Introduction to Apparel: Material and Form, RISD Summer Programs course

Introduction to Apparel: Material + Form

Clothing stands at the center of human experience in function and cultural and individual identity. In this course students broaden individual understanding of both material properties and the essential elements of fashion design. The course begins with an introduction to historical and contemporary practices in the advancement of clothing. Students then receive foundational instruction in apparel design techniques, including: design process, pattern making, draping, construction and sewing (machine and hand).

Exploration of materials and construction techniques is achieved through using geometric shapes (rectangles, squares, circles and triangles). Lectures and discussions on issues of waste and garment life-cycle, fast fashion and production methods underscore the importance of best practices in sustainability for students to consider in their own process. Development of a strong personal vision through weekly critiques and discussions allows students to build a comprehensive sketchbook/scrapbook, and to create a working sample collection of construction techniques that support ideas for a final collection of finished garments. Previous sewing experience not required. Access to a sewing machine and sewing supplies required.

RISD degree students: This course offers 3 transfer credits with pre-approval from your department head using the “Transfer Credit Prior Approval for Major/Non Major Credit” form, found on the Registrar’s Office Forms page. Submit the signed form to the Registrar’s office and then complete the online course registration.

Course #1307
Maha Barsom

Schedule B
June 24–July 30, 2021
Thursdays + Fridays, 10 am–1 pm ET
Online, Live

Tuition $2,300
3 Credits



Maha Barsom

Maha Barsom’s road to fashion design began at age eight, when she began constructing dolls from fabric and designing clothes for them. She began designing and making her own clothes at a young age, striving to make each design better than the last. Barsom studied business and taught economics and accounting for several years, but her passion for design turned her focus to fashion once again. She honed her skills at RISD and studied apparel design and haute couture in Paris. In 2006, Barsom’s business and fashion talents coalesced when she launched her signature line of luxurious shirts and blouses for women and opened a boutique on Boston’s fashionable Newbury Street. Barsom has been teaching apparel design at RISD since 2002, sharing her knowledge while inspiring and encouraging the next generation of fashion designers.

Go to Top