Summer Intensive August 7th-11th 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 page, 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

Please bring to the first class:

- A sewing pattern for a plain, basic top and simple skirt/pants of your choosing.You may also choose to work on a dress. See the list below for pattern recommendations.
- Approx 3 yards of muslin (combine the yardage of both patterns you plan to make)
- Your sewing kit (scissors, pins, seam ripper, marking tools, measuring tape, etc)
- A sketchbook, pencils, and eraser

During the week, you'll need to purchase/find fabric & notions for your final garments. This will be discussed in detail during the 2nd class. Since our timeline is short, please plan for time on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon to pick up fabric. You will be provided with a list of fabric stores and suggestions for where to find your fabric of choice. You may of course use fabric from your stash.

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 (Ladies) - McCalls M6436

Basic Button up shirt (Mens) - Thread Theory Fairfield Shirt

Basic knit tee (Mens) - Kwik Sew K3878


Basic straight & A-line skirts - New Look 6843


Basic trousers (Ladies) - Vogue V9181

Basic Trousers (Mens) - Thread Theory Jedediah

Jeans (Ladies) - Closet Case Ginger (skinny jeans) or Morgan (relaxed 'boyfriend' jeans)

Jeans/work pants (Mens) - Thread Theory Jutland


Sheath Dress, No waistline - McCalls M7085

Dress with a waistline - Christine Haynes Emery Dress

Plus Sizes:

Sewing patterns can be notoriously limited in their size range. If you're a size 14 and above (or have a size DD cup and above) have a look at the following patterns made by local Boston company, Cashmerette:

Basic top (sleeveless shell) - Springfield Top

Basic button up shirt - Harrison Shirt

Basic dress with waistline - Upton Dress

*A note about digital patterns - Many patterns are available as a PDF that can be printed at home on a regular printer. If you are using PDF patterns in this class, please come with them assembled but NOT cut out by size. If necessary, cut out all pieces leaving a margin around the pattern cutting lines.

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 take your measurements.

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 workout pants or leggings 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.

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.

During class, I'll take a few photographs to create your personalized fashion croquis. A croquis is an outline of a figure used as the base of fashion illustrations. Most fashion croquis are unrealistic and make it hard to visualize how clothing will look on you. The croquis you'll receive in this class will reflect your own body shape and proportions and will be an invaluable tool to help you sketch project ideas, no drawing experience necessary!


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

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

Tuesday & Wednesday: Design & Plan / Fit & Refine


In the first half of class, you'll use the workbook to find and document your personal style, including a mood board, color palette, and shape guide.

Next, you'll sketch three variations of both your top and bottom patterns using your customized fashion croquis.

We'll discuss different types of fabric and their characteristics.

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


Continue to adjust fit and discuss designs.

Thursday & Friday : Pattern Alterations & Putting it all together

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

Students will have then rest of the time on Thursday and Friday to work on their designs.

Class resources

Here is where you will find some of the resources and handouts we used in class. These, along with blank copies of the Capsule Wardrobe Workbook will be available here closer to the class date.

Contact the instructor

If you have any questions leading up to and during the class, please don't hesitate to get in touch! You can reach me by email at OR by filling out the contact form below.


Name *