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Concept & Design by:
)(ACT AD'N' ART STUDIO, DELHI
Balaji Offset Press, Naveen Shahdra, Delhi
ISBN : 978-81-8247-100-9
The word fashion invokes a myriad of patterns in our
mind that not just reflect upon the creativity of a person,
but rather the whole persona of the designer comes into
the fore. The word itself creates an aura of glamour and
the conceptuality and the creativity of an individual. It
talks volumes about the latent talent and the way one
perceives fashion. Fashion is an industry which has become
a serious business, where lot hard work goes in visualized
When we talk about designing, it is not just about the
garment but the textile, the feel, the accessories it comprises
of, the whole appearance and how well it is carried out on
the ramp. How well it is accepted depends on how
appealing it looks to catch the fancy of the people who
can make or mar the designer's reputation.
Sheer toil goes into the making of the outfit. Once it is
visualised in the mind of the designer, one has to think
about the fabric, the fall of the fabric, the season, the
occasion (it can be for morning or evening wear), the
theme, etc. The cut plays an important role in the making
of an outfit. If the cut is not outstanding, then the whole
effect is ruined- the cut could be classic or casual. Age
plays an important role because it is a decisive factor of
designing. The model is also taken into consideration
because ultimately it is the model who would do the justice
This book is a compilation of all the essential facts one
needs to know to make a career in fashion and textile
designing. The details in the book depict the practicalities
of the two fields of creativity, which go into making a
work worth appreciation and admiration.
Part I Textile Designing
1. Careers in Textile Designing .............................................. 8
2. Tasks and Skills of a Textile Designer .............................. 10
3. Job Outlook for Textile Designers ................................... 14
4. Textiles - A Historical Perspective ................................... 16
5. Preparing Fabric for Use .................................................. 1 8
6. Check the Grain Line Before You Buy ............................ 20
7. Returning the Fabric to Grain Perfection ........................ 22
8. Pre-shrinking of Fabrics ................................................... 24
9. Wool Fabric Types ............................................................ 26
10. Wool Preparation ............................................................. 28
11. Ramie .............................................................................. 30
12. Micro-fibres ..................................................................... 33
13. Sewing with Knit Fabric .................................................. 35
14. Interfacings ...................................................................... 37
15. Selecting Interfacing ................................................. ; ...... 39
16. Types of Interfacing: Fabric and Stretch ......................... .41
17. Types of Interfacing: Application .................................... .43
18. Jute: The Golden Fibre ................................................... .45
19. Twist Balance ........................................................• _ ........ 47
20. Technologies Used in Textile Designing ......................... .49
21. Use of O:>rnputers in Textile Industry ............................. 52
22. Various Systems Used in Apparel Industry ..................... 55
23. Textile Terminology (A-H) .............................................. 58
24. Textile Terminology (1-Z) ................................................ 63
MR.ke a <Areer in Textile and Fashion Designing II
Part II Fashion Designing
1. Fashion ............................................................................. 70
2. The' Purpose of Clothing ................................................. 72
3. Haute Couture ................................................................. 74
4. Haute Couture Caters for Exclusive Customers ............. 76
5. Fashion Designers ............................................................ 78
6. Natural Fibres .................................................................. 80
7. Man-made Fibres ............................................................. 82
8. Types of Cotton ............................................................... 84
9. Other Types of Fabrics .................................................... :86
10. Cross Stitch ...................................................................... 89
11. Exploring Pattern Possibilities with Cross Stitch ............. 91
12. Pattern Making in Cross Stitch ........................................ 93
13. Giving New Look to Normal Clothes ............................. 95
14. How to Start a Good Pattern ........................................... 97
IS. Tips for making a T-shirt ................................................. 99
16. Making a Neat and Round Neck ................................... 101
17. About Blueprints ........................................................... 103
18. Tips for copying a Design onto Fabric ........................... 106
19. Choosing Fabric for Plus-sized Designs ........................ 108
20. Types of Fabric for Plus-sized Designs .......................... 1l0
21. Wide or Narrow Pants ................................................... 1l2
22. Gowns ............................................................................ 114
23. Designing the Perfect Gown .......................................... 1l6
24. Computers in the Field of Fashion Designing ............... 1l8
Careers in Textile Designing
Textile Designing as an an has been preserved in special musetunS,
obviously it was and still is considered a very serious art. These
museums house everything from bed sheets to pelmets to carpets to
histQ.rical fabric printing technique.
