The 15-minute guide to Fashion Design
So what exactly does it take to be a fashion designer?
If you’re thinking it’s like that scene in The Devil Wears Prada, when the designer brings out the dress for Miranda and she hates it…yeah, it’s kinda like that.
Lol, no I’m kidding. Well, slightly kidding.
I mean you do get critiqued pretty hard sometimes, but for the most part it’s pretty fun to design.
Warning. There is a ton of math involved.
Seam allowances, ease, grading, negative ease, the list goes on. It helps if you’re project-driven and can work on tight deadlines, usually by yourself.
My family knows when I’m crunched on a deadline, I zone everything else out. But, I also don’t like to become a total hermit, so I have been known to bring whatever project I’m working on with me to the couch and sew, or baste while we watch a movie together. I’ve probably watched The Sound of Music over 100 times as background noise…it’s an easy one to work to.
And psst….Fashion Design isn’t just sewing.
Fashion designers are responsible for setting trends, making patterns, designing cohesive collections, and illustrating their designs. To be a fashion designer you need to take drawing courses, advanced sewing courses, pattern making and draping courses, and pattern grading techniques. If you can’t attend a traditional college, there are online versions of these classes.
There are also workshops and boot camps that you can attend to learn these skills from current and past designers. Some designers use textbooks and have self-taught themselves with videos. The most successful designers started out as interns in design houses and production companies. Think Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren.
6 Steps to Start Designing Fashion in 15 Minutes!
Step 1- Grab your supplies.
You have to know how to make patterns and sew. You can brush up on your pattern making or designing skills with a class or books if you need a refresher. Also grab your pencils and some paper for your designs. Supplies that designers use are dott paper, manila paper, muslin fabric, fashion fabric, needles and thread.
Step 2- Find your inspiration.
Inspiration can hit you wherever you are so be sure to have a notebook and pencil to jot down ideas. Some of my best ideas have come when I’m shopping or wandering around nature. I also like being the passenger on road trips because there’s tons of time to just stare out the window and imagine your designs.
Even your cell phone’s camera can be used to take pictures of nature or architecture that inspires you.
Step 3- Organize your notes
You can create Pinterest boards to hold your inspiration. Invite your collaborators to your private Pinterest design boards. Use notebooks and folders to keep your paper clutter at bay.
Or you can go 100% digital and keep all of your inspiration on your computer! Canva is a good resource for finding inspiration and stock photos that you can use in your mood boards too.
Download the free printable and refer back to these steps whenever you need!
Step 4- Illustrate your ideas
As inspiration swirls around, start testing your ideas on paper. Don’t be afraid of drawing crap, not every design will see the light of day. A lot of designs get scrapped for better ones, but the more you practice the easier it gets and the better your designs will become.
If you need help illustrating feel free to use a croquis underneath your white paper. It acts as an outline for you to trace over. A lot of beginning designers use croquis to help them get their sketches out fast. In time you will be able to develop your own signature croquis and won’t need to trace anymore.
But even if you never move on from croquis, that’s perfectly fine!
Step 5- Make your patterns
Now that you have your ideas, it is time to make your patterns. You can flat pattern or drape your patterns with muslin fabric. Use your basic blocks and have fun with it. Advance sewers that don’t know pattern-making sometimes mash together patterns to create new ones. As long as these creations are for yourself that is perfectly fine, however do not try to sell a pattern that you have mashed together with someone else’s, that is it illegal.
Step 6- Sew your design
Once you have your pattern tested and tweaked, grab your fashion fabric and sew it up! Now go take some selfies and post them to Instagram and your Facebook page, and make all your friends jealous with your mad awesome sewing skills. Hooray, you finished! Then go explore the blogosphere and make your designs even more awesome.
If you’re interested in learning how to draft your own patterns, check out my FREE Masterclass right now.