Traditional Pattern Making Tools & Equipment

Traditional Pattern Making Tools & Equipment

Traditional Pattern Making Tools & Equipment

Before we talk about pattern making equipment, let’s first talk about the skilled people that use these pattern making tools- pattern makers. Pattern makers are the skilled individuals behind the creation of basic blocks and finished patterns, which are the building blocks of every garment. Before the digital era, pattern makers relied on the art of traditional pattern making by drawing lines and curves on paper. Traditional pattern making is still cherished and used by many pattern makers in all sectors of the fashion industry and forms the foundation of digital pattern making. In this article, we’ll outline the most common tools used in traditional pattern making and what they are used for.

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What is a Pattern Maker?

 

Pattern making tools and pattern making equipment such as a pattern master, compass, rulers, a measuring tape, and a tracing wheel displayed on a pattern maker work surface.
What is a basic block, dress basic block, torso basic block, skirt basic block, trouser basic block. Basic blocks for pattern making. Traditional pattern making tools

Basic Blocks

basic block is a fundamental pattern or body template used in pattern making. Basic blocks are precisely drafted to achieve an accurate fit on the body. Once the fit is perfected, basic blocks serve as simple body templates for drafting a wide range of more intricate finished patterns, which are the blueprint for a finished garment. Pattern makers use basic blocks as a reliable starting point to ensure that the design, finished pattern, or garment fits impeccably, minimizing the need for extensive fit sessions. This makes basic blocks an incredibly important tool in any pattern maker’s toolkit.

Browse Our Library of Basic Blocks

Rulers and Tape Measures

Precision is paramount in pattern making, and rulers and tape measures are indispensable pattern making tools for taking accurate measurements and drawing straight lines.

Blue tape measure pattern making tools & pattern making equipment. Basic Pattern Making

Soft Tape Measure

A tape measure is possibly one of the most important pieces of pattern making equipment. It is a flexible measuring tool used in pattern making for taking body measurements, fabric measurements, and ensuring accurate measurements and dimensions. It’s typically made of fabric or plastic and comes in various lengths, with 150cm being the most common. Pattern makers rely on soft tape measures because of their flexibility, making it easy to wrap around curves and contours when measuring body parts, pattern pieces, or fabric lengths. This tool is essential for achieving precise and customized fits for basic blocks and finished patterns.

Buy a Tape Measure

 

french curves basic pattern making pattern making equipment

French Curve

A French curve is a flexible, curved ruler tool used in pattern making and fashion design. It features various curved edges of different shapes and sizes, such as gentle arcs and more pronounced curves. Pattern makers use French curves to draw and trace smooth, curved lines and shapes on patterns, helping them create accurate and symmetrical designs for garments. It’s a valuable tool for achieving precision and consistency when drafting patterns and adding curves like armholes, necklines, and sleeves.

Buy a French Curve

L square ruler. Basic pattern making tools used for pattern making

L-Square Ruler

An L-Square ruler is a straightedge tool used in pattern making and drafting. It typically has two arms that meet at a 90-degree angle, forming an “L” shape. Pattern makers and designers use L-Squares to draw straight lines and right angles on patterns and design sketches, ensuring accurate and perpendicular lines in their work. It’s a fundamental tool for creating precise and well-proportioned patterns and designs in fashion and garment construction.

Buy an L-Square Ruler

Metal curve ruler used as basic pattern making equipment.

Curve Ruler

A curve ruler is a flexible, curved measuring tool used in pattern making, sewing, and fashion design. It comes in various shapes and sizes, featuring smoothly curved edges designed to assist in drawing and tracing precise curved lines on patterns and design sketches. Curve rulers are essential for creating accurate and symmetrical curves in garment patterns, such as necklines, armholes, and sleeve shapes. They help ensure that the resulting garments fit well and have a polished appearance. They feature measurements on the curved edge of the ruler, distinguishing them from French curves.

Buy a Curve Ruler

Patternmaster pattern making equipment for basic pattern making

Pattern Master

PatternLab’s Choice!
Another highly important piece of pattern making equipment is the Patternmaster tool. It is a versatile measuring and drafting tool used in pattern making and fashion design. It typically features a combination of straight edges, curves, and various measurements, making it a multipurpose tool for creating and altering garment patterns. Pattern makers use it to draw and modify pattern lines, curves, and angles accurately. The pattern master tool streamlines the pattern drafting process, helping designers and pattern makers achieve precise and professional results in their work. The pattern master tool essentially combines a variety of measuring tools into one, making it a very useful and cost-effective tool for pattern making. It also features a seam allowance guide on all of its edges. We highly recommend this tool for paper pattern making.

