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Community Training Institute

SoHarlem Garment Construction Classes for General Public on Saturdays:  

These classes are best suited for:

The sewer by providing the basic ability to “read” patterns and understand pattern pieces, the ability to work on specialized industrial machines and the ability work on woven and knit fabrics as required.

The pattern maker, the basic ability to learn draping, flat pattern making and muslin making.

The novice who is interested in learning to sew as a hobby and learning basic sewing techniques.

Three Different Sewing Classes Start on November 10, until December 22, 2018 

1) Professional Tailoring 100 Vest Making- 9-11:30AM

The objective of this course is to introduce the methods of tailoring, required to make custom made clothing. With a strong emphasis on machine safety and operation, hand sewing techniques, such as buttonholes, basting, over-casting, and cross-stitching. Students will be introduced to a range of textiles, from manmade to natural textiles, and pressing techniques. The students will learn and use the tools of the trade (marking, cutting, and measuring).  Students will be introduced to pattern drafting techniques for a vest (drafting a pattern will not be required at this point). 

2) Professional Tailoring 101 Pant Making- 12-2:30PM

The objective of this course is to reinforce the skills from tailoring 100. Students will acquire new skills needed to make pants which includes: how to custom make a waistband, side and besson pockets, set zippers and drafting a pant’s pattern.

3) Professional Tailoring 102 Vest & Pant Making - 3-5:30PM

The objective of this course is to ensure students can clearly articulate and demonstrate an understanding of hand sewing techniques, use of textiles, pattern drafting, operating sewing machines, apply the tools of the trade and other garment construction techniques required to create pant and vest.

About The Instructor

Henry Alfonsa Smith is an accomplished custom tailor for Gilberto Designs, the house of custom style and old world craftsmanship in New York.  His recent accomplishments include custom made suits and tuxedoes for The Ice Man Cometh (with Denzel Washington), Kinky Boots, Hello Dolly, and Motown.

Born and raised in Harlem, Henry earned a Bachelor of Arts from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), and certification in Ladies and Men Tailoring.  Smith also worked at FIT’s Apparel Production Department as the sewing machine technician responsible for advanced technology, which included computerized fabric spreading, cutting, serging and sewing machines. 

During the 1990s, Smith relocated to Atlanta, Georgia where he established and managed a custom tailoring for 17 years.  Among his clients were Dan Reeves of the Atlanta Falcons and Dwight Eubanks of Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Smith is a protégé the late Marion William Anderson, Sr, the Harlem garment industry icon and educator who established Manhattanville Needle Trade School on West 141st Street, where he made suits for Harlem’s elite. As a fifteen-year-old high school student, Henry studied with Anderson, eventually becoming his assistant. Smith helped Marion run the Trade School and the two remained close friends until Anderson’s death in 2015.

SoHarlem is incubating THEMANHENRY School of Tailoring and helping him keep Marion’s legacy alive by sharing with trainees and apprentices the skills and lessons Anderson instilled: If you can sew you can eat

Class Structure

Henry will work with each student based on their personal skill level and preferred pace.  Due to this one-on-one instruction the class sizes are limited to five students.  

The fee for the 8 week class is $500 and includes a professional sewing kit valued at $75. If you are interested in applying, register using the button choices below:

This form stopped accepting submissions on November 10, 2018 9:00 am EST.


This form stopped accepting submissions on November 10, 2018 9:00 am EST.


This form stopped accepting submissions on November 10, 2018 9:00 am EST.