VSC Most Commonly Asked Questions

26 Jul VSC Most Commonly Asked Questions


We understand that our clients have many questions in their minds; therefore, we have compiled a list of the most common questions we receive on a daily basis and our answers to them.

Question: Is Vancouver Sewing Classes (VSC) a school?

Answer: VSC is not a school.  VSC is an industrial fashion studio located in the heart of Vancouver.  We offer over 150 short/long programs, and we can customize a program to meet your budget and expectations.  We create our programs to meet our client’s specific needs and niche.  All our programs are 100% hands-on learning.  We help train our clients and equip them with the right skills, knowledge and experience so they can achieve their objectives and be successful in their careers.

The BC government has been pressuring VSC for years to convert our fashion design facility into a regular fashion institution, but we have chosen not to.  We do not want to become another cookie cutter fashion institution that scams people.  Many of our clients are happy with their success and results, so why should we change, when our system is better than the way most schools operate their business?  Ironically, most established fashion institutions often receive unfavorable reviews from their own current students and recent graduates.

Question: Why has VSC decided NOT to use a glossy ad campaign on TV and online like other fashion schools around the world?

Answer: Our success is through word of mouth.  We believe in honesty and no frill ads.  We deliver real results and we do not need to lie like certain fashion institutions.  We see more and more fashion design institutions using glossy ad campaigns on TV, online and in print to lure the young and naive into their web of false promises.  These institutions often fall far short on their promises of delivering actual results for their graduates.  Incredibly, many graduates of fashion design colleges and universities are leaving school with either limited or no knowledge of or skills in sewing, pattern drafting, French draping or grading.  This has a long-lasting detrimental effect on a student’s future employment and business opportunities.

Question: How does the schedule and classes work at VSC?

Answer: VSC offers the most flexible schedule in the world.  Because we teach all classes One-On-One, you can ‘pick and choose’ your own date and time, when you want to start your class/lesson, anytime of the week or month after you pay and register.  Our classes run from 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., seven days a week, including holidays.  For your convenience, we highly recommend that you book all your lessons at least one week in advance on our web site at https://sewingclassesvancouver.ca/contact/.  You will get an e-mail confirmation of all your classes within 24 hours of booking online.

Question: Does my English have to be good when I learn Fashion Design at VSC?

Answer: No, your English does not have to be perfect or fluent.  There are NO exams, tests, quizzes, essays or written research at VSC.  Everything our clients learn is all hands-on and visual learning.  VSC is not a school, so English is not a mandatory requirement at our fashion industrial design studio.

Question: Does VSC rent out their studio space?

Answer: Yes, we do rent out our space.  The rate is $65.00 per hour plus taxes, with a minimum booking of 3 hours.

Question: Does VSC accept private contract work from an independent designer/company?

Answer: Yes, we do.  We do accept contract work on an hourly ($60.00 per hour) basis for any pattern drafting and sewing.  VSC can assist you in developing paper patterns and sewing the prototype samples for your fashion line.  Please call and make an appointment at (604) 879-2100.

Question: Does VSC offer private tutoring, One-On-One?

Answer: Yes, we do.  Private tutoring is available on request.  In-house design studio tutoring is $60.00 per hour, with a minimum booking of 3 hours.  Private tutoring does include notions, muslin and paper patterns (white and Manila papers).

Question: When can I register or sign up for any of the programs?

Answer: All programs start in the first week of every month and registration dates are from the 15th to the 20th of each month.  For example, if the client registers and pays in-person between March 15 and March 20, 2018, then she/he will have the option to commence her/his first class anytime between April 1 and April 15, 2018.

VSC does not accept registration online or over the phone.  Please register and pay in-person.  Please MAKE AN APPOINTMENT to meet and discuss details with us in-person by calling us at (604) 879-2100 or by e-mailing us at info@sewingclassesvancouver.ca to arrange your appointment.

Question: How do payments work at VSC?

