Education Feature: Sew-ful studies

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Saida P. Guidero, right, owner of Saida’s Designs, gives student Daisy Negrete of Clovis guidance on her first day at fashion design school.

By Tony Gutierrez: CNJ staff writer

Saida Guidero moved to Clovis from California three months ago to be closer to family members and to open a custom-clothing shop, Saida’s Designs. When she realized there was no program to train Clovis residents in fashion design, she turned her shop into a part-time vocational school.

Saida’s in downtown Clovis offers year-long private classes in English and Spanish from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday or from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Guidero said students design 18 shirts, dresses, skirts, blouses, four pants of different styles, dresses for different ages, three jackets of different styles, one coat and a formal men’s shirt.

“The first thing I show them is how to take measurements and use the different mannequin sizes,” Guidero said, who speaks in a combination of English and Spanish. “After that, they start with the patterns and cutting and sewing,” she added in Spanish.

Guidero was trained at the Technical Institute of Manual Art and the Los Angeles Trade Technical School, and is licensed to teach until 2009.

Students are shown how to take measurements and practice on mannequins, Guidero said, and then are tested. With the basics under their belt, she said, the students start working on a basic shirt.

“When you finish that, you start on the next project— 18 shirts, different styles,” Guidero said in Spanish.

Guidero said all clothing comes from 18 basic styles. Students are tested after studying each type of clothing. They also learn the difference in and how and when to use specific fabrics.

“From one skirt, they can transform it to other styles,” she said in Spanish. “After the skirts, the blouses. You learn different collars, sleeves and different bases of blouse.”

One student, Lupe Gama of Clovis, said she started attending the school to get better at sewing.

“I’ve learned how to measure, how to make my own pattern and how to start sewing,” Gama said. “She shows you how to even properly hold the scissors and cut the patterns. I actually hope to learn to make clothes of my own. In these three weeks of being in school, I have finished two skirts.”

Gama said she heard about the school through family members and word of mouth. She is also a student at Clovis Community College studying business management.

“It’s crossed my mind, I have thought about it,” she said about possibly opening her own bridal shop when she finishes the program.

Saida’s classes are $40 per week with a starting fee of $100. When they end, students will put on a fashion show.

Guidero has two students now but hopes to have up to 10, she said. She taught for 20 years in California and said if the school doesn’t succeed in Clovis, she’ll probably move back.

“In California, the school was for people when they left they could start their own business,” Guidero said in Spanish. “For example, all my students have bridal shops in Atlanta, Ga., Virginia, Florida, Phoenix, in San Bernadino, Calif. They have their bridal shops now and they studied with me. When you graduate, you can start your own line.”