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A ► Unexpected beauty

Some man-made objects are extremely beautiful when seen up close. This circuit board might inspire ideas for beading or textured knitwear.

One simple way to see something in a fresh light is to experiment with its scale. If a small part of a commonplace object Is blown up to a much larger scale, it will appear new and Instead of being boring and familiar might become the source of creative ideas, It is this sort of in-depth consideration of a source that puts an individual stamp on your work.

■4 Inspired by science

Scientific books and magazines are a good source of ideas. In close-up images, colors are distorted and unexpected details may be revealed. Imagine how this iridescent wing could be translated into sheer fabric.

By describing the details of an image or object in a much larger scale—through drawing, photography, embroidery, or using a photocopier—you will have already started the creative process. When experimenting with scale in this way, it is useful to try to abstract the elements that most interest you, instead of aiming simply to create a realistic representation of your topic. For example, a close-up of insect wings may inspire you to create some original color combinations or scale-like patterns. Let your series of drawings or photographs evolve to become increasingly abstract. This process of selection and development is important—you are on your way to creating a unique design solution inspired by your research.

Ask yourself why you are attracted to the images you have chosen: what is it about pebbles or snowflakes that interests you? The

A Take a closer look

The most insignificant items can provoke ideas—perhaps an interesting seam detail could be based on the way these cogs fit together.

Detail Fashion Design

answer will point your developments in the right direction; this is what you should try to capture as you abstract out the important elements of your research. In this way, something as ordinary as paint peeling from a wall will become a wonderful mine of ideas for layers of texture and color—and you will start to see that wall through the eyes of a designer.

A A Natural wonder

Nature Is an endless source of shapes and patterns. The Intricate folds of a red cabbage might inspire pleats of chiffon, frills, or ruffles.

Man Made Patterns

< Inspiration underfoot

Smooth black pebbles could be investigated individually, in terms of their subtle texture and flecks of contrasting colors, or seen as a group of similarly shaped objects that could generate a random print pattern.

A Layers of possibility

Repetitive man-made patterns can inspire print designs; look a little closer and layers of rust or discoloration may evoke ideas about fabric layering.

Wood grain provides another example of nature's ability to generate beautiful and unique patterns. Here, the weather has also played its part by causing Interesting cracks, which might be evoked in a design through printing, pleating, or gathering.

photographs, scanning images into a computer and using software packages such as Adobe Photoshop to manipulate scale and color.

Group together your color photographs and create color palettes by selecting the important shades and identifying the harmonious combinations (see page 104). Alternatively, limiting yourself to black-and-white photography will help you focus on shapes and textures.

Consider how your research themes would be translated onto fabric. You can embellish fabrics through methods such as cutting, bleaching, painting, dyeing, printing, beading, or appliqué. You could even design an idea for an entirely new textile, generated through knitting, for example. Use a mood board as a focus, gathering any trims,

The close examination of the surface detail of your source of inspiration can stimulate exciting ideas about textures and colors, which will influence your choice of fabrics. Instead of relying on fabrics that you can buy, you might decide that you want to design your own textiles, using methods such as embroidery, dyeing, knitting, or printing. These original textiles can then be incorporated into truly unique garment designs. As a general rule, when you let your ornate textile ideas take the lead, your garment designs should become simpler to let the beauty of the fabric be seen and appreciated.

the project

Choose a theme that allows the examination of detail and would be suitable to inspire interesting textile ideas. Explore your concept through drawings or photography. Use a mood board to help you select a color palette and finalize your fabric ideas. Choose the strongest textile concepts and let them inspire some simple fashion designs that display the fabric Ideas in their best light.

the objective

• Select an appropriate starting point for textile development.

• Expand your ideas about creating different fabrics. • Assess your strongest fabric concepts to inspire your rough fashion designs.


• Was your chosen source of inspiration sufficiently detailed to inspire textile ideas?

• Have you expanded from the original starting point to create unique textile designs?

• Have you used the strongest textile ideas in your rough garment designs?

• Is there a good balance between the fashion and textile elements of your designs?

< T Rapid research

Photography is a great way to quickly gather useful research. Using a black-and-white film will help focus your mind on texture and linear pattern, whereas color photography can provide you with a good starting point for your color palette.

the process

Choose a promising theme to research; an old graveyard, for example, offers many interesting textural details such as carved stonework, rusty railings, and layered leaves. Photography is a good way to gather research quickly. You can view your subject as an overall scene or in close-up, and the very act of looking through the viewfinder will give you a fresh perspective on the source. Then make further sketches either on site or later in the studio, using the photographs as reference. You can also digitally edit the

Art Nouveau Mood Boards

A Creating a theme

Compiling a mood board will enable you to combine images from your research material with fashion ideas. All the selected material should work together to create a common theme or "mood."

Fashion Mood Board ExamplesSketches Fashion Summer Top

beads, ribbons, or print effects that you may wish to use.

Finally, sketch some fashion designs that show off your textile ideas to best advantage. Remember that an intricate fabric is often best shown in a simple garment shape.


• Starting with embroidery, p. 44

• Structuring fabric, p. 108

A Simplicity in design

Simplify images such as representations of overlapping leaves down to repetitive patterns that can be used in a decorative way. These prints were inspired by art nouveau examples of leaf designs.

Start to sketch your rough garment ideas, incorporating fabric ideas that reflect the shapes and patterns of your research material. Try placing the fabric concepts on a figure in different scales and proportions.

Rough Sketches Leaves


Developing a fabric concept in conjunction with a garment design allows for total control of the creative process—giving a designer the opportunity to produce a truly original collection that reflects the research material in a unique way. To give designs a strong overall look, the inspiration of the source should be shown In different ways. For example, it is not just the surface treatment of the fabrics that strongly reflects the theme in the garments illustrated here—even the poses of the figures are reminiscent of the graveyard source.

Here, the simple fashion shapes are a suitable vehicle for displaying the fabric ideas. When designers invest a great deal of effort into creating a beautiful fabric, they tend to keep outlines as simple as possible. An elaborate silhouette combined with a complex textile can lead to a confused overall effect. Conversely, the illustration of the textile should not be so over-the-top that it detracts from the silhouette. For clarity, garment designs can always be presented accompanied by fabric swatches or separate textile illustrations.

Textile Swatches

A Devoré design

It you have the technical know-how, you can translate your ideas onto real fabrics. Strong chemicals were used to burn the design into this store-purchased silk velvet.

A Devoré design

It you have the technical know-how, you can translate your ideas onto real fabrics. Strong chemicals were used to burn the design into this store-purchased silk velvet.

Small Boutique Design IdeasFashion Presentation Boards

■4 Presenting ideas

Small swatches can be Included on the presentation board to support fabric ideas, ensuring an uncluttered representation of the garment itself.

T ► Balanced designs

The style of the final illustrations can also help to evoke the source. Here the figure has been treated in a static, statuesque manner reminiscent of the graveyard sculptures. The fabric and silhouette also work in harmony: simple outlines allow textiles to speak for themselves, and the depiction of the textile does not overwhelm the presentation of the garment as a whole.

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  • Beatrice
    How to sketch details on fashions?
    8 years ago
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    How To Create Fashion Sketches?
    8 years ago

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