For a wholesale buyer for a ready-to-wear collection, they need to see a sample of your work so the main aim of your sketch is simply to present the wearability of your clothes. For a couture or custom-made order, you don’t have to produce a sample but you need to present a colored and detailed sketch with swatches.
As you sketch, come up with a gotta-have-it-item in your collection. Diane von Furstenberg did it with the now-ubiquitous wrap dress while Tory Burch had her Reva flats.
Your first sketch doesn’t need to be perfect. Be free flowing. Let your hand do the work. No need to create a figure. The only thing that needs to be evident initially is the length of your piece. Make four to six sketches of the same design.
Choose the one you’re most happy with then do a detailed drawing of that sketch. This should be done using CAD software, or another graphic design software you are comfortable with. Add notes and lots of detail including:
● Sleeve and hem length
● Collar type
● Sleeve style
● Pocket placement
● Stitch details – single or double-needle, contrast or edge stitching
● Closures needed – zippers, buttons, snaps
● Embellishments – lace, braid
● Seam finishes – serged, French, flat-felled
Doing fashion illustration for a couture client is more detailed. Draw a figure for the body type of your wearer. An ideal pose would be standing up with a hand on the hip or one with a foot in front of the other. This will give you a more dynamic figure to work with.
Sketch the basic shapes of your piece on the figure. Make quick and light drawings and not heavy lines. Take note of the following important points for visual reference:
● Apex of the bust
When you’re satisfied with your outline. You can erase some of the figure’s body lines to see the piece as a whole. From that overall impression, you can now begin shading some colour using coloured pencils or watercolour.
When you have all your colours blocked in add the other details such as belts, collars, accessories, cuffs, buttons, patterns, and texture. Once you’re satisfied with the end result, attach a swatch of the fabric you will use. Assign a design name and number to that piece for your reference.
A line plan is a way of categorizing your collection based on fabrics. Divide a poster into columns with each one delegated for a particular fabric. This is mainly done for your sewer and pattern maker to avoid mistakes.
Print a small version of your designs that will fit the columns. For example, you have sketches of a skirt and jacket under leather. You have to place a swatch for each column. The next one could have blouses and dresses under crepe. Using a line plan will also help you see the cohesiveness of your collection. This also will assist you for planning your fabric consumption and costs. When starting out especially, you will want to create more than one style using the same fabric. Not only does this bering cohesiveness to the collection, it will help with fabric minimums and costs.
To determine the different sizes for your designs, you can consult a size chart or refer to pattern-making books with standard size charts. Some designers use models for their sample size. If you can’t afford to pay them hourly, tap some friends who most likely have the same body type as you customers. You can learn more about sizes and measuring in this beginner’s tutorial from Threads Magazine.
If you could use some assistance in this area, we recommend using Viviana in Winnipeg. You can contact her here, and she can help you create the most basic apparel items to custom couture.