Answer: Depending on which program you registered for, we have different payment plans.  Please keep in mind that you must register for any of the short or long programs in-person.  You can either call ahead at (604) 879-2100 or e-mail us at info@sewingclassesvancouver.ca to schedule an appointment for any in-person registration or inquiry.  For the short programs, we require that our clients pay in full, while, for the long programs, we split payments into four equal amounts, which means that our clients have up to six months to pay the entire tuition fee.  All clients are required to pay a 25% deposit when they first register for any of the Fashion Design Long Programs.

Question: Are all the prices listed on your web site for all of the short/long programs?

Answer: Yes and no.  We have all of the prices listed for the short programs, but not for the Fashion Design Long Programs.  Under Canadian law, we are unable to provide prices and the number of classes online OR over the phone for all of our Fashion Design Long Programs.  Under existing Canadian law, we can provide you with prices and the total number of classes ONLY in-person at our design facility in Vancouver for all of our Fashion Design Long Programs.  Please MAKE AN APPOINTMENT to meet and discuss details with us in-person by calling us at (604) 879-2100 or by e-mailing us at info@sewingclassesvancouver.ca to arrange your appointment.

Whether you are a beginner, a recent fashion graduate or a professional, VSC offers many fun and practical courses/programs for fashion enthusiasts to learn new technical trade skills.  We have short and long programs for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners, and professionals.  There are over 150 programs to choose from and we can customize any course and program to meet your personal needs.  Please note that we do not list all of the programs on our web site – we only feature there the most popular programs requested by our clients.  For more information about other programs that we do not feature on our web site, please contact us by e-mail at info@sewingclassesvancouver.ca.

Question: What are the Free Bonus Gifts I will receive once I commit, register and pay for the program?

Answer: VSC is the only fashion facility and organization in the world that helps our clients to set-up their own business and give them FREE professional tools, dress forms and machinery to help them get ahead of their competitors and become successful in their chosen apparel specialty.

Depending on the program selection our client chooses, we are giving away either one or up to $3,500.00 in FREE BONUS GIFTS, such as the following items:

*FREE BRAND-NEW Designer’s Dress Form, Size 6 or 8 (Retail Value $600)

*FREE BRAND-NEW Juki Industrial Sewing Machine DDL 8300N, including Table and Motor (Retail Value $1,350)

*FREE BRAND-NEW Sewing Feet Attachments for the Sewing Machine – up to 35 (Retail Value $300)

*FREE BRAND-NEW Juki Domestic 4 Thread Overlock Serger (Retail Value $500)

*FREE BRAND-NEW Drafting and Sewing Kits, which include metal L-shape ruler, metal French curve, metal meter stick, pattern notcher, tracing wheel, 24” see-thru ruler, measurement tape, Kai 8” dressmaker shears, Kai 6 ½” sewing scissors, thread clipper, bobbin case, bobbins, pattern awl, Japanese tailor’s ruler, Hong Kong designer’s curve ruler, measurement tape, seam ripper, sewing machine needles, tailor chalk wheel, magnetic gauge, fabric markers, sewing machine zipper foot, bias tape maker, sewing pins and drafting pencils (Retail Value $550)

Question: If I have an existing sewing machine at home already, why would I need another free sewing machine from VSC?

Answer: It is always a huge bonus to have a second sewing machine in your home or studio, especially when you are working on a garment that has colour contrast thread.  This will save you a lot of time changing the thread colour or winding the bobbin or needle if you are working with woven and knit fabrics at the same time.  No schools or sewing studios are offering any freebees these days.

Question: What is the latest permissible notification, if I am unable to come to class?

Answer: If you are unable to make it to class, you must inform us by e-mail at least 48 hours (2 days) in advance; otherwise, you will lose that prepaid class credit.

Question: What are the benefits of learning One-On-One at VSC?

