Dressmaking & Design Online Course - Program Curriculum | Penn Foster Career School
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Dressmaking & Design Online Course Details

Start on your path toward an exciting career as an dressmaker and designer with a program syllabus that includes key design concepts such as basic pattern design in fashion, embroidery, garment decoration, alterations, and creating original clothing designs. Enrolled students are eligible for discounted rates for the National Sewing Circle and National Quilters Circle premium online video sites for helpful tips, techniques, and project ideas.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

The program goal for Penn Foster's Dressmaking and Design program is to prepare students to create professional-grade garments from customized patterns using hand- and machine-sewing techniques in order to work as a dressmaker.

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...
  • Identify basic sewing tools and how they're properly used to cut, pin, press, and hand-sew knits and woven fabrics.
  • Recognize the parts of a standard sewing machine and techniques for its threading, use, and proper maintenance.
  • Identify the characteristics and properties of common fabrics and the fibers from which they're made, including details on care, cleaning, and how to handle these fabrics when sewing.
  • Estimate the amount of fabric needed for a garment and handle, press, and tack fabric properly while constructing the garment.
  • Choose and correctly use various styles of seams, pockets, necklines, sleeves, and shoulder pads for a garment based on the garment's style and intended wear.
  • Choose and construct flourishes such as collars, fasteners, cuffs, buttonholes, waist finishes, and interfacing for a garment based on the garment's style and intended wear.
  • Recognize different body types and the colors, lengths, silhouettes, and styles used to create a finished product that will flatter the wearer's individual shape.
  • Comprehend the components and construction techniques for specialty garments related to maternity wear, infants' and children's clothes, nighttime wear, and undergarments.
  • Identify types of and uses for decorative elements such as hand-sewn embroidery, ruffles, pleats, and decorative fastenings.
  • Measure a wearer in order to choose the right size pattern for a project, alter a pattern to fit the individual's shape and preferences, transfer the pattern to the chosen fabric, and continue to alter for proper fit as the garment is constructed.
  • Comprehend the basic principles of draping fabric in order to create decorative flourishes, enhance the fit of skirts and bodices, and sew a variety of sleeve styles.
  • Recognize the details of successfully managing a home business, including how to purchase professional sewing items, appropriately register a home as a place of business, price finished products, and use good customer service as a marketing strategy.

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.

Objectives:

  • Understand how to use your Student Portal.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
Build your foundation for success by learning how to best approach the study of sewing.

Objectives:

  • Discover the terms, tools, and equipment used for cutting, sewing, and pressing.
  • Produce a variety of basic seams.
  • Explore several types of temporary and permanent stitching techniques.
  • Learn the basics of taking body measurements, buying and preparing patterns, and making simple alterations.

In this course, discover the various parts of a typical sewing machine and explore the functions of several machine attachments.

Objectives:

  • Thread the upper and lower parts of a sewing machine.
  • Describe how to create a stitch.
  • Set the correct timing and tension to ensure accurate stitches.
  • Care for and maintain your sewing machine.
Practical Exercise 1

Practice the skills you’ve learned by completing optional learning activities. Compile your projects into the binder you received earlier in your program to create a professional portfolio of your work. Then, take and submit the exam at the end of this exercise.

Now you’re ready to explore one of the most important topics in your program - fabrics.

Objectives:

  • Identify the various types and properties of fabrics and learn how to best work with them.
  • Develop skills for handling hard-to-work-with fabrics.
  • Describe how to properly care for garments.
In this lesson, learn the basic dressmaking processes to meet your customers’ needs and create beautiful garments.

Objectives:

  • Select and prepare fabrics.
  • Layout, cut, and mark fabrics.
  • Tack together cut fabric pieces for a fitting.
  • Construct and apply the finishing touches to your first garment.
Practical Exercise 2

Practice the skills you’ve learned by completing optional learning activities. Add these projects to the binder sent to you earlier in the program to continue building your professional portfolio. Then, take and submit the exam at the end of this exercise.

Learn how to tackle more complicated and interesting features to enhance your garments.

Objectives:

  • Prepare openings in fabrics at necklines, side seams, skirts, and sleeves.
  • Select and install zippers.
  • Construct and attach several types of collars and cuffs.
  • Finish a garment at the waist.
  • Attach various types of fasteners, such as hooks and eyes, snaps, and trouser clips.
Build on your knowledge by learning advanced dressmaking techniques.

Objectives:

  • Choose flattering styles and fabrics.
  • Strengthen and finish corners, slashes, and points.
  • Join and finish curved edges, pointed edges, and overlaid seams in a variety of ways.
  • Construct and attach patch, seam, and cut pockets.
  • Form and stitch pleats.
  • Select and use interfacings, linings, and backings.
  • Make coats, jackets, and trousers.
  • Create a variety of sleeve types.
  • Learn how to work on a bias and how to work with weighting, shoulder pads, strap holders, and boning.
Practical Exercise 3

Practice the skills you’ve learned by completing optional learning activities. Add these projects to the binder sent to you earlier in the program to continue building your professional portfolio. Then, take and submit the exam at the end of this exercise.

Additional Unit Material

Learning Aid: Pattern

Successful designers know how to manipulate the principles of design—balance, proportion and scale, rhythm, emphasis, and unity—to create the most flattering looks.

