How to design clothes

How to design clothes

Fashion design is an exciting field that is constantly evolving, but it can also require a lot of effort and be incredibly competitive. If you want to become a successful fashion designer, you have a long way to go, but there are some simple steps you can follow to start the process.

Method 01

Assemble a mental toolbox

Learn about drawing. You do not have to be a master of illustrations, as many designers use a personal and original style when they design. That said, it is not essential that you can communicate your idea in a visual way.  Take a drawing class, study some books or just practice, practice and practice.

  • The most important part of learning any new skill is to put it into practice many times. Separate 30 minutes every day to practice drawing.
  • A good reference book is You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler.

Learn about sewing. Even if you do not want someone to make your designs, you’ll have to know about sewing. Understanding the possibilities that your assistant presents is an important part of being able to have innovative and exciting ideas about custom patches and fulfill the needs of your design.

  • Many craft stores such as Jo-Ann Fabric offer fairly inexpensive sewing classes.
  • It is mandatory to study pattern making if you plan to make your own clothes. You will have to know how a garment is assembled materially. Knowing how to divide a design into pieces is a fundamental part of being able to make clothes.
  • Buy some simple patterns at the craft store to practice.

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Learn about design. If you want to create innovative designs, you must have knowledge about design theory.  Molly Bang’s book called Picture This: How Pictures Work (Imagine it: how images work) is a good way to start, it will teach you to think like a designer.

  • Do not limit yourself to studying only fashion design. The principles of design theory are applied in all types of disciplines. You’ll be surprised how much a field such as typography about fashion design can teach you.

Learn about fashion. If you want to be a fashion designer, you have to learn everything you can about this world. Maybe you think you’re a very stylish person, but knowing how to dress well is just the tip of the iceberg.  If you design based on what is in vogue at the moment, by the time you have finished your design, it may already have gone out of style. Professional designers are constantly thinking ahead of time about what will be the new fashion cry.

  • Watch videos or images of high-impact fashion shows or attend one that is being recorded near where you live. Professional designers create their seasonal collections months in advance, so these programs could give you an idea of the trends that will open the way for commercial fashion in the future.

Learn about technology and resources. Today there are many more tools available to designers than ever before. In addition to knowing how to handle a sketchbook and a sewing machine, you must be able to use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

Method 02

Design designs

Find your inspiration what are you passionate about? What do you want to create? This could be a particular fabric, a work of visual art, something you want but cannot find in stores, a garment you’ve seen on the street, a special color design, a retro trend that you want to put back in fashion or any other element or situation. There is no single way to get inspired; the important thing is to find an element that excites you.

  • Think of your client. What kind of person do you imagine that would buy your designs? What is it that this type of person needs in a garment?
  • Combining styles and trends that already exist could be an interesting way to create new styles. How would it look if you combine military elements with other softer and more fluid ones? What would a meeting between the 30s and the 90s look like? How could you incorporate elements of masculine garments into feminine garments?

Think of the fabric. Do you want one that stretches or that is more rigid? Is your design light or rigid and structured? Should the fabric be soft or have texture? If your original inspiration came from an incredible canvas that you found, you already have this aspect resolved. Otherwise, think about the type of material your design demands.

  • Think of decorative elements such as buttons, lace, beads or embroidery threads, which will often affect your choice of fabric.

Think about color and design. A large part of the impact that your design causes is the use of color and design. Think about the purpose of the garment and how you imagine someone would put it on. Keep in mind your client and what he would like to wear. Above all, choose what you think looks good, because there are no fixed rules in this regard. You are the designer and you must be consistent with yourself first of all.

  • Look at a color wheel. Remember that the contrasting colors (those on the opposite side of the wheel) stand out from each other. This contrast can add a dramatic effect to your design, but if you do not handle it well it could be jarring and disconcerting.
  • Get samples of paintings from a store where they sell these materials and use them to experiment with different color combinations before buying the fabric.

Method 03

Draw your design in a sketch

Draw the silhouette of a person. When designing patches, it is important to think about how the custom made patches would look on a body. This is the reason why most designers draw their designs on a human figure. Drawing a figure from scratch every time a new design is made could take time and seem intimidating; so many designers use a sketch.  This is only in a template that you will use each time you make the outline of a new garment. To begin, you will have to draw the silhouette of a person with a pencil. This is an intimidating idea, but it does not have to be difficult.