Buy a Pattern Master

Pattern Marking Tools

While it is important to take accurate measurements, it is also crucial to make precise markings. The following list displays some of the tools used in pattern making to achieve this.

pens for pattern making

Pencils, Pens, and Markers

Pencils, pens, and markers are fundamental tools in pattern making. Pattern makers use pencils for marking critical points on pattern paper. Pens and markers come into play when clearer, more defined lines and details are needed. These tools help outline pattern pieces, indicate notches, and annotate essential information. Additionally, different colors may be used to distinguish specific markings, making it easier to follow the pattern during cutting and assembly.

pattern paper. Basic pattern making equipment for pattern makers

Pattern Paper

Yet another important piece of pattern making equipment! Pattern paper is a specialized type of paper used in pattern making and fashion design. It possesses qualities that make it ideal for creating and drafting basic blocks and finished patterns. It is a very important piece of pattern making equipment. Pattern paper is typically strong, durable, and translucent, allowing designers to trace, sketch, and modify patterns with precision. Its grid or dot markings aid in accurate measurements and alignment. Pattern paper is an essential canvas for pattern makers, serving as the foundation upon which they draft, adjust, and perfect the finished patterns that bring the designers’ vision to life.

Buy Pattern Paper

manilla pattern card used for basic pattern making. Pattern making tools

Pattern Manila Card

Pattern manila card, also known as pattern cardboard or oak tag paper, is heavyweight, sturdy cardboard important in pattern making. It is used for tracing, transferring, and preserving finished patterns and pattern pieces. A manila card finished pattern lasts longer than a paper pattern, allowing it to be used many times with little damage to create the same garment.

Buy Pattern Mailla Card

pattern notcher pattern making tool

Pattern Notcher

A pattern notcher is a specialized tool used in pattern making to create small notches or cuts in the pattern paper. These notches serve as markers to indicate specific points on the pattern, such as seam allowances, dart locations, or matching points. Pattern notchers help pattern makers and seamstresses align and assemble pattern pieces accurately during the garment construction process. They play a crucial role in ensuring that the various panels of a pattern fit together precisely, resulting in well-crafted garments with the correct fit and design.

Buy a Pattern Notcher

A tracing wheel, basic pattern making tools & equipment

Tracing Wheel

A tracing wheel is a small, hand-held tool with a serrated wheel used in pattern making and sewing. It’s designed to transfer markings and patterns from one surface to another. When rolled over a pattern on tracing paper or fabric, the serrated wheel creates perforations or impressions, replicating the original design or markings with precision. Tracing wheels are instrumental in copying pattern details, marking seam lines, and transferring important guidelines onto fabric, ensuring accuracy when constructing a garment or sample of the finished pattern.

Buy a Tracing Wheel

An Awl pattern making equipment

Awl

An awl is a slender, pointed tool used in pattern making and sewing. It typically has a wooden, metal, or plastic handle and a sharp, tapered metal shaft. Awls are used for various tasks, such as creating small holes or perforations in fabric, leather, or the paper pattern. In pattern making, awls are used to mark key points or reference locations on pattern pieces, making it easier to align and match panels and pieces when constructing the garment.

Buy an Awl

 

pattern weights basic pattern making tools

Pattern Weights

A pattern weight, also known as a fabric weight, is a small, heavy object used in pattern making and sewing. It is typically made of metal, plastic, or other dense materials. Fabric weights hold down pattern paper, fabric, or pattern pieces during the cutting and tracing processes. By preventing these materials from shifting or moving, fabric weights ensure that patterns are accurately and consistently cut or traced, maintaining precision in the pattern-making process.