Indian textile designers are now well known in the world market for
having skilfully blended traditional textures with dyes for meeting
modern market needs.
So what exactly is Textile Designing?
Textile designing deals with creating designs for textiles in the apparel
and furnishing sectors. It covers both surface design and structural
design. Designers handle textile or embroidery designs, prints, weaves,
styles and textures.
Textile designing encompasses the creative aspect of this industry and
the designer's task is' one of sketching, shaping and colouring fabric.
The textile designer must have knowledge of yarn making, weaving
knitting, dyeing and finishing process, including the knowledge of
different types oflooms, knitting machines, printing processes including
block, stencil, roller and silk-screens.
What does the job entail?
Designers prepare designs, produce samples of cloth with technicians
and then arrange to have them printed. Textile designers usually work
closely with fashion designers and buyers to try to predict future trends
II Careers in Textile Designing 911
in fashions for colour fabrics. They may specialise in printed, woven
or knitted material and in designs for a particular product.
Personal attributes required?
To become a textile designer you need to be artistic and creative, with
a good eye for colour. Communication skills and technical
understanding are important. You also need to be able to work to
deadlines and within a budget and to have good computer skills.
How can you become a Textile Designer?
To become a Textile Designer you'll have to enrol in anyone of the
Fashion Designing Schools, where they have specialised courses on
Advice for aspiring Textile Designers
This field is not as glamorous as some might envision it to be. It
entails a great deal of hard work and can incorporate many long hours.
There is also much more to the job than just designing, so be prepared
to do things that you didn't initially anticipate.
Where to study?
Textile Designing is a creative field. If you're observant and creative
you can create your own motifs on the computer, but a formal training
definitely helps to a certain degree.
Tasks and Skills of a Textile
Textile designers use traditional and modern textile manufactUring
and decoration processes to create textiles for clothing and domestic
and commercial furnishings.
Tasks and duties
Textile designers may do some or all of the following:
• work with clients to develop design briefs.
• advise clients on colours and yarns.
• draw the design on paper first and then on a computer using
textile design software.
• select the colours and designs for making the fabric.
• paint designs for printing.
• produce a sample of the fabric on a sample machine.
• instruct the machine technicians to set up machines in a particular
• instruct the finishers to adjust the fmish to the final textile product.
• research the textile market for future fashion trends.
• work with customers to develop lines of textiles for the coming
II Tasks and Skills of a Textile Designer
• record technical information, such as type and density of yarn, so
that fabric costs can be calculated.
Textile designers need to have:
• creative ability and sound drawing and design skills.
• skills in textile design creation on computers.
• calculation and problem-solving skills.
• design brief interpretation skills.
• good communication skills.
• market research skills to work out the demands of the fabric and
• team skills and the ability to give and take instructions.
• an ability to work to deadlines.
• to be familiar with computer-aided design and marking.
Basic word processing and data entry skills are also useful.
Textile designers must know about:
• traditional and modern textile manufacturing processes and
• textile materials and their properties.
• how different weaving structures can be used.
• how garments are made, when designing clothing fabric.
• interior design, when designing commercial and domestic interior
• fashion trends and technical advances in the textile design and
Note: Before you pass a woven design on to a mill, you have to
understand the weaving process, the different methods of weaving
and types of fabric and know how contrasting colours are woven
Make a Career in Trxtile and Fashion Designinp II
together to get the desired effect.
Textile designers need to have:
• a strong sense of fashion.
• a good eye for colour, pattern, shape and detail.
