Two Day Seminars

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

This is a beginning seminar for draping on a dress form or live model to achieve the best individually customized and proportioned fit. Included are all the fundamental principles of working with the cloth, the tools and the contours and articulation points of the body.  Format includes a variety of instructor demonstrations and a draping workshop for a basic dress or shirt and draping modifications for special figures.  Each student creates a paper block pattern of their choice from which flat patterns in a range of designs may be developed.  Each subsequent design from the custom block pattern will fit perfectly by using the custom pattern for the base.

This second level draping seminar is more advanced and includes learning to tape the form for symmetrical and asymmetrical design lines, draping flares, cowls, sleeves, self-stays, collars and a wide variety of student requests for unusual draping techniques and special effects such as the bias.  Since half scale forms will be used, students may also explore draping in the fashion fabric for differences in fabric behavior.
The third level draping seminar includes development of the design from a student sketch or photograph, planning the draping process for the design, draping the design, moving the design to paper, cutting and testing the pattern -- the entire process from concept to product.


This is a condensed version of the Designer Series from the book, Draping, the Art and Craftsmanship in Fashion Design by Annette Duburg and Rixt von der Tol, in which students drape an iconic design shown in the photos below from ten world famous fashion designers.  Your group choses the designer(s) to focus upon which determines the length of the program.  Each Draping Series program is a two day, 16 hour class and includes a vsiual presentation about the designer, his or her history, design theories and practice. Draping is done in muslin but students may use the fashion fabric of the original.  Half scale dress forms, draping tape and supporting petticoats and shoulder pads are provided.  See our store for the book.

The Draping Series Designers are:

    Charles Worth       Madeleine Vionnet   Christoff von Drecoll  Christian Dior,       Madame Grés 
                                                                                                     Bar Jacket  
Christian Dior               André Courréges    Yves St. Laurent     Pierre Cardin      Yohji Yamamoto
    La Cignale Dress

Cristobal Balenciaga was THE major designer in Paris during the Golden Age of Couture in Paris duringthe mid-1950's and was one of the most famous of Vionnet's proteges.  He draped very sculptural garments in the moldable fabrics of the time becoming reknowned for defining the leading silhouettes of the era, many of which we wear today.  This seminar reviews the history of his work, his major design influences, the premise for his draping and cutting and includes many patterns and sample garments.


The seminar explores the three fundamental forms of clothing, the Anatomical, the Architectural and the Composite for one day each, exploring the basic premise, the principles, the main designers and detailed patterns that best exemplify the concepts.  The program includes a visual presentation, sample garments and a draping workshop on each form of clothing and its leading proponents.

Everything you could possibly do with an elegant piece of cloth and name it a garment, without cutting or sewing it!  It all wraps and is tied or pinned.  The range of possibilities extend from bathing suits to evening gowns, suggesting many innovative ways to develop new designs quickly if needed -- when traveling, for instance.  Participants bring a variety of fabrics in several sizes for a wrapping workshop.


This program takes the student through the entire journey from sketch to the development of the flat paper pattern with the goal of being able to make a pattern from any garment illustration or photo.  It includes the analysis of the photo or sketch for the best scale and placement of design elements, leading the development of the complete pattern. Each step is illustrated for proportion and styling, dart manipulation, control of fullness, fit, adaptation to figure type and finishing -- includes all garment parts and many designs from rare books and vintage resources.  The workshop includes developing the same design for several different flattering proportions.  Students learn the fundamentals of flat pattern design using Sandra Ericson’s efficient methods from over 30 years of teaching flat pattern design.


With the advent of polyester, the fashion industry offers ever more pleated garments which are quite convenient to contemporary lifestyles.  They do not wrinkle, pack well, can be machine washed, are slow to wear and skim the body in an attractive way.  Thanks to fashion icons from Fortuny to Miyake, we have a wealth of new techniques for pleating fabrics and for customizing garments with pleated effects for fit and design.  This presentation and workshop explores all the avenues for pleating your own fabric for different design applications, including the pattern expansion percentages and also many pattern design concepts that make innovative use of pleating methods.


Zero-Waste seeks to design and cut clothing in which there is very little or no scraps of fabric destined for the land fill left over.  It is the key to sustainable fashion but requires designing the pattern before designing the finished look of the garment.  While there is some design risk, it is more than outweighed by the pleasant surprises gained in using this approach.  The program consists of a variety of designs for zero-waste, an exploration of all the zero-waste techniques and how to plan and work through the process to assure success.


The basis for beauty in every aesthetic endeavor originates with the principles and elements of art.  This seminar takes the student through each element and principle of art as applied to apparel.  Participants learn how a designer can make the best decisions when developing a design -- included are color, fabrics, line, proportion, rhythm, balance, focal point, the psycho-social message of designs and much more.  In the workshop students complete design challenges, analyze proportions, work with color applications and participate in critique.


Understanding and acknowledging your own proportions is the first step to convincing the eye that it is seeing a symmetrical, balanced figure.  In this presentation and workshop, participants measure and analyze their personal proportions, learn to balance disproportion with design changes, locate focal points, determine correct lengths and widths for personal silhouettes and how fabric characteristics are part of the equation.  Participants create a full scale proportional chart of their body with the best styling and design lines applied.

Recovering a vintage umbrella can be very difficult without knowing how the pattern for each segment of the canopy needs to be measured and designed to fit.  Each segment must stretch along the bias on the rib and be straight grain at the circumference.  This seminar provides patterns for most standard vintage umbrellas and takes the student through the process beginning with fabric selection and continuing to the proper application of the canopy on the frame, attachment to the points, the strap and button and finally, steaming. 


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.