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Things You Learn in Fashion School: Rendering Fall Fabrics


Sketch book
Photo Credit

As a fashion school student, I’m constantly being asked about the things I learn in class and what it’s like to major in fashion design.

One of the big things we learn in fashion school is how to make fashion sketches. And a large part of that is rendering fabrics, or drawing the fabrics you plan to use in your design. Believe it or not, there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. If you’re going to be a fashion designer, you need to learn to put your ideas on paper in the correct way (so others can understand your designs), and rendering is an essential piece of that.

As the new fall collections are strutting down the runway,  I thought it would be the perfect time to drop some fashion school knowledge and show you the right way to draw the textiles you see on the catwalks. Below, I’ll show you how to illustrate the common fall fabrics seen annually: houndstooth, herringbone, and tweed.


How to render tweed: Step 1

Step 1: Using a marker, draw horizontal dashed lines of varying lines. In order to get the tight weave of the fibers, keep your lines close together, but stagger them, as shown above.

How to render tweed: Step 2

Step 2: Repeat step one, but this time, with vertical lines. Add more horizontal and vertical lines if you want a thinner-weaved tweed.

How to render tweed: Step 3

Step 3: Once the length and cross grain (the horizontal and vertical lines, respectively) of the fabric have been created, add specks with a color pencil in a different color.  These specks are called “slubs”, a thick chunk of yarn/ thread, seen in tweeds.


Rendering herringbone: Step 1

Step 1: Using a pencil, draw horizontal lines of equal distance apart.

Step 2: In every other column, draw diagonal lines, with a marker, going in one direction.

Rendering herringbone: Step 2

Step 3: Repeat step 2 in the empty  columns, but with the diagonal lines going in the opposite direction so that they meet at the pencil lines.

Step 4: Erase pencil lines.


Rendering houndstooth: Step 1

Step 1: With a pencil, create an equally spaced checker board by drawing perpendicular horizontal and vertical lines.

Step 2: In every other row and every other column, fill in a square with marker.

Step 3: Now comes the (relatively) tricky part: Connect the bottom right hand corner of the top square to the top left hand corner of the square below it using diagonal lines. Continue down each column.

Rendering houndstooth: Step 2

Step 4: In the empty columns, connect the top right hand corner of the square in one column to the bottom left hand corner of the square across from it in the next column. This should, again, create a diagonal line between the squares. The diagonal lines should create a star shape.

Finished Houndstooth

Step 5: Erase pencil lines

Your Thoughts?

Did you know that there was a correct way to draw fabrics? Are you interested in learning to make fashion sketches? What other fashion school subjects would you like to learn more about? Leave a comment below and tell me what you think!

Posted on on March 8, 2013 / Filed Under: Miscellaneous / Tags: ,

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16 Responses to “Things You Learn in Fashion School: Rendering Fall Fabrics”

  1. 1
    March 8th, 2013 at 9:44 am

    This is really great and so interesting! Please do more stuff like this!

  2. 2
    March 8th, 2013 at 10:41 am

    This was awesome! you should keep doing this!

  3. 3
    March 8th, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Wow, this is interesting stuff! Please do more articles like this!

  4. 4
    March 8th, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Awesome! I love this!

  5. 5
    March 8th, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Really like! Very helpful! Please continue this!!!

  6. 6
    March 8th, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    This is so cool! Hope you continue this with other fabrics!

  7. 7
    March 8th, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    I love these posts. I consider myself an amateur sewer, and I’ve always wondered about what you’d learn in school. Thank you!!!

  8. 8
    March 8th, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Thank you for doing this! Please do more :)

  9. 9
    March 9th, 2013 at 12:15 am

    Very informative! Thank you!!

  10. 10
    March 9th, 2013 at 1:17 am

    Thanks for the supportive comments! I’m glad you guys found it informative! What other fabrics would you like to learn how to render? Also, what else would you like to know about fashion college?

  11. 11
    March 9th, 2013 at 3:43 am

    I love this! I can’t wait for your next post ! :)

  12. 12
    July 11th, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Thank you so much ! I love to read your posts about fashion design. I’d love to learn how to render the other fabric like silk, chiffon, veil, cotton, jeans, khaki, etc…. Please continue, i cant wait to read more :)

  13. 13
    September 26th, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    Omg I love this post! Believe it or not at my school they don’t spend as much time as they should teaching us to draw it’s more like they leave us to our own devices I think Ty just want to focus more on teaching us to sew and use gerber but seriously this is the perfect post for me I need step by step instruction for fabric illustrations

  14. 14
    December 7th, 2013 at 9:45 am

    D: I really like the way you do things!! I’m in my first year of fashion design, but I feel like I got jipped in my illustration class. I had a really bad teacher that taught us messy and really bad ways to do these designs.

    :) I thank you for your post, I know how I will be drawing those fabrics from now on.

  15. 15
    December 15th, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Thank you so much :) this is so help when i illustrate the fabrics for my design. i hope you make any tutorials again for fahsion design

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