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Where fashion careers begin


I have been coming to the Academy for 7 years. l started as a teen and I have now almost completed the Diploma.  I took the Diploma because I wanted the knowledge of garment construction to help me with costume design.

The pattern making is brilliant, we are able to work on our own, and figure out what we want to do, with input from the tutor.  Learning how to make a basic block for any woman/man’s measurements is also a must for costume design.  No one is the same shape or size. The course is scheduled well and it follows through between pattern making and garment construction and the tutors have a great relationship.  Would I recommend the Diploma? Yes!! 🙂  There is a high probability  I will be coming back next year to do the advanced classes, after all it is the beginning of my career and its always easier to study when you are in the mode. – Lily Ferguson Diploma

Lily Ferguson - Day Diploma

I am really enjoying the Distance Diploma course I find it challenging and creative.  I initially trained as a hairdresser/makeup artist, but couldn’t find the backup in my apprenticship.  When I started the Diploma I thought it would be a lot easier, but I found I can learn at my own pace and I get great feedback from my tutor Glenda, who lets me know where I have made an error and why.  The most difficult thing is waiting for the feedback but Glenda goes into great detail and helps me understand.  I am setting up work experience for myself later this week with a Hamilton designer who is into 1950’s rock vintage, and am really looking forward to it.  I have only done the sewing, skirt and fitted T’Shirt modules so far, but the garments fit well and the Academy is impressed with my work.  – Chris Stokes – Distance Diploma

Chris Stokes - Distance Diploma

I am from Hamilton and make the journey every 2nd week or so to Auckland to take this course. I have started my own business in Hamilton, Vintage and Antiques, and took the course to help with the business. I wanted to learn to pattern draft my own designs and not have to make them up 3 times to get the fit right. Terry is is great tutor, she is patient and takes the class from the simple stuff to the difficult stuff, which if you do the simple stuff is not so hard. The format of the course is pattern making, then go home and make up your blocks. The girls in the group were great and its good to be with like minded people. I am so jealous of Sharon who is going onto Tailoring. I would recommend this class to anyone who has an interest in clothes that fit. Please come to Hamilton NZAF, short courses especially. Ange Blakie – 10 Week Saturday Patternmaking

Ange Blaikie - 10 Week Saturday Patternmaking

I am already skilled as a sewer and I wanted to make my own clothes from the very beginning. I joined the 10 weeks Saturday patternmaking course and hoped to learn the basic patternmaking skills. I learnt this and so much more. We were set homework at the end of every block and sometimes I had to refer to the excellent notes to remember what we had learned in class. There are no more than eight people per class and the group was great. Its good to learn with like minded people. Terry is a fantastic tutor so goes at a good pace and gives everyone individual attention. I trained in Fashion Design, but never learnt to patterndraft as part of the degree. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to make their own designs come to life.  10 Week Saturday Patternmaking

Erin Stephenson 10 Week Saturday Patternmaking

I was hoping to learn sewing, patternmaking and alterations and I hoped I would achieve that.  I initially struggled to keep up with the Diploma because of language difficulties, but I improved gradually.  My fears were that I would not understand the assignments, but the Academy helped with extra lessons and while it is still a challenge to me I am keeping up.  I would recommend this course to my friends because it is very well organised and we learn a lot. – Day Diploma

Cuilan du Toit - Diploma

I joined the diploma to learn how to make things properly, and clearly from what I learned I was not doing it properly in the past!  I also joined with a view to doing something with my study after completion and although its difficult with work I am definitely going to try out a few things, and I have some great ideas.   During the course I sometimes found it difficult to coordinate with work and found I needed more time, the diploma goes at a good pace, but sometimes you need to take account of life, as it was I sometimes struggled to find time to tackle assignments, however I am now fully up to date.  Our group gets along well and it is good with small numbers as I feel we all get good attention. Both tutors are fantastic and really know their subjects.  Julia has worked in the industry and has experience, and Kim is very detailed and really inspires us to do our best.  I wanted to do this diploma as I wanted the opportunity to do something practical and be challenged.  I now fully  appreciate the effort that goes into making clothes. I would recommend the Academy for anyone who want a practical hands on diploma.  Evening Class

Fiona Bignall - Diploma

I took this course because my mother is a dressmaker and she wanted to learn how to make her own patterns, but her english is not good.  I thought this course would be all theory with a little bit of practical but its exactly the opposite.  We learn how to translate the design lines and view garments in a totally different way.  I can sew so it was not a stretch to learn how patterns fit together. I would recommend this course and ask the Academy when they are doing the more advanced patternmaking courses in the weekend for those of us who work! – 10 Weeks Saturday Patternmaking

Linda Ngo - 10 Week Saturday Patternmaking

When I took this course I didn’t know what to expect, I wanted to learn how to make dresses from my own designs.   By taking this course I have learned the skills of looking at a design and and realising what I have to do to create the adaptations, Terry has made it so that I am taking the knowledge off patternmaking not just the recipes away with me.  The biggest benefits for me are knowing how to construct a basic block, and adapting that block to my own designs.  I would highly recommend the Academy, when I first started I was overwhelmed by all the jargon, but Terry was patient and explained it in ways we could all understand.  I didn’t realise just how much I have learned by actually doing the work until I thought about what I wanted to do with my own designs. – 10 Week Saturday Patternmaking


Yana Kok 10 Week Saturday Patternmaking

This is a great course, everyone is very friendly and the tutors are great.  I joined this course as I thought I would like to make garments at home and make them properly, I loved to create but without the specialist knowledge it was a struggle.  Now that I have almost completed the course I am planning on going into business with my daughter and daughter in law to make clothes for the markets, its now easy to make a unique garment and know if the market wants it.  The biggest benefit from this course was to be able to draft a basic pattern that fits, to take correct measurements and to sew properly.  I would recommend this course, I like the small classes and the personal attention from the tutors. – 2 Year Evening Class

Rebecca Nasili - Diploma

I am now a fashion buyer promoted while I was taking the Diploma.  I went into the industry with no technical knowledge, one of the buyers suggested I needed a patternmaking course to advance in my career and while I was interested in the 8 week patternmaking as it was at that time, it made more sense to take the whole Diploma course and get a more rounded aspect of apparel production. Taking an evening course worked well, I didn’t have the time to go back to uni as I was already in full time work, and I could combine both work and study.  Making a 2 year committment was a bit of a step but it seemed to work well. One of the benefits of the course is being able to explain to garment techs in fit meetings what I want, previously this had to be done visually now I have the skills to be able to communicate with them.  I would recommend this course as a quick intro into a fashion career, but this is just the beginning the industry is so rewarding and there is so much more to learn.  2 Year Evening Diploma

Lisa Stallard - Diploma