When you’re learning something new after university graduation and you already have a full time job, it can be really tricky to find the right classes. Especially if you aren’t able to drop everything and go back to school!
Learning to sew can be easily resourced through the many indie designer or home sewers with YouTube channels, and a lot of it is down to practice. There are several great indie patterns from designers like Cloth Habit, Ohhhlulu, Evielaluve, Madalynne, and many more! Their patterns are a great starting point!
This is great if you’re only interested in sewing for yourself or family/friends. But for me I am hoping to learn more. How do you make something from scratch? How did these designers create their patterns? I’m not looking to sell patterns, but drafting, sewing and selling those would be amazing! Traditionally you would go to a fashion design school, but many of those are at least a year long with no option of part time study. Your local schools may not even offer anything that covers lingerie. (As is the case with me.)
There’s also not many books available for lingerie design either. Grading lingerie patterns? Even more rare. I’ve searched for months browsing through many blogs, book reviews, looking for good resources but most is focused only on bras. For grading, many of the books only offer information on the basic bodice, pant, dress blocks. Nothing regarding underwear or bras. Often there’s only a diagram of WHAT the grade is, but no explanation to WHY, and how to apply this to a different design. Some books do cover swimwear, but I don’t think that is 1-to-1 with lingerie.
So, without many local options, I’ve done some research in available online lingerie courses.
Sew Your Own Personal 8 Piece Collection
with Simone Sangerman
Burdastyle / Craft Online University
I took the Burdastyle course (at the time it wasn’t on Craft University). As a complete beginner, I thought this was a great resource to get started with, especially drafting. These online courses take you through drafting from measurements to create your base blocks that you then alter to design styles. For me, as I had some online only courses in university, I enjoyed the setup of the class. You get a video for each section, reading material in PDFs, as well as a forum for any questions and discussions. The instructor replied promptly, usually within a day. The drafting instructions and process was clear and straightforward. I recommend this course for an understanding of drafting underwear, and soft styles of bras and camisoles. After this course though, I desperately wanted to learn pattern grading to other sizes! The price is an affordable $80, cheaper than some of the textbooks on lingerie making.
There is a newer course now for 10 pieces, with My Johansson-Ganjoo. I’d be curious how it is!
Sewing Bras, Panties, Swimsuits, Shapewear
with Beverly Johnson
Many of the online lingerie and bra making communities recommend Beverly’s courses. She’s also known as the Fairy Bra Mother! I personally have yet to take any of these, but they are on my list, as well as her book The Bra Makers Manual. I’m not quite ready to venture into wired bras, so this’ll come later in my training 🙂 The courses are affordable, and Craftsy often offers discounts. Craftsy also has a few free resources and patterns relating to garment sewing that may be useful too.
IA Technical Distance Learning
with David Morris
(IA = Intimate Apparel) These IA Technical courses are a new find to me, after taking the Burdastyle courses and wanting to learn more. Much of my findings on the best lingerie programs for in person schools led me to the Contour Fashion degree offered at De Montfort University. This is amazing if you are able to drop everything for 3 years to attend (if you get accepted). David was a lecturer at DMU for many years in this program, who retired in 2014, and now offers short and distance learning courses. I am currently taking the Briefs and Body wear course, will report back when I’ve finished! For me I needed to fill a gap in my lingerie education so far, and that’s on pattern grading. I have high hopes on this IA Technical course! The price is a bit more of an investment at £250. (Around $325 USD or $400 CAD depending on the day’s exchange rate.)
There are also several sew-a-longs that offer great information depending on what it is you are looking to learn. Tailor Made Blog has a great list of other resources, and I also recommend the Cloth Habit Watson sew-a-long.