Students who are interested in sewing and tailoring can usually find courses at schools that offer formal training in fashion design or merchandising. In addition to apparel construction, program requirements typically include courses in draping and pattern drafting. Sewing classes incorporate the hands-on practice of techniques with and without machine assistance. Most programs require the construction and/or design of a garment as well as the development of a portfolio. Some baccalaureate programs include internships and fashion shows.
Of the schools in Massachusetts that have programs in fashion design and merchandising, four public and private (not-for-profit) colleges and universities offer classes in sewing. In addition to the course and program overviews, students will find a comparison table with school and tuition information.
Framingham State University
The state university in Framingham offers undergraduate, graduate and post-baccalaureate programs in more than 50 different areas, including a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design and Retailing (concentration in apparel design). Students acquire their sewing skills through the courses in apparel, construction, and tailoring, and additional requirements include topics in color, design and merchandising. Through free electives, undergraduates can also pursue an internship, participate in a study tour or learn about cultural dress. The program culminates in a clothing design portfolio and an exhibition.
Lasell College in Newtown offers more than 30 undergraduate majors, and sewing courses can be found through the fashion design and production program. The Bachelor of Arts requires 120 credits to complete and includes courses in digital and flat pattern design, art history, accessories design, and couture.
Through the clothing construction and couture courses, students become familiar with all stages of garment construction, from basic sewing to finishing touches. They also learn how to use computer-aided design programs, analyze different types of textiles and explore the finer points of haute couture. Additional program features include an electronic portfolio, an internship, and a thesis. Students will also have the opportunity to showcase their skills and talents in a yearly fashion show.
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Located in Boston, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design offers both a certificate and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design. The 2-year certificate program is open to high school graduates and includes six foundation courses in creative and couture design, drafting, illustration and tailoring. Students also take master classes in costume and handbag design, computer-aided design and forecasting.
Similar coursework can be found in the 120-credit Bachelor of Fine Arts program, where undergraduates learn how to design and construct both haute couture and ready-to-wear garments. This is a comprehensive plan of study that includes a 3-course sequence in pattern drafting and clothing construction, as well as instruction in accessories and costume design. Through an elective in couture techniques, students also acquire skills in advanced seam finishing, embroidery, pleating and quilting. The program culminates in a senior project and the chance to research, design and produce a theme-based collection and portfolio.
Unique to the school is an optional study of the fashion marketplace, where aspiring professionals have the opportunity to create and market their own designs at a temporary campus store. Final collections are displayed at the annual fashion show, and the event is open to the public.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Sewing Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)*|
|Framingham State University||4-year, public; small city||Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design and Retailing|| $10,520 in-state
|Lasell College||4-year, private not-for-profit; small city||Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design and Production||$36,000|
|Massachusetts College of Art and Design||4-year, public; large city|| Fashion Design Certificate,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design
| $13,200 in-state
Source: *NCES College Navigator