• accurate and careful work habits.
• the ability to make sound judgements.
• the ability to compromise in order to create the textile designs
their customers want or to meet manufacturers' requirements.
• the ability to be observant when working alongside weaving
Excellent colour vision is required.
How to enter the job?
A tertiary entrance qualification is needed to enter a degree programme.
Useful subjects include maths, art and design or technology.
Textile design diplomas and degrees are available at polytechnics and
universities. For entry to both diploma and degree programmes,
candidates need to submit a portfolio of original art or design work.
Related courses that you can do:
Clothing, Fashion and Textiles
There are no other entry requirements to become a textile designer.
II Tasks and Skills of a Textile Designer
Useful experience includes art, design, weaving, sewing, knitting or
Training on the job
Employers who employ graduates will usually train textile designers
in their specific manufacturing processes.
Work places and travel
Textile designers work in design studios located in textile mills.
Freelance textile designers may work from home or have design studios
in art galleries.
Textile designers use a variety of equipment including:
• computers and textile design software
• sample looms, knitting machines or carpet tufters
• drawing boards, various drawing and design equipment
• paints, screen printing materials and dyes
• yarns and colour swatches.
Contact with people
Textile designers work with co-designers and design assistants,
industrial weavers, fmishers and menders, mill managers, printing
companies, yarn suppliers and clients.
Job Outlook for Textile De-
The outlook for textile designers is average and the number of people
employed in this occupation is expected to remain stable over the
next two to three years.
Textile manufacturing is a relatively large industry, but is made up of
only a few companies. The main textiles produced include floor and
furniture coverings and woollen yarn for carpet. Some growth in
manufacturing capacity, particularly for tufted carpet is predicted over
the next two to three years, which may give rise to a small increase in
opportunities for textile designers. However, as there are only a few
companies it is likely that there will continue to be a limited number of
jobs available for textile designers, with many companies employing
only one or two.
Textile design is a very specialised occupation. Each area requires
knowledge of certain fabrics, yarns, computerised design tools and the
machinery used in making the fmal product. This can cause some
manufacturers difficulty in fmding people who have the appropriate
skills to fill a position and often specialist training is given on the job. I
This training is ongoing, as textile designers need to keep up to date
with new trends and fashions in their area, as well as new textiles and
their specific uses. Computer skills have become increasingly important
as the emphasis on using design software becomes more important in
the commercial sector.
Turnover among textile designers is low due to the limited number of
employment opportunities available and the spe9ialist nature of the
II Job Outlook for TeXtile Designers
job. This can mean there are few opponunities for those wanting to
enter the occupation and because of the large number of design
students graduating each year, competition for jobs can be high.
However, those with good design skills and some experience in the
industry (perhaps gained through a holiday job in a textile mill) usually
have a better chance of finding employment once they graduate.
Experience has become increasingly important as tertiary providers
have cut back their emphasis on textile design and designers are more
valuable to an employer if they have some practical knowledge of
how design ideas translate into the manufacturing process.
Textiles - A Historical Per-
Today, cotton is an integral pan of textiles in India. Nearly four million
handlooms are engaged in weaving fabrics of nearly 23 different varieties
of cotton. It was a piece of cotton stuck to a silver vase and some
spindles discovered in excavations which revealed that the spinning
and weaving of cotton was known to the Harrappans, nearly five
million years ago.
References to weaving are found in the Vedic literature. Method of
spinning, the "arious materials used etc. are also mentioned in these
ancients scripts. The history of Textiles is told many times over in the
epics, the Puranas, the Graeco- Roman sources of Indian history and
the classical Tamil Sangam Literature. Various techniques of weaving,
designing, needlework etc. have survived through the centuries. .
