Contemporary Fashion Education – Sewing & Drafting Books, Private lessons

Industry, Buyers, and Students Approve

Interested in fashions? Want to know more about drafting and sewing as used in industry? Check out our blog


What Industry Says

Inside Fashion

Jane Singer, Editorial Director - Inside Fashion says [Design Room Techniques, Professional Edition ISBN: 0-09663236-5-3] is a fabulous 'must-have' resource for any designer.

Design Room Techniques (Professional Edition) is available for purchase at insidefashionlive

Design Room Techniques (Professional Edition)
Easy-to-apply techniques for creating mass-production garments - from design to production.
Laurel Hoffman
Understand how sample garments are made; understand how and why various fashion designing procedures are used in the industry; overall concept of how fashion designing, patternmaking, and sample making are interrelated. When you have completed this book you will understand the concepts that underlie the technology used to design and manufacture apparel. Includes a glossary.


Design Room Techniques, Professional Edition, ISBN: 0-09663236-5-3, is the professional version of Couture Techniques,  adapted for the Inside Fashion readership.   


Apparel Magazine

Eric Shurtleff, an industry consultant, wrote two editorials for Apparel Magazine, - a USA fashion/fabric trade magazine - in 2000 and 2003.
The first in 2000 set forth the problems the fashion industry has with finding qualified technical designers (production patternmakers who work on a computer).

The second presented possible solutions. Mr. Shurtleff wrote: .. [Laurel's program] provides many of the skills needed by technical designers in the industry. Hoffman's concept, with minor tweaking, might prove to be the ideal model for the institutional version of technical designer training. - Apparel, February 2003, Still Wanted: Truly Competent Technical Designers, pages 44-46.

Apparel Magazine, in its October 2003 Product News section wrote: ...The [Drafting & Fitting Pants and Skirts and Sewing Pants and Skirts] books demonstrate how the various disciplines are interwoven in producing the product, as well as the importance of considering the production process when designing a garment. The books emphasize the foresight required to produce and/or adapt patterns so they will work with the chosen sewing techniques.


What Buyers Say

Couture Techniques review:

Originally titled Design Room Techniques, the book has since been re-titled Couture Techniques and given the new cover, shown below.

Sent: Wednesday, July 29, 2015 9:15:03 PM
Subject: Got my book!

Hello Laurel,

I got my Design Room Techniques book in the mail yesterday and I'm up to page 88! I have been looking for this book for at least 10 years. I clearly remember searching everywhere to learn how to do this bias bound edge on pg. 86. I did find a snippet that helped in a Simplicity sewing book and figured the rest out myself. I have a LOT of sewing books and this is so much information. I am looking forward to reading and making my sample books!  Thank you for writing and sharing this information! Diane Sladowski


Design Room Techniques review:

...Laurel's years of experience in the industry and in adult education have combined to create a set of very valuable resource books. In Design Room Techniques she takes a students skill level from sewing the most basic seams to sewing a dress using the "pull through" method. As you work through the book - creating samples of every technique - it feels like you are sitting in a classroom, with Laurel right there! Becoming a good teacher takes a great love of the subject matter and many years of practical experience - the ability to combine both of these in a textbook format is rare indeed! If you want to learn how to sew quality garments, this is the book for you!  Beth Drummond


Design Room Techniques review:

By an Amazon Customer "You can never own too many books"on November 25, 2011
This is a truly wonderful book for those of us who really want to learn how to sew! In my search for such a book I have lined my shelves with books which promise much but end up giving instruction in only the most basic of sewing skills, or who offer to teach "couture" methods but, without a base in more advanced sewing skills, make very little sense. Laurel's years of experience in the industry and in adult education have combined to create a set of very valuable resource books. In Design Room Techniques she takes a students skill level from sewing the most basic seams to sewing a dress using the "pull through" method. As you work through the book - creating samples of every technique - it feels like you are sitting in a classroom, with Laurel right there! Becoming a good teacher takes a great love of the subject matter and many years of practical experience - the ability to combine both of these in a textbook format is rare indeed! If you want to learn how to sew quality garments, this is the book for you!


[re-titled Couture Techniques] Design Room Techniques review:

EXCELLENT

Delphine

This is one of the best sewing book I ever bought, sure it is pricey the value is outstanding. It has nothing in common with other reader digest type of book.
Recommended for the intermediate sewer who wants to "professionalize" his/her skills.


Design Room Techniques review:

nannabelle,  October 28, 2011

I wanted to change the title of this book to "Everything you could ever want to know about sewing"! This book describes in great detail every hand sewing technique, every way to finish edges on a garment, every zipper placement you could ever want to know for someone learning about industry standards (not a home sewer) and more. A 'Design Room', it seems, is the term used in the sewing industry/factory/plant where patterns are made and garments produced for the higher end clothing stores. Who would have known so much was detailed in this great book/guide. I have been looking for guides with more detail than "how to sew a pillow case", or "how to sew a skirt", well this book describes how to produce quality, classic ensembles, in short order. As this author says, "the goal is to get to the party, not spend all day making something to wear to the party"!!

I highly recommend this book. It is easy to read and understand and has great illustrations to follow along. You will have a great sample book of all kinds of stitches, and techniques by the time you complete it.


