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Sewing Lessons and Classes in Chicago, Illinois with School Info

The Chicago area has four schools that offer courses and programs that include sewing. Learn about courses, admission info, and program requirements for three Chicago schools and decide which program is right for you.

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Comparison of Sewing Schools in Chicago

Individuals interested in learning to sew have several options in the Chicago area. School of the Art Institute of Chicago is located downtown and is connected to the Art Institute of Chicago. There, students can take noncredit courses in fashion, which include sewing classes, or pursue several certificate or degree options in fashion, body, and garment. Columbia College Chicago is committed to the arts and also located in downtown Chicago. Students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design. Dominican University offers a bachelor's program in apparel design that includes sewing courses and is located in a suburb just outside the city.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago Columbia College Chicago Dominican University
Sewing Courses and Programs Offered Adult Continuing Education Fashion Classes,
Fashion Certificate,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio,
Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Fashion, Body, and Garment,
Master of Design in Fashion, Body, and Garment
Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design
Bachelor of Arts in Apparel Design
Related Programs Offered N/A Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Business Bachelor of Arts in Apparel Merchandising
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2011-2012) 3,308* 11,625* 3,612*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large suburb
Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2012-13) $39,020* $21,730* $27,730*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Aid (2010-11) 100%* 79%* 100%*
Acceptance Rate (2012-2013) 78%* N/A - Open admissions 57%*
Retention Rate (2010-2011) 78% for full-time students* 67% for full-time students* 82% for full-time students*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (for students beginning in 2005) 38%* 29%* 55%*
Relevant Facilities or Resources Fashion Resource Center Fashion Lab N/A
Distance from Downtown 0.6 mi (3 min.) 0.7 mi (3 min.) 12.1 mi (21 min.)

Sources: *NCES College Navigator


Programs at School of the Art Institute of Chicago

School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is an independent, accredited school of art and design. Its interdisciplinary programs look at art in a way that allows students to take skills from one medium and translate them into other fields. The university is adjoined to the Art Institute of Chicago and has a Fashion Resource Center, which allows students to acquire hands-on experience making clothing, shoes, and accessories. Students can also interview designers, watch runway shows, and explore fashion ideas as part of their curriculum.

Adult Continuing Education Fashion Classes

SAIC offers several noncredit adult continuing education fashion classes that meet one day per week for about three months. The fashion drawing class teaches students how to capture fashion mood and texture by working from a live model. In the patternmaking class, learners design patterns, such as skirts, for women. They learn to put together garments from established and original patterns using industrial sewing machines in a class on sewing technique fundamentals. The above-the-waist sewing class trains them to sew button-down shirts and lined, zippered shells from commercial or original designs.

Fashion Certificate

Through this certificate program that requires 10 studio classes plus two electives, learners acquire experience in designing and constructing fashionable garments. They develop a fashion portfolio that will prepare them to apply to college fashion programs or begin working in the fashion industry. Courses include sewing fundamentals, above-the-waist sewing techniques, pattern construction, portfolio development, and fashion runways. Students can take electives in accessory design, color theory application, shoe design, and fashion history.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio

This interdisciplinary degree option allows students a variety of areas of specialization, including fashion. Admission to the program requires a portfolio. Students learn primary garment design and construction skills that include sewing. They also choose from electives in subjects like fashion illustration, knitwear, or footwear. Internships can be arranged. The school also puts on an annual fashion show that features student work.

Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Fashion, Body, and Garment

This program is intended for students who already have a bachelor's degree but still need additional preparation in the field - including portfolio preparation - prior to applying to a graduate degree program. The 3-semester program features studio opportunities, labs, and a combination of art and design classes.

Master of Design in Fashion, Body, and Garment

The master's degree program in fashion, body, and garment is a 2-year program that requires design studios, seminars, labs, and research. Course topics include fashion design, fashion history, and the future of fashion. The program combines fashion and art to help students create unique and memorable designs. Electives allow students to hone their skills and complete professional practice, which includes a final project and a thesis.

Degrees at Columbia College Chicago

At this school, enrollees learn to develop their creativity in communication, the arts, and media and apply it in ways that can lead to a fruitful and productive career. Through the Fashion Studies Department at the School of Fine and Performing Arts, students can pursue degree programs in fashion design or fashion business. Sewing classes are part of the fashion design program. In their junior or senior year, students can apply for fashion internships in the city. They also use the fashion lab, complete with construction studios, industrial sewing machines, dress forms, and CAD-equipped computers.

Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design

Learners use a variety of materials to produce fashionable garments. They apply artistic concepts in a practical manner, analyze the quality of their work and others' work, and interpret patterns to create clothing. Courses include garment construction, fashion workshops, fashion design basics, fashion illustration, textiles, and men's clothing design. The program is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in fashion design so they can pursue a career in the industry. Students are required to take 42 credits of fashion-related classes.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design

Students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program choose from the same classes as students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts program. The BFA program requires 72 credits of fashion classes and completion of a senior thesis.

Degree at Dominican University

Dominican University is a private, not-for-profit institution that's affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. The Apparel Design and Merchandising Department is committed to helping students look at fashion as both a business and an art and explores the technical and professional aspects of the field. Every year, the department hosts a spring fashion show.

Bachelor of Arts in Apparel Design

Through the Bachelor of Arts in Apparel Design program, students can select from a concentration in dress and textile studies, fashion development, or surface design. Through the major requirements, students learn to design patterns, construct garments, and make sure they fit. Other courses cover the basics of merchandising and retailing. Students explore methods for tailoring clothing so it fits better and drapes correctly.

Other School Option

Students interested in taking sewing courses can also pursue certificate and degree programs at the College of DuPage, which is roughly 25 miles from downtown Chicago.

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