Objectives:

  • Describe the visual effects of various types of lines and silhouettes in garment design.
  • Judge whether garments are successfully and practically designed.
  • Use optical illusion techniques in your garments to draw attention away from certain areas of the body.
Learn how to construct specialized garments.

Objectives:

  • Sew maternity wear, infant clothes, toddlers’ and children’s wear, nightwear, and underwear.
  • Use specialized seams for underwear, infant clothes, and other fine fabrics.
  • Work with lace.
Practical Exercise 4

Read an assignment in your supplement, Always in Style, and then practice the skills you’ve learned by completing optional learning activities. Add these projects to your binder to continue building your professional portfolio. Then, take and submit the exam at the end of this exercise.

Additional Unit Material

Supplement: Always in Style

Embroidery is a highly specialized skill, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming an embroidery expert after completing this lesson.

Objectives:

  • Describe the uses, tools, materials, threads, stitches, and designs of embroidery.
  • Create embroidery stitches by hand and with a sewing machine.
  • Transfer embroidery designs from paper to fabric.
  • Join seams with special stitches.
  • Learn the basics of smocking and quilting.
This course is designed to teach you various garment decorative-finish techniques.

Objectives:

  • Create scallops, ruffles, godets, fringing, shirring, tucks, pleating, and topstitched seams.
  • Explore various types of evening wear decorations, such as beads and sequins.
  • Prepare and use rouleau, piping, bows, braid, and ribbon.
  • Make belts, loops, and arrowheads.
  • Create custom designed fasteners, such as covered buttons, Chinese ball buttons, link buttons, and frogs.
A perfect fit starts with a pattern that has been altered to match the body of the person for whom you're sewing.

Objectives:

  • Choose, trim, mark, and measure a basic commercial pattern.
  • Create a chart showing your measurements.
  • Alter the following elements as needed: (1) bodice darts, length, shoulders, armholes, and bust; (2) sleeve head, length, and width; and (3) skirt length, front, sides, and back.
  • Test your altered patterns and transfer your alterations to heavy paper for future use.
Practical Exercise 5

Practice the skills you’ve learned by completing optional learning activities. Add these projects to your binder to continue building your professional portfolio. Then, take and submit the exam at the end of this exercise.

Additional Unit Material

Learning Aid: Pattern

In this course, learn how to look at and adjust the garment on a three-dimensional figure with all of its individual contours.

Objectives:

  • Use techniques for properly fitting shoulders, necklines, armholes, bodies of garments, sleeves, and skirts.
  • Use a basic pattern to create varied dress styles.
In this course, learn how to draft garment designs from your basic pattern.

Objectives:

  • Describe the general procedure, equipment, tools, and supplies for flat designing.
  • Design garment bodices, necklines, collars, sleeves, and skirts.
  • Design one-piece dresses, nightgowns, slips, infant yoke dresses, and matinee jackets.
Draping is the process of creating original designs directly in fabric instead of using paper patterns. This technique teaches dressmakers the relationship among fabric, figure, and fashion in a way that no other method can.

Objectives:

  • Describe the principles, fabrics, styles, and equipment used for draping.
  • Use a dress form or human figure as the foundation for clothing construction.
  • Mark details such as seam lines, pleats, and darts.
  • Create bodices, sleeves, collars, skirts, and slips directly on the fabric draped on a figure or dress form.
Practical Exercise 6

Practice the skills you’ve learned by completing learning activities. Add these projects to your binder to continue building your professional portfolio. Only one of your learning activities is mandatory. You must complete this learning activity to prepare for, take, and submit the exam at the end of this exercise.

Additional Unit Materials

Supplement: Dressmaking Glossary

Final Project

Create an entire garment and submit it for evaluation.

Additional Details

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered in the Penn Foster Program. Prospective students should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where they plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in this Program. Click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Penn Foster Career School Accreditation & Licensing Details

Penn Foster has been accredited for over 50 years. Penn Foster Career School has been thoroughly reviewed and has earned several important accreditations, certifications, and licensing. Most importantly, Penn Foster Career School is both regionally and nationally accredited.

DEAC
MSA
Surround Sound Support

Surround Sound Support

Whether you prefer chat, text, email, or phone, our faculty is here to help you achieve your goals. Penn Foster students also have access to our expert team of Success Coaches to help with budgeting for your education, career guidance, or simply some extra motivation.

Progress Tracking and Goal Setting Tools

Our customizable goal-setting tools will help you create a schedule and stick to it. Need some extra time to complete a lesson or take an exam? Not a problem — you can adjust your study plan at any time to set a pace that works for you.
Progress Tracking and Goal Setting Tools
Penn Foster Student Community

Student Community

Looking to connect with other Penn Foster students? Our Student Community is the perfect place for you to interact with your peers — as well as Penn Foster faculty and staff — to discuss your online learning experience, congratulate fellow students, and share your Penn Foster experience.

Sample Dressmaking and Design Lesson

Penn Foster courses are written in a way that is easy to understand, and materials are broken down into manageable lessons. Take a look at what a Dressmaking and Design course would look like.
Dressmaking and Design Sample Lesson
Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to participate in and complete your program.
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
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