Answer: All classes are taught instructional “ONE-ON-ONE” at VSC, which means that you are able to learn a lot more content, techniques and trade secrets than you would in a regular classroom setting, and you always receive undivided “ONE-ON-ONE ATTENTION” in each individual lesson.

Far too often, many fashion schools and sewing studios accept too many students into their programs.  As a result, many students are not getting the instructional time and attention they deserve and pay for.  They are being neglected and deserted, and, worst of all, they learn very little and achieve poor results at the end.

To ensure and maintain consistent high standards of quality education and training at VSC, we only accept three new clients each month.  Just check out our Google Reviews, and see why our clients choose us over other fashion design schools and sewing studios.  We prefer quality to quantity, when it comes to learning.  VSC does not believe in treating our clients as if they were a herd of cattle!

Question: Is the schedule flexible at VSC?

Answer: Yes.  We offer a great, flexible schedule so our clients can enjoy and take their time to hone and master the craft of sewing, pattern drafting, French draping and pattern grading skill.  We want our clients to have a balanced lifestyle of work, study and play, whereas a normal school will not be able to offer their students that option.

Question: Do I have to pay the entire full tuition fee at one time when I register?

Answer: No.  If you are enrolling in a Fashion Design Long Program, you can pay in four separate payments over six months.

Question: Does VSC accept student loans?

Answer: No.  Because VSC is not a school, we are unable to accept student loans.

Question: When is the best time to register at VSC?

Answer: At VSC, there are ONLY three spots available for registration each month.  Spaces are available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.  Book early and reserve your spot.

All programs start in the first week of every month and the registration dates are between the 15th and the 20th of each month.  For example, if the client registers and pays in-person between March 15 and 20, 2018, then she/he will have the option to commence her/his first class anytime between April 1 and April 15, 2018.

Question: Why should I choose VSC for my fashion trade skills training?

Answer: First of all, VSC is not a school and, secondly, we always deliver 100% what we promise.  In addition, we deliver real and instant results!  Check out the raving Google Reviews from our clients who have completed our fashion and sewing programs.

At VSC, you can achieve excellent results in less than six months, while, in a typical fashion institution, it would take two to four years, and, even with that, most students receive inadequate technical skills training from established fashion schools.  Fashion schools focus far too much time on exams, essays, Mickey Mouse projects and trash courses that have no relevance to the fashion industry and business.

Question: Essentially and ultimately, what exact skills do I really need to learn to become a successful fashion designer?

Answer: You only need to master your pattern drafting, sewing, French draping, and pattern grading skills to become a successful designer.

Question: Do I need a degree/diploma in fashion design for employment?

Answer: Today, you no longer need a degree or a diploma to become a successful fashion designer. What you truly need is a strong foundation in Pattern Drafting, Sewing, French Draping and Pattern Grading skills, plus relevant experience in the field.

Question: Is there homework to do at VSC?

Answer: There is plenty of hands-on homework that our clients need to complete in their own time when they enrol in any of the short/long programs.  Practice is the best way to build your long-term memory, expand your knowledge, build your confidence and gain more experience.

Question: Why is it so important to learn the basic foundations of sewing, pattern drafting, French draping and pattern grading?

Answer: Every garment skeleton is created from the basic foundations of sewing, pattern drafting, French draping and pattern grading.  Without the basic foundations, fashion design and clothing would not exist in this world.  Knowing the basic foundations will provide you with a greater depth in knowledge and confidence, so it allows you to be able to do more with your skills than just sewing tote bags and pajamas.

Question: Why do I need to learn sewing, pattern drafting, French draping and pattern grading skills when I can pay someone to do all that?

Answer: The reasons why every designer should master the skills of sewing, pattern drafting, French draping and pattern grading are to save money, make big profits, and to maintain quality control.  If you do not have knowledge of garment construction, how do you know whether your garment is poorly constructed or badly fitted?  How would you know whether you overpaid contractors for their work on your line?  These are questions that only a skilled designer would understand and be able to answer.

