How to Draw Fashion Clothing

Written by heather berkowe
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How to Draw Fashion Clothing
A good fashion design sketch can be interpreted by everyone from the patternmaker to the buyer. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Fashion sketches are the basis of the fashion design portfolio. A fashion sketch, or flat sketch, consists of clothing either on a figure or alone. The sketch conveys the design to an audience such as a potential employer or a buyer. It displays the details of the clothing: seams, types of stitching, length, fit and texture. It is helpful to have a picture of a similar garment in your chosen fabric to see how it falls on the figure. Also use a magazine photo or another large picture of a figure to trace and dress in the clothes you design.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 11-by-14-inch paper
  • Pencil
  • Image of a figure
  • Photo of your fabric on a person (optional)

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  1. 1

    Place the image of the figure behind a sheet of paper and use a pencil to trace the head shape, the neck and the shoulder line.

  2. 2

    Depending on your clothing design, draw the waist shaping, like a belt at the waist or a nipped drop waistline.

  3. 3

    Draw the outline of the clothing above the waistline, paying close attention to the fabric dimensions. If you are drawing silk charmeuse, for example, it will hug the body closely, catching the curves. If you are drawing satin, it will puff out and bellow from the point of shaping. Consider comparing your drawing to a photo of a person wearing similar fabric.

  4. 4

    Add details such as straps, jewels, belt buckle and sleeves. Draw in the neckline, keeping in mind the breast placement and width and depth of the neckline as compared to the figure underneath your paper. Include trims if desired, such as ribbons and bows.

  5. 5

    Draw the outline of the clothing below the waist, paying attention to fabric behaviour on the body. Use the figure underneath the paper as a reference for the clothing length.

  6. 6

    Draw details for the lower clothing, like ruching, pleats or a flared skirt. For ruching (or shirring), draw a series of vertical lines varying in length, all shorter than 1 inch from the area that shapes the fabric (waistline, belt). For pleats, draw vertical lines, all the same length and space between the lines, from the area that shapes the fabric. For a flared skirt, draw a series of horizontal curved lines, alternating between smiley and frown shapes. Make curved vertical lines from the smiley lines, leaning in toward the centre of the smile for each smiley horizontal line.

  7. 7

    Draw the stitch lines and seams.

  8. 8

    Draw the legs, feet, arms and any body part not covered by the clothing. Draw the hair, eyes, nose, lips and other accessory details if desired.

Tips and warnings

  • If your fabric is sheer, draw the outline of the figure underneath the clothing to create a sheer look.
  • For lace, draw the suggestion of the lace; it does not need to look exact.

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