Intro Guide to Fashion Design

Fashion designers create garments in various ways, including sketching or drawing a pattern onto paper in order to create a basic prototype. Some designers opt to drape fabric onto a previous dress form. Once the fashion designer feels satisfied with the final prototype, he or she will seek out a professional pattern maker to create a finishes, working version of the design via computerized software program. The pattern maker must remain precise in the creation of the garment. After finalizing the pattern, a model will test the garment to ensure the suitability of its design to the customer or general public. Most fashion experts explain that most fashion designers only create the concept, whereas the pattern maker actually creates the garment to wear.

Types of Fashion

  • What is Fashion?: The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) defines fashion, including who dictates its evolution, the classism of fashion, and the individual significance behind fashion design.
  • History of 20th Century Fashion Design: An education resource providing information about 20th century fashion design, including clothing, hair, cosmetics, and footwear.

Haute Couture:

  • Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Haute Couture: Haute couture embodies the fusion of modern novelty with personal and social needs. It encompasses all forms of fashion design, including dressmaking, tailoring, and crafting accessories. Haute couture originated in 19th century Paris, specifically the House of Worth, which withstood the dissenting notions of fashion as a system during its time.
  • The Art of Affluence: Haute Couture and Luxury Fashions 1947-2007: The Mint Museum presents selections a collection of haute couture designs spanning between 1947 to 2007. Haute couture refers to custom-designed fitted garments rooted in 19th century Paris, France.
  • ELLE: Famous Haute Couture Designers: ELLE, a renowned fashion designer magazine, provides an alphabetical list of industrial designers who specialize in Haute couture.


  • Fashion Design Evolution: History Wired presents the evolution of fashion design starting with a small biography of Gilbert Adrian onwards through the 1940-1950 women's fashion era and into the birth of the ready-to-wear fashion garments, or mass produced clothing.
  • Ready-to-Wear and the Rise of Department Stores: The rise of ready-to-wear garments introduced the decline of the dressmaking industry. Ready-to-wear garments also introduced heftier profit margins for factories. This also inspired a new line of entrepreneurs who pioneered in erecting retail stores for the sole purpose of selling ready-to-wear garments.

Mass Market:


  • Cutting and Sewing Patterns: The Independent Living Institute offers various tutorials on fashion design, including tutorials on how to cut and adjoin paper patterns on fabric, adapting fabric to paper patterns, calculating an estimated amount of fabric, and creating a sample garment to wear. Other sections include tutorials on creating women's and men's garments from scratch.
  • Sewing 101: How to Literally Sew: A general tutorial instructing the exact steps for sewing a garment with a sewing machine. It also includes what materials to gather, identifying sewing machine parts, and general links for more information on creating garments.
  • How to Make an 18th Century Corset: A tutorial teaching students how to create an 18th century corset, including what materials to gather, creating the pattern, applying the proper designer technique, designing the corset for long-term durability, and how to create fully boned or fitting stays.
  • How to Sew: Linings: A web-page dedicated to teaching students how to create linings, underlinings, and interlinings consisting of different fabrics inside a garment. It includes specific instructions on properly lining a dress, skirt, or pair of pants.
  • "Make It Yourself": Home Sewing, Gender, and Culture, 1890-1930: A digital edition of the how-to manual for home sewing according to gender and culture between 1890 and 1930. The published work was authored by Sarah A. Gordon.

Draw Design Tools

  • Second Life Fashion Design: Using the Templates (PDF): A tutorial for students learning how to use Second Life drawing templates to customize fashion garments, including upper and lower body, makeup, and hair pieces.
  • Photoshop Tutorial: Apply Color to a Fashion Illustration: A sixteen-step tutorial for students seeking a Photoshop 7 tutorial for applying color to a previously sketched fashion illustration.
  • Fashion Sketching for Untrained Artists: Threads, a fashion designer magazine, offers prudent advice for untrained artists attempting to sketch future fashion designs. It includes suggestions for using flat schematics, fashion rendering, photo tracing, customizing and coloring template designs.
  • Fashion Rendering and Shading: A 5-page fashion design rendering and shading tutorial, including examples of cross-hatching, rending, shading, and Photoshop finishing techniques.
  • Engineering Drawing and Sketching: A index providing engineering drawing and sketching tutorials, including isometric drawing, orthographic or multiple view drawing, dimensioning, sectioning, drawing tools, assembly drawings, cross-sectional views, half-sections, and learning what to do about sections of objects with holes and ribs.

Digital Design Tools

  • CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X4: Reviewers Guide (PDF): A comprehensive reviewers guide to CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X4, a software programmed often used by professional fashion designers to create patterns for future garments.
  • Digital Textile Printing (PDF): A student's tutorial for beginner's wishing to learn more about digital textile printing, including a comprehensive summary of digital screen printing of textile designs using CAD software systems.
  • Adobe Illustrator Review: This accepted standard software of fashion designers is one of the most widely-used pieces of software in the world for design of all types.
  • Digital Fashion Show: An amazing virtual event in which fashion designers bring their clothes to life in the digital world. This is as much an exhibition of computer skills as fashion design skills.
  • Digital Fashion Pro: Check out what this incredible software can do to bring fashion design from the mind of the designer to the digital plane.
  • T-Shirt Design Application: This website allows you to design your own t-shirt online.

Fashion Design Glossaries

  • INDA Nonwovens Glossary (PDF): An extensive glossary composed of non-woven terms often used by fashion designers.
  • Definition by Design: A compilation of seventeen different glossaries for various designer industries, including genera design, apparel industry management, beauty, business management, digital media, and fashion design.
  • Complete Textile Glossary (PDF): A convenient reference for established and aspiring designers to become acquainted with fashion designer terminology.
  • Shoe Icon: Glossary: A collection of terms from A to Z only associated with footwear.
  • Dress King Fashion Glossary: A glossary composed by an established fashion designer for the sole purpose of creating a quick fashion reference guide to difficult to memorize terminology.

Top Fashion Schools

  • Parsons: The New School for Design: Parsons has pioneered in art and design education since 1896. In fact, Parsons has cultured well-established artists, designers, scholars, community leaders, and businessmen for over a century. Parsons offers over 27 rigorous undergraduate, associates, and graduate degree programs for aspiring designers.
  • Pratt Institute: Pratt stands as one of the top fashion designer schools in the world. It offers a perfect blend of theory and creative application to prepare students to enter the industry.
  • Academy of Art University: The Academy of Art University cultivates students into professional artists and designers by building a strong foundation and preparing them with the necessary skills to enter into a competitive industry. The Academy of Art University offers degree programs in acting, advertising, animation and visual effects, architecture, art education, fashion, fine art, game design, illustration, interior arch and design, motion pictures and television, multimedia communications, mass production of sound design and visual media, photography, and web design.
  • Kent State University: The Fashion School: The Fashion School excels as a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and are internationally recognized as one of the top fashion schools in the United States. Over 1,300 outstanding students compete for placement in the Kent State University of Fashion School of Design and Merchandising.
  • The Savannah College of Art and Design: Savannah College of Art and Design students are personally mentored by professional fashion designers, such as Chris Benz, Zac Posen, Angel Sanchez, and Catherine Malandrino.

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