In 2020, many parts of the fashion industry experienced a digital transformation. The shift to virtual interaction changed the way fashion designers operate. A number of fashion companies have reworked their business strategies. Many customers are seeking sustainable or locally sourced brands. The popularity of loungewear and athleisure has skyrocketed.
For company owners and designers, adapting is the name of the game. As markets continue to evolve, fashion must adapt to consumer demand. Creating new and relevant designs is an important part of this process. One of the first crucial steps in fashion design involves patternmaking.
Coming up with patterns for your new line might seem like a daunting process. But if you break it down into a few simple steps, you can come to understand and enjoy patternmaking.
In this article, you will learn about the basics of making your own patterns. You’ll then read about exciting digital tools that can make this process even easier. Keep reading to find out more about patternmaking for fashion design!
Flat Pattern Making vs Draping
In flat pattern making, you use measurements to draw a pattern on paper. Many designers still use pattern paper. This paper features a grid designed to help you find the right dimensions. You can purchase pattern paper at your local sewing shop. If you don’t have access to pattern paper, you can use tracing paper or tissue paper in a pinch. Since paper is flat, the pattern includes 3D elements in the design. For example, a dart is a fold sewn into a garment to give it shape. Darts are often used in the bust area of women’s clothing. Darts first appeared on the scene in the early 1800s. Before darts existed, garments hung flat against the body. Ties, sashes, and other fabric pieces helped give clothes their shape.
In the draping method, fashion designers drape fabric over a dress form. They work from the draped fabric to create the clothing pattern. Draping can be useful for visualizing your pattern in 3D. But the draping process can be tricky. Complicated garments require advanced folding techniques. It can be difficult to achieve symmetry in a draped design. You cannot measure and cut fabric with the same accuracy as flat patternmaking. After draping, patterns are copied onto pattern paper.
Preparing for the Pattern Making Process
Before you can make your own pattern, you need to collect the right tools. Many designers have a dress form in their design studio. If you don’t have a dress form, you can make your own! All you need is an old t-shirt, duct tape, and a little imagination.
You will also need pattern paper, a ruler, a French curve, pins, and high-quality scissors. Professional fashion scissors are worth the investment. Their sharp blades cut your fabric without causing damage or tears. Purchasing a few patternmaking books will help speed your design journey. Pattern Making involves a lot of math and precise measurements. A good primer can be helpful to refer to during drafting.
Most famous fashion designers get started by studying other designers’ patterns. If you’re just starting out, consider buying some patterns at your local craft store.
There are also many free patterns available online. When you have followed a few different patterns, you will have an easier time designing your own. After you’ve followed these preparatory steps, you’re ready to get going! Let’s take a look at the main patterns every designer needs.
Must-Have Patterns for Fashion Designers
Most fashion designers start with basic patterns, also called block patterns. You can imagine these as building blocks for clothing. A block pattern is the most basic clothing design. You can work off a block pattern to create any other design. Each block pattern matches specific measurements, so you need a different block for each size. For example, you can use a bodice block pattern to create many different shirts or dress tops.
In the early days of fashion, designers stored hard copies of these basic patterns. Today, innovative fashion software lets you store block patterns digitally. With digital fashion tools, you can access these patterns from any location and at any time. Let’s go over how to create each of the main block patterns.
The Bodice Block Pattern
You can use a basic bodice pattern to create shirts, jackets, blazers, or dresses. This versatile pattern is an essential part of any designer’s toolkit. To create this pattern, you’ll need to measure a number of torso areas. If you’re making a block pattern for yourself, you might want to ask a friend for help during this step.
After you have your measurements, you can draft the different areas of your bodice pattern. These include front and back necklines, seams, darts, and armholes. When you’ve constructed your basic design, trace the front and back patterns onto pattern paper. You should also add a seam allowance to your pattern. A seam allowance is simply a bit of extra fabric on a pattern. When the pattern is sewn, the allowances give you a little wiggle room for your stitching.
Drafting a Block Pattern for Pants
Pants can be very tricky to draft. If this is your first pants project, you might want to start by sewing a pair of leggings. Legging patterns are simple and a great way to prepare for designing trousers or skinny jeans. For the pants block pattern, you need to measure your waist and hips first. You will also need to determine your crotch depth/rise, hip depth, and length.
These measurements will help you construct the front and back panels for your pants block. Of course, you also need to include a seam and hem allowance in this pattern. When you’ve finished drafting this pattern, take a minute to check that the side seams and inseams are equal. The front and back lengths should match.
How to Draft the Basic Skirt
The basic skirt pattern is easy to draft and very versatile. To get started, you will need to measure your waist and hips. You will also need to know the length between your waist and hips. Finally, you should calculate how long you would like your skirt to be. Keep in mind that this is easy to adjust for different length skirts.
You can use these measurements to create a front and back pattern for your skirt. You might also want to add darts along the waistline. These can emphasize the natural waist shape for a sleek look.
Benefits of Digital Pattern Making Software
Digital pattern-making software is a game-changer for the fashion world. Making a pattern digitally takes less time and space than making a paper pattern. When you use digital software to make your patterns, you can achieve much more precise measurements. You can also alter patterns quickly. With this software, you can store digital versions of your block patterns. You can then use these digital files to create countless other designs.
Another advantage of digital design is 3D visualization. When you can visualize your garment in digital 3D, it gives you a better sense of how it will look when worn. Many designers rely on fit models to test their clothes during new product launches. With 3D visualization, you can save time and money as you bring your next product to market.
If you’re working with an international factory, you can also save time and money with digital software. Your production team can send digital patterns directly to the factory.
Once the factory managers receive patterns and tech packs, they can translate these instructions if necessary. If they identify any issues, they can notify you before they begin manufacturing. After you’ve come up with your innovative clothing design, you can use digital software for your tech packs and spec sheets.
A tech pack tells your manufacturer about what materials to use and any technical considerations.
You might also be familiar with the term spec sheet. These sheets include measurements and technical sketches. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many designers have created digital showrooms. These showrooms bring the runway directly to consumers. These digital trends in the fashion industry might change the way designers work. But the basic principles of fashion remain the same.
In fashion, you can express your ideas and creativity in a way that’s impossible with words alone. Digital software can help you streamline the pattern making process. This saves you time to envision your next creative endeavor.