Last fall I had the great pleasure of meeting Christina Esposito who teaches fashion, costume design and pattern making in Palermo at her school called Mode School – Scuola di Taglio e Cucito. Claudio Italiano kindly introduced me to Christina during one of my visits.

Anyone who loves sewing or fashion will resonate with Christina’s story. It starts in her childhood with memories of her grandmother sewing and embroidering. Like many of the Sicilian tailors I have met in my journeys, Christina started sewing as a child. In her case, she was just 10 years old and started on dolls. At that early age, she recreated the patterns by taking apart their miniature clothes and tracing out their components on paper.

Later she studied art, women’s pattern making in Rome and Padova where she learned the SITAM method for sewing, costume design and pattern drafting.

She returned to Palermo and started her own school because there were no schools in Sicily. Initially she offered private courses and then five years ago started the Mode School. In fact, this combined two of her passions – costume design and teaching.

To start something new in Sicily (or Italy) is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. This is especially true in the world of craftsmanship, whether you are a tailor, dressmaker or an educator in arts and crafts. It’s great to hear that her students have opened up their own atelier or find work with brands and ateliers.

If you happen to live in Palermo or are just visiting, please check out Christina’s Mode School.

2 thoughts on “Sicilian dressmaking: Christina Esposito’s Mode School”

  1. Buongiorno from Canada!
    Compliments to Christina Esposito for opening this wonderful school! It is wonderful to hear she comes from a family who design and sew women’s clothing!
    I come from a family of men’s tailoring from Agrigento, Sicily also, and as a little girl I watched my uncles and mother make suits!
    I am interested in learning this beautiful craft of design, sewing, patternmaking of women’s clothing. Can you recommend a competent course, program or school? I live in Toronto Canada, so I am open to virtual school or a school I can attend locally. I speak English, Italian and French.

    With kind regards,
    Nina Di Trapani

    1. Juhn @ sleevehead

      Hi Nina,

      Thanks for visiting my blog and finding inspiration in Christina’s school. Naturally I think her school would be ideal for you but of course Sicily is a long trip from Canada.

      So here are some other suggestions:

      * Fashion Institute of Technology (NYC): I’ve personally taken a number of evening FIT classes in sewing, patternmaking and draping and enthusiastically recommend FIT. I’m not sure if they offer non-degree, virtual classes but it’s worth checking out.

      * London College of Fashion (London): If I were going to take another class, it probably would at the LCF for one of their menswear short courses. Same caveat as above regarding non-degree, virtual classes

      Finally I did a quick online search and found some options in Toronto although I don’t have any experience with them:

      * Toronto Film School has a fashion design diploma
      * Ryerson University offers a fashion undergraduate degree
      * The Make Den is a private crafting/sewing school

      I hope that is helpful and I look forward to hearing more about where you decided to study.

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