Five Day Seminars

These seminars are designed for groups of 10 to 20 participants and are initiated by requests from schools or organized groups.


Madeleine Vionnet was known as the most innovative pattern maker of the 20th Century and became the teacher of many of the great designers of the Golden Age of Couture.  This program explores her complete body of work and much of those who have used her methods since she closed her house in Paris in 1939.  Vionnet was known as the inventor of the bias -- a tribute to her elegance with the scissors and her creativity.  This seminar is an overview of her work and is divided into 5 different programs highlighting the main categories of her incredible career.  The seminar may be scheduled for 5 days or a single segment may be selected for two days.  Each category includes a visual presentation, samples and patterns.

The segments are:
Geometric Cuts
This introductory program explores the basis of all of Vionnet's work, the basic design of geometric shapes as applied in  three dimensions to the body.  It covers understanding the bias, fit strategy and and the more simple of her elegant cuts in clothing.

Complex Cuts
Here the emphasis is upon more complicated cuts and constructions, using more pieces, more complex fabric structures and their            behavior and more challenging assembly and construction features.

Changing Directions with Loops and Folds
This seminar examines all the designs in which the cut of the pattern uses reverse directions in fabric folds, reversible fabrics,                    twists, loops and and closures which tie.

Surface Design
Vionnet treated the surface of her designs in ways that supported the structure of the cut -- all was integrated. This seminar reviews             all the ways that Vionnet added decorative detail to her work and what factors influenced her decisions.

Beyond Vionnet, Designers Who Follow
Since the House of Vionnet closed in 1939, many designers have followed the path she created in fashion design, learning from her            work, often copying certain pieces but also using her theories to explore new ground.  This seminar is an overview of contemporary            designers who have been greatly influenced by Madeleine Vionnet.  


Seminar Information

These seminars are designed for groups of 10 to 20 participants and are initiated by requests from schools or organized groups.  Each includes an in depth PowerPoint visual presentation, demonstration of the topic techniques and a hands-on workshop for student exploration.  For seminars with draping workshops, half scale forms are used which can be provided; however, participants may also use their own full scale forms.  Seminars are two to five days in length, depending upon the level of expertise desired. They are produced by the Center for Pattern Design and may be used as an educational supplement to an existing educational program or as a ticketed event for the public, such as a fundraiser.  Registrants are sent an information sheet with instructions, supplies and directions 3 weeks before the seminar begins.

Skill levels: 
The assumption is that very few people will be experienced drapers so all instruction is very detailed using a step by step process with ample teacher interaction.  However, except for the two hours lectures, the learning seminars are not for those who do not know how to sew and have had very little or no experience in using a pattern or handling fabric. Please give us a call if you have questions about your group's level of experience or interest level.


The cost for each seminar includes transportation and lodging expenses, per diem for teaching days plus one travel day, shipping of the half scale forms if necessary, and a teaching fee which is determined based upon length of class and location.  Please contact us for current pricing information and fundraising opportunities.  Promotional packages and a registration service for ticketed events are available options.

Degree Programs:

Each seminar and the instructor, Sandra Ericson, meet the qualifications for university level instruction for degree or non-credit fashion programs.  If inclusion in an accredited program curriculum is desired, please contact us for further compliance information.