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Design & Style

Patterns and Muslins

Marc Jacobs

Lesson time 14:08 min

Marc discusses the process of going from sketch to pattern and why your first toile will never be perfect. Marc has also provided a pattern from his studio for you to download and study.

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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So the sketch goes first to the pattern makers, who drape with muslin or a fabric similar to the one we'll ultimately use. And when we fit that first muslin or first proto, we make some corrections. Those corrections, if they are close enough to being right, they become a soft pattern. The soft pattern is then used to cut the fabric that we are intending for the garment. Or it's used to cut a second muslin if we need to see a second muslin. So depending on how close it is to being correct, sometimes we'll recut a muslin twice or three times. Other times, it will go right into the actual fabric and then we'll be able to leave bigger seam allowances or certain room for minor changes. But it's very rare that it goes from the first muslin to a real pattern. We usually have to do a second muslin and then that muslin becomes a soft pattern. And that pattern then we use to cut the real fabric. Both making your own patterns or working with a skilled pattern maker are both options. I learned to make patterns when I was in school. I have never made a pattern since I've been out of school. But I luckily work with some great pattern makers. And so that of course is very useful. If you are going to create a garment and you don't have a pattern maker or someone to drape for you, you're going to need to learn this. I also think that even if you do have such people helping you to make your garment or garments, that it's really wonderful and a useful tool to have an idea. I mean to have some knowledge of what it is like to do these things because certainly information and knowledge is always useful. And I think in terms of being able to discuss and adjust and to see, to guide someone, having an understanding of what it is that you're asking them is always a good thing. I think my little bit of knowledge in terms of pattern making helps me sometimes to understand what's wrong. Like I can look at a garment and say, oh there's too much curve in this seam. So my fundamental, basic understanding of pattern making sometimes helps me in understanding what I dislike or what I don't like about a finished garment. And I can also look at a pattern and sometimes see that maybe there's too sharp of a curve or too straight of a line. Or maybe there's not enough ease or gathering or in a seam. But again, I have a very basic and very fundamental understanding of pattern making. And people who professionally make patterns have a much more broad knowledge of that skill and craft and trade. [MUSIC PLAYING] The sketches, again, a form of communication that comes with a verbal explanation. It's not just handed over and then hoping for the best. Take for instance, if we're doing a jacket sketch, Joseph or Emily or one of the designers will explain to any of the pattern makers, oh, we're looking for a broad shoulder but without padding. Maybe give them a littl...

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.

My passion for fashion, needs to be inspired and have always loved MJ shows and creative originality. Great, thanks

I've learned a lot about feeling comfortable in own skin and own fashion ideas. I really enjoyed Marc's personal story, it made me look at his work in a different prospective. Thank you for your time Marc.

This masterclass helped me with an open mind. To pursue my passion for designing or becoming one. It has given me many information that i have not even thought of. Now that i have gone though this class i will use things that i see as an inspiration. Inspiration is all round us. He has so help me with the runway advice. Thank you.

Beautiful! Thank you Marc for the unconditional sharing!


Cristelle S.

Dear MasterClass, Hello. I really enjoyed learning about how to show the placement of decorations, from the "Marc Jacobs Teaches Fashion Design" class. Thank you. Sincerely, Cristelle Nicole

Anastasia E.

ok, how to start business, that is what I am interesting, ok, comon is everyone have pattern making, fabric designing person? No, I can do all this myself, but how you take off - nobody tells you that! very frustrating. It is interesting listening stories... but what about business aspect?


I was very inspired with the first few lessons, and listening to his background stories. Now, quite honestly I am bored. And it is not him, it's because I believe there needs to be visuals. I want to see him in the workspace, handling the fabrics, pointing out the references as he speaks. Especially if you're a newbie, you want to see what the heck the muslin looks like. The chefs are handling food as they speak, Marc should be handling the materials used in his process.

Alba M.

I love how through the pattern making you can see your ideas come to life. Implementing it as we speak

A fellow student

Good lesson. Really wish there were more visual examples, however. It would make things easier to understand.

Greg M.

The original design was a design with sleeves but I am not going to use the sleeves. I am going to use a front and back facing to finish off the dress so that it looks nicer.

douachee Y.

Math is not my strongest suit. I have a very hard time with math, but after reading patternmaking for fashion design by Helan Joseph Armstrong. It's not that hard and it quite simple. Thank you Marc, this has taught me a lot.

A fellow student

I love how Marc Jacobs suggests learning the basics of pattern-making. This is an area I struggle with and this class has inspired me to take a pattern-making class that is offered in my city! The process of taking a sketch and transforming it into a garment is so fascinating. Thank you Marc for the wonderful inspiration.

Teresa F.

I am currently working on a gown for a client here is the toile and I am going to go in and make adjustments after her first fitting. I have started to pin applique down to see if I will like it. I have also been working on doing a double circle skirt for the train. It is a very basic evening gown.

Reena Mafaldina D.

When I made my first garment (a blouse) using the Pattern Maker CAD Software, I realised how easy patter making has become for the young generation of home sewers. It saved me a lot of time making the papper patern, and I could spend this time is sewing my first toile. I am very happy with this idea. Atleast for me, I can decide after the first toile, where the corrections need to be made and then I confidently sew the final garment. Thank you Marc so much.