Laurel Hoffmann's Sewing & Drafting Books, Private lessons

The Contemporary Fashion Education (CFE) Program

Pattern drafting, fitting, and sewing books

Also check our blog for fashions and technical information

Eight sewing and pattern books support the six-course sample-making program.

Each course is inclusive and self-contained.
Each course is supported with a textbook or 2-textbook-set that presents the procedures as done in high-end industrial designing departments.
The material is written and diagrammed by an experienced production pattern maker/technical designer
who learned high-end sewing skills in the industry.
New students need only to able to sew two plies of fabric together on their sewing machine at home.

Four books are for sale on this website: Sewing Techniques from the Fashion industry, The Basics for Drafting & Fitting Pants and Skirts, The Basics for Sewing Pants and Skirts, and Six High-end Zippers.

Four books make up the Grading to Fit series: Grading to Fit, Grading and Sewing a Blouse, Grading a Jacket to Fit, and Tailoring a Woman's Jacket. They and Copying a Man's Shirt are being made ready for the mass-market.

About the program

The program is divided into four divisions:
  1. sewing/sample making  Sewing Techniques from the Fashion industry
  2. drafting to fit  The Basics for Drafting & Fitting Pants and Skirts and The Basics for Sewing Pants and Skirts
  3. grading to fit Grading to Fit, Grading and Sewing a Blouse, Grading a Jacket to Fit, and Tailoring a Woman's Jacket
  4. copying a ready-made garment Copying a Man's Shirt


The Introductory Sewing Course and Its Supporting Book

Sewing Techniques from the Fashion Industry

High-end design room sample-making and haute couture* sewing techniques are addressed in this 480 page book introductory sewing course that combines the two college degree fashion-sewing courses the author developed and taught. The procedures include: invisible and lapped lined faced zippers, collar-less necks, hems, patch pockets, pleating, and pull-through procedures. The book and course also surveys industrial fashion technology, includes some personal color and design, and an introduction to industrial grading.

The textbook is available for sale on this website.

Students make a 60-page sample book that can also be used as a portfolio, of the extensive drafting and sewing techniques in this course and textbook. The textbook, Sewing Techniques from the Fashion Industry, includes a CD with three files:  1. the sample book, 2. all patterns used in the course so the students can print them without cutting the patterns from the textbook, and 3. a printout of  the sample book's pages with the copy so that the students need only to mount their samples in their sample books. All pages in the textbook and on the CD's files are cross-referenced with page numbers.

* haute couture - (French) high-end sewing Some designing departments have couture departments where clothing is cut and sewn for preferred customers.


Drafting from Measurements

The Drafting & Sewing Pants and Skirts course and its supporting books


The textbooks are available for sale on this website.

This patternmaking and sewing course includes drafting a straight skirt, pant, and optional pleated pant patterns from students' personal measurements.


The Three Grading Courses and Their Supporting Books

First: Fitting Home Sewing Patterns/Grading to Fit


              Textbook                                       grading/fit lines                      using grading coordinates to grade a pattern to fit

The textbook should be ready for sale by the summer of 2018.

Students develop personal slopers (basic patterns from which style patterns are drafted) from home sewing shell patterns in Grading to Fit, the first course in this three-course series. The students then use their personal slopers to determine the grading coordinates they need to grade commercial grade-rule (home sewing) patterns to their personal fit.

Their personal slopers can also be used to custom draft pattern styles to their fit.

Second: Grading and Sewing a Blouse

The textbook is written and will be for sale as a companion book Grading to Fit.

Students test the coordinates they developed in the prerequisite course, Fitting Home Sewing Patterns/Grading to Fit, by grading and sewing a basic blouse from a commercial pattern chosen by the instructor.

Third: Grading and Tailoring a Jacket

The textbooks are written. They should be ready for sale, hopefully within the year.


Students next test their coordinates by grading and sewing a jacket from a commercial pattern of their own choice.

The procedure is basically the same as was used in the blouse course.


Obtaining a pattern from a sewn garment

Copying a Man's Shirt

The textbook is written, it should be ready for sale by 2019.


On the textbook's cover N-Z's delighted husband wears the shirt she copied from a shirt he owned and liked.
She corrected the shirt's fit, sewed, and then appliqued the new shirt with African designs.
In the center is a diagram from Copying a Man's Shirt, the course textbook, illustrating the final step
used in the industry when sewing a collar to the shirt.

On the right is student Christine's finished shirt.

Learning how to copy ready-made garments by reproducing the original industrial pattern is essential if one is planning to work in the industry. It's also a truly useful skill if one sews for oneself and/or one's family.

This is the fastest way to learn what the industry is doing and how they are doing it.

It makes reproducing the garment fairly easy.

And it produces patterns from which other patterns can be drafted.

No stitches are ever removed from the garment that is being copied as to do so may distort the pieces that comprise the garment.