How to Create Fashion Design Sketches for Your Clothing Line

Perhaps the most exciting part of starting a clothing line is deciding how your fashion sketch or fashion drawing will look. 

Fashion design is all about taking inspiration from your own style perspective and combining it with the needs of your target market. You want to create clothing designs that will intrigue customers to buy your products now and come back every season.

The foundation for successfully designing a line is having sleek, high-quality fashion design sketches that can be easily translated into pieces of clothing. These include fashion illustration, fashion pattern, flat sketch, fashion drawing, and fashion templates.

To do this, you need to learn the process of sketching fashion flats digitally and by hand. You’ll also need to find a production company to help take your drawings or fashion ideas from sketch pads to clothing hangers.

This guide will get you ready to start sketching the fashion line of your dreams.

The Importance of Fashion Sketches and Fashion Illustration

If you’re a new fashion designer interested in starting your own line, you probably already have a fashion sketchbook to keep your pencil drawings and designs.

However, there’s a difference between doodling a wedding dress sketch in your notebook and creating a technical fashion design or graphic design drawing for a manufacturing team to follow.

Creating a professional-looking sketch gives you and your production house a better idea of what types of materials to use.

Here are the essential parts of creating a hand-drawn fashion design sketch that can be used as a template for putting your creations together.

Start With a Fashion Croquis

Fashion croquis of a woman

Designers use croquis like this to trace their fashion designs.

To get started with your sketch , you must use a fashion croquis , a fashion figure drawing that you can use to trace your designs.

Though the word croquis means “sketch” in French, there’s no need to actually sketch the human body from scratch. There are plenty of websites like Pret A Template that provide free croquis templates for various body shapes, genders, and ages.

Depending on the fit and formality of a particular design, a croquis helps you use the human form to tailor the look of your garment. For example, if you’re designing an impeccably fitted dress, a croquis will help you decide where the garment needs to nip it in.

If you want to design a jumpsuit with multiple zippers, tracing the design on a croquis will help you determine the proper placement.

When fashion sketching, you want to include details like shading and seam lines to indicate movement. You might even use charcoals or watercolors to convey the texture of certain fabrics.

The point is to show how a garment will look and move on a human body.

Draft a Fashion Flat

Fashion flat for design sketches

The purpose of creating a high fashion sketch is to determine the general look of a garment.

Once the sketch has been finalized, you must prepare a fashion flat for production to follow. A fashion flat is a highly detailed, technical drawing of a garment. This drawing conveys all the details of your design, from construction to fabric to stitching.

Flats are not meant to be creative or particularly beautiful. Rather, flats represent the garment as accurately as possible to convey your design to the production team clearly.

While a general fashion sketch is meant to show details and realistically convey the design, flat sketches are literally a flat representation of the garment. It should look like you took a shirt and laid it flat on the floor.

This allows your pattern makers and sewers to see exactly how the garment needs to be made.

Drawing a fashion flat by hand is a meticulous art that requires graph paper, rulers, erasers , and lots of patience. Luckily, TEG can assist with the creation of fashion flats and save you time in the fashion design process.

At TEG, we have access to seasoned fashion industry professionals who can help turn your fashion sketches into production-ready flats.

We offer a design service that allows you to work directly with a professional designer. This design expert will draft flat drawings of each style you’ve created along with the following:

  • Design intake sessions
  • Mood boards
  • Line sheets
  • Prints and color rendering
  • Fabric color palettes
  • 1–2 rounds of revisions*
  • Optional fashion illustrations *

*A surcharge applies to complex styles for all services. Hourly fees applied for additional hours of all services at $165 per hour.

The Value of Digital Fashion Design Sketches

Designer working on laptop to create fashion design sketches

There was a time when all fashion designing was done by hand. Even today, renowned fashion illustrators hired by major design houses create beautiful, abstract illustrations of their designs.

While creating highly stylized illustrations by hand is a worthwhile and potentially profitable skill, it’s unnecessary to produce technical fashion sketches.

These days, creating digital fashion designs has become much more streamlined and accessible.

Adobe Illustrator is the standard program for drafting fashion sketches and flats. Using this program makes it easy to draft life-like designs, add colors and textures, and save templates for future use.

The Illustrator app costs $20.99 per month for general users or, if you’re an educator or student, $19.99 a month for the entire Adobe Suite. This price may seem a bit steep for designers on a budget. However, it’s well worth it if you plan on producing multiple clothing lines a year.

Designing Flats on Adobe Illustrator as your Fashion Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator makes it easier to draft your original digital fashion sketch. You can even upload hand-drawn sketches to create digital drawings out of them.

Adobe mimics the textures of a pen, so you can trace images of pre-existing garments to base your designs around.

Unlike hand sketching, utilizing Adobe Illustrator as your fashion illustrator allows you to sample how your garment will look in different fabrics without redrawing.

You can also make duplicates of your designs to show them in different colors and lengths.

Here are the additional benefits of using Illustrator to create your fashion design sketches :

  • Create custom textiles
  • Adjust garments proportions
  • Produce line sheets
  • Design embroidery and graphic artwork
  • Change color tints, shades, and opacity
  • Add text to point out design details

Using this tool to design your fashion sketches doesn’t require a degree, but it does take time to hone your skills. There are free video and tutorial services like Sew Heidi to show you how to create different kinds of apparel designs using Illustrator.

It’s Time to Bring Your Fashion Design Sketches to Life

TEG team creating fashion design sketches

Whether you’re creating your own fashion drawings or need help turning your design ideas into sketches, TEG offers consultation services that assure your fashion sketches accurately represent the clothes you want to make so that they can become fine art.

If you’re starting at square one and need to team up with a professional to create the perfect fashion sketches for your line, our in-house designers are here to help.

Once your sketches are complete, TEG will help you manage all the other details of launching your clothing line.

We’ll help you with your development strategy, merchandise planning, competitive analysis, mood boards, fabric sourcing, and more. When it comes to supplying you with precisely what you need to launch your next clothing line, TEG works diligently to realize your vision.

To see how we can transform your designs from fashion sketches to real-life garments, take a look at the complete list of creative services we offer for our fashion design clients.

Please call or fill out the below form for all inquiries and questions, and we will respond within one business day. Thank you!

Los Angeles: 800-916-0910 | San Francisco: 415-324-8779

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