San Diego Sewing Classes with School Information

There are several schools within 40 miles of downtown San Diego that offer sewing classes or programs. Learn about the courses, admission info and program requirements for three schools' programs to make an informed education decision.

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San Diego Schools with Sewing Classes

San Diego residents interested in sewing classes, whether for professional or personal reasons, have a few different schools from which to choose. While some schools offer individual classes, others have complete certificate or degree programs in fashion design. After reviewing the program summaries and table of school facts below, students can choose the level of study that best meets their needs and career goals. A paragraph about one other school option for sewers in San Diego can be found after the table.

  • At five miles, San Diego Continuing Education is the closest to the downtown and offers several sewing classes and a certificate in clothing construction.
  • San Diego Mesa College, located 6.9 miles from downtown San Diego, offers a certificate and an associate degree program in fashion design that include sewing classes.
  • At nearly 40 miles, Palomar College is the furthest away from San Diego's downtown. Students who are willing to travel can earn a certificate or an associate degree in fashion design and pursue training in sewing.

San Diego Continuing Education

San Diego Continuing Education (SDCE) is a small school that offers free courses on a wide range of topics through its Community Education department, including sewing. Most of the sewing classes are held at the West City Campus, where individuals at various skill levels can find a class that meets their needs. All community education courses require online registration.

Certificate in Clothing Construction

This is a short-term program that includes the following three classes: sewing fundamentals, professional sewing and contemporary tailoring. Students complete 216 hours of instruction over 24-36 weeks. Once enrolled, they learn sewing techniques ranging from basic sewing to the skills used by seamstresses and alterations experts. In the professional sewing class, students also learn to work with different types of fabrics to create commercial products. Industry skills are acquired through the contemporary tailoring class, including how to use the straight stitch sewing machine and solve production issues.

Sewing Fundamentals

In the sewing fundamentals class, students learn the basic sewing techniques used to make apparel, including selecting patterns and fabrics, pressing the fabric and creating the final product. Timesaving and cost-effective sewing techniques are also introduced. Additionally, students learn about sewing machine use and care.

The sewing fundamentals class runs for 18 weeks, with 4-hour classes held one day per week. Sewing fundamentals is also offered as part of the 3-class clothing construction program at SDCE. Additional classes are designed for students who are just learning to sew or work with their first commercial patterns; SDCE also offers a 'sewing techniques portfolio' class.

Intermediate Sewing

This 18-week course also consists of 4-hour classes held one day per week. The course is aimed at individuals who have mastered sewing fundamentals or are getting back into sewing and want to brush up on their skills. Students learn about sewing sustainably, choosing fabrics and selecting colors, as well as sewing opportunities in the industry. The curriculum includes demonstrations, lectures and lab courses that provide participants with hands-on training. Students also create their own projects and/or complete portfolios of their creations.

San Diego Mesa College

San Diego Mesa College offers sewing instruction through its Business and Technology School. Sewing skills are developed as part of the fashion design certificate and associate degree programs. The programs highlight design and construction skills, preparing students to work as seamstresses, tailors, fashion designers and more.

Certificate of Achievement in Fashion Design

Students complete at least 32 units during this program, which combines classroom lectures, field studies and lab work. Topics such as fashion history, clothing trends, sketching and textiles are covered. Students hone their sewing skills and learn techniques like draping, pattern making, tailoring and shaping during courses in apparel construction and clothing design. They also train in the use of computer programs useful in fashion design, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

Associate in Science in Fashion Design

Students explore more advanced techniques in fashion design in the associate degree program. In addition to the apparel construction class that teaches sewing, degree seekers complete classes in 2-dimensional design and textiles. They also choose electives, like computer-aided flat pattern design, millinery and ethnic clothing.

Students obtain hands-on training working in the labs and creating their own designs. They also complete an on-the-job training experience. The associate degree requires 60 units, including 47-49 hours of classes from the major, plus elective courses. Students who want to transfer to a bachelor's degree program should complete general education coursework.

Palomar College

Palomar College is a public school that offers fashion design programs through its Design and Consumer Education Department. Students enrolled in the fashion design programs learn technical, professional and design skills, as well as develop the sewing techniques needed to succeed in the fashion industry. Graduates may become alterations specialists, seamstresses or designers.

Fashion Design Certificate of Achievement

This 1-year, full-time program prepares students for entry-level employment in fashion design or construction. Basic and advanced sewing classes are included, as well as classes on textiles, clothing selection and pattern making. Students also learn the trade through an internship that provides practical, on-site work experience in the field. The certificate requires 29-30 credits.

Associate in Arts in Fashion Design

Students acquire a broad knowledge base in the fashion industry during this program, which requires 44-46 credits and prepares students for a range of occupations in clothing design. Sewing classes are required, along with coursework in fashion history, fine dressmaking, tailoring and computer-aided fashion design. A sewing laboratory class is also part of the core curriculum.

Comparison of Schools

Aspiring home or professional sewers who are interested in earning a certificate or a degree can use the table below to compare undergraduate tuition, financial aid and other institutional information. Note that San Diego Continuing Education does not offer financial assistance.

San Diego Continuing Education San Diego Mesa College Palomar College
School Type 2-year, public 2-year, public 2-year, public
Total Enrollment (2011) 3,587* 25,504* 25,427*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Small city
Tuition & Fees Sewing classes free (2013)** $1,140 for in-state students; $5,532 for out-of-state students (2012-2013)* $1,328 for in-state students; $5,224 for out-of-state students (2012-2013)*
% of Full-Time Beginning Students Receiving Any Form of Financial Aid (2011) 0%* 54%* 49%*
Acceptance Rate (2011) Open admissions* Open admissions* Open admissions*
Retention Rate (2011) 9% of full-time students, 7% of part-time students*62% of full-time students, 30% of part-time students* 66% of full-time students, 42% of part-time students*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (students who began in Fall 2008 and graduated within 150% of normal completion time) N/A* 22% (18% transfer-out rate) * 26% (13% transfer-out rate)*

Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **San Diego Continuing Education

Other School Options

Students can also find sewing classes at MiraCosta College, located 39.8 miles from downtown San Diego. MiraCosta College offers individual sewing classes through its community services division.

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