Buy a Pattern Weight

Cutting Tools

Once a finished pattern has been drafted, it needs to be cut out from fabric and assembled into a garment to test the fit and style elements of the design. We’ve listed a selection of cutting tools used in this process.

fabric scissors pattern making

Fabric Shears

Fabric shears, also known as fabric scissors, are specialized cutting tools used in pattern making and sewing. These scissors are designed with long, sharp blades and comfortable handles for cutting various types of fabric. In pattern making, fabric shears are used to precisely cut out pattern pieces from fabric. They are crucial for achieving clean, accurate cut edges, which is essential for ensuring that the final garment fits and drapes beautifully. Important: Fabric shears should never be used to cut anything else but fabric. Even paper can blunt the scissor blades.

Important: Fabric shears should never be used to cut anything else but fabric. Even paper can blunt the scissor blades.

Buy Fabric Shears

paper scissors for pattern making

Paper Scissors

Paper scissors are essential tools in pattern making, specifically designed for cutting paper and cardstock. They differ from fabric shears in that they are generally more affordable and need to be sharpened less often. Using paper scissors is a cost-effective way to prevent your more expensive fabric shears from becoming blunt or damaged, ensuring they remain in top condition for cutting fabric precisely.

Buy Paper Scissors

a rotary cutter. Basic pattern making equipment

Rotary Cutter

A rotary cutter is a versatile cutting tool used in pattern making and sewing. It consists of a circular blade that spins when pressed against fabric, paper, or other materials. Rotary cutters are especially good at cutting straight lines, curves, or intricate patterns. They offer precision and speed, making them invaluable for cutting multiple layers of fabric or pattern paper at the same time. Rotary cutters are often used with a cutting mat and a ruler to ensure accurate and clean cuts. Like fabric shears and paper scissors, different rotary blades should be used to maintain their sharpness and ability to make clean cuts.

Buy a Rotary Cutter

Pattern Draping & Materials

Pattern draping is another important part of pattern making. Fabric is draped over a dress form and then pinned to create the design directly on the dress form. The fabric is then removed and traced onto paper to create the finished pattern. It’s a more dynamic way of creating finished patterns. We’ve listed some of the various tools used in this process:

a rotary cutter. Basic pattern making equipment

Calico or Muslin Fabric

Calico or muslin fabric is a plain-woven cotton fabric that usually comes unbleached in an off-white color. Pattern makers create mock-up garments, often referred to as “muslins” or “toiles,” using calico fabric before cutting the final fabric. These mock-ups allow pattern makers to test the finished pattern’s fit and design, make necessary adjustments, and identify any issues or improvements. Calico or muslin fabric is cheaper than most fabric, making it a great choice for creating prototypes and ensuring that the final garment will fit and drape well.

Buy Calico Fabric

dress form or mannequin used for pattern making

Dress Form

A dress form, also known as a dressmaker’s dummy or mannequin, is a reliable, static representation of the human body. Pattern makers use these forms to drape fabric or paper directly onto them, allowing them to visualize and fine-tune their finished patterns or designs. Dress forms are invaluable tools for assessing how finished patterns will fit and drape on a real body, helping pattern makers perfect their designs before cutting into fabric. Dress forms come in various standard sizes (UK 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, etc.) and are designed for different demographics of people (petite, plus-size, etc.). The choice of a dress form depends on the client or demographic for which the pattern maker is creating finished patterns.

Buy a Dress Form (UK10)

Pattern Storage Solutions

Most pattern makers create hundreds or even thousands of patterns in their lifetime. It’s super important to have somewhere to store them because they might need to be referred back to at some point in the future. We’ve listed a few tools used for this process:

pattern hook basic pattern making equipment

Pattern Hooks

A pattern hook is a simple yet practical tool used in pattern making and sewing. It resembles a metal or plastic hook, often with a curved or angled design. Pattern hooks are designed to hold and organize pattern pieces, keeping them accessible and in order during the pattern-making process. They are especially useful for hanging patterns on racks or hooks, preventing them from getting creased, lost, or damaged. Pattern hooks contribute to a well-organized and efficient workspace, ensuring that pattern makers can access the necessary pieces easily as they work on their projects.

Buy Pattern Hooks

pattern hook basic pattern making equipment

Clothes Rail

In pattern making, clothes rails play an important role in organizing and accessing patterns. Pattern makers use clothes rails to hang pattern pieces using pattern hooks. This setup keeps patterns neatly organized and easy to get to while drafting and adapting their finished patterns. By using clothes rails and pattern hooks, pattern makers can efficiently store, locate, and work with various pattern pieces, ensuring a well-organized workspace that increases their productivity.