The foundations of the Indian textile trade with other countries began
as early as the second century Be. Kalyan, a port, is place in that time
from where textiles were exponed. A variety of fabrics, including cotton
brocade, is mentioned in Chinese literature as Indian products exponed
Hoard of block printed and resist dyed fabrics, mainly ofGujrati origin,
found in the tombs ofFostat, Egypt, are the proof oflarge scale Indian
export of cotton textiles to the Egypt in earlier times. They were
exported in the early medieval times. Some of these motifs were found
similar to those mentioned in the Western Indian manuscripts in the
13th century. There are others, which have resemblance to the block
printed fabrics, in Gujarat.
II Textiles -A Historical Perspective
The silk fabric was a popular item
of Indian exports to Indonesia ·
around the 13th century, where
these were used as barter for spices.
Towards the end of the 17th
century, the B ~ i t i s h East India
Company had begun exports of
Indian silks and various other
cotton fabrics to other countries.
These included the famous fine Muslin cloth of Bengal, Bihar and
Orissa. The trade in painted and printed cottons or chintz, a favourite
in the European market at that time, was extensively practised between
India, China, Java and the Philippines, long before the arrival of the
Before the introduction of mechanised means of spinning in the early
19th century; all Indian cottons and silks were hand spun and hand
woven, a highly popular fabric, called the khadi.
Textile is the base element of garments and it can also be a spirit of a
home or office as it can change the look of an interior layout. It combines
the love of colour, painting and drawing with the hands on satisfaction
of working with fibre and cloth to make patterns in painted and printed
Preparing Fabric for Use
Smart styling and a professional look in dothing construction require
correct use of the grain of the fabric. No formula or method can
conceal a poorly cut garment.
Garment pieces cut or pulled off grain will not fit correctly and will hang
poorly when worn. Whether simple or elaborate in design, the fabric
shows whether or not it has been cut on the exact grain.
'Grain' is the direction of yarns in a
fabric. The lengthwise grain refers to
yarns running the length of the fabric
piece. These yarns are parallel to the
selvage (or finished) edges of the fabric.
The crosswise grain refers to yarn
running across the width of the fabric
piece from selvage to selvage.
Corresponding terms for knits are
'wales' for lengthwise direction and
'courses' for the crosswise direction.
A third important direction is that of the 'bias'. The true bias is the
perfect diagonal across the fabric, forming a 45° angle to the selvage. I
This direction provides the greatest amount of stretch and elasticity.
To fmd the true bias, fold the lengthwise grain of the goods (selvage)
at a right angle so that the lengthwise grain lies parallel to the crosswise
This fold gives the direction of the true bias. True bias should be used
for bindings, trims, etc. Other diagonal folds or cuts at any
II Preparing Fabric for Use
other angle may also be called bias, but they are garment bias and not
true bias. They provide less stretch than does a true bias.
Grain line and the body
Fabric used to clothe the body is flat, but the human figure comes in
many rounded forms and shapes. Both the body and the fabric,
however, have a perpendicular or venicalline as their base.
Venicallines are used as the basis of designing and cutting a garment
to fit the body. All darts, gathers or cuts are made with these two
points in mind: the lengthwise grain runs vertically and the crosswise
grain runs horiwntally. Generally, the lengthwise grain runs from the
base of the neck to the hem and on the sleeves from the shoulder to
the cuff. The centre front and back also run vertically along the
Straight grain line is imponant to the finished look of the garment. A
garment that is cut off grain may not hang evenly and may even look
Check the Grain Line Before
Some fabrics cannot be returned to grain perfection. These include
most knits, fabric on which a design is printed off-grain, synthetic
woven and blended fabrics that have been heat-set off-grain during
processing and many fabrics that have a finish (such as permanent
press or stain resistant).
In many cases the grain may have been pulled out of shape as a
permanent finish was applied or it may have been imperfectly rolled
on the bolt. If it has been imperfectly rolled, it can be processed at
home and returned to grain line perfection. Many permanent fmishes
lock the grain line into place, however and it cannot be straightened.
The consumer can determine if a fabric is on the grain by unrolling a
yard or so from the bolt while still in the s':ore. Fold the fabric back,
matching the selvages. Check to see if the crosswise grains run at right
angles to the lengthwise grains. Check on both sides of the fold of a
bonded or printed fabric to be sure that both halves are on the grain.
