What is the most effective way of communicating with the pattern cutter if you cannot draw technical sketches or illustrations? 

Do you want to become a fashion designer or a fashion icon like Vivienne Westwood or Karl Lagerfeld? Is it time to take the leap towards your dream, but a lack of artistic talent is holding you back? Do you realise that many renowned fashion brands are led by people who cannot sketch very well? One of the industry myths is that a fashion designer must be a talented artist and able to produce pretty illustrations. I have good news for those who cannot draw but still desire to become designers. Your ability to draw will not have an effect on the success of your fashion brand. However, your ability to clearly communicate your ideas and plan effectively will make a difference. 

Of course, if you can draw, it will make your journey and communication easier, but to expand your range of skills, I recommend concentrating on communication, planning, and understanding garment technology beforehand. 

  • Designers’ work is much more complex and varied. A fashion designer should be able to 
  • Analyse fashion trends and brand sales 
  • Understand production processes 
  • Know garment technology 
  • Understand pattern cutting and grading 
  • Control quality 
  • Manage a critical path 
  • Sell and market a fashion collection 

… And many other skills are more critical to the brand’s success than pretty sketches. 

Naturally, as your brand expands and becomes more successful, you will have dedicated team members handling some or all of the above tasks. Yet, as a start-up brand owner, you will have to roll your sleeves up and deal with it yourself at first. 

So, how can you get your ideas out of your head and communicate them to your garment development team? We’re about to show you how to convey your ideas using widely available images and our tech pack template. 

Here is your step-by-step overview using an example of this evening dress:

  1. Let’s start with a quick sketch of a dress that even a 5-year-old child can draw. 
  1. Take a picture of this dress with your phone camera and crop out all the unnecessary space around it. 
  1. Drop it into our tech pack template and fill it up with all the necessary information. 
  1. Use the mood board page to add images of different elements that might have inspired you. This will help your pattern cutter better understand the shape and the construction of the elements. Voilà! The creative part is done, but it’s not time to relax. Your pattern cutter will need to know what type of fabric you are planning to use and the internal finishes of the seams and hems. Most importantly, your garment base size and the main points of measure (POMs) for your future garment. 

From this point, it gets more complex, and many designers give up or send incomplete tech packs to the development team, which causes a lot of wasted time and money. Stay with us, and we will unpack the next stage for you. You have to believe me; it’s not that complicated! And the more you do it; you will become better and better at it. You just have to start.  

Most clothing manufacturers and pattern makers understand that you are at the start of your entrepreneurial journey and still have a lot to learn. Show them that you are keen to learn, and they will support you. 

Before we move on to the next blog, where we will dive into the technicalities of a tech pack, here are five common mistakes designers make at this stage. I assume that from now you will avoid them. 

  1. They get too creative and share too many ideas. Don’t use more than one image per element. 
  1. Hand drawings and inspirational images aren’t coherent. Don’t include an image of the long skirt if you sketched a dress with a short skirt. Make it clear why you used this image if you have to. Or you might have sleeves in the enclosed image, but the drawing of the dress is sleeveless. Just a diagram of the dress with something indicating sleeves would be fine – we don’t expect perfection. 
  1. The images are piled up without any notes. Make sure every image has a description, and point out elements you like. 
  1. The tech pack has too many pages. Make sure all the info is on one or two pages. It’s easy to navigate, and we won’t miss anything. 
  1. Finally, use emails and a tech pack to share comments and notes. This is where it can get confusing and cause mishaps. Update the exciting copy and resend it to the pattern cutter if you need to add more info or change your mind. Let the team know what has changed and why. Don’t forget to clarify how the changes might affect the price. You might have added extra work to the pattern cutter without realizing it, and you might get charged for it. 

Let’s hope our short guide helps you feel more confident about designing your fashion collection and preparing to work with a pattern maker. 

Join our newsletter to find out what our pattern cutting charges are for this style, how we figure it out, and how they change if you change it. You will also receive a helpful diagram of the tech pack with reminders of what information we require from you and a blank template. 

Our next blog has a guide on how to add technical info, so make sure to read it. 

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