Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers--Article Index

This guide is written for the student designer. Patternmaking tips are suggested throughout the guide, as correct pattern and correct stitching are closely linked and depend on each other. The professional sewer who desires to increase sewing proficiency, knowledge of professional techniques, and expand creativity supported by excellent construction methods will also find this guide helpful.

The order of the guide follows the stitching order of a garment. Each section builds on the previous one and offers simple to advanced instruction. References to the detailed sketches move the student along from step to step.

Section 1: The Design Process

In this section, the designer is on view. Each part of the design process is highlighted. The section focuses on why construction should matter to the fashion design student.

Section 2: Getting Prepared

The necessary sewing tools, their uses and functions, a detailed explanation of fabric (the designer's medium), grainlines, fabric layout everything needed to begin the actual construction is discussed.

Section 3: Introduction to Stabilizers

Choosing the best stabilizer for the style can make or break the design; stabilizers are a crucial part of the success of a design. A thorough explanation and examination of stabilizers is provided.

Section 4: Darts

Shaping and contouring the garment with darts is the focus of this section; various styles of darts, and how to sew and press, complete this section.

Section 5: Pockets

Correct stitches, suitable stabilizers and linings, matching the appropriate pocket to the garment, and functional and decorative pockets are covered in this section. Facings, trims, braids, piping, and other decorative elements are discussed.

Section 6: Seams

Sample, sample, sample! This section emphasizes that choosing the appropriate seam and seam finish for the fabric of the garment is critical to the success of the garment, and learning to analyze the best seam and seam finish is accomplished through sampling.

Section 7: Tucks and Pleats

This section details the techniques used to create tucks and pleats that are both functional and decorative.

Section 8: Zippers

This section discusses and illustrates the many applications of zippers, their styles, the appropriate zipper for the design, and how to match the zipper type to the fabric.

Section 9: Waistbands

Specifying the construction and proper stabilizing of both functional and decorative waistbands, this section provides the details for a professional finish.

Section 10: Ruffles and Flounces

This section explains and illustrates the sewing techniques involved in the fabrication of soft, delicate texture imparted to a garment through ruffles and flounces.

Section 11: Collars

An important area for creativity that must be properly supported through the correct stabilizers, collars in all their variety are presented in this section, which details the construction of a range of collar styles.

Section 12: Facings

This section on facings examines professional techniques that are used to finish raw edges on garments. Facings, bias bindings, and decorative facings are covered in detail.

Section 13: Cuffs and Other Wrist Finishes

As the completion of a sleeve, the cuff must be in harmony with the details of the garment. Cuffs can be both functional and decorative, and this section explains and illustrates sewing techniques to enhance the finished look of the garment.

Section 14: Sleeves

Sleeves alter the silhouette of the garment and are an important aspect of the design. This section explains, illustrates, and instructs the student how to sew sleeves in many variations.

Section 15: Hems

Various hem techniques using different methods that are suitable for the fabric and different garment hem shapes are explained and illustrated in this section.

Section 16: Linings

Linings make the garment beautiful on the inside as well as functionally covering the interior of the garment, adding warmth and comfort. This section explains and illustrates various lining treatments and the techniques used to apply the linings.

Section 17: Closures

This section details the opening and closing of garments, the functional and decorative applications that are suitable to the design, and the techniques used to stitch closures.

Section 18: Finishing Touches

The final phase of the garment is at hand-what needs to be done to finish the garment? Working through the stitching order in the checklist, this section ensures that every step has been carefully, thoughtfully, and beautifully completed.

Each section in the guide includes the following helpful features:

Style 1.D.--a visual example of what the section is all about, highlighted through detailed sketches of garments and garment sections.

Key Terms--appearing in bold type in each section and defined in the Glossary in the back of the guide Gather Your Tools-a list of necessary equipment and supplies to complete the sewing steps in that section Now Let's Get Started--detailed information and step-by-step sewing instructions specific to the subject of each section Stitching Tricky Fabrics-detailed information on how to execute the subject of the section in difficult-to-work-with fabrics.

Transfer Your Knowledge--where you are encouraged to take what you know and transfer it to what you don't know

Stretch Your Creativity--providing suggestions for furthering the techniques of each section

Self-Critique--a useful tool to develop the designer's eye for recognizing what is good construction and what is not

Review Checklist--a summary feature, enabling the student/designer/professional to identify and explore techniques that need further development and practice.

All the skills covered in this guide, and more, are necessary for a career in fashion design. Tune in just once to Project Runway and listen to what the judges have to say about any poorly sewn garment; those contestants just don't make it.

Think of how your work is a reflection of who you are as a designer, and what your work ethic is, and remember, there is no good design without good construction!


Listed below are colored swatches indicating the various materials used in this guide. Each swatch is uniquely colored to show the correct and wrong sides of the fabric, interfacing, underlining and lining. As you use this guide refer to the style key for any clarification needed.

  • Correct Side of Fabric
  • Wrong Side of Fabric
  • Correct Side of Interfacing
  • Wrong Side of Interfacing
  • Correct Side of Underlining
  • Wrong Side of Underlining
  • Correct Side of Lining
  • Wrong Side of Lining

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Wednesday, 2013-06-05 14:45