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Classes offered by M.G. Ballard Designs

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About Us

Our Mission

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Our mission is to provide classes for those interested in learning the art of fashion while promoting and celebrating excellence in craftsmanship.  


What We Offer

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The Stitch Institute offers classes for those interested in personal enrichment or for individuals interested in operating their own small businesses.


Emerging Designers Series

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The Emerging Designers Series of Classes takes an individual from beginning sewing through fashion line development. It culminates with a Fashion Expo featuring their work.

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Emerging Designers Series of classes

The Emerging Designers Series, a set of individual classes listed in sequential order and designed to take a participant from beginning sewing all the way through to creating a small collection of garments using patterns they have drafted themselves.  Each class (or class part, i.e. Part 1) runs for four weeks.  Some classes are broken into parts to allow for monthly payments rather than payments in one lump sum.


Please note that the start date for the overall series of classes listed below is based on enrollment. There must be a minimum of three people registered in a class before it can be scheduled. Once a minimum class of three are enrolled, they will continue together through the series.


Class start and stop times can be adjusted to meet the needs and schedules of the people registered together in a class.  Classes can be formed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays are available for private  instruction, special workshops, events, and for any needed make-up classes.



How to Enroll

Step 1.  Complete the ENROLLMENT QUESTIONNAIRE  below and submit so that we may know your availability and call and talk to you further about scheduling you with a class.  


Step 2.  We will email you the Participant Profile and Terms Agreement Form.  You must submit it with your original signature either by mailing it or bringing it in to the studio.


Step 3. Pay for your first class by clicking on the "Pay" button, or you may call us at 334-213-9552 to use another method. We also process with Square and use Cash App.

Enrollment Questionnaire

Class Descriptions

Below you will find the descriptions of all classes offered in the Emerging Designers Series.

Apparel Construction Classes

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Apparel Construction I - Fundamentals

Apparel Construction I provides the fundamentals of garment construction. Participants will learn about the tools of the trade, including various machines used in home and commercial sewing. Through an applied learning process, they will construct simple garments, using commercial patterns to build their basic skills.  This is a four-week course. Class meets one day per week for four hours. The class fee is $150.00.

Pay for class

Apparel Construction II - Intermediate (Part 1)

In Apparel Construction II participants learn intermediate construction skills as they work on more complicated projects.    In the process, participants also focus on making garments better fit the body and learn about sizing in the industry.   This is an eight-week course. Class meets one day per week for four hours.  The class is broken into two parts (Parts 1 and 2) for payment purposes.  The total class fee is $300 (payable in two monthly installments of $150.00 each.)

Pay for Part 1

Apparel Construction II - Intermediate (Part 2)

In Apparel Construction II participants learn intermediate construction skills as they work on more complicated projects.    In the process, participants also focus on making garments better fit the body and learn about sizing in the industry.   This is an eight-week course. Class meets one day per week for four hours.  The class is broken into two parts (Parts 1 and 2) for payment purposes.  The total class fee is $300 (payable in two monthly installments of $150.00 each.) 

Pay for Part 2

Advanced Apparel and Textiles (Part 1)

In this class participants learn how to make garments with lapels, welt pockets, bound buttonholes, etc, and other construction techniques to provide the skill set needed for making more tailored apparel.  In the process, participants also learn about textiles and the textile industry.  This is an eight-week course. Class meets one day per week for four hours.  The class is broken into two parts (Parts 1 and 2) for payment purposes.   The total class fee is $300 (payable in two monthly installments of $150.00 each.)

Pay for Part 1

Advanced Apparel and Textiles (Part 2)

In this class participants learn how to make garments with lapels, welt pockets, bound buttonholes, etc, and other construction techniques to provide the skill set needed for making more tailored apparel.  In the process, participants also learn about textiles and the textile industry.  This is an eight-week course. Class meets one day per week for four hours.  The class is broken into two parts (Parts 1 and 2) for payment purposes.   The total class fee is $300 (payable in two monthly installments of $150.00 each.) 

