Dare to Dream: Essential Techniques for Aspiring Fashion Designers

Fashion design is a multi faceted design practice that requires artistic vision as well as skill and precision. It is so much more than drawing nice clothes, it is also working with techniques, fabrics and understanding the human form. Fashion design will bring an idea to life and will help people express their identity as well as their attitude. Fashion is a statement and for a designer to live up to the competitive and historical craft, they must master a number of skills

Pattern Making in Fashion Design

A pattern is a blueprint for a design but it is also a piece of engineering ingenuity that will be the basis for everything that comes next. Sketches are broken down and flattened into patterns. Think of it as the dissected anatomy of a garment. No design can come to fruition without a pattern and no self respecting fashion designer can thrive without at least a fundamental understanding of pattern making.
When starting out, it’s best to first come to grips with pattern generation with a very basic design. Take a simple bodice or skirt. Draw it on pattern paper with measurements and seam allowances in mind. There are basic techniques to creating skirt shapes so learn these first. Later you can play with breaking the rules.
Grading a pattern is the resizing of it and considering clothing is made for people and no two people are alike, it seems obvious that this is a skill that will be required at some point in a design lifecycle. 
Sculpting with Fabric: Draping 

With a pattern, comes fabric. While the creative mind may have some fascinating ideas for fabrics, until you touch them and more importantly, observe how they fall and move on the frame of a body, no final decisions can be made.  Fabrics have grain and weight and they have sewing, washing and stretching limitations. Test your fabrics and drape, drape, drape! 
Begin with muslin. This will tell you if your pattern and silhouette are working. Play around with different silhouettes and forms by pinning and marking the fabric on a mannequin or person.  Your pattern can be created or adapted based on what you have learned from this experimental process. This is also the phase of pure freedom and creativity. Try different fabrics and see how they fall. It is here you will learn which materials best suit your design. 

Making Designs Come to Life: Sewing

While it may seem like an obvious skill to possess, it cannot be overstressed how important it is to have a knowledge of sewing. Hand sewing and machine sewing will teach you how different fabrics behave and the various stitching options that may or may not suit your design. 
By creating simple patterns and then sewing them yourself, you can perfect your needlework and hone your skills in precision as you learn to create neat, fine stitching. As you grow more comfortable with a needle, you can then introduce more complicated areas like zippers, sleeves or lining. 
Garment construction will give a designer insights into the potential and limitations of design ideas. Then you can dive deeper into your art and bathe in the joy of detail. Finishes and embellishments can be the making of a garment and a designer with an understanding of the craft can allow their imagination to run wild. 

Experimentation and Continuous Learning in Fashion Design

Fashion design is both an art form and an everyday mainstay. Whether it’s couture or street, it is on the radar of almost all walks of life. Trends move quickly in the world of fashion and if you don’t stop and take note, it could easily pass you by.  The difference between a good designer and a great designer is the awareness of the world at large and a constant curiosity in the new advancement and trends and techniques. Designers who experiment with different materials, styles, and methods are the first to find a voice as a fashion designer.

Like any area of the arts, fashion is in a constant state of renewal and creativity. If you see yourself as a future player in the fashion landscape, first you must do the work and master the techniques of pattern making, draping, and sewing. Remember that every great designer began with a pencil and a needle and thread. Dare to dream and embrace the process. The fabrics, silhouettes, catwalks and colours can be transported from your mind. It’s completely up to you!

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The world of fashion awaits. Our courses are tailored for both ambitious designers and those who want to take a baby step and see where it takes them. With tutors who are industry professionals we will guide you through hands-on projects, ensuring a practical learning experience that hones your skills and fosters your creative expression. It doesn’t matter if you're starting from scratch or if you want to refine your existing skills, we have the option for you. Enrol today to take that first step on your path to becoming a fashion design virtuoso.

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Written by: Fiona Byrne

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