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Community Training Institute

The SoHarlem Garment Construction Classes on Saturdays:  

These classes at SoHarlem are best suited for:

  • The individual: interested in this trade and committed to learning the skills needed to becoming gainfully employed in the garment construction.
  • The sewer: interested in learning how to read patterns, understanding pattern pieces and working onspecialized industrial machines. 
  • The pattern maker: to learn the basics of draping, flat pattern making and muslin making.
  • The designer: who wants to go beyond the basic from draping to completing a first sample.
  • The novice: who wants to basic sewing techniques for their own use.

Please click here to learn about our sewing classes at SoHarlem.


The distinct sewing classes meet students at their level and the new session begins January 12 until March 2, 2019. 

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 tuxedos 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.  To accommodate one-on-one instruction, class sizes are limited to five students.  

The fee for the 8-week class is $500 and includes a professional sewing kit valued at $90. If you are interested in applying, click here to register.