  • If you are not very afraid, draw it by freehand. The idea is not that the anatomy is correct and the sketches of most designers have a bit of their personal style. Your design will look even more original in a figure that you have drawn yourself. Do not worry about minor details, think your drawing is a two-dimensional mannequin.
  • If you do not feel up to the task of drawing a human figure from scratch, use the work of another person. Trace an image that is in a book or magazine, or download one of the thousands of free sketch templates that you can find on the Internet.
  • Many designers use the 9-head method to make sure their drawings have equal proportions. The idea is to use a head as a unit of measurement and draw a body that measures nine from the feet to finish the neck.
  • Draw a straight vertical line and divide it into 10 equal parts. This will be your guide when you draw.
  • The first section will begin just below the head and measure the body from the top of the neck to the center of the chest. The second section will go from the middle of the chest to the waist; the third, from the waist to the hips; the fourth, from the end of the hips to the middle of the thighs. Then, the fifth section will extend from the middle of the thigh to the knee; the sixth, from the knee to the upper part of the calf; the seventh will go from the previous point to the middle of the calf; the eighth, from the middle of the calf to the ankle; and, finally, the ninth section will be the foot measurement.

Review the figure with a dark pencil. This drawing should be able to trace on another sheet of paper that you put on top. To do this, you will have to go over the lines with a dark pen.

Trace the figure on another sheet of paper. For this step you will have to leave the pen and take a pencil again. Place another sheet of white paper on the sketch you just drew. You can see it relatively well, as long as you have used a dark pen and the paper is not too thick.

  • If you have a light table, this would be a good time to use it. Place the sketch on it, put the empty sheet of paper on top, turn on the table and start tracing.
  • If you do not have a light table and you have trouble seeing through the paper, stick the two sheets on a window when the day is bright. You will have to trace at an unusual angle, but the effect is basically the same as that of the light table.

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Start to sketch your design. Keep using the pencil so you can erase the errors that are inevitable and gently draw the garment you’ve been imagining. Start with the most general elements such as the basic shape of the garment and gradually add the details as you acquire shape. When you are satisfied, review the entire drawing with a pencil.

Color your design You can use any drawing material you want for this step. The markers and crayons are particularly suitable as they lend themselves to form layers. Start with the lighter colors you plan to use, and shade large areas with long, consistent strokes that move in the same direction as the fabric. Gradually incorporate the darker colors and designs, and shade as you progress.

Repeat as many times as you want. Now that you have a sketch, starting a new design will be much faster. Just trace the figure and hands to the work.

Method 4


Make a mannequin. You will need a sewing dummy so you can see the garment while you are working and make sure it fits a human figure. If you do not have a mannequin, you can create yourself a provisional one of your size.

  • Put on a shirt you do not want and cover it completely with American tape while you have it on. This will create a rigid ribbon structure with the shape of your body.
  • To remove it, cut it on the side, from the hip to the armpit, and continue on the sleeve.
  • Cover the cut with tape so that it has the original shape again. Fill it with newspaper and close the bottom, neck and sleeves with more American tape. You can keep your arms or cut them.

Draw your pattern on a piece of brown or kraft paper. Use a pencil if you’re wrong and name each section to avoid confusion later. Remember that a saying of carpenters is “Measure twice, cut only one”. You can waste a lot of time with just one mistake. When you are finished, cut out the shapes.

  • Ideally, you should know some pattern before you try, but you do not have to be an expert. However, you must be able to imagine how your garment will be assembled and have the skills to materialize the idea.

Recreate the pattern in muslin. Spread the pieces of kraft paper over a piece of muslin and break them. Also cut these shapes and join them with pins to assemble the basic shape of your garment.

Sew your model. Pass the muslin garment assembled by a sewing machine. Remove the pins and place the garment on the mannequin or put it on your own body if you are doing it for you.

Evaluate the garment. Observe how it looks and think of the form. What works well and what does not? Take notes, make sketches, draw on the muslin or cut it; Do what is necessary to understand the changes you want to make.

Decide what the next step will be. How similar is the model to the garment you imagined? Are you ready to move forward with the design or do you need to make another model before trying it with a more beautiful fabric? Depending on how it looks, you may want to go back completely to the drawing board or go on to sew the real garment.

Go to the real garment. It’s time to spice up your design. Do what you did with the muslin model. Remember that you will make mistakes, especially the first few times. Do not forget to buy more fabric than you think you need, give yourself a lot of extra time and always check the measurements. Things will not always be done according to plan, so be prepared to solve problems or make adjustments to your design as you progress. Sometimes the most interesting innovations come from mistakes.