Buy a Clothes Rail

Conclusion

Pattern making is an intricate craft that requires precision, artistry, and a toolkit filled with specialized tools. From rulers that draw perfect curves to notching scissors that mark the way, each tool serves a distinct purpose in the creation of clothing patterns.

In the hands of skilled pattern makers, these instruments become extensions of their creativity and expertise, allowing them to translate design concepts into tangible templates that fit like a second skin. Whether working with traditional paper patterns or embracing the digital realm, these tools are the backbone of an industry where every stitch, every curve, and every notch matters.

As we’ve uncovered the world of pattern making tools, we gain a deeper appreciation for the craftsmanship that goes into each garment we wear. It’s a reminder that beneath the layers of fabric lies a meticulously designed blueprint, a testament to the artistry and skill of pattern makers who transform fashion dreams into reality.

 

Draft and adapt basic blocks in adobe illustrator. Digital pattern making
Draft and adapt basic blocks in adobe illustrator. Digital pattern making
What is a Basic Block?

What is a Basic Block?

What is a Basic Block?

What is a Basic Block?

Basic blocks are fundamental, foundational patterns, like bodices, skirts, trousers, or sleeves. They serve as the starting point for crafting more intricate finished patterns or complete garments. They are professional tools used to obtain an accurate or perfect fit, on the person or model they were drafted for. Once a perfect fit has been obtained, they are used as a base, foundation or starting point to create the finished pattern. Basic blocks do not feature any design elements such as lapels, pockets, or collars, etc.

Depending on the supplier, they are drafted using body measurements. PatternLab. London uses 27 key body measurements to draft all of our blocks. Other suppliers might use more or fewer measurements.

Ralph Pink explaining the structure of a basic block on a mannequin in a pattern making studio, with paper patterns displayed in the background.
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What are Standard Basic Blocks?

Standard basic blocks are drafted using a set of standard size charts which contain standard body measurements. They are designed to fit most people within a specific demographic (e.g., Young Women 160cm – 172cm). They are not bespoke, or tailor made. These blocks are used in the commercial fashion industry and usually come in sets of sizes such as: UK4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, etc (UK 4 – 24). They are a useful way of making a single style of garment fit hundreds of people reasonably well but not accurately.

Get a Library of Standardised Basic Blocks

 

What is a basic block Bespoke Basic Block Pattern Making Basics

What is a Bespoke Basic Block?

Bespoke basic blocks are drafted using a single person’s body measurements. They are designed to fit one unique person and are used in tailored, couture or bespoke projects. Blocks drafted using bespoke measurements should fit the person they were made for accurately.

Draft a Bespoke Basic Block in The Lab

Where do Basic Blocks Fit into the Design Process?

Basic blocks are a pivotal step in the life cycle of designing a clothing collection or an individual garment. Here’s a simplified view of this life cycle: First, the initial design concept is developed. Next, a suitable block is chosen to match the design, as demonstrated in this instance with a jumpsuit basic block. Subsequently, this block is transformed into a finished pattern by incorporating design elements like pockets, collars, and a fly. Finally, the completed garment is constructed based on the finished pattern.

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What are the Benefits of Basic Blocks?

Once a basic block has been drafted and fit-tested, it can then be stored and used time and time again as a reliable base pattern to create hundreds of different finished patterns. Having a library of b blocks speeds up the pattern making process dramatically especially if the pattern maker knows the block fits.

A pattern maker working in the commercial fashion sector might have a single library of basic blocks in sizes: UK4 – 24 that works for a large range of projects. A bespoke pattern maker, on the other hand has many unique clients, therefore they will have a library for each unique client.

Drafting and perfecting the fit of a block is time consuming and expensive, therefore, pattern makers tend to keep their basic blocks private.

Where can I find a library of Basic Blocks?

How Many Basic Blocks are there?

How long is a piece of string? A pattern maker that is specialised in shirt making might have 10 basic shirt blocks to use as a short cut to quickly create new shirt styles. The body of the shirt might be used to make 4 different shirt styles with different sleeves for example. It all depends on how specialised the pattern maker is. Compare that to a pattern maker working on a whole collection of different garments. They might only need one or two basic shirt blocks.

At PatternLab. London, we provide the most popular or common basic blocks for Women, Men & Children, provide our customers with the ability to create a wide range of styles.

