Design Seminar

design 1

So I thought it was about time that I breeze in and answer those questions about the design seminar which I promised to answer . . . oh . . . months ago now! I’ve had a bunch of people asking questions – so I’ll try and make sure I hit them all in a semi-orderly fashion.

1. What am I talking about?

Logos Press Online is offering a series of live online seminars, starting this fall. I will be teaching one on fashion and fabric design. Click here to see the video, details, etc.

2. Who is eligible to take the class?

Absolutely anyone who is interested. This design seminar would be terrific for any high school girl who is interested in design, but it would totally work for older women  who are interested in learning more about the design process. Whether you’re interested in sewing clothes for yourself, sewing clothes for your daughters, or designing fabric for your living room upholstery, this class will cover it all. These seminars are different than the other online high school classes which Logos Press is also offering. Those are aimed at high school kids – the seminars are for everyone.

3. When does it meet?

Every Thursday, at 4:00 pm Eastern time. (1:00 pm here on the west coast)

4. What’s the format?

You log on to your computer at the appointed time and watch me talk at you – I can’t see you and you can’t see the other people in the class. I’ve had some people ask if they would seem too old for the class – this is why that doesn’t matter at all. It isn’t like signing up for a high school class when you’re 38 – but even if it was, no one would know!

5. Is it interactive at all?

Not during the class itself. However, we’re going to have a forum via private facebook group – which is of course totally optional. If you want to share ideas, post pictures, get feedback etc. that will be available, and you can use that as much or as little as you want. Students in the class can interact with each other there, and you can also ask me questions or request that I clarify things etc.

6. Is there homework?

No – nothing is graded. I will give optional assignments / exercises / things you could be trying – and whether you do them or not is totally up to you. If you do them you’ll probably learn more, and I’m assuming that if you sign up for this it’s because you enjoy it – and I happen to think that the exercises will be awesomely fun. But no one will check to find out if you did it or not. (And if you do it and it turns out dreadfully, no one has to know!)

7. What will be covered in the class?

We’re going to cover basic textile design – with lots of emphasis on how to do it yourself. We’ll talk about different kinds of designs, what makes a good design, how to pair prints, how to get your design into a repeat, how to do different colorways, etc. The goal is to have everyone actually able to have  fabric printed with their own original design. This part of the class works for people interested in interior design as well as fashion design. You could design fabric for curtains or upholstery, tablecloths, etc. Whether you decide to have your designs printed is, of course, up to you.

We’ll also be covering clothing design. This includes some history of design and designers, how to make a design work for you, how to copy a design, how to start from scratch, etc. The goal is to have everyone able to make a successful clothing pattern – and be able to sew it in your own original fabric. (Come on – how fun is that?!)

8. Is there any equipment needed in order to take this class?

The bare minimum is obviously a computer with internet access. You don’t need a webcam or special software. As far as what you need on the design end, that’s honestly pretty fluid. You can do fabric designs by hand and scan them in to your computer without any fancy design software. Or you could use Photoshop and Illustrator and do your design work all on the computer. If you have those programs already, great. If not, I wouldn’t worry about it. I would just do it by hand to start and you can work up to getting those programs if you feel like you need them for the designs you want to do. On the sewing end – I would recommend that you have access to a sewing machine, but again – no one is grading your work. If you just want to watch, that’s fine too. In order to get the most out of the class, I would recommend that you do a lot of sewing as we go along, but you can do as much or as little as  you want. A serger is nice of course, but totally not necessary.

9. Why are you qualified to teach this anyway?

I didn’t go to design school. Let’s get that straight at the front end! I have done a fair bit of designing, but it was very much a case of teaching myself to do things the hard way. This class is really geared for people like me. People who love to sew, love to design, want to get better at something they enjoy . . . but who aren’t planning to go through art school, move to Manhattan, and work their way up through the hideously corrupt fashion world. People who want to create, want to make beautiful things, and want to glorify God in the place God has planted them.

In terms of my actual qualifications, I’ve created several girls’ clothing lines, done all the design work, overseen the pattern-making, grading, sourcing, and manufacturing process, learning a stupid lot as I went along. I’ve also created several fabric lines for a New York fabric company, and there again I learned tons! My goal is to take all the things that I learned along the way and make them accessible to people who are interested in getting better at design but who aren’t necessarily planning on launching a clothing line in order to teach themselves!

