Things You Learn in Fashion School: Rendering Fall Fabrics

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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 aright 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!

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