition to learning to construct costumes for the stage, students have the opportunity to produce items for campus-based productions.
This downtown Orlando vocational school was founded in 1933, and its program offerings include art, business, health and technology. The 1,050-hour fashion technology and production services program is a full-time course of study, and participants attend class Monday through Friday. In addition to acquiring alteration and basic stitching skills, students learn to operate a sewing machine and construct custom-made dresses and suits. Students who successfully complete the program earn 24 credits in industrial management technology that can be transferred to an associate's program at Valencia College or another Florida community or state college.
University of Florida
The University of Florida in Gainesville is not only one of the largest schools in the United States, but also one of just 17 land-grant institutions in the Association of American Universities. Through the School of Theater and Dance, which features five faculty members, undergraduate and graduate students can pursue programs in design and technology that include courses in costume design.
Students in the 124-credit Bachelor of Fine Arts program begin their training in the first semester, and coursework specific to sewing covers topics in beginning and advanced costume design and construction. To fulfill the three-credit technology elective, they can also choose a course in advanced costume crafts, draping, tailoring or patternmaking.
The Master of Fine Arts in Theater program with specializations in costume design or costume technology requires three years to complete. The curriculum includes additional training in crafts, draping and pattern construction, and as early as the first year, graduate students might have the opportunity to design their own show.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Sewing Courses and Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Florida Atlantic University||Four-year, public; small city|| Bachelor of Arts in Theater with an emphasis in Design and Technology,
Minor in Theater
|$4,831 in-state; $17,276 out-of-state *|
|Florida Southern College||Four-year, private not-for-profit; small city||Bachelor of Fine Arts in Technical Theater/Design,
Minor in Theater Arts
|Florida State University||Four-year, public; midsize city|| Bachelor of Arts in Theater,
Master of Fine Arts in Costume Design
|$6,507 in-state; $21,673 out-of-state*|
|Lindsey Hopkins Technical Education Center||Less than two-year, public; large city||Fashion Design and Production Services Certificate||$2,688 in-state; $10,762 out-of-state for 1,050-hour certificate**|
|Marion County Community Technical and Adult Education||Two-year, public; small city||Professional Development Sewing Course||Price unavailable***|
|Miami Dade College||Four-year, public; large city||Professional Development Sewing Classes||$130 per course ****|
|Nova Southeastern University||Four-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb|| Bachelor of Arts in Theater,
Minor in Theater
|Orlando Tech||Two-year, public; midsize city||Fashion Technology and Production Services||$ 2,940 in-state; $11,749 out-of-state for 1,050-hour certificate*****|
|University of Florida||Four-year, public; midsize city||Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater Production: Costume Design,
Master of Fine Arts in Theater: Costume Design or Costume Technology
|$6,381 in-state; $28,659 out-of-state*|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **Lindsey Hopkins Technical Education Center, ***Marion County Community Technical and Adult Education, ****Miami Dade College, *****Orlando Tech.