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Sewing classes in New York City: my experience at Mood Fabrics

Everyone has a life to do list. Some of these things are immediate projects that directly impact our lives. Others are less urgent things, but important to us in some way. Last year, I took many of these “secondary goals” out of the paper: I looked for a teacher to improve my English pronunciation and I started to take private Spanish lessons. But my list had another thing: learn to sew. I grew up leafing through fashion magazines and buying fabrics to make pieces I liked. I am from a small town, where it is easy to find a seamstress to make clothes by demand. That always enchanted me!

I knew Mood offered sewing lessons – but it always ended up tying me up because of the dates. This year, I did not make excuses: as soon as the registrations were opened, I signed up and I already had a feeling of satisfaction from being fulfilling a goal. I posted it on my Instagram and was surprised by the comments I received: a lot of people encouraging me, saying that I would love, and a lot of people asking me to tell my experience when it was over. So here I am!

For those unfamiliar, Mood Fabrics is a fabric store here in New York (they have a location in Los Angeles too) and it is famous because of Project Runway and visiting the store is certainly already a full plate for the fashionable people. However, the store also offers fashion-related courses and workshops through Mood Sewing School:

  • Sewing – Learn everything from basic sewing machine operation, pattern layout, fabric cutting, garment construction and finishing techniques for a well-rounded education in the art of garment construction.
  • Pattern making –  how to use a dress form, muslin and pins to visualize your concept and make your own patterns.
  • Ilustração -learn how to draw the fashion figure; understand fabrics and how they are drawn; terminology of garment details; culminating in the creation of a mini fashion illustration presentation, including a mood board with fashion illustrations and fabric swatches.
  • Workshops – These classes go into depth, so students can learn specific skills ranging from creating professional mood boards to couture sewing. Learn more about the construction of different types of garments and home decor pieces as well.

Sewing, pattern and illustration courses last 6 weeks, with classes once a week, one hour and a half each, on average. And the prices are affordable – around $135. In the case of the beginner and intermediate sewing course, classes are “free” – you must, however, purchase the kit for the beginner course and the pattern for the intermediate course. They also cost $135. The kit is super complete: book, scissors, pins, thread, tape measure, ruler, pattern, all the things you need to sew. If we analyze, a 6-week course + a kit for $135 is a great deal.

I didn’t know anything about sewing with a machine. I did a lot of crafts when I was a teenager. But he had never touched a sewing machine. And I think that, for a first timer, I’ve done well. In the beginning course, the project is a tote bag – with lining and canvas. The classes were always like this: the teacher – with extensive experience in the field – explained the task of the day and then we followed the instructions. There were also assistants, who were always available to help us and/or to answer our questions. The whole course was all  “baby steps” – that is, one thing at a time, very slowly. In one class, we cut the pattern, in the other we cut the fabrics. Only in the third class, we were introduced to the sewing machine – and Mood has machines for all students. I remember my feeling when I touched the pedal for the first time, haha, it was exciting!

I was able to finish my project and I was super happy. It’s obvious that many stitches were not perfect  – but, it was my first time, so I tried to focus on it and not demand perfection from myself right away. At first, I confess that I wanted to give up – I’m a very anxious person and I want everything to yesterday. Then I relaxed, and the classes became my therapy. I loved it so much that I enrolled in the intermediate course – where we are going to make a piece of clothing.

If you live in New York and you want to learn how to sew, super recommend! It is worth visiting the Mood website to check the calendar. For those who will stay here for a longer season and have an interest in different activities, it can also be a good opportunity!

Location: 225 W 37th St.


2 Comments

  1. Over the last five or six years, I’ve taken three classes (one was just a couple of hours, while the others were six weeks each) and attended one expensive ($75) lecture at Mood Fabrics. I won’t take courses there again unless absolutely desperate. I’ve taken several courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology and so have a background. But the Mood classes were too large, too ambitious for the time allotted, and at times it was difficult for me to see the demonstration because of the arrangement of the classroom. I would have learned more by watching videos on the University of Fashion website for $20 a month.

    If you live in New York and have the time to make a 15-week commitment, FIT classes are a much better learning opportunity and offer considerably more bang for the buck. Although the classes have too many students (about 20, like the Mood classes), the class periods are longer, the teachers have some office hours, several hours of free tutoring are available every term, there are some walk-in tutoring labs, you can use the machines and classrooms after-hours, and you are able to use the library, which has excellent fashion materials and databases, many of which are proprietary. Librarians will help you with your research.
    You can also use the computers if you need to use expensive software like Adobe CC. You are entitled to student discounts and many other benefits, such as being able to speak to their career services counselors.

    It’s more money, maybe around $550 for an in-state student, but broken down hour-by-hour you get much more value. Fees are considerably higher for out-of-state residents, still, there always are quite a few. It’s common for people to travel from Philadelphia and Connecticut just for one class.

    If I lived in NYC and couldn’t take FIT courses, I’d try to hire a private teacher. Although it would be more expensive, at least I’d get the person’s undivided attention and could focus on exactly what I wanted to learn.

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