How to Design Clothes on Paper

by Mary Jane

Fashion designers often express their creative views and lack of limitations in their sketches. While their sketches may not be identical to the final garment, the sketch is where ideas are explored and modified. It is on the page that fashion designers create garments that reflect them as designers and create unique clothing. While designing clothes on paper does not have strict rules or guidelines, keep certain things in mind when sketching a fashionable garment.

Step 1

Sketch the outline of a body, including the waist, legs and torso. The body type will vary depending on if you are sketching a male body or a female body. However, starting with the basic outline of a human body will help you in terms of proportions for the clothes. Check to see if the proportions are realistic before continuing.

Step 2

Find the waistline on the sketch of the body. The waistline will be the divider between the upper design and the lower design.

Step 3

Draw your design on the bottom half of the waistline. If you are designing a dress, start by designing the bottom part of the dress from the waistline down. If you are designing pants, use the waistline as a starting point. Keep in mind that some people have larger than hips and thighs than others, when designing the bottom half of your clothing.

Step 4

Draw the top half of your design by adding the top part of the dress or a top or shirt to the pants. If you are simply designing pants, leave the upper body bare. When sketching the top part of your clothes, keep in mind that women may differ in sizes, particularly breasts and waists. However, aim for an hour-glass figure when sketching to create a realistic look.

Step 5

Add small accessories to the design to make it more realistic. For example, some designers add handbags, jewelry or hats to complement their clothing design and to see how well it works with other accessories.

Step 6

Add dramatic lines to your sketch using charcoal. This can include folds in a dress, the waistline of pants or thin straps of a top. Although the size differs from folds in a dress to thin straps, the charcoal is used to add emphasis to part of the design.

Step 7

Finish the paper design by adding color to the sketch using the crayons. Adding color creates a more realistic sketch and gives the clothing a personality.

Photo Credits

About the Author

Based in Toronto, Mary Jane has been writing for online magazines and databases since 2002. Her articles have appeared on the Simon & Schuster website and she received an editor's choice award in 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in psychology of language use from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.