Design & Style, Business

Getting Started: Teach Yourself Design

Marc Jacobs

Lesson time 16:54 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.

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

Topics include: Understand the Basic Skills • Look at the Classic Resources • Be Open to New Ways to Construct and Design • Study Designers Who Resonate With You • Find Your Path in Fashion Design • Find Your Creative Voice


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...

About the Instructor

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.

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Marc Jacobs

In 18 lessons, iconic designer Marc Jacobs teaches you his process for creating innovative, award-winning fashion.

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