Design, Photography, & Fashion

Getting Started: Teach Yourself Design

Marc Jacobs

Lesson time 16:53 min

You don't need to be an expert at knitting, sewing, or pattern making to be a great designer. But Marc recommends learning the basics to help you find and refine your creative voice.

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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I learned to sew when I was younger. I took a Home Ec class. And I was at Parsons. And so we had sewing classes. I mean, I learned to sew pretty well. I mean, I think I was pretty good at it. I took it took me forever. I'm certainly not fast. But I think it's important to have an understanding of those skills. To me, it felt important that I had an understanding of knitting and sewing because it seemed impossible to be a designer in my mind without a fundamental knowledge of those things. I also had an interest in the construction of clothing. And I also like the craft of making things. So craft to me, is very important. And I do like making things. So sewing, knitting, a small knowledge of embroidery, of how textiles are created. I mean, I find it very important. And I certainly don't think it hurts to know these things. It doesn't mean one has to, because there are designers who started out as architects and don't know the first thing, couldn't sew a garment if their life depended on it. And probably can't sketch either. But they still make beautiful clothes. So I don't think it's an absolute, but it certainly has helped me. And I would recommend that if you really are interested in clothes and how they're made that you learn a little bit about sewing. And run some fabric through a sewing machine. Change the stitch. Change the tension of the stitch, and see what it does. Because again, it's experience, I think, that is the best teacher. I learned a little bit about draping and pattern making in school and sewing in school when I was at Parsons. I also had a home economics class when I was in sixth grade, which I learned-- I think the first thing I ever made was a boiler suit or what we call a jumpsuit, which I was very proud of. Yeah, that was the first thing I ever made for myself. I learned a little bit about pattern making even before I actually studied pattern making by trial and error. Again, I laid pieces of fabric out on the floor. And I cut a jacket out of these dish towels, et cetera. And it was terrible. It was the most awful fitting garment in the world because I didn't know anything about pattern making. But again, I did learn through the experience of trying. To be able to cut a pattern to make a garment, to try to make a garment, I don't know that it's absolutely necessary in terms of becoming a designer or being a designer. But I am a big believer in the experience. So again, if you can get your hand on a sewing machine or a needle and thread or anything where you start to understand what it is like to construct a garment. I mean, making a garment by hand is probably a bit overwhelming. But a sewing machine is usually accessible, I think. And I think it's a good experience to have. I would certainly recommend sitting down with a piece of fabric and just experimenting a...

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 inspired to ask questions as fearlessly as Marc. I wish there had been more of his fashions shown, and more sketches, and more runway videos, and maybe some muslins. He's charming and very willing to share, but it seemed to me overall a little light in content, certainly in actionable takeaways.

This is a wonderful class, I am very thankful to Marc for sharing his journey and advice in a sincere and humble way! I have been working in management for a long time, lacking timespace for creating tangible beauty that I have been always drawn to, and a number of my design ideas are finally ripe to be realized - I am going to dare and do it! Marc has definitely given me courage:)

I was not very interested in Marc before seeing this class--now I am a believer. His ability to convey his artistic approach makes this class!

This class is very informative and knowledgable! Having a great time watching and learning from Marc Jacob's classes!



I like that he mentioned knowing which aspects you are continually drawn to and the listed some styles/ideas/concept that he goes back to again and again. It was not something I had ever considered much, but I know in terms of design I have always been attracted to beautiful tailoring and construction. I can respect exaggerated proportions or even unfinished seams and edges for the statements they make, but that is not what I enjoy making myself. I think of designers like Charles Worth, Givenchy, Dior, Olivier Rousteing for Balmain, Hedi Slimane for Céline. I kind of want to go back through the archive collections of some of those brands and see how they have changed.

Mary S.

This is my 13th MasterClass. I have explored such a variety of topics with the goal in all to expand my knowledge and peak my interest in the subject. I love fashion and am looking forward to hearing his perspective.

Julia D.

Diane Von Furstenberg was the first designer that really captivated me. It was a DVF ad in Vogue that introduced me to her and I loved the ad so much it was on my wall for years! (Def planning on taking her class as soon as I can) The ability to have made a garment that is flattering to every woman is mind blowing and awe inspiring .

Dina A.

Hello Class! Not sure who else is currently on the same lesson as me. But I'm a stylist and costumer on TV shows and films, and I'm looking to transition into costume design. I liked this lesson because it provides basic guidance of where to begin. Two of my favorite designers are McQueen and Armani. I'm looking forward to seeing what this class has in store, and applying it every day at work so I can apply it to my life goal.

Tauna S.

When I was seven my favorite dress was one we constructed with "mother's" help for a school performance. Basically is was a calico pioneer dress. My aunt who though a teacher kept a working farm and had hundreds of handkerchiefs she had received as gifts and the cloth bags that flour came in with lovely age old patterns. My Uncle, married to a different Aunt, was a professor at Purdue University. He was to take us on a tour of all the behind the scenes exhibits. I wanted to wear my calico dress. He thought it was charming, but my mother said if I didn't change, that I could not go. She was far too ruled by what she thought other people might think. I did not get to go, because I would not dress as someone I was not. Since then I have used every opportunity to dress completely out of the norm for others. Once I inhabited a wheelchair no one dared take umbrage with my choice, at least out loud. If I were out of my chair, at my age, I would probably be considered a dotty old woman, or at best eccentric. Never wear pants, they would inhibit the ability to take care of physical needs without the help of another. Skirts must take care of modesty, because your legs do not stay closed as you ride in your chariot. If too long on the sides they get caught in and wind around the wheels, which can rip a skirt off you. My designers of inspiration are Worth, and Alexander McQueen (runway versions extreme), I love the work of Negi Arabani's space couture. All that said, I think this lesson is off to a good start.

Jeremy W.

Craft 100% develops your ability to work with your hands and how to constructively play around with varied materials. Craft is also intimate + fun expertise to develop. In my opinion, it’s really powerful to know you can look at wool, wood, ceramics, metal, plastic and think, “Holy CoW! I have an idea for that.” Craft gives you creative freedom. My name is Jeremy and I run an agency that works primarily with fashion and beauty brands. | | contact me if you want to work together on your fashion brand or if you want to share the knowledge that we both learned from this course. |

priyanka M.

Really liked the lesson. Read about all the designer names mentioned in the assignment sheet. Researched all kinds of techniques they used and also the cultures they were inspired from. Got to know about pop cultures and subcultures and music movements that influenced fashion. Also finally deconstructed a shirt to know pieces that go into making one.

A fellow student

Studying designs that resonate and attention to those will enable learning. Enquiry and interest and taking the first step towards this is a beginning. ...Thank you

Bella P.

I have learned the fundamentals of fashion by almost exactly what you said, once I got my sewing machine I really just taught myself the basics of making clothes, by playing around with the tension and taking apart of clothes to make other patterns. I then went on to take classes, online and in studio to learn the professional way to make clothing.

Nicole D.

I am inspired by whimsical and nature-inspired designs, especially designers like Elie Saab, Leah Da Gloria, and Claire Pettibone. I love love love logging onto their websites and seeing the new collections, it feels so inspiring. I am also very inspired by Vera Wang, as she is a total bridal powerhouse with her hand in every aspect of bridal like Menwear, rings, invitations, and books. Her book in fact, Vera Wang on Weddings, is a joy to read. There are breathtaking pictures in it! I need more technical sewing books, will look into it using these resources plus the Hub.