by Jasmin Mao, London Collage of Fashion (LCF), London, UK

imageIllustration by Stephanie Cheung

For the longest time I knew that I wanted to pursue fashion. For me, it was never too much a case of what I wanted to do, but how to get there. Unfortunately my high school did not run textiles at GCSE or IB level so I had to find another way to get some experience and build a foundation, one that was not specified as being necessary for entrance to university; but one I thought useful to have.

This had to be one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. Whilst my first course was only a foundation and therefore these skills were not utilised to their maximum, lessons that I’d taken in preparation had given me a basic insight into the technical workshops that we had to undertake. For instance, the few technical workshops that we had were focused on using the sewing machines, creating and using some basic creative techniques with the machines, and finally pattern cutting classes.

I was supremely lucky with my first choice in dressmaking lessons: ITS Tutorial School in Hong Kong. My dad had found the website after I’d had a nervous breakdown, panicking about the future and the apparent inevitability of my dream because simply that… a dream. Funnily enough, this opportunity was practically a dream come true, the silver lining to the grey cloud that was looming over my future.

Here I met Fa Harrington, Founder and Director of ITS Fashion Project School of Fashion Design and Dress-making, HK, one of the most influential people in my life. Someone who not only has taught me priceless skills over countless dressmaking and pattern cutting lessons, but someone who as always supported me, taught me humility and determination, and continues to be a huge inspiration in my life.

The courses involved both pattern cutting and dressmaking, both exclusively of each other and inclusively of each other (depending on the course that you chose). They were great in starting my knowledge and fuelling my passion for fashion design, as Fa guided me in how to draft a block pattern fit to your measurements (and therefore whosever measurements that I had), and then how to alter that pattern according to my design, and finally how to create the outcome of my work in the dressmaking lessons.

They are thorough and concise, and for anyone that is a sewing hobbyist or looking to go into the fashion design industry (and you’re in Hong Kong), I would highly recommend taking this avenue.

These lessons gave me a base to focus my information on, so I was not completely lost when technical terms were used, even completing tasks under the given time limit. Particularly in the pattern cutting class. I’d previously taken numerous pattern cutting classes at various differing levels of difficulty, thus that which we learnt during the class was only a slight adaptation of the knowledge that I’d already gained. Furthermore, having gained confidence using a domestic sewing machine meant that when faced with the challenge of the much faster, more powerful, and equally more terrifying industrial machine, I was ready…even eager, to give it a shot.

Now going into my first year of a second course (yes, I know, it’s confusing..bear with me…) I feel that I have a slight advantage over some of the other students with less practical knowledge and skills. These lessons have set me up and definitely have accomplished what I set out to achieve, which was to gain a solid foundation from which I could build a more extensive knowledge.

Words cannot describe how grateful I am for making this decision. The friends I made, the support from my dressmaking and pattern cutting teacher, and the knowledge that I gained have all been invaluable in my experience at London College of Fashion.

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