Which Schools Offer Sewing Classes in Washington, DC?

Learn about sewing classes offered in Washington, DC. Get information about degrees available, admission and program requirements to make an informed decision about your education. Schools offering Fashion Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

You can take sewing classes at 2-year and 4-year, public and private schools in Washington, DC and its surrounding area. You can take stand-alone classes, or you can pursue a certificate or an associate's or a bachelor's degree in fashion design or merchandising. You'll need about 2 years to earn a certificate or associate's degree, if you attend full time. The bachelor's degree will take 4 years of full-time study to complete. Read on for further details about schools in or near Washington, DC where you can take sewing classes.


Certificate in Fashion Design near Washington, DC

Baltimore City Community College

  • Program: Certificate in Fashion Design
  • Program Length: Four semesters of full-time study
  • Tuition: $88 per credit for MD residents; $200 per credit for non-residents (2011-2012; full- or part-time, matriculated students; excludes fees)
  • Admission Requirements: Degree-seeking students must be at least 16 years of age, pass a school-specific admissions test (non-certificate or non-degree seeking students are exempt), complete mandatory new student orientation and have access to a domestic or industrial sewing machine for out-of-class work
  • School Type: 2-year, public; approximately 7,160 undergraduate students
  • Address: 2901 Liberty Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215 (Liberty Campus)
  • Phone: 410-462-8300

An urban school with two main campuses, Baltimore Community College is readily accessible through the MARC train service, a commuter rail system that operates on three lines between the city and Baltimore, MD (www.commuterpage.com). The certificate program in fashion design, offered through the Liberal Arts, Education, and Public Services Division, takes two years to complete and includes a computer literacy requirement and a one-credit course in academic achievement. Through classes in patternmaking, clothing construction, draping, and tailoring, you can lean, among other skills, how to make an original master pattern, produce hand and machine-sewn garments, use computer-aided design software and create digital ornaments. This program may be a good choice if you do not want to pursue a degree, already hold one in another major or just want to improve your professional design and sewing skills. Individual classes in apparel technology and patternmaking may be offered on a for-credit basis, especially during the summer.


Associate's Degrees in Fashion Design and Merchandising near Washington, DC

Baltimore City Community College

  • Program: Associate of Applied Science in Fashion Design
  • Specialization Area: Fashion retailing
  • Program Length: 21 months of full-time study
  • Tuition: $88 per credit for MD residents; $200 per credit for non-residents (2011-2012; (full or part-time, matriculated students; excludes fees)
  • Admission Requirements: Degree-seeking students must be at least 16 years of age, pass a school-specific admissions test (non-certificate or non-degree seeking students are exempt), complete mandatory new student orientation and have access to a domestic or industrial sewing machine for out-of-class work
  • School Type: 2-year, public; approximately 7,160 undergraduates
  • Address: 2901 Liberty Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215 (Liberty Campus)
  • Phone: 410-462-8300

In addition to a certificate in fashion design, Baltimore City Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science with an option to specialize in either fashion design or fashion retailing. The design degree requires between 66 and 68 credits to complete, and with the exception of classes in general studies and drawing, the core curriculum for both the associate's and the certificate is almost the same. This program can help you acquire the artistic background and technical skills you need to turn your original ideas into finished garments or obtain a position as an assistant designer, a patternmaker or a tailor. Classes in patternmaking and clothing construction are not part of the fashion retailing option, and the curriculum for this major includes topics in business, management and merchandising.

