Technical Drawing for Fashion – FREE Digital Illustration Course

Technical Drawing for Fashion – FREE Digital Illustration Course


Learn Professional Digital Fashion Illustration & Technical Drawing Techniques in Adobe Illustrator with our FREE Video Tutorials









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

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.

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 masterclass but it still contains some great content and learning!

Update! Restrictions for plus size measurements and petite have been lifted

Update! Restrictions for plus size measurements and petite have been lifted

Update! Restrictions for plus size measurements and petite have been lifted

What’s new?

We have now lifted petite and plus size measurements restrictions for all of our basic sewing patterns.

Are you frustrated with our restrictions on petite and plus size measurements? Do you want to experiment with drafting basic blocks that actually fit your plus size or petite clients? We’ve had hundreds of people email in with requests to lift the measurement restrictions, Well, we listened! This means no more frustrating red error messages! Or having to add unnecessary ease to get a larger bust, waist or hip measurement.

Below is an image of what you used to see! These error messages prevented you from entering accurate measurements for plus sizes and stopped you from drafting and experimenting with plus size basic blocks.

Now the profile page look something a bit like this… Note the larger measurements and the lack of error messages?


Start drafting plus size blocks

To experiment with this new update, simply login, navigate to the profile page, add your plus size measurements and draft your plus size basic sewing patterns or basic blocks! There are no limits to how large your measurements can be, so be careful not to make any mistakes!


Editing your plus size measurements after purchase

Working with plus size measurements can be a bit tricky, which is why we’ve also added a handy post-purchase block and measurement editor tool. You can now change your measurements after purchase as many times as you like. Once your happy with the changes, hit the Done button and we’ll redraft your block at no extra cost. This should help you to get that perfect plus size fit.


This new feature doesn’t just apply to new orders. You can now edit existing orders, change your measurements (using the editor) and we’ll redraft the block with the new plus size measurements. Don’t worry we won’t charge you, it’s included in the existing price.

Give it a whirl and let us know what you think!

S1. EP8. The Final Toile of Francesca’s Indigo Robe

S1. EP8. The Final Toile of Francesca’s Indigo Robe

S1. EP8. The Final Toile of Francesca’s Indigo Robe

In this episode, we take one more look at Francesca’s original Indigo Robe pattern and make the adjustments detailed in the fitting session from Episode 7. We shorten the sleeves, widen the cuff, create a cross-over neckline, draft a smaller chevron panel on the back and front (more in proportion with her height) and completely redesign the skirt to create more fullness at the back and sides. We also add 30cm to the back to create a train that falls onto the ground. The overall look is far more dramatic! Once the adjustments have been made we re-sample the Indigo Robe in Calico fabric and see the results in our final fitting.

This video blog provides a basic overview of how these changes have been made to the pattern in Adobe Illustrator. If you want to see a more in depth view of these changes, scroll down to the next video.

What is a Toile or Sample and Why is it Such an Important Step?

A toile or sample is an early version of a finished garment made up in cheap fabric so the design can be tested and perfected before the final garment is constructed.

Making a toile or sample from your initial pattern is an IMPORTANT part of the design process. Constructing a finished garment, without toiling first, could lead to unforeseen issues with either the fit or design proportions of the finished garment. Both episode 7 and 8 detail the process of toiling to perfect the finished design. 

Often Calico material is used to make the initial toile. Calico is a very cheap fabric cost as low as £2.50 per meter. Unwashed, calico is a structural fabric that is slightly stiff and works well for suits, jackets and other structural garments. Washing Calico causes the fibres to soften and shrink, creating a far softer draping fabric that works well for dresses, shirts, and other non structural garments. Calico comes in a range of thicknesses or weights. The weight of calico used to toile depends on what type of garment you wish to create.

Marking with pen or pinning the toile allows you to alter the garment, or record what changes need to be made. This is then transferred to the pattern and a new toile is made with those changes. This process can take multiple toiles depending on how much the garment needs to be changed. 

