Summer Intensive August 7th-12th 9am-4pm

at The Eliot School | 24 Eliot St.  Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

A “capsule wardrobe” is a personalized collection of basic, wearable pieces that stand the test of time. Your capsule wardrobe can redefine your personal style or simply create a foundation for a set of fabulous statement pieces.

You'll choose two basic patterns (a top and either skirt or pants) as the basis of your capsule wardrobe. First, you'll refine the fit of both pieces using muslin mock-ups. Next, you'll determine your signature style, color palette, and wardrobe needs. You'll also learn basic pattern manipulation techniques to add variety. We'll begin working on one or more pieces in class, then you'll be able to finish the rest at home.

How this page works...

This is the syllabus for your class!  Bookmark or print out this syllabus, as it has important information about supplies, what we are doing each week, and homework (it's fun, I promise!). If you have any questions during the course of the class, please feel free to email me. At the bottom of this page you will find a list of helpful links and PDF's of the materials used in class.


Materials List

- A sewing pattern for a plain, basic top and simple skirt/pants of your choosing. See the list below for pattern recommendations.
- 2.5 yards of muslin (3 yards if you are tall or making pants)*
- Your sewing kit (scissors, pins, seam ripper, marking tools, measuring tape, etc)
- A sketchbook & pencils

Capsule pattern suggestions:

For your capsule patterns, choose very basic styles. Focus on the cut & silhouette of the garment, rather than the details. You'll be elaborating on these designs later on in the class. For tops, do you prefer fitted or loose? Short or long sleeve? Darts or no darts? Knits or woven fabrics? When in doubt, look at the style of the clothing you love to wear for inspiration.


Basic woven shell/tunic with darts (3 sleeve lengths, 2 hem lengths) - McCalls M6297

Basic knit tee - Grainline Lark

Basic button up shirt - McCalls M6436


Basic straight & A-line skirts - New Look 6843


Basic trousers - Vogue V9181

Agenda for the week

(please read as it contains important information!)


Monday: Measure & Muslin

We'll begin the day with introductions and an overview of the week long intensive. Then, we'll measure.

Please come dressed appropriately for taking accurate measurements!

For best results, wear clothing that is closely fitting but not too tight. Overly tight or loose clothing will result in distorted measurements and require more fitting in the long run. The best thing to wear would be stretch pants or leggings (that are not too tight) and a fitted t-shirt or camisole. Also, be sure to wear whatever style of bra you wear most often. Feel free to bring these clothes to change into.

We'll begin by taking your measurements so that you can choose the best starting size of your patterns and make the appropriate alterations.

Next, students will cut out their pattern pieces and alter them with the help of the instructor (me!). Once the patterns are ready to go, we'll create a muslin mock up to check the fit, style, and proportions of your garments.

Tuesday: Fit & Refine

On Tuesday, you'll finish sewing up your muslin. We'll tweak the fit and proportions, then translate the changes back to your original pattern.

Homework: Pick out your three favorite items from your wardrobe. Think about why you like them. Is it how they fit? The style? The fabric? The details? Bring these to class on Wednesday.

Also, bring in any old fashion magazines or catalogs you plan to recycle to share with the group!

Wednesday: Design & Plan

Next, you'll create a mood board and color palette for your capsule wardrobe. Next, you'll sketch three variations of both your top and bottom patterns. We'll discuss different types of fabric and their characteristics.

Thursday: Pattern Alterations

On Thursday, we'll start the day with a demo about pattern manipulation. You'll learn a variety of techniques to transform your simple base patterns into unique designs.

Using these techniques, you'll create custom patterns for the designs you sketched on Wednesday

Friday: Putting it all together

On Friday morning, we'll make a game plan for your projects. Students will have the rest of the day to work on them.

Class resources

Here is where you will find some of the resources and handouts we used in class.