Shop Our Entire Collection of Basic Blocks

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Dress basic block. What is a basic block, dress basic block, torso basic block, skirt basic block, trouser basic block. Basic blocks for pattern making.lock, dress basic block, torso basic block, skirt basic block, trouser basic block.
Draft and adapt basic blocks in adobe illustrator. Digital pattern making
Draft and adapt basic blocks in adobe illustrator. Digital pattern making

What are the Key Features of a Basic Block?

Basic blocks possess distinct features and markings that distinguish them from finished patterns. Below are some typical examples of these features and markings.

Wearing Ease:

Wearing ease provides the minimum amount of extra room needed to allow for comfortable, non-restricted movement, allowing the person to sit, move, raise their arms, and breathe easily in the basic block. Wearing ease is the minimum ease used when drafting basic blocks. Any additional ease is called design ease and is used for finished patterns. All our basic blocks, feature wearing ease.

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Labels & Identification:

A basic block may have labels or identifiers to indicate the name of the block, its standard size or the profile or person it was drafted for, and any specific notes related to how the block should be cut on fabric.

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Body Lines:

The bust line, waistline, and hip line, among others, are crucial markings on a basic block, indicating the exact placement of key body measurements. They assist in achieving a proper fit for the garment.

centre front fold line and centre back line. What is a basic block, dress basic block, torso basic block, skirt basic block, trouser basic block. Basic blocks for pattern making.lock, dress basic block, torso basic block, skirt basic block, trouser basic block.

Centre Front (CF) and Centre Back (CB):

The centre front and centre back lines indicate the vertical midline of the garment’s front and back respectively. These lines help in identifying the centre back and front and alignment of the pattern pieces to maintaining symmetry.

centre front fold line and centre back line. What is a basic block, dress basic block, torso basic block, skirt basic block, trouser basic block. Basic blocks for pattern making.lock, dress basic block, torso basic block, skirt basic block, trouser basic block.

Fold Line:

A fold line is a marked line on a panel (usually the CB or CF) that indicates where the fabric should be folded in half. It ensures symmetry, proper alignment, and efficient use of fabric during cutting and construction. By aligning the fabric edge with the fold line, you can create symmetrical pattern pieces and optimize fabric utilization while cutting.

What is a basic block, dress basic block, torso basic block, skirt basic block, trouser basic block. Basic blocks for pattern making.

Notches:

Notches are small, line markings placed along the edges of the block’s panels. They help in aligning and matching different panels during sewing.

Conclusion

In conclusion, basic blocks are the unsung heroes of fashion and pattern making. They provide the essential foundation for creating well-fitting garments, whether bespoke or standard. These versatile templates streamline the design process and are indispensable tools for designers, pattern makers, and sewists. Their significance is immeasurable, ensuring that every garment not only looks exquisite but also fits impeccably. Having a library of reliable basic blocks will increase your ability to create stunning finished patterns and garments.

What is a Pattern Maker?

What is a Pattern Maker?

What is a Pattern Maker?

So, what is a pattern maker and what do they do? In the realm of fashion and garment production, pattern making is a fundamental process that transforms fashion designs into finished patterns and finished garments using basic blocks. At the heart of this process are skilled professionals known as pattern makers.

What is a Basic Block?

Draft a Bespoke Basic Block

Download a Standard Basic block

A pattern maker meticulously drafts a pattern on large paper, with rolled patterns, scissors, and a finished garment photo nearby, in a bright studio.

The Role of a Pattern Maker

Pattern makers play a pivotal role in pattern making. They are the architects of fashion, translating a designer’s vision into precise patterns that ensure a garment not only looks stylish but also fits well. Their expertise encompasses several key aspects:

Learn the Art of Pattern Making

What is a pattern maker? Basic Pattern Making. Specification pack basic blocks pattern making

Measurement Mastery

Pattern makers possess a deep understanding of human body measurements and proportions, allowing them to create patterns that cater to different sizes. This understanding is often intuitive and based on years of study and experience through pattern making basic blocks and finished patterns. This is done for either bespoke clients or creating collections of clothing for commercial fashion companies using standard size charts.

