Draping course returns as fashion program sews loose ends

OCC students in the Fashion A235 Draping course work with COVID-19 precautions in place. 

Classes have slowly started to work their way back on campus at Orange Coast College with Fashion A235, a draping course, being one of the most recent to return.

The class began the semester online before being fully approved to return to campus on Feb. 25. 

This semester is the first time since the pandemic started that Fashion A235 was offered to students who are required to finish the class to receive various certificates OCC offers. 

“All of these students are students that I’ve had in previous classes, online and on campus, of course, and then online, and they are very close to finishing their program for their certificates for this particular fashion,” said Donna Dickens, the Fashion A235 instructor.

When given the opportunity to return to campus the program was all over it, filling out the necessary paperwork and following protocols to get the class approved at both the campus and district levels.

“We cancelled the course in fall of 2020 because we weren't able to bring it back on campus,” said Lauren Becker, Orange Coast College’s Fashion Department program coordinator.

Unlike the classes that have been held online during the pandemic, Fashion A235 and a tailoring class, which was suspended during spring of 2020, were not offered last semester.

In the case of the draping course, the class was canceled due to the difficulties that came with teaching such a hands-on course over Zoom. 

“I have to be able to see those grain lines right on and if they’re off ever so slightly then they're not doing the technique correctly,” Dickens said. “It’s just too hard to see. That’s why last November, we had petitioned to have this class, this particular class on campus”. 

Dickens is a part-time teacher at OCC who taught draping in the past and will also be teaching the tailoring class that will return to campus during the final eight weeks of the spring semester. 

“Everybody has been so, so cooperative that I’m feeling quite comfortable having retired and come back to teaching,” Dickens said. “They appreciate being able to just come to campus for that little bit of time and see everything up close.”

Returning to campus has not involved that much more work for Dickens, who explained the only real changes are sanitizing before and after each class and wearing masks.

One significant change, however, has been the atmosphere.

“As far as on campus, it's so quiet,” Dickens said. “It’s kind of eerie. I’m the only one in the whole building.”

By the fall, there is a hope that this won’t be the case. The fashion program is hopeful that they can see all of their pattern making and sewing courses return to campus.

While the rest of the classes have remained online, there have still been positive takeaways for the program as a whole.

“I’ve seen more students from outside of the fashion program come in to take sewing online,” Becker said. ”People from other areas of study have seen this as an opportunity to learn a skill that they maybe didn’t think they had time for before.”

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