Question: Why are there so many fashion graduates from every fashion school having such a difficult time finding a job in the fashion industry?

Answer: This is because the fashion schools are not providing their students with enough skills, knowledge or experience to meet industry standards.  Sadly, 95% of fashion institutions do not meet garment industry standards, which is why so many students fail at their job interviews when potential employers test them on their pattern drafting, sewing, French draping and pattern grading skills.

Question: Why are there so many fashion graduates from other fashion institutions coming to VSC to relearn everything from ground zero?

Answer: This is true because the fashion schools have failed to deliver the results for their clients, which is why their students are coming to VSC to redo their entire fashion training.  Over the years, VSC has taught and mentored numerous clients, including beginner students and recent graduates from other fashion institutions, such as:

  • Central Saint Martins
  • Parsons School of Design
  • Fashion Institute of Technology
  • Ryerson Polytechnic University
  • George Brown College
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Blanche Macdonald Centre
  • The Art Institute of Vancouver
  • Helen Lefeaux School of Fashion Design
  • VCAD: Visual College of Art and Design Vancouver
  • University of the Fraser Valley
  • Vancouver Community College
  • LaSalle College Vancouver
  • John Casablancas Institute

Question: Will VSC’s fashion instructor check, inspect and correct all of my pattern drafting or sewing projects, in every class?

Answer: Yes, to ensure that our clients fully understand and learn the topic or the subject content, our fashion instructor will routinely inspect all of their projects and homework in all classes and lessons.

Question: How much money do I need to start a fashion line?

Answer: These days, you no longer need to create a collection or a line to be successful in the fashion industry.  You can start with three to six good fitted and marketable pieces in different colours and sizes. Your start-up costs for your line and business in your first season will be around $12,000 to $20,000.

Why spend all of your money with a fashion design institution that cannot guarantee your career success, while you have no money left to start-up your own fashion line or business because the school has already taken all of your money, and you have no real practical fashion design skills to even get a job in the apparel industry?!?

Rather than spending your entire $45,000 to upwards of $150,000 of your savings/loans on a program of study at a fashion design institution, you can invest a small portion of that money in learning REAL practical fashion design trade skills at VSC, then use the remaining money to fund your own fashion line or business.  We strongly encourage all of our student clients to invest 50% to 70% of their school tuition fees into their business equity, capital and branding, rather than handing over 100% of their hard-earned money to a fashion college or university.

Question: Is it a good idea to do all of my sampling in Canada or in New York?

Answer: It is a bad idea to do your sampling in North America.  The labour cost is extremely high.  Your best option is to do all of your sampling in South East Asia, where you can save a lot of money in your first year of business.  Get rid of the middlemen in New York and contact the factory directly, if you want to save time and money.

Luckily, VSC is not a school, and we have helped save and prevent many clients from becoming a victim of this scheme.  At VSC, we deliver real, practical results, without breaking the bank.  We help our clients connect with real contacts, referrals and fashion industry people.  In addition, we help our clients to set-up their own business and give them FREE professional tools, dress forms and machinery to help them get ahead of their competitors and become successful in their chosen apparel specialty.

Question: Do I need a lawyer and an accountant to help structure my business/company initially?

Answer: Yes!  Proper preparation will save you a ton of headaches, money and stress in the long run.

Question: Why do I need to have multiple channels of distributions to sell my clothing products?

Answer: Having multiple channels of distribution for your clothing line will make your cash flow a lot healthier and make it easier to manage your business.  Most designers fail in the first three years of a new business because they do not have multiple sources of income, as a result of not having a local or global network with multiple channels of distribution.

Question: How long does it takes to learn the CAD and Adobe Illustrator software in fashion design?

Answer: If you have no fashion trade skills, the CAD and Adobe Illustrator will take you six to eight weeks to learn; however, if you already have knowledge and experience in fashion design, it will take about one week to learn.  You do not need to waste two to four years to learn the software in college.