University of the District of Columbia Community College

  • Program: Associate of Applied Science in Fashion Merchandising
  • Program Length: Two years of full-time study
  • Tuition: $100.00 per credit for DC residents; $168.00 for metro area residents; $283.00 for non-residents (2012; excludes fees)
  • Admission Requirements: School-specific admissions tests and new student orientation session; current college transcript or proof of academic standing for non-degree students
  • School Type: 4-year, public; approximately 5,310 undergraduate and 210 graduate students
  • Address: 801 N Capitol Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
  • Phone: 202-274-5800

The Associate of Applied Science in Fashion Merchandising, available from the University of the District of Columbia Community College, is one of more than 20 degree and certificate programs offered by the only accredited public college in the nation's capital. This is a school-to-career program that can show you how to plan, make and promote apparel-related products; design and use visual displays, analyze consumer markets and forecast trends. The degree requires 62 credits to complete, and in addition to courses in fashion merchandising and marketing includes a limited number of classes in clothing construction and textiles. Although this is primarily a business and not a design or a technical program, it can prepare you for a career as a fashion product developer and provide you with the skills you need to create a variety of useful and imaginative garments - everything from a hospital uniform to custom-made couture.


Bachelor's Degrees in Fashion Design and Merchandising near Washington, DC

Howard University

  • Program: Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Merchandising
  • Program Length: Four years of full-time study
  • Tuition: $780.00 part-time rate per credit (2011-2012; excludes fees)
  • Admission Requirements: Personal statement, two letters of recommendation and portfolio
  • School Type: 4-year, private, not-for-profit; approximately 6,932 undergraduate and 3,447 graduate students
  • Address: 2400 Sixth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20059
  • Phone: 202-806-6100

An accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, the Department of Art at Howard University offers a fashion merchandising program that can show you how clothing, accessories and fabrics are designed, produced, sold and recycled in the United States and overseas. Sewing-related classes include a four-class, fashion studio sequence where you can learn how to make clothes, draft patterns, drape, use computer-aided design software and even develop a line. A lab-based class in textile design can also give you the chance to acquire related skills in crocheting, knitting, weaving and fabric printing.

Marymount University

  • Program: Bachelor of Arts
  • Field of Study Options: Fashion design and fashion merchandising
  • Program Length: Four years
  • Tuition: $810 per credit (2012-2013; full-time, matriculated students; excludes fees)
  • Admission Requirements: Completion of recommended high school curriculum and one letter of recommendation
  • School Type: 4-year, private (not-for-profit); approximately 2,290 undergraduates and 1,282 graduate students
  • Address: 2807 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22207
  • Phone: 703-522-5600

Just minutes away from Washington, DC, Marymount University is the only college in the nation's capital to offer degrees in both fashion design and fashion merchandising. The core curriculum for the fashion design program includes sewing-related classes in apparel design, clothing construction, clothing analysis, product development and tailoring. As a student, you can learn how to fit, shape and line a garment; design clothing and flat patterns, develop your own line and acquire an understanding of commercial sewing standards. The highlight of the Bachelor of Arts program in fashion design is the college's annual Portfolio in Motion show, a student-run event that can give you the chance to display your own original designs.


Career and School Information for Sewing Students in Washington, DC

Professional sewers and tailors stitch or alter new and existing articles of clothing according to a design, a pattern or a customer's specifications. Custom sewers and couture dressmakers may specialize in bridal gowns or work with fashion designers to create one-of-a-kind clothing. In addition to apparel, some sewers may also quilt or weave bed coverings or home furnishings such as napkins and placemats.

A formal education is not required to work as a sewer or a dressmaker, and most professionals acquire their skills either on the job or through an apprenticeship program. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2010, 44% of sewers and tailors were self-employed, while hourly or salaried professionals worked for apparel and textile manufacturers, department stores or dry cleaners.

Salary and Job Outlook for Sewing Professionals

The BLS reports that as of May 2011, tailors, dressmakers and custom sewers in the Washington, DC area (including Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, as well as parts of Maryland and West Virginia) earned an annual mean wage of $32,000. During the same year, sewing machine operators in or around the nation's capital received mean salaries of $26,000 a year. If you are interested in sewing, the Washington, DC area has several community colleges and universities that offer undergraduate classes and programs in fashion design, fashion merchandising and sewing.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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