Contemporary Fashion Education, Inc.

Oreland, PA

About this pro

How does your business stand out?

There is nothing easy about this college graduate program. It contains the drafting and sewing procedures that are used in high-end couture fashion. Each private three-hour lesson costs $100. In addition you will need to periodically buy the textbooks that cost $90 to $100 each. Expect to work hard in order to achieve the ability to produce exquisitely beautiful clothing. In your private lessons you will learn high-end design, drafting, and sewing lessons that are supported with classroom tested drafting and sewing books that I am completing. This will speed you through the learning process at a fraction of the time and price a college program would cost. Because the private lessons focus on the student's individual needs, and because the books provide the information the student needs to work at home, students progress quickly through the material. All of the courses and textbooks are self-contained. That means that what you need to know to produce a garment from start to finish is in the course/textbook. You don’t have to take a sewing course, then a draping course, and finally a patternmaking course before you can produce a finished garment. All of my textbooks contain step-by-step diagrams actually real patterns as drafted in designing departments scaled down to diagram size – that show exactly how the work is done in a designing department. No other books give information this detailed, or the exact order of how it is done by professionals. I know how this is done because I drafted, draped, fitted, cut, graded, and (because I am very average in size) worked as a fit model – all on the same jobs in both high-end custom and industrial couture. I also know sample making - how to sew a complete garment as done in industry. Everything is demoed. The student then goes home and tests what she has learned, using her textbook to help her produce the pattern or sewing example. She then comes back to class and sees again and again whatever she were unable to complete successfully. In no time the student is producing truly professional, exquisitely beautiful, well-fitting clothing.

What do you enjoy about the work you do?

I enjoy interacting with my students. I also enjoy the challenges that are involved with teaching custom fitting. Many people have a great deal of trouble finding clothing that fits them. However mass-production requires manufacturing clothing that fits average measurements. Many people think they have problem figures, but that is not the case. They just have figures that are not average. Helping them learn how to draft, fit, grade, and sew clothing that fits them perfectly is a real joy. They are so happy to have the help that this is the true reward for writing my books and teaching my program.
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Oreland, PA 19075

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9 Reviews
  • Rochelle C. Sep 4, 2014
    Before I met laurel I would spend hundreds of dollars on fabric only to have it not fit when I would put it together. Laurel taught me how to grade a pattern to fit my body and it fit EVERY time. No more wasted money and time. This was not an easy course for me and I had a lot of trouble learning the material. But she never gave up on me and i finally learned exactly how to create the beautiful fit reserved only for couture. She is a wonder and her courses are just what i needed to learn how to created the clothes that i wanted. Thank you so much Laurel!
  • Nzingha M. Aug 15, 2014
    Laurel's classes are VERY informative, energetic, and exciting! I've taken two of her classes, "Copying a Man's Shirt," and "Drafting and Fitting Pants and Skirts." Laurel helped me understand pattern and clothing construction, and her books provide fool-proof methods to complete the projects. I am extremely impressed with her teaching methods, and her demonstrations were always helpful. Laurel is a very down-to-earth teacher who provides awesome anecdotes about the fashion industry, and life in general! I would HIGHLY recommend her program to anyone who wants to learn what you wont in a 4-year design program!! I am definitely going to continue studying with her and complete all six classes she teaches!
  • Cathy M. Aug 2, 2013
    Laurel. Awesome. Laurel's classes. Awesome. I registered for Laurel's class with a little trepidation as I feel I have wasted a lot of time and money taking other fitting/sewing classes. I finished these courses with little satisfaction. I love the way Laurel shows us the way things are done in industry. I am a self-taught sewer knowing little of the techniques needed to draft/fit/sew a professional looking garment. You can work at your own pace. If you get too far behind, she will spend extra time to make sure you finish. She is dedicated and truly wants you to succeed. I wish there were more teachers around like Laurel. She is a breath of fresh air.
    Laurel H. Aug 3, 2013

    Thanks, Cathy! You are a delight to have in the classroom.

  • Jena L. Aug 2, 2013
    Laurel is super knowledgeable about the fashion industry, pattern making, designing and sewing. It's hard to find all these attributes in one teacher. I've been taking her classes since 2012 and I look forward to learning more from her. I would recommended beginners and experienced sewers, pattern makers and designers to take her classes. There is always something new to learn!
    Laurel H. Aug 3, 2013

    Thanks, Jena! Your dedication to your business and your exceptional talent brings excitement to the classroom.

  • Janet K. Nov 18, 2012
    For all sewing lovers, in my opinion Laurel Hoffmann’s courses are a must. Laurel Hoffmann offers six courses. The first course I took was Design Room Techniques, which involved sewing. The course ran three hours a week for twelve weeks. The course covered just about every aspect of sewing. Laurel Hoffmann’s methods proved to be easy to comprehend and less time consuming. We learned how to insert zippers in garments professionally, all sorts of hand sewing, pleating, sewing out, pockets, etc. In every instance, Laurel made sure each student understood and could execute everything she taught. Her teaching methods are unique and well demonstrated, as well as extremely enjoyable. I look forward to being a part of all her future classes and recommend Laurel Hoffmann to anyone interested in becoming a “professional” sewer and pattern maker, whether for home or career usage.
    Laurel H. Nov 18, 2012

    Thanks, Janet! You're a delightful student, hard working, fun loving, a welcome addition to the class.