Design Room Techniques review:
EXCELLENT

This is one of the best sewing books I ever bought...
Delphine


What Students Say

The Basics for Drafting & Sewing Pants and Skirts review:

at last, pants that really fit,

...as a current student of laurel's, i know that she has taken her years of training and experience and written two wonderful books and then, in class, every time a student asked why or said "i don't understand", laurel has rewritten the page and made sure that we fully understood what she was saying. even as an experienced and competitive sewer, i learned so much with these two books. if you are as particular as i am about how your clothes look, you'll want both of these books. if you live in the Philadelphia area--you will put signing up for laurel's classes on your "must" list. Paulette Heilbrun 
Amazon.com review - 
Drafting & Fitting Pants and Skirts, Sewing Pants and Skirts (2)books


The Basics for Drafting & Sewing Pants and Skirts review:

The highest level of professional fit and construction

These books are the authority on pattern drafting, fitting and construction for pants and skirts. Home sewers who are tired of poor fit and "home-made" construction techniques, apparel business owners who need to produce the best possible product and eliminate trial and error mistakes, and garment industry pros seeking to improve their knowledge and capabilities on the job will all find what they're looking for in this set. Finally, here is the information to produce professional quality garments that fit beautifully. No hype, no guesswork- this is all the knowledge you need and nothing you don't....
M. Beaky - Amazon.com review - Drafting & Fitting Pants and Skirts, Sewing Pants and Skirts (2)books


[re-titled Couture Techniques] Design Room Techniques review:

An Amazing Book!

...If you are just learning to sew and this is your first book on sewing techniques, I envy you because you will start out learning the very best. If you are an experienced seamstress and/or tailor who learned to sew the "home sewing way," you will find in this book invaluable lessons on how to do everything you know how to do even better. If you are not able to take Laurel's classes you will miss the warmth, humor and encouragement that are her hallmarks, but with the detailed instructions and incredible diagrams in her books you can truly learn from the books what you can learn from her classes. Christine


CFT Program review:

The promise of Laurel’s courses and of her books is that a pattern will fit me EVERY time. Before I took laurel’s program, I would spend hundreds of dollars on fabric only to guess at whether a garment would fit me. After Laurel’s courses, I never had this problem again. EVERYTHING I make now looks beautiful on me. When people ask me now if I made the item, I know it’s because it fits as if it were made for me. And it was! NO matter what the item, or your body size, you  CAN make garments that fit. And that was a gift that I had wanted all of my life. I spent many years sewing and had to relearn everything but Laurel made it easy and understandable and she never lost faith in me. Her skills as a teacher were fantastic.

I cannot tell you [Laurel] how invaluable your classes have been to me. I am now able to fit myself and other people with a maximum of two fittings. Since I am asymmetrical the ability to make clothes that actually fit me has been a miracle!  My sewing skills have increased exponentially. I would never have been able to attempt some of my more recent projects with  your attention and guidance. Rose

Rochelle Christopher, owner of Victorian Vanities, Inc., is a dynamic energetic, highly motivated historian and speaker who creates exciting, informative, and interactive program concepts for historic houses, sites, and other non-profit organizations. Ms. Christopher specializes in 19th and 20th century history.

She refers to the pant books as "the fashion industry's bible on pattern drafting, fit, and sample room techniques."

CFT Program review:

I was a student at Professor Hoffmann’s class in January 2000. I have to admit that the class is great because of the fact that we use her book, which she is currently still writing. Having been a student of fashion designs back in my country of Kenya for two years, I have used other textile books in those classes, but none made my sewing such fun like Prof. Hoffmann’s book.

The book makes the difficult procedures of sewing simple and clear to understand. It is quite a user-friendly book, with numerous sufficient explanations to clarify each step. The diagrams are self-explanatory and therefore very helpful especially for students whose first language may not necessarily be English. As one such student from the developing country, I really felt privileged and rewarded to have used her book in my classes.

I do plan to take her book with me to my country because I am convinced that many students would love to use it, especially the home sewing students. It would be handy and very helpful.  Dorcas Chetoo Sikowo, I was a student at Professor Hoffmann’s class in January 2000. I have to admit that the class is great because of the fact that we use her book, which she is currently still writing. Having been a student of fashion designs back in my country of Kenya for two years, I have used other textile books in those classes, but none made my sewing such fun like Prof. Hoffmann’s book.

The book makes the difficult procedures of sewing simple and clear to understand. It is quite a user-friendly book, with numerous sufficient explanations to clarify each step. The diagrams are self-explanatory and therefore very helpful especially for students whose first language may not necessarily be English. As one such student from the developing country, I really felt privileged and rewarded to have used her book in my classes.

I do plan to take her book with me to my country because I am convinced that many students would love to use it, especially the home sewing students. It would be handy and very helpful. Dorcas Chetoo Sikowo, Student


CFT Program/ Pant course review:

Several years ago, quite by accident I discovered Laurel Hoffmann teaching the then titled Slacks That Fit. Having sewed for 45 years by using Simplicity and McCall patterns, Laurel's course and book changed forever my concept of sewing methods. No more trial and error. If the measurements are correct and all the pattern pieces fit properly, the sewing is easy. Needless to say, I then took the rest of her courses offered at that time at Philadelphia University. My husband's shirt, made from my own pattern traced from one of his old shirts, took first place in the Middletown Grange Fair that year. It could not have been done without Laurel.  Sincerely, Betty J. Finnegan

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