View our Standard Size Chart in the Lab

What is a pattern maker? Finished pattern. pattern maker

Grading

Pattern Makers are often skilled in grading, the process of adjusting patterns to produce a range of sizes while preserving the original design’s style and proportions. Grading is used in the commercial fashion industry to create multiple sizes from a single finished pattern, which are then used by garment manufacturers to make the finished garment many times over and in many different sizes.

Learn More About Grading

What is a Pattern Maker? Understand basic Pattern Making. Attention to detail in pattern making is crucial

Attention to Detail

Meticulous accuracy is a hallmark of pattern makers. They meticulously calculate and mark crucial points on finished patterns, such as seam lines, darts, notches, and grainlines, to guide the adaptation or drafting process. Originally, pattern makers would work on paper and card using a Pattern Master tool. Precision and accuracy of marking were far harder, and often, a finished pattern was redrawn after completion to ensure its accuracy.

Learn the Art of Pattern Making

pattern making. Shirt dress sample toile.

Prototype Development

Pattern makers need an in-depth understanding of garment construction and sewing techniques. Not only is this used to create the finished pattern, but it is also used in participating in the creation and assembly of prototypes or sample garments based on their finished patterns. This step enables them to assess the sewing techniques used, the fit, style, and functionality of a design before it goes into mass production.

Collaboration

Pattern makers work closely with fashion designers, garment technicians, and manufacturers, ensuring that the final product aligns with the designer’s vision and meets quality standards. It is a united effort, and when done well, it creates beautifully executed designs and well-made garments that sell. Communication between these skill sets is of utmost importance, especially when time and money are in short supply. Getting it right the first time is of paramount importance when budgets are concerned.

Drafting a digital basic block patterns in Adobe Illustrator

Technology Proficiency

Many modern pattern makers utilize computer-aided design (CAD) software such as Adobe Illustrator and other programs to create and store digital patterns. These software applications allow absolute precision and accuracy, speeding up the pattern-making process while saving studio space and paper. These are just two of the benefits to digital pattern making, there are many more.

Learn the Art of Pattern Making

Draft and adapt basic blocks in adobe illustrator. Digital pattern making
Draft and adapt basic blocks in adobe illustrator. Digital pattern making

Conclusion

In summary, pattern making is the essential bridge between fashion design and the creation of wearable clothing. Pattern makers, with their expert knowledge and skills, play a pivotal role in bringing these designs to life, ensuring that garments not only look stylish but also fit perfectly. Pattern makers are an incredibly important part of the fashion industry, transforming measurements and designs into reality.

Learn Technical Drawing for Fashion Design

Learn Technical Drawing for Fashion Design

TECHNICAL DRAWING FOR FASHION

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Learn how to create professional technical drawing for fashion in Adobe Illustrator

Technical drawings for fashion (often referred to as specification drawing, spec drawing, or flats) are an essential part of the fashion design process. This is especially true if you are planning on transforming your fashion designs or fashion illustrations into finished graded patterns or initial samples.  Stylised fashion illustrations can look great in your portfolio and can be used to sell the look and feel of your collection, but are generally useless when it comes to explaining the technical aspect of your garment or design. For a pattern maker or sample room to turn your idea into a finished, working product, they’ll need clear, detailed drawings in order to reproduce your design accurately. This is where technical drawings come into their own.

With this in mind, we’ve created a series of video tutorials that will enable you to convert your inspirational fashion illustrations into polished technical drawings that can be translated by any pattern maker, saving both you and them time and money. Our video tutorials are completely free to watch and we don’t ask you to sign up or subscribe – simply click and watch! To get the most from these tutorials, start at Part 1 and work your way through the tutorials step-by-step.

We love hearing from you! If you enjoy our content, please share it with your friends and leave us a comment. Likewise, if you have any issues with the techniques we teach, or you have time-saving tricks that could help our community, then once again, please leave a comment- we can always create a new tutorial to showcase the concept and we’ll also tag you to say thanks!

Download the fully-editable Technical Drawing Template Pack!

If you love the fashion spec drawings and elements that we created whilst making this tutorial, you can now get the fully-editable technical drawing pack from our sister site, DesignLab.London.  This technical drawing drawing pack gives you access to over a hundred fully-editable illustrations, templates and other content we’ve created whilst producing these tutorials. The pack took weeks to produce saving you weeks of work, allowing you to concentrate on what’s important – the design process.