If they are not, no amount of correction at home will perfect the
grain. Carefully examining the fabric before purchasing it will let you
avoid off-grain cuts.
Preparing the fabric for perfection of grain
To check the perfect grain, clip into the selvage near the end and pull
a crosswise thread over the entire width of the fabric. Cut along the
II Check the Grain Line Before Tou Buy
drawn thread. Fold the fabric lengthwise,
matching the selvages and smooth out on
a flat surface. If the straightened raw edges
match, the fabric is on the grain and ready
Knits and other fabrics with
hard-to-find grain lines
If a crosswise thread cannot be pulled to find the true crosswise grain,
open up the fabric and lay it so that one of ¢e selvages follows the
straight edge of a table. The true crosswise grain can be established by
a T-square or yardstick laid at right angles to the table edge. A basting
line following this straight edge will mark the crosswise line.
Other possibilities are to follow the wale or course of a knit or a
woven-in or knit-in design line to find both the lengthwise and
Returning the Fabric to
If the raw edges do not match, the fabric must be straightened. Several
procedures may be used to return the fabric to true grain. Those
procedures are as follows:
Pulling on the bias. Keep the fabric on the true bias. Start at the
shorter corners and stretch the fabric gendy but firmly at intervals
until the other end is reached. For a large amount of fabric, two people
may be needed to pull the fabric. Check again for perfection in grain.
If the fabric still does not meet, repeat the procedure.
Dampening the fabric. (wool, wool blends,
washable fabrics). Fold the fabric lengthwise, with
the right sides together, match the selvages and
baste them together. Match the straightened raw
edges and baste those together. The fabric may
be crooked or be wrinkled on the centre portion.
Dampen a sheet as if it were just taken from the
washer. Fold it lengthwise. Place the dampened
sheet ona flat surface and place the fabric on the sheet. Fold the sheet
and fabric together with folds about 12 inches (30.5 cm) deep until
all the fabric is folded in. Keep the fold as wrinkle free as possible .
. Wrap the fabric in a towel or plastic to keep it from drying out and
leave for at least six hours. Unroll the folds before the fabric is
completely dry and smooth the piece on a flat surface. Use your hands·
to pat the piece into grain perfection. Leave until thoroughly dry and
remove bastings. Washable fabrics may be pressed on the wrong side
II Returning the Fabric to Grain Perfection
following the lengthwise grain. Woollens or wool blends may be gently
steam pressed if necessary to remove wrinkles. A protective sole plate
on the iron will protect the fabric from excessive heat.
'Washing the fabrics. Washable fabrics may often be retmned to grain
by simply washing the piece of fabric and dlying it in the dryer. In
some cases you may prefer to lay the freshly washed fabric on a flat
smface to dry and put it into grain perfection while damp. Steam
press in a lengthwise direction when dry.
This process also can be used for pre-shrinking washable fabrics. '"
Blocking the fabric. Along the edges, match the crosswise grain and
lengthwise grain at intervals. Baste or pin. Layout the end section of
the fabric on a blocking board, Use the squares as a guide to position
the fabric. Pin along selvages and crosswise grain. This process may
also be used to pre-shrink fabrics.
Press slowly and carefully up to the fold on the section that you are
blocking until any creases or wrinkles lie flat. Protect the fabric from
scorching with a protective sleeve or plate on the iron. Be sme each
section is cool and dry before moving the fabric. The fabric may stretch
if handled too much when warm and damp.
Gently fold the fabric as you block it so that it will remain on grain as
you block the rest of the length.
You may also want to do an additional blocking on a smaller section
of fabric before the final cutting out of the garment pieces. Layout
the pattern pieces and cut out the block of fabric around the pattern.
Work with this piece on the blocking board until you are sme the
crosswise and lengthwise grain are perfectly straight.
This method works best on small amow1tS of fabric and natmal fibres
that do not have a finish.
