Couture Arts Fashion Academy (CAFA) is located in Pymble on Sydney's leafy upper north shore a short eight minute walk from the train station. Our philosophy is to promote the skills of design and sewing to both professional and non-professional students, allowing anyone with an interest in sewing to make quality fitted garments for their figure type.

02 9449 1450


Suite 7, Harvard House
859 Pacific Highway, Pymble NSW 2073
See all our courses

What We Offer

Professional Program in Fashion Design
HSC Textiles & Design Workshops & Mentoring
Sewing, Pattern Making & Fashion Classes open to everyone
Private Tuition
Business Consulting

About Us

We're a fashion college and a sewing school teaching to both professionals and home sewers.  Our philosophy starts with the classical techniques used in French couture houses, which we combine with cutting-edge, luxury ready-to-wear design and construction methods.

This blend of the old and the new offers our students excellent technical skills, with the college specialising in draping, couture construction techniques and fashion illustration.

We aim to inspire our students and equip them with the attitude, expertise and experience to stay true to their fashion vision while having the grounding to be commercially successful.

We recognise the pace of life today, so we offer a flexible timetable with courses run in the evenings and on Saturdays, as well as on weekdays.

To maximise learning, our students receive ample one-on-one attention from teachers who are both talented educators and have excellent trade skills and experience. We are able to offer our students use of the latest industrial and domestic sewing machines and StyleCAD pattern design software, in modern, bright workrooms. As an extra service, most of the equipment our students need may be purchased directly from us at very competitive prices.

Our Professional Fashion Program will suit those who want to pursue a career as a Fashion Designer, Merchandiser, Dressmaker, Pattern Maker, Manufacturer or Fashion Illustrator. This program is also designed to teach students modern costing and web-based marketing skills to be successful in the global business community they will enter upon graduation.

For those who love fashion sewing and the joy of a garment that is a great fit, we make all of our professional Sewing, Pattern Making or Fashion classes available to home designers and sewers. We teach students to make basic patterns for themselves as well as fitting and construction techniques to create beautiful garments. Our classes are run during the week, in the evenings and on Saturdays.

A range of HSC Mentoring courses is available for school students. Run in our shorter course format, students can have a program designed to teach illustration and sewing skills that are applicable to their chosen major work. Students who wish to pursue a career in design may learn pattern making and sewing techniques while producing quality garments for themselves or learn fashion illustration. Our high school students learn professional techniques that will give them an excellent grounding and a head start when they continue their design studies after the HSC. The program for school students is run in the evenings or on Saturdays.

Workshops are also available during school holidays and on weekends.


Gaylene McCaw: Principal LLB/BEc

After a career in business, Gaylene trained in Fashion Design & Merchandising in Sydney and Paris and has been involved in fashion and fashion related industries for more than 10 years. Gaylene has qualifications in law, accountancy, and fashion. She has experience in fashion retail, small and large business strategic planning and management, training organisation management, fashion design and garment construction. Her special interest is couture clothing and construction techniques. Gaylene teaches Fashion, Business, Merchandising and Advanced Pattern Making.


Janice Page: Head Teacher Couture

Jan has worked in the fashion industry for more than 35 years, having a lifelong interest in sewing. She started in retail and learned selling and boutique management from a successful Sydney boutique. Jan progressed her knowledge to the production workrooms and learned quality garment construction with leading Sydney designers. She has extensive experience in the construction techniques used in bridal, eveningwear and women’s tailoring. As well as Jan’s experience in couture workrooms, she has assisted with the production of fashion parades and has been teaching Fashion Design and Fashion Construction for the last 14 years. Jan specialises in couture garment construction, pattern making and fitting techniques.


Deborah Staples: Fashion Design & StyleCAD Teacher

Debbie has 10 years’ industry experience. Having started in retail as a fashion store manager, Debbie trained in bespoke fashion design and worked as a pattern maker, grader and marker maker, garment finisher and designer in industry in New Zealand. She has managed workrooms for start-up designers and has extensive knowledge of the business requirements for small enterprises. Debbie specialises in tailoring and is an expert at prototyping and sampling garments. Debbie teaches the StyleCAD Course.


Sharon Tunks: Fashion Design & Craft Teacher

Sharon is an expert on sewing machine operation, having owned and operated a sewing machine business for many years. She has her own fashion design business and produces quality work for private clients. Sharon has been teaching dressmaking and craft to different age groups for over 20 years. She has run specialist classes for French heirloom sewing, applique, swim and gym wear, stretch fabrics, lingerie, freehand embroidery, embellishment and specialised finishes as well as overlocker techniques. Sharon is extremely approachable and flexible and brings her versatility to the craft program to ensure students of all skill levels enjoy their learning experience.


Leonie News: Student Service & Administration Manager

Leonie has 25 years’ experience in administration and human resources management and provides student support services. The school prides itself on its flexible management designed to assist both full-time and part-time students to enjoy their study experience while managing the demands of life, work and family. Leonie assists our students with timetables, induction procedures, course information, sourcing materials and other general information that assists students with their study program.


Eranga Bandaranayake: Fashion & Textile Design

Eranga graduated with a specialisation in fashion and a passion for the art of embroidery and embellishments. Being an award-winning fashion and textile designer who has trained in couture embroidery in London, her research and interests are creative embroidery and experimental art. Eranga has over 8 years of industry experience and her own innovative fashion label that creates bespoke pieces fused with her artistic vision. Combining her knowledge in the industry and 6 years of academic experience in design education for undergraduate modules and short courses, she motivates students for creative projects and employment.


Kazue Kawauchi: Pattern Making & Dressmaking Teacher

Kazue is an experienced pattern maker and dressmaker who, in her own words, is passionate about spreading the joy of sewing and helping others through her skills. She has experience in realising designs from concept to garment for couture gowns, commercial dressmaking and costume design. Early in her career Kazue was a machinist producing garments for high-end Australian labels. She has also run her own business designing and creating accessories for the home and children’s sewn toys. Her career has included extensive work with stretch fabrics to create and embellish outstanding creative designs for stage, dance and theatre work.


Joshua Ton: Bespoke Tailoring Consultant

Joshua has been a bespoke tailor since January 2000 and currently works at Bespoke Bijan, in Sydney. Bespoke Bijan is a renowned Savile row bespoke tailoring atelier with 30 years of crafting handmade bespoke suits for Sydney’s elite. Joshua’s passion for his vocation has led him to want to teach and promote this wonderful craft to a wider audience. At Bespoke Bijan, Joshua cuts, makes, and fits suits for individual clients using traditional hand tailoring techniques. He specialises in custom patterns and fittings with hand-crafted construction. Joshua has a degree in Commerce and combines his tailoring experience with sound business management skills.