Click below to take a look!

technical drawing for fashion pack

Part 1 – Create simple silhouettes & design details

In this tutorial we explain and introduce the proportionate model template and demonstrate how to create basic garment or silhouettes.

Next, we show you how to add design details to the silhouettes to create a selection of simple technical drawings. It’s the most important tutorial of the whole series and will teach you the key tools required to create technical drawings.

 

proportionate model template pack patternlab.london

Part 2 – Create sleeves & more complicated design details 

In this tutorial, we expand on the existing tools and skills taught in the first video, only this time we take it further. You’ll learn how to create a variety of sleeve styles and add more complicated design features to the silhouettes we created in Part 1.

 

Part 3 – Digitise hand-drawn technical drawings

In this tutorial, we take a look at the second technique that involves using the proportionate model template to hand-draw a selection of technical drawings. We then scan and import this back into Adobe Illustrator and digitise your hand-drawn sketches by tracing the hand-drawn illustrations.

We also show you how to use this technique to digitise imagery found online, such as sleeve styles and necklines etc. It’s a simple and incredibly useful tool when it comes to creating your own technical drawings.

Part 4 – Create a library of design details: zips, pockets & more…

In this tutorial, we show you how to create your very own library of universal design details such as: zips, pockets, bows and more. Your library can then be used time and time again. Once your library is complete, simply drag and drop your preferred design detail from your library to your technical drawing, it’s that simple! 

Part 5 – Add colour, texture, fabric & print

This is the final tutorial in the series and possibly the most exciting part of the whole course. In this tutorial, we demonstrate how to add colour, texture, fabric and even prints to your technical drawings using the swatches and clipping mask tools. Watch this tutorial to add the finishing touches to your technical drawings.

More FREE Fashion Illustration Courses & Tutorials

Why not check out our other FREE fashion illustration tutorials. We’ve got a whole series of courses that will help improve your skills and knowledge about digital fashion illustration in Adobe Illustrator. Take your pick from the course outlined below!

Part 2 Adding Makeup Fashion Illustration Master Class

Master Course – Fashion Illustration

Our most comprehensive and up-to-date fashion illustration course yet. Learn how to create your own unique model templates including: customised faces, hair, makeup, body poses and much more. Then add your fashion designs to create stunning professional fashion illustrations.

fashion illustration in Adobe Illustrator free courses tutorials patternlab

Legging Design – Fashion Illustration

Learn how to design a collection of leggings in Adobe Illustrator, using pre-made fashion templates from Pret-a-Template.

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The Basics – Fashion Illustration

This course was one of the first we ever created and has since been updated by the masterclass but it still contains some great content and learning!

Digital Fashion Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

Digital Fashion Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

FASHION ILLUSTRATION

Learn Professional Digital Fashion Illustration Techniques in Adobe Illustrator with our FREE Video Tutorials
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THE BEST TOOL FOR FASHION ILLUSTRATION

Learn Digital Fashion Illustration in Adobe Illustrator for FREE!

We’ve had so much love online and so many requests in response to our existing fashion illustration tutorials that we thought we’d expand the range! We’ve now created a whole series of in-depth video tutorials that showcase the various methods used to create detailed professional fashion illustrations using Adobe Illustrator. Like all our tutorials, they’re completely free to watch. We don’t ask you to subscribe or sign up-  just click the video to watch!

Fashion illustration is a highly subjective matter. There are hundreds of different illustration styles out there and most are based on a person’s experience and ability to draw freehand. With this in mind, we’ve attempted to take the pain out of digital fashion illustration by creating a series of tutorials that demonstrate fashion illustration techniques in Adobe Illustrator. You don’t need any prior experience of Adobe Illustrator and you certainly don’t need to be a talented free-hand or fashion specific illustrator. We source, copy/paste and trace face and body images found on the internet using the pen tool in Adobe Illustrator. When tracing real imagery, it produces fantastic realistic results in a fraction of the time, leaving you more time to perfect your actual garment designs.

First, we demonstrate how to illustrate the face, we then add skin tone, makeup, hairstyles and then illustrate a series of body poses. Finally, we show you how to piece all of these separate elements together, giving you the potential to create hundreds of different fashion templates, ready for your garment designs. Once again, you don’t need any prior experience using either Adobe Illustrator or freehand drawing and the course is completely free to watch.

