In your own home!


This patternmaking course is designed to uncover your inner creativity and give you step-by-step skills to draft and make unique garments in your own home. This course covers Skirts, Pants and the Fitted Bodice Block, all of which are available as separate modules, see below. The full course follows these modules in the stated order as this progression builds your skills.



Our  learning system has removed the classroom walls with structured learning projects and follow-up support. We provide full notes and prompt marking by qualified tutors. We supply telephonic and email support during the course.

The course in Patternmaking will take about 12-24 months to complete, depending on the time you have to commit to the course. We commit to provide feedback for 24 months.

  • You will receive step by step instructions give you the knowledge to make standard sized blocks and the knowledge to create for different sizes.
  • Our own fitted bodice block template, (included in the course) is the only tool designed with the NZ shape in mind.  This template caters for differing body shapes which are useful if you are a home dressmaker, fashion or costume designer. The bodice block gives you the basis for fitting all sorts of shapes and sizes.
  • Most sizing standards in the industry are based on bust measurement which is unreliable, as it is the chest measurement that characterises the build of the torso.
  • The patterns made with our template have a more accurate fit as the chest bust difference is taken into consideration and thus the variations in the bust measurements are accommodated.

Course outline


I am really enjoying the Distance Diploma (now Apparel Creation) 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, who lets me know where I have made an error and why. The most difficult thing is waiting for the feedback but the tutor goes into great detail and helps me understand. I am setting up work experience for myself 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

I found the Distance Dressmaking course immensely rewarding, and have learned so much!
Before starting the course I was a true beginner. It is hard to believe that I have now made a tailored skirt, jeans and a shirt, with all of the elements and techniques that these involve. I now have a new confidence to attempt garments that I would have previously considered far beyond my ability.
The distance format was flexible and convenient for my lifestyle, and the tutors (Sunita and Pam) were always available to help when I needed guidance. Sunita provided detailed and enthusiastic feedback on all of my work, which I greatly appreciated. I thoroughly enjoyed the Distance Dressmaking course and would recommend it to anyone who wishes to improve their sewing skills.

Jessie Duffin

I always wanted to learn how to make my own patterns and design beautiful clothes but I wasn’t able to quit my full time job. I found the Diploma (Apparel Creation) course by searching the Internet and was so happy that I finally was able to study what I am so passionate about. I have learned so much and was able to do it from home. When I got stuck, with making patterns or making the garments, my tutor was so helpful and made it really easy to correct my mistakes, and put me on the right track.
Before I started the diploma I thought it would be a lot easier than it was. I have a bit of sewing experience but it took me a lot longer to complete the course material, and also the pattern making was a lot harder for me than I thought it would be. I have learned a lot more than I thought too.
The assistance of the Academy was great. Tutors were always available and so helpful.

I finally learned how to sew professional garments and design my own patterns. I improved my sewing skills and can make garments a lot faster.I can only recommend the Academy the Distance Diploma (now Apparel Creation) is a great course and I would do it again.

Melanie Donhauser

Thanks Sunita for your lovely comments and support.
I very much enjoy doing the assignments and find it satisfying to complete them.
I’m so glad that I have persevered and you are definitely the reason why I continue. Thanks so much for not giving up on me.

Kate Guttery