Both my clothing lines and my fabric lines have been featured in a number of magazines, both here and in Europe – which just goes to show you that you don’t always have to go to design school and jump through all the accepted hoops in order to create something that works.

10. What ever happened to Amoretti?

(For those of you just joining us, Amoretti is the name of my design business.) Here’s what happened. I sold out. That’s a good problem – but I pulled the website down since everything is gone. Why haven’t I done more? Well . . . I’ll tell you. My kids got bigger. They have sports. And homework. And lives with issues which need to be talked about. And they need to have a mom who’s not glued to her computer upstairs, panicking about deadlines and telling the kids to save it for later. My kids need me in a different way now than they did back when I first launched my first collection while we were living in England and they were little tikes, some of whom still took naps. I also started teaching British Lit and Classical Lit at Logos School where all five of my kids are every day. I love it – because I see my kids in the halls, I work alongside their teachers, I know their friends, and I have a feel for what’s going on in their school lives. All of that together doesn’t leave much time for also being a one-woman clothing label. I figure that designing something or other will always be an option for me – there will still be fabric lines in the world. But my kids won’t always be this age – they won’t always need me like this. I’d hate to miss my kids’ childhood because I was too busy designing a clothing line for them. But even though I don’t have time to launch a complete new manufacturing run with all the attendant hoopla of financing and pattern-making and shipping and photography and website work, I can’t help but design things. In fact, not doing all that extra stuff has freed me up a bit to do more on the funky project end of things. My latest projects have been painting a design on my guest room floor, designing tiles for my mother-in-law’s bathroom, and designing fabric which I’m going to use to upholster an awesome antique couch which I  found for free on the side of the road. All the stuff which we’re going to be covering in the seminar will be just as applicable to that kind of thing as it is to people who want to actually go into the world of design.

11. When should we sign up?

Now. Do it now. Deadline is August 15 – which is next Thursday.

UPDATE TO THE POST:

12. Will classes be archived in case we miss the live class?

Yes.

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17 Responses to “Design Seminar”


  • The class sounds great and I am sorely tempted. Not sure if this is the right year for me, though. Do you have any plans to teach it again in future, or is it too early to say?

  • That is so great! I love love love it. I would definitely be a part of that if I could!

  • That is so great! I love love love it. I would definitely be a part of that if I could!

  • Hi Laura – not sure yet! We’ll have to see how this year goes and if there’s enough interest to do it again.

  • I am seriously considering taking the class… are the sessions going to be archived? 1pm on Thursday’s might be a bit if hit and miss for me.

    ~Suzanne

  • I don’t know if I missed it , where do we sign up at ?

  • Bekah, thanks heaps for posting all these answers to our questions! Super helpful! Amen to answer 10 :)

  • I want that dress! It is so beautiful!!!! :)

  • Hi Suzanne – great question. I actually don’t know the answer, so I’ll double check and post what I find out. Lisa – here’s the link: http://www.logospressonline.com/rebekah-merkle-fashion-and-fabric-design/

  • Oooh! That looks like fun!

  • Update! Suzanne – yes, classes will be archived. I’ll add that in to the post as well. Thanks!

  • This sounds great Bekah! I was one of those thinking, “Too bad it’s only for high school age”!

  • Design isn’t my thing, but creativity in other areas is, and this was good perspective for me tonight: “I figure that designing something or other will always be an option for me – there will still be fabric lines in the world. But my kids won’t always be this age – they won’t always need me like this.” Thanks so much for speaking this truth!

  • Is there a way to get a syllabus that lists the different topics each week?

  • Since you sold out does that mean we can’t order your fabric anymore?

  • Hi, I know I’m totally late, but I was wondering if you would still accept me. I’m not even entirely sure if I’ll be able to take the class yet, but I would really love too. Please let me know if there is any budging room for the sign-up deadline. Thanks!

  • Carly! So sorry I only just saw this! Yes – I believe that the deadline has been extended and there are a few slots left! Hope you can make it!

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