Pre-shrinking of Fabrics
Most fabrics should be pre-shrunk., even if they do nor require other
processing to return them to grain perfection. If a fabric is only slightly
off-grain, preshrinking may allow it to relax sufficiently to return to
grain perfection. Pre-shrinking may also help remove excess fi!1ishes
and may make further efforts to straighten the fabric more successful.
Pre-shrink yard goods the same way you will care for the fabric. If a
fabric is to be washed and tumble dried, it should be treated this way
when pre-shrinking. Some knits may need to be washed and dried
several times to take care of shrinkage.
If a garment will be dry-cleaned, you may prefer having a dry cleaner
pre-shrink the yard goods for you rather than processing it at home.
Sometimes fabrics, which have been hand woven or have a novelty
weave or a heavy nap do not pre-shrink successfully by home methods.
When in doubt of successful home care, take the fabric to a professiona1.
Many fabrics come ready for the needle. Always check the label on the
bolt of material for care directions and to determine if the fabric is
ready for use without pre-shrinking.
The professional, custom-made look of clothing depends upon proper
care throughout garment construction. Many problems are caused by
careless handling of the fabric. The first step to success is beginning
with the fabric on the grain line and following this procedure by
maintaining accurate grain lines tl1roughout the construction process.
Wool fibre properties
Wool is a unique fibre. It is a natural fibre made from the fleece of
II Pre-shrinking afFabrics
sheep. Wool fabrics are not all alike. They come in a variety of textures
and weights. Wool can be sheer, thin, soft, thick, stiff or anything in
between. Wool fabrics are constructed by weaving, knitting or felting.
Wool is popular to work with because it has remarkable qualities -
durability, absorbenC); resistance to flame and static, durability and
its appealing hand. 'Hand' is the way the fabric feels as you touch it.
Wool fabrics have a springy, yet soft feel. Seams can be eased into
place without puckering, stretching or slipping. Wool fabrics press
beautifully and can be moulded and shaped into garments that keep
their shape if given proper care. Other qualities that make wool fabric
a good choice for garments include wrinkle recovery, colourfastness,
stain resistance and its resiliency, which enables the wool to bounce
back to its original shape after wearing.
Most of all, wool is comfortable. Not only does it have excellent
insulating ability to keep you warm, but this insulating property also
keeps the heat out in warm environments. Wool has the ability to
absorb moisture - as much as 30% of its own weight - without
feeling damp. Wool sheds dirt easily, so it doesn't need to be cleaned
as often as other fabrics.
Wool Fabric Types
Before you buy any wool fabric or garment, look for the label. The
label tells you the precise fibre percentages of the fabric and gives care
instructions. Fibre content is an important guide to fabric performance.
Generally, the more wool in the fabric the better. These are some of
the labels that pertain to wool:
100% wool or pure wool- This product is composed entirely of new
wool being use,d for the first time and may contain up to 5% of a fibre
other than wool as surface ornamentation.
Virgin wool- New wool that has
never been used.
&cycled wool - This is a term
replacing reused or reprocessed
wool. Wool scraps left from the
cutting of 100% wool garments
are shredded back into fibres. This
wool is frequently used for gloves,
caps; inter-lining and industrial uses.
A wool blend is the result of fibres being mixed before they are spun
into a yam. Wool blends may result in' a higher performance fabric, an
improved appearance and greater economy.
Blends with a high percentage of wool generally behave quite similarly
to wool. Blends with higher percentages of synthetic fibres are usually
more heat-sensitive and don't press or ease as well as 100% wool.
Some wools and wool blends are washable, but some must be dry-
cleaned. Be sure to read the care instructions carefully.
II UJiJol Fabric IJpes
Two other terms you should be familiar with are ' woollen' and
'worsted'. WOollen fabrics are woven from yarns made of shorter, fuzzy
fibres . These fibres have a dull, soft, somewhat fuzzy texture. Examples
are wool flannel and tweed. These are good choices for beginning
sewers because irregularities in stitching are less obvious.