Toiling can be a good way of discovering how the garment should be constructed or in what order the panels need to be joined to create the finished garment. Your toile will also help you work out and test fastenings, closures  or any other complicated design details. 

Making adjustments to Francesca’s Indigo Robe – Pattern Making tutorial

This video expands on the above video blog and details the process of transforming Francesca’s existing Indigo Robe pattern (created in S1. EP7+) into the FINAL robe pattern/toile. This is not a detailed tutorial about the pattern making process, instead it is more of an overview of how we made the adjustments to her original Indigo Robe pattern. Once we have finalised the robe pattern we will create a full length and in depth tutorial that can be used with your own made to measure PatternLab blocks. 


Learn Digital Pattern Making in Adobe Illustrator

Love the concept of pattern making in Adobe Illustrator CC? Great, why not take a look at our courses. We show you exactly how to use the platform, the various tools you’ll need and where to find them.  It’s completely FREE so why not have go?

Become a PatternLab Pro & adjust your measurements after purchase

Become a PatternLab Pro & adjust your measurements after purchase

Learn how to draft your basic blocks & adjust your measurements after purchase.

Some of you might be new to PatternLab. You’re possibly wondering how to use the Lab to create a profile, enter your measurements, design your blocks, make a purchase and then what happens after you’ve made your purchase? Yeah, good question. Which is why we have created this handy and informative video tutorial to show you exactly that. The tutorial covers a range of different topics that should teach you how to use the Lab like a seasoned Pro. We’ve listed the points that are covered in the tutorial below.

Also, please feel free to leave comments and questions about anything that is confusing. We’re here to help you get the very best from the Lab! 


Creating a Profile & adding your custom measurements

I take you through all the various elements on the profile page to make the whole process far simpler

  • Create, clone, remove and print a profile
  • Using the measurement sheet in combination with the measurement tutorial, to take your measurements
  • Adding measurements to a profile and fixing an error message
  • Selecting and editing existing profiles
  • How to display specific measurements for certain blocks

Using a standard size chart

  • Where to find the standard size charts
  • The difference between Young and Mature women
  • How to select a standard size to draft your blocks

Designing your block

  • How to select a type of basic block and where to find the new dress blocks
  • The difference between waist shaping and no waist shaping
  • The difference between automatic and custom fit, including ease.
  • Using automatic lengths or creating a custom length for your block
  • Designing the front and back of your basic block using darts
  • Understanding the sleeve block, sleeve head ease and how to customise your sleeve.
  • Adding seam allowance to elements of your blockT
  • The difference between an ePattern and a PDF pattern?

Making your purchase

  • Adding an item to your cart
  • Terms and conditions and your rights, when it comes to using our blocks commercially
  • We use PayPal payments

Your Personal Library

  • What happens after purchasing a basic block and completing an order
  • What is the personal library and where are orders and basic blocks stored (registered users)
  • How to edit measurements after purchase
  • Adding notes to an order to keep track of measurement adjustments

Previewing your block and editing your measurements

  • An overview of the preview tool and where to find it
  • Downloading a basic block in a variety of different PDF paper sizes
  • Re-arranging pattern pieces to conserve paper when printing a PDF pattern
  • Downloading an ePattern including where to find our tutorials and how to customise it
  • Editing your measurements for a specific block, order or set of orders
  • Restrictions on the Bust, Waist and Hip measurements after purchase

Using the troubleshooting guides

  • An overview of our troubleshooting guides and how to use them
  • Using the preview tool, in combination with the troubleshooting guides to spot issues with your basic blocks

Questions and Answers

If you have any question about the above topics or video, please feel free to leave a comment below. You can also join us on Reddit to view the community’s questions, comments, and our answers.

Testers wanted

Testers wanted

Testers wanted

Get access to our newest blocks before anyone else!

Important Update

We now have a page dedicated for applying to become a tester. Please click the become a tester button to read more!