Question: As a new fashion designer, is it better to work for someone else or start your own fashion line?

Answer: Start your own fashion line, if you can, and did not spend all of your money on school!  With absolute certainty, you will make far, far more money working for yourself than for someone else.

Question: Have many of the fashion instructors who teach in the well-established fashion universities or colleges worked in a real garment factory in Canada or in South East Asia?

Answer: Unfortunately, there are not many garment factories left in Canada.  Sadly, 95% of the fashion instructors from most fashion institutions have never worked in South East Asia because they do not speak or understand the local language.  Many of the younger fashion instructors/fashion graduates have never actually worked for Canadian garment manufacturers, which is why they do not really know or understand what they are teaching in schools, anymore.

Question: Do I need to learn quarter-scale or half-scale in pattern drafting?

Answer: No, you do not need to learn the quarter-scale and half-scale pattern.  The majority of the garment factories, these days, are using full-scale patterns in sampling and production overseas.

Question: Do I have an advantage if I have a fashion design degree or a diploma when I apply for a job in the fashion industry?

Answer: No.  When it is time for employment, your future employer is solely interested in your skills, not your degree or diploma.  You must always remember that, without your technical skills, you have nothing of value to offer to your potential employer and that will make you less desirable for any future employment. You can sugar coat your resume and cover letter, but you cannot fake your skills.  You can brag all you want about the school you graduated from, but your future employer will not bat an eye.

Question: Will my employer care if I don’t have a fashion degree or a diploma?

Answer: Your employer does not care if you have a degree or a diploma.  At every job interview, your future employer will test your technical trade skills right on the spot.

Question: Do I need to do fashion shows?

Answer: No.  You should NEVER do fashion shows like Vancouver Fashion Week or Vancouver Eco’s Fashion Week?  Why?  In the past, fashion shows used to be effective but, nowadays, fashion shows are more like entertainment events, where people get together to socialise, party, be entertained and receive freebees.  A lot of people are using designers’ fashion show events as a platform to network their way into the business.  Don’t waste your time and money doing fashion shows.  You should use that money to invest in wholesale tradeshows.  A tradeshow is where you will make all of your money.

Question: Do I need many good blocks/slopers in pattern drafting?

Answer: 100% YES!  Every new fashion graduate should have at least 25 completed perfect pattern blocks/slopers when they leave school.  If the fashion graduate does not have 25 completed blocks/slopers, she/he will have a difficult and challenging career ahead of her/him.  These completed pattern blocks/slopers are a designer’s lifeline.  They are their bread and butter when it comes to generating income.  These days, every designer needs many good blocks/slopers to create a well-fitted and designed garment for their future clients and to become successful in their chosen niche.

Question: How accurate is the Gerber CAD vs. manual flat pattern drafting?

Answer: Unfortunately, the Gerber CAD is 75% to 80% accurate most of the time, but not all the time. The CAD software runs into many problems calibrating, if there are many variables involving stretches, eases, asymmetry, intricate cuts and styling in the design.  The Gerber CAD is most effective when used in simple basic design with straight line and basic contour shaping.  Therefore, if you want your pattern to be perfect in the first draft, use the manual flat pattern technique to achieve accuracy and perfection.  All commercial pattern companies use CAD software to create all of the patterns that you purchase from fabric stores, which is why many sewers complain that commercial patterns do not always match up when they try to stitch garments together.

Question: Does VSC teach about Tech Pack, samplings and overseas production?

Answer: Yes, we do teach our clients how to prepare their Tech Pack, samplings and overseas production.  In fact, VSC is the only Canadian fashion resource centre that has all of the manufacturer contacts from South East Asia.  We can help you to connect with the right suppliers and garment manufacturers overseas.

– Chris Falcon is a Canadian designer and fashion educator with over 30 years of experience in the garment design and manufacturing business.