Designing a new garment or revamped vintage clothing item is always an adventure!
I’ve used many methods over the years. Some involved intricate illustrations prior to creation. Others were more stream-of-consciousness, just cutting and sewing and making things up along the way. Still, in other situations I’d find myself with some general ideas of what I was looking to present and forming the vision in my mind before take scissors to fabric. No matter what the method – coming up with a new design can be the most exciting, and conversely, flabbergasting thing!
So what’s the key to creating a design process that ends in success instead of aesthetic failure? I think that the answer to this question is a deeply personal one, as everyone employs different process in their work. For me I’ve found it to include the following steps:
1) Muse: Before I even begin to plan a day for sewing and design I allow myself to seek out inspiration – whether that be in my favorite films, a friend’s music making, vintage magazines or social media – gathering up ideas from my surroundings is the first step in determining what direction I will take.
2) Sketch: I do find that it helps to have some kind of loose sketch before I begin to cut fabric. This way I know exactly what materials I’ll need and will have a rough idea of how to bring the design that’s stuck in my brain out.
3) Prep: Whether this means cutting my fabric into the appropriate shapes, creating stamps from scratch, or preparing a dip dye, the next step in my design process is preparing things in advance. This way, once I’m ready to sit down and actually create a garment, all the elements are ready and in place.
4) Sew: The final step in bringing an idea into fruition is sewing the pieces together! Settling down at my machine for a one, two, or even three hour session is common when I’m creating a new design. Throughout the stitching I’m tweaking and altering the pieces so that the fall into line with my original visual intention. And if things go as planned – in the end I have a new clothing piece that satiates my original musings.
What’s your design process like? How do you tackle a new idea while staying true to your creative intentions. Share your insights below.