  • Grace W. Oct 11, 2012
    Laurel is a great teacher. She makes time for everyone. Her knowledge of the subject is incredible. Textbooks were written by her. It is easy for her to know what we talk about when we could not figure out and send her an email asking for help. Her response is always prompt. Her interaction with students is warm and genuine. I am so thankful and fortunate to have met her. I would highly recommend her to anyone who is interested in high end fashion designs.
    Laurel H. Oct 11, 2012

    Thanks, Grace! You're pretty amazing yourself!

  • Sarah J. Oct 11, 2012
  • Sarah Y. Oct 8, 2012
    Taking classes from Laurel has been an amazing experience! She is knowledgable, fun, energetic and brings out the very best in her students. She has an unmatched passion for teaching and you will learn more about fit, pattern making and the art of sewing than you ever thought you could! My confidence has grown incredibly throughout the course and I have now begun filling my closet with quality clothes that actually fit me and are well made! Laurel's books are also incredible with countless illustrations and thorough instructions/descriptions that you won't find anywhere else. Trust me, I've looked! If you want to really learn not only how to sew, but how to think about clothing construction and work with a fabulous teacher, take these classes!
    Laurel H. Oct 8, 2012

    Wow! Thanks so much, Sarah! You've done a lot of hard work and have achieved tremendous success. It's really exciting to watch!

  • Sarah J. Oct 8, 2012
    Laurel H. Oct 10, 2012

    Thanks, Sarah! You're pretty amazing yourself!


What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
I charge $100 for a three-hour lesson. All private lessons are three hours each. Students also need to buy textbooks which cost approximately $100 a book. Each book contains approximately 300 pages of fully-diagrammed material.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
This is not a program for anyone who is looking for easy. The work is difficult. The student MUST be motivated. I ask them what they wish to learn, then set up a program that addresses their needs. They come for lessons when it works for them. They do their homework using the textbooks I have written.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Other than mine there are no books on the market that I know of that show step-by-step each and every procedure needed from start to finish in the making of a garment. This could be considered a new develop in my field. I am developing the third area of concentration, fashion technology and how to teach it so that the student understands the basic engineering concepts that underlie the computer programs. . Fashion education concentrates on fashion design and fashion retail. Some technology is taught, but often that involves the use of computer programs. Hands-on understanding needs to be made available. These skills are being lost. Today many graduates cannot draft or grade unless they have a computer at the ready. Unfortunately if the computer is not programmed correctly the graduate is at a loss. The computer is a wonderful tool, but that is all it is. To effectively use a computer one needs to understand the work and what the computer is doing. I use the computer every day to generate my diagrams. Because I understand the work hands-on I can walk away from my computer and quickly draft and grade patterns by hand. I am not dependent on the computer, nor do I need to spend thousands of dollars for machinery that would only take up space.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
My mother suggested it. I was surprised, when I entered the industry, how easy the work was for me. It seemed, as I was shown how to do the work, as though I already knew it. I was promoted and given raises. I seemed born to do this.
What types of customers have you worked with?
Some of my students now head up designing departments. All are very intelligent. Most have a master's degree or life equivalency experiences. Some have or are starting international fashion businesses, others wish to make clothing for themselves that they can't obtain in teh stores.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I moved my program to Oreland, rented space there, and set up my own school. I taught at Philadelphia University for 18 years, Drexel University for another 2 years. I'm now teaching private lessons in my studio here in Oreland. This is the best setup I have ever had. My students LOVE private lessons.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
First one must know that pattern making and designing are difficult fields. It’s not a matter of drawing pretty pictures that someone else will turn into wonderful clothing. This is low-level engineering. There is nothing easy about it. There is a lot of math involved. Pattern makers work to an accuracy of 1/32 of an inch. If you want to be successful in the fashion industry you MUST be willing to work hard. Be aware that there are two types of patternmaking/sewing instructions. There are the instructions for home sewers. Using home sewing instructions usually gives less than satisfactory results. There are many classes available for this type of instruction. Knowing professional procedures are what makes the difference and what one needs to know to produce truly professional clothing. Not many instructors know how the industry works. Those who do charge more, but in the end one learns the professional skills that enable success. Professional classes are not as easy to find. Patternmaking and sewing as done in high-end designing departments can be done in the home with minimal equipment. This is what you need to know to make truly beautiful clothing that fits for yourself and others. This is also what you need to know if you are considering working in the fashion industry. Not many people know how this is done. If you want to make sure you will learn how the professionals REALLY sew and design clothing ask the instructor about her experience: Has she worked in industry? What did she do in industry? Has she ever worked in a designing department? Has she ever done custom work? Ask her to show you some of the clothing she has made for herself. Does she have a website? Has she ever written any instruction? Has she done seminars? Ask if you can audit a class before signing up for a course. Can you speak to some of her students? Are any of her students now working in industry? Ask for a copy of the syllabus for the course you are considering taking. Read it carefully.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
The schools and colleges are turning out many fashion designers, but the fashion industry needs trained technical designers. They are people who know how to produce finished garments from scratch and how to set up the work so factories can reproduce those garments. That is what I am teaching in my program. The schools and colleges do teach some of this, but often it is not taught in any real depth. Many designers are almost desperate to find people who can draft the patterns and make the clothing they design. So the work is there. Here in the USA we have forgotten how to make things. That is why I am writing my books and teaching my program. I do not want the information I worked so hard to learn while I worked in the industry to be lost. The only way to preserve it is to write it down and to teach it.