This digital fashion illustration course is designed to fill in the blanks of our existing courses and answer some of the questions that our followers have asked over recent months. We hope you enjoy the content and learn something truly valuable.

We love hearing from you! If you enjoy our content, please share it with your friends and leave us a comment. Likewise, if you have any issues with the techniques taught or you have time-saving tricks that could help our followers then once again, please leave a comment- we can always create a new tutorial to showcase the concept and we’ll also tag you in to say thanks!

Download the Fully-Editable Fashion Illustration Template Pack!

If you love the fashion illustrations and elements that we’ve created, you can now purchase the fully-editable fashion illustration template pack from our sister site, DesignLab.London. Click below to view the product on the DesignLab.London site. This fashion Illustration template pack gives you access to all our fully-editable illustrations, templates, and content that we’ve created whilst producing these tutorials. The pack took weeks to produce and will save you weeks of work, allowing you to concentrate on what’s important-your fashion designs. Click the image for an overview or click the button to purchase the pack.

digital fashion illustration pack model templates PatternLab

FREE Digital Fashion Illustration Tutorials

Part 1 – Face & Portrait Illustration

Create detailed illustrations of the face without any prior experience of free-hand drawing or Adobe Illustrator. Learn how to copy, paste and accurately trace the outline and details of the face from portrait imagery found online. Learn how to transform or mirror image the finished illustration to speed up the process and create symmetrical face illustrations. Finally, learn how to stylise the finished illustration using line widths, skin tones and colour fills.

 

Part 2 – Adding Makeup Concepts

Design and apply your own makeup concepts to your existing portrait illustrations. Learn how to add blocks or colour, experiment with transparency, and apply a range of filters to create soft subtle layers of colour that complement and enhance the skin tone. A compact, fun tutorial that showcases a very powerful and useful set of tools. It’s a firm favourite of ours!

Part 3 – Illustrating Hair Styles

Create hair templates from scratch to radically transform the look and identity of your portrait illustrations. Learn how to map the initial hair outline, add hair strands with stylised line art, create colour layers, and finally adapt each hairstyle to suit each portrait illustration or face shape. It’s a long process, but once you have a range of hairstyle it dramatically increases the number of different portrait styles that can be created.

 

Part 4 – Illustrating the Body

Learn how to create a range of beautiful body illustrations, poses or fashion templates to go with your portraits, makeup and hairstyles. This is the final piece in the puzzle when it comes to creating your own professional fashion templates. Similar to Part 1, we demonstrate how to copy/paste and accurately trace the outline and details of the body from high-resolution swimwear or lingerie imagery found online. Next, you will learn how to add depth and texture to the illustration using line widths, and skin tone. Finally, we demonstrate how to add a simple garment layer such as a swimsuit or activewear.

 

Part 5 – Creating Model Templates & Digitising Hand-Drawn Fashion Illustrations

In this tutorial, we demonstrate how to create and print transparent model templates from your existing face, hair and body illustrations. These model templates are then printed on to A4 and used as templates to sketch a range of designs. Once the designs are finalised, we scan them back into Adobe Illustrator and once more trace or transform them into beautiful digital fashion Illustrations.

Part 6 – Adding Colour, Print & Texture to your Digital Fashion Illustrations

The moment you’ve all been waiting for! In this tutorial, we demonstrate how bring your black and white digital fashion illustrations to life by adding colour, print and texture using the eyedropper, clipping mask and swatch tools. It’s possibly the most interesting and fun tutorial out of the whole range… Enjoy!

More FREE Fashion Illustration Courses & Tutorials

Why not check out our other FREE fashion illustration tutorials. We’ve got a whole series of courses that will help improve your skills and knowledge about digital fashion illustration in Adobe Illustrator. Take your pick from the course outlined below!

fashion spec drawing free tutorial adding colour texture and print

Technical drawing – Fashion Illustration

Learn how to create professional technical drawings to accompany your fashion illustrations. Watch this 5 part FREE fashion illustration course. It’s a must-see!

fashion illustration in Adobe Illustrator free courses tutorials patternlab

Legging Design – Fashion Illustration

Learn how to design a collection of leggings in Adobe Illustrator, using pre-made fashion templates from Pret-a-Template.

digital fashion illustration patternlab

The Basics – Fashion Illustration

This course was one of the first we ever created and has since been updated by the master class but it still contains some great content and learning!

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