Pay for Part 2

Fashion Design Classes

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Fashion Design I – Pattern-making Fundamentals (Part 1)

This course provides an overview of the fashion design process and introduces participants to pattern-making through flat pattern development using slopers.  This is an eight-week course. Class meets one day per week for four hours.  The class is broken into two parts (Parts 1 and 2) for payment purposes.   The total class fee is $300 (payable in two monthly installments of $150.00 each.) 

Pay for Part 1

Fashion Design I – Pattern-making Fundamentals (Part 2)

This course provides an overview of the fashion design process and introduces participants to pattern-making through flat pattern development using slopers.  This is an eight-week course. Class meets one day per week for four hours.  The class is broken into two parts (Parts 1 and 2) for payment purposes.   The total class fee is $300 (payable in two monthly installments of $150.00 each.)  

Pay for Part 2

Fashion Design II - Intermediate Pattern-making

Participants develop more advanced patterns and are introduced to pattern making via the draping method. They will design and construct an evening gown using this method.  This is a four-week course. Class meets one day per week for four hours.  The class fee is $150.00. 

Pay for Class

Fashion Drawing and Illustration

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Drawing Fashion Flats

Participants learn how to generate fashion flats containing specifics needed for pattern-drafting and production.  This is a four-week course. Class meets one day per week for four hours.   The class fee is $150.00. 

Pay for Class

Fashion Illustration

Participants gain a foundation in fashion illustration that includes using stylized fashion figures, and rendering garments and various textures and prints with folds and movement.   This is a four-week course. Class meets one day per week for four hours.   The class fee is $150.00. 

Pay for Class
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Fashion Line Development

Putting It All Together

This engages participants in developing and preparing to launch a fashion line. As part of the course, participants develop a small collection, including drawing the flats, drafting the patterns, and producing the samples, story boards, and line sheets. They will also go through the process of sourcing for materials and manufacturers. They will present their garments in the culminating fashion event - The Emerging Designers Fashion Expo.  


This is an eight-week course. Class meets one day per week for four hours.  The total class fee is $300.00.  

The Emerging Designers Fashion Expo

A Showcase of Talent

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The Emerging Designers Fashion Expo is the culminating fashion show for individuals who successfully complete all classes in the series, including  the Fashion Line Development class. The show will be scheduled once there are a minimum of six future designers on track to finish their series. The will assist in the show planning and production as part of their training, and also help to plan an execute the model auditions from which they will select the models to use in their show. 

Enrollment Questionnaire

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The Stitch Institute at M.G. Ballard Designs

(901) 606-8014

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Fashion Entrepreneurship

Getting Down to Business

The fashion industry is very competitive, especially for those seeking employment in the industry as a designer. However, self-employment is a great option, especially for those who enjoy working directly with customers and those who want the freedom and flexibility of working for themselves.


In addition to gaining excellence in designing and construction, being an entrepreneur in the fashion industry requires business and financial management skills, customer service skills and marketing skills. Technical skills are needed if a designer wants to offer his/her products online, and because marketing today is also social, knowing how to use social media platforms to gain and engage customers is almost a necessity.


Fashion Entrepreneurship includes four major components:

  • Business Basics
  • E-Commerce and Social Media
  • Branding, Promotion and Marketing
  • Customer Service


This is a twelve-week course. Class meets one day per week for four hours.  The total class fee is $450.00.  Minimum 4 students per class, maximum 12.

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Location

All classes are currently being held in the 

M.G. Ballard Designs studio

985 Autumn Ridge Road

Montgomery, AL 36117 


Class times will be made available once classes are scheduled.

Other times are by appointment only.  

Our Creative Team

Marva G. Ballard - Director

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Marva G. Ballard has been designing professionally under the label – M.G. Ballard Designs since 1981. In 1984, while living and working in Indianapolis, IN, she was nominated for the More Fashion Awards in N.Y.