Updated 1st Aug 2018

It’s all been a bit quiet here at PatternLab over the past couple of months, but don’t worry things have been ticking away behind the scenes. We’ve been working incredibly hard to make use of all your suggestions.

Anyway… We launched back in Feb 2017 with a selection of products that we wanted you guys to test and then give us your feedback. Guess what, you did…  in fact, hundreds of you gave us feedback!  It was a truly rewarding experience and helped us move into a new stage of development and we couldn’t have done it without you.  Finally, after months of tweaking, experimenting and working through your ideas, we’ve updated our product and added a few new ones.

We actually received an email from Samuel E (you know who you are!). He was actually our first ever customer. He thought we’d given up and sent us a really lovely email spurring us on and offering his support (he’s now part of our testing team). Thank you, Sam, you are wonderful!  It’s always inspiring to hear from people so excited by the lab.

Before we launch all our hard work, we need to do a final round of testing, just to ensure that we are giving you the best possible product, which is why we are now looking for a small set of enthusiastic testers to confirm we’ve got it right.

What does it involve?

If you would like first access to our new products (before anyone else) and help test them, simply email us at We’ll then send you your testing pack and instructions on how to take part. Fill out the new measurement chart with your up-to-date measurements, add your various pattern preference and send it back to us pronto. We’ll then send you your patterns ready for testing.

All we need from you is some notes on the fit of your basic block and a set of clear images taken from the front, back and side, to show us the fit of your basic block.

When all the testing is over and we’ve relaunched the new improved Lab, we’ll give you free access to all of our blocks and tutorials including new ones for free for three months!

Are you the right fit?

We normally get a lot of people interested in testing which is great! However, we are looking for a specific set of testers, with the right measurements. It’s great getting 50 people to sign up but if they are all a size 14 with a D cup then we’re not actually testing the full range of our new improvements.

Ideally, we are looking for a broad range of women all with unique measurements. So, if you fit into the below size ranges, then please get in touch. Once we have a better idea about how many women and what size ranges we have testers for, we can then put a final call out for the missing sizes.

So what does this actually mean? A woman that’s a UK6 with a C-cup would count as one test in the UK6 group. A woman that’s a UK6 with a B-cup would be another test in the UK6 group. We would need an A, B, C, D and DD in the UK6 group to complete testing within that group.

Test group 1 – UK4 – A, B, C, D, DD cup
Test group 2 – UK6 – A, B, C, D, DD cup
Test group 3 – UK8 – A, B, C, D, DD cup
Test group 4 – UK10 – A, B, C, D, DD cup
Test group 5 – UK12 – A, B, C, D, DD cup

Test group 6 – UK14 – A, B, C, D, DD cup
Test group 7 
– UK16 – A, B, C, D, DD cup
Test group 8
 – UK18 – A, B, C, D, DD cup
Test group 9 – UK20 – A, B, C, D, DD cup
Test group 10 – UK22 – A, B, C, D, DD cup

Competition Winners

Competition Winners

patternlab competition winners

Hi guys.
Happy Saturday I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend in the studio crafting away!

Since the launch of PatternLab, we have been running a competition to give three lucky customers FREE LIFETIME access to all of our Basic blocks and tutorials for life. The competition was to take our survey and answer 10 simple questions, to help us better understand you and what you want to see from PatternLab in the future. We’ve had a huge response and it’s been an eye opening experience reading all your comments, suggestions and feedback. I would like to thank everyone for taking part and sorry if you are not one of the three lucky winners. We will be holding more competitions in the future, so don’t worry you will get another chance!

So without any further delay and in no particular order, we would like to congratulate (drum roll please) Pheadran, Alice Ray and Ella Moore. We have sent you a lovely Winners newsletter with how you can claim your amazing prize!

That’s it guys! Enjoy the rest of your weekend and stay posted for more updates on the PatternLab, alterations to the basic Bodice block and the arrival of our basic skirt blocks.


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