For whatever it's worth, at the Fashion Institute of Technology nondegree students usually have to take the evening men's shirt class before being allowed to take the three-course men's tailoring series, which is open to anyone. Because I'd taken so many women's sewing classes at FIT I was allowed to take the first men's tailoring class without the prerequisite, but I later did take the men's shirt class and found it tremendously helpful, although part of it was that teacher was terrific. After it, began to feel more comfortable sewing on an industrial machine, which is all they have and most teachers demand that the work be done on one.
In some ways, in my opinion, sewing a man's cotton shirt is harder than sewing a pair of trousers -- there are so many details -- but working with wool and Bemberg,which was used for the lining, presents its own challenges.
The men's tailoring sequence, unlike the women's tailoring sequence, doesn't teach a vest. I would have loved to have made a vest with fine hand tailoring methods, but I guess there isn't time. The men's sequence tends to be taught only by people with bespoke experience. The women's sequence is taught by people with production, and occasionally, bespoke experience. Both approaches are valid, it's a question of the style you want to learn.
At FIT, here's the sequence for Men's Tailoring:
--Menswear sewing (the prerequisite);
--Tailoring I (high-end trousers with half-lining and curtain, lots of hand work like hand overcast seams);
--Tailoring II (numerous small projects leading up to making a men's jacket, such as pockets, lapel pad stitching, vents, besom pockets; I was one told that these skills were put into a separate course because when people used to be thrown into the jacket class without it, many people couldn't finish.)
--Tailoring III (the full jacket). The final class in this series has been canceled for lack of sufficient enrollment or not scheduled something like seven times since I took Tailoring I, I've lost count. Perhaps one day before I'm dead I'll get to take it.
For Women's tailoring:
--(No sewing class pre-requisite, pretty sure, but I could be mistaken);
--Ladies Tailoring I (two wool skirts, one lined, one piped, different types of zippers);
--Ladies Tailoring II (one vest, two trousers);
--Ladies Tailoring III (a jacket);
--Ladies Tailoring IV (an overcoat).
In addition, for some odd reason, after completing all four courses you can get a certificate in Ladies Tailoring, but no certificate is offered after completion of the three men's tailoring class, which is weird because they are just as much work, if not more, because of all the hand sewing. Actually, I once heard a rumor that it was an administrative decision, there were too many certificate programs. But I guess your actual garments would be more important if you were actually looking for one of the rare tailoring positions for apprentices.
Both series teach only the making up of tailored garments; officially, there's no drafting or fitting, although sometimes a given teacher will offer to help a student fit a garment. That happened in the shirt class too.
If I were a woman and didn't want to make a cotton shirt first, I'd probably find a simple fitted skirt pattern, make a muslin, and then make it up in wool several times. That's what the Cabrera tailoring techniques book for women suggests. A skirt is usually considered the easiest garment to execute. But it requires finesse. You have to learn how make the darts flat (in Ladies Tailoring, I was taught how to steam them with a threaded needle), not stretch the wool, cut slippery lining, if adding piping, how to cut bias strips and wrap them and a host of other things. For the longest time, my skirt extensions would either be knobby or would open up when I poked them out.
Edited by tailleuse, 29 March 2016 - 06:31 AM.