Design, Photography, & Fashion

Case Study: Construction Techniques

Marc Jacobs

Lesson time 21:09 min

Marc breaks down the construction techniques in three of his garments, demonstrating what each technique achieved for each design.

Marc Jacobs
Teaches Fashion Design
In 18 lessons, iconic designer Marc Jacobs teaches you his process for creating innovative, award-winning fashion.
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This is a look from the Spring/Summer 2017 show. It's a very ornate, embroidered, double-face wool jacket over a lace dress. And what we did was we drew a print or a pattern onto a muslin. And then, again, it was sent to embroiderer in Italy who rendered the drawing in various sizes of clear sequins and paillettes to look almost like a watercolor drawing. So by layering the sizes and the colors of the paillettes it created this sort of almost painted look to the embroidery. And of course, the skills and the techniques of the embroiderers are so extraordinary. And it's one of the reasons why we love to do embroideries. So we gave them a painting. And we said, how can you duplicate that out of these plastic sequins and paillettes? And they did a series of trials and they showed it to us. And then we, of course, corrected it and made comments. And then that became the embroidery for this particular jacket, or coat, as it were. And this was the collection which I collaborated with artist Julie Verhoeven, who I've worked with many times before. And she did not do this print. But what she did do was the drawing of the vacuum cleaner that became this lace dress. So this is a technique called intarsia. And what intarsia is is when the fabric is not appliqued or placed on top of another fabric, but it is actually pieced together almost like a jigsaw puzzle. So each section of this vacuum cleaner is actually a different piece of lace in a different color, a different type pattern of lace, that are jigsaw puzzled together using various color lurex, or metallic stitches on a sewing machine, an embroidery sewing machine. While the back of the dress is very simple-- although it does have a lot of work-- if you can see, the seams of the design were all pieced into these different rays. So we created the fit of the dress. I guess that's an important thing to point out. The fit of the behind of the dress is, rather than straight seams, it's all worked into the shaping that you can see within the seams or the cuts here. So rather than doing a straight seam to fit the behind, all of these seams that come around accommodate the behind. So the shaping is actually done through the design rather than through straight cuts or straight seams. The front of the dress is more of a t-shirt shape. So there is a cut here, if you can see, at the waist. And we avoided-- there's a small dart here in the bust, and a kind of invisible seam here. So we didn't draw any attention to the seam in the bust, or the dart here in the bust, or in the seam, because we didn't really want that to show. So we tried to keep this all about the design of the vacuum cleaner. And then we made the decorative cut which functions for shape only here in the waist. And then these other seams come around the back to fit the behind, which is obviously a fuller volume than what ...

Create your own trends

Marc Jacobs’s infamous grunge collection got him fired. It also won him the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award. In his first online fashion design class, the 11-time CFDA Award winner teaches his hands-on process for creating clothes that push boundaries and set trends. Learn Marc’s construction techniques, how he creates unique shapes and silhouettes, and how you can develop your own ideas from the first sketch to the final piece.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I'm not a fashion designer, but after listening to MJ speak, dying to get a sewing machine! Love how he speaks, makes me feel wayyy better about how I get when I'm 1000% "on" - pause, think, almost stutter a little because you're so excited about something and the words just don't come as easy as the vision. Powerful and inspiring, thank you!

This master class has made me inspired to try new things and always ask questions when I have one.

This class helped me realize that it is okay to make mistakes and to keep going even if things are difficult. The instructor emphasized the importance of just getting started and doing something, even if you don't know what you're doing- to take risks and just do the best you can- and to enjoy it all the way. This was an amazing class and I hope for more from this instructor in the future.

The most important thing that I took with me after this class is inspiration. I learned : - 1 new technique I did not knew about, - a lot about Marc, what he likes, how he works, -that is mostly about practice and making your own decision. I would have like to learn more about the process. Much more. Thank you !


Cristelle S.

Dear MasterClass, Hello. I liked learning about the two buttons that were placed on the sweater folds for one of the garments, in the "Case Study: Construction Techniques" lesson for the "Marc Jacobs Teaches Fashion Design" class. Thank you. Sincerely, Cristelle Nicole

Ayaz R.

I absolutely love the idea of taking something perfect, and making it imperfect. The beauty behind imperfection is capturing. IT resonates with the mind. It holds a powerful statement with life - which is an inspiration to say the least. Find perfection in imperfection.


The lace dress and sequinned jacket are exquisite. Not at all a fan of the sweater and skirt idea.

RJane @.

Do the models have to be skinny like the mannequins so the outfit fits on the model? @RJanesRealm

Greg M.

This was the final result of the construction project. My intention for this project was to creat a holiday inspired sweater using an old unused sweater that I didn’t really need anymore. The end product turned out to be very effective because this sweater definetely looks like one you could wear to a Holiday party.

Greg M.

This was the original sweater that I used for the project. The sweater was old and wasn’t being used anymore so I decided it would be perfect to use for this project.

Jean F.

Every chance I get to improve this lesson has allowed me to level up and create my expressions through trail and error and detail... it’s like coming close to becoming a surgeon

Jean F.

This has to be one of my most challenging experiences the breaking down and breaking up of the garment and creating some totally new thinking fall

Alina V.

Super interesting class. A lot of ideas about techniques. I would really love to go through some training about sewing techniques with expert like Mark Jacobs. More detailed video, closer focus. Something like that.

Elizabeth E.

Another excellent class. I love the embroidery coat of the Spring/Summer 2017 show: The pattern, the colors, very pretty and the technique use on the back of the lace dress it was very creative and unique. Beautiful. In reality, every single piece in this class is unique and beautiful. With the Cheerleading sweater, it look comfortable and cosy and the Pretty dress is unbelievable. I started to learn with this class all about these techniques. They are, the Intarsia technique, the Wrap printed technique and the umbrella technique. Fascinated.