Sewing Classes in New York City with School Overviews

Nov 12, 2018

There are three schools within four miles of downtown New York City that offer sewing-related classes and programs. Read an overview of the three colleges, requirements and admission info to find out which program is right for you.

New York City Schools with Sewing Classes

There are two private design schools and one state-affiliated college in New York City that have 2- and 4-year programs in fashion design, and each one offers classes in sewing. Design students usually need to submit a portfolio. Along with a summary of the programs, the following resource includes a comparison table with important school information. Students will also find a paragraph about other schools within the New York City area that provide training in sewing.

  • The Fashion Institute of Technology is part of the State University of New York (SUNY), and the school is located just off of Seventh Avenue in Manhattan's garment district, a little over two miles from downtown. The institute has strong ties to the fashion business, and students have the opportunity to interact with industry leaders, participate in internships at high-profile companies and visit galleries and showrooms.
  • Parsons The New School for Design was the first school in the United States to offer formal training in fashion design. One of seven divisions of The New School, Parsons is situated in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, less than two miles from the city's downtown.
  • The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn is a 125-year-old design, liberal studies and science school, and its main campus in Clinton Hill can easily be accessed by private or public transportation. Pratt is roughly four miles from downtown New York City.

Comparison of Schools

Fine sewers and designers can use this table to find information about undergraduate financial aid and tuition. According to the table, the Fashion Institute of Technology is the most selective school; students may have an easier time getting into Parsons or Pratt.

Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY) Parsons The New School for Design Pratt Institute
School Type 4-year; primarily associate's, public 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017)* 8,846 10,389 5,035
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Tuition and Fees (2017-2018)* $5,483 (in-state students); $14,863 (out-of-state students) $47,276 $50,038
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017)* 73% 86% 84%
Acceptance Rate (2017)* 47% 62% 57%
Retention Rate (2017)* 89% for full-time students; 44% for part-time students 81% for full-time students; 80% for part-time students 88% for full-time students
Overall Graduation Rate (full-time students who enrolled in 2011)* 77% 67% 66%

Source: NCES College Navigator

Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY)

One of the first and the oldest to be offered by the school, the fashion design program at the institute provides students with the career training they need to create haute couture, mass market and ready-to-wear apparel. Students receive their training from fashion professionals, and through campus exhibits and runway shows, they also have the opportunity to show their work and receive constructive criticism from high-profile designers like Calvin Klein and Norma Kamali.

Associate of Applied Science in Fashion Design

The 2-year curriculum requires 63.5 credits of general education and major coursework, and students who have already completed the liberal arts core may qualify for the 1-year program. Specialized studies include sequential courses in draping, fashion design, flat pattern design and sewing. Students also pursue topics in life drawing and textiles and have the opportunity to concentrate in apparel or art. Qualified graduates may be able to find positions as assistant or technical designers.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design

The 4-year program in fashion design requires up to 61 additional credits of coursework and provides aspiring professionals with the chance to specialize in children's clothing, formal apparel, knits, lingerie or sportswear. Each concentration includes specialized training in sewing.

Through some upper-level coursework common to all majors, all students also pursue topics in body contour, computer-aided pattern design, knitwear and merchandising. If they qualify, 4-year students may have the opportunity to study in Milan. The program culminates in an e-portfolio, an internship and a senior collection.

Parsons the New School for Design

At Parsons, students with prior college experience can pursue 2-year degrees in fashion, graphic or interior design, as well as an associate's in fashion marketing. All of the school's art and design programs build upon a strong foundation in the liberal arts, and as of Fall 2013, all freshmen will be required to complete a core curriculum.

Associate of Applied Science in Fashion Design

This 65-credit degree program includes a 1-year fast track, and students who pursue a part-time course of study can take classes at night. Depending on their prior college experience, students in the fast track and transfer programs may be able to apply up to 31 undergraduate credits to their degree plan.

The 2-year curriculum covers all phases of garment construction and includes sequential courses in draping, garment construction and patternmaking. The program culminates in the development of a professional portfolio. In addition to creating their own lines, qualified graduates have found positions with major design and retail companies.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design

The 120-credit program includes foundation courses in 2-D and 3-D design, digital design and drawing, as well as related topics in art and fashion history, global design and visual communication. While the 2-year program includes specific courses in apparel construction, students in the bachelor's program may also take courses in the design studio learning practical applications. The program culminates in the development of a portfolio and a juried thesis collection.

In addition to preparing for careers as accessory, apparel or costume designers, students acquire the transferable skills they need to work as marketing and merchandising specialists, curators or interior designers.

Master of Fine Arts in Fashion Design and Society

This program is an additional 60 credits of courses. Students will study advanced design techniques and fashion presentation skills. Along with finding their personal style, students will also complete a thesis and professional practice project to earn the master's degree.

Pratt Institute (Main Campus)

The School of Design provides students with the opportunity to study with award-winning artists, critics, designers and historians. At the main campus in Brooklyn, aspiring professionals can pursue 4-year degrees in fashion, industrial or interior design. In addition to technical training, all of the design programs include historical and liberal studies.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design

In general, the Bachelor of Fine Arts programs at Pratt require 126 credits to complete, and fashion design majors must take core courses in color, drawing and textiles. The curriculum includes topics in apparel construction, digital illustration and hand drawing; students also pursue courses in art, clothing design and costume history.

In contrast to the program at Parsons, this degree plan requires specific studies in draping and tailoring. Students can also take specialized studio courses in the following areas: athletic clothing, formal wear, intimate apparel, knitwear, swimwear and sportswear. The senior year requirements are similar to those of the aforementioned schools in that students must design a collection, develop a portfolio and complete an internship. In addition to classroom work, the degree requirements include participation in industry-sponsored competitions.

Continuing Education

Along with the fashion program, Pratt's Center for Continuing and Professional Studies may offer individual courses in sewing. Although seasonal offerings can vary, the 2018 catalog offered workshops and certification courses in tapestry weaving; fashion design; needle, thread and cloth; and machine sewing. The requirements for these vary.

Other School Options

Outside of Manhattan, Nassau Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in fashion design that requires classes in garment construction. This Garden City school is located a little less than 20 miles away from New York City.

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