In 1987, Marva relocated to Tuskegee, AL to work at Tuskegee University and transition what was then named The Clothing and Related Arts Program to a Fashion Merchandising Program - better recognizable and better suited for the industry at that time. In doing so, she developed several new courses, including The Psychology of Fashion, where students learned about consumer behavior. She also helped revise the entire curriculum making 25% of the coursework coming from The College of Business. Additionally, she became an instructor with the program and eventually served as program coordinator.  She made numerous contributions and was awarded both an Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching and an Outstanding Faculty Award for Service from the University.


In 1998, she returned to her passion full time, designing apparel and home accessories, as well as original, mixed-media wall hangings.  Her work is owned by many celebrities and professional, yet daring women (and men) across the country, has been featured in several magazines and newspapers.  

Robert Moore III

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Robert Moore III, referred to as "The Hollywood Tailor" was a cutter, fitter and tailor in the movie industry for over 24 years. He has worked with numerous costume designers, including Bob Mackie and tailored for numerous stars including Robert Duvall, Kelsey Grammer, Michael Keaton, Anthony Hopkins, Lindsey Lohan and Jim Carrey, as well as a ton of extras.


Among his film credits are Speed 2, Dreamgirls, The Crow, Billy Bathgate, First Daughter, The Parent Trap, and Kingdom Come. His television work includes Medium, That's So Raven, Entourage, and the Black Film Awards. 


After retirement from the movie industry he returned to Indianapolis where he served on the faculty of The Art Institute of Indianapolis teaching courses in fashion design, construction and tailoring. He is still working as a designer and tailor and is currently living and working in Florida. 

Dovie Siaway

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Dovie Siaway was born in Tuskegee, AL. In 2002, at age 10, she moved with her mother to the San Francisco Bay Area where she finished school, excelling in math. She attended and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Since graduation, Dovie has continued working in her community helping students achieve their academic and professional goals.  


Dovie is an avid social media user and understands the relationship between customer engagement and brand loyalty.  Her social media experience includes managing accounts for the annual  “Bay Area Greek Picnic” and Rho Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.  She often uses her personal accounts for socio-political advocacy and  film and music analysis.
 

Dovie recently moved back to Montgomery, AL to be  closer to family.  She will be teaching  Social Media as part of the E-Commerce and Social Media section of the Fashion Entrepreneurship Course.
 

Pat Jones Brown

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Patricia Ann Jones-Brown, a life-long Memphian, learned to sew at a very early age from her grandmother's teaching.  “I love to sew fun garments.” says Patricia.  She is a highly skilled seamstress who loves to sew, and is experienced in constructing a wide range of garments and other products. She is a member and past president of the Memphis Chapter of the American Sewing Guild. She has taught classes and sessions with The Stitch Institute and with The F.F.E.W. program since 2010. 

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Fashioning their future

Fashioning Their Future - Where Style Meets S.T.E.A.M.

The fashion industry involves the collaborative efforts of professionals from many different disciplines. The curriculum for the Fashioning Their Future Program (FTF) incorporates applied learning in the areas of science, technology, engineering, art and math. Additionally, it incorporates history, sociology, psychology, English grammar and composition.


Participants will be taught the fundamentals of garment construction and use sewing equipment in the creation of garments from their own concepts. They will also be engaged in projects using the computer as they develop design concepts using pattern-making software as well as other graphic art software and office applications. 


In  addition to their computer and construction lab activities, they get  the opportunity to engage in special projects, operate small  entrepreneurial projects like the Reerun Boutique with clothing and accessories they redesign and re-purpose  from discarded items.  They also attend presentations by special guests  to help expose them to career opportunities and help with their personal  development. 

Offer the Program

If you operate a school or non-profit that serves middle school-age youth, you can offer our program.  We provide all lesson plans, handouts and presentations, supply lists, and resource providers, etc., as well as marketing materials.

Find out more