UJiJrsted fabrics are woven from yarns made of long fibres that are
parallel to one another. The fabric is smooth, hard textured and
somewhat lustrous. Examples include gabardine, serge and crepe. These
fabrics are not recommended for beginners.
Choose a simple pattern if you are sewing with wool for the first
time. A medium-weight fabric is easier to work with than either a
very lightweight or very bulky wool fabric. As your confidence grows,
you can select patterns with more detail.
Wool's disadvantage is shrinkage. Pre-shrink the fabric to allow for
relaxation shrinkage. This occurs when there is tension on the yarns
during the weaving process. Some wools and wool blends are already
pre-shrunk when you buy them, so be sure to h e c k the labels. Some
labels may use the words sponged or needle-ready. If it is not labelled,
test the fabric for possible shrinkage as follows.
Place the folded fabric with right sides together on the ironing board.
Work with the comer where the cut edge and selvages meet. Cover
the material with a dry cloth. Using a steam iron on the 'wool' setting,
set the iron on top of the dry cloth and COlUlt 'one iron, two iron,'
etc. lUltil 'eight iron' (approximately 8 seconds). Set the iron aside.
Remove the press cloth and check the fabric. If you see ripples arolUld
the imprint of the iron it means the fabric will shrink to some extent
if it is improperly handled.
This shrinkage can be handled by a reliable dry cleaner at a reasonable
cost or you can shrink the fabric yourself by doing the following:
• Straighten the cross-wise or cut ends of the wool by pulling a
yam or basting along a cross-wise thread. Cut edges straight with
• Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, wrong side out. Hand or machine
baste raw edges and selvages together.
• Wet a sheet completely in warm water. Remove the excess water
by running the sheet through the spin cycle of an automatic
II Wool Preparation
• Spread the damp sheet on papers or a sheet of plastic on the floor.
• Lay the fabric on half of the wet sheet. Fold the other half of the
sheet back over the fabric. Beginning at one end, fold over about
one foot of the fabric and sheet. Continue making one-foot folds
until it is completely folded.
• Cover the sheet with paper, towels or plastic and let it rest for
several hours or overnight.
• Carefully remove the fabric from the sheet and place it on a flat
surface. Smooth the fabric to remove wrinkles and check to see
that it is on the straight of grain.
• If pressing is necessary, press from the wrong side while the fabric
is slightly damp, using a dry press cloth. If the fabric is slightly off
grain, straighten it with careful steam pressing. A blocking board
will help. It is also advisable to preshrink any linings, zipper tapes
Cutting and marking
Sometimes it is difficult to tell the right side of the wool fabric from
the wrong side. Usually the fabric is folded with the wrong side out
when purchased. If you can't tell the difference, be sure to use the
same side as the right side for every garment piece. It is a good idea to
mark each piece on the wrong side with thread or chalk.
It is best to use tailor's tacks when marking wool. The thread should
be a different colour than the fabric, but not too different in case the
colour crocks off on the fabric. Tailor's chalk or a hard-milled hand
soap (not a cream base) can also be used.
~ H A P I E R
Ramie (pronounced Ray-me) is one of
the oldest vegetable fibres and has been
used for thous.ands of years. It was used
for Chinese burial shrouds over 2,000
years ago, long before cotton was
introduced in the Far East.
Ramie is classified chemically as a
cellulose fibre, just as cotton, linen and
rayon. Leading producers of ramie are
China, Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines
Until recently ramie has been unknown in the ready-to-wear market
in this country, but it is appearing in more garments. It is often blended
with cotton and available in woven and knit fabrics that resemble fme
linen to coarse canvas.
Ramie usage increased in the mid-1980s with a fashion emphasis on
natural fibres and a loophole in textile import regulations. Ramie and
garments made of more than 50 percent ramie, entered the United
States without import quota limits. Legislation was passed in 1986
eliminating the quota-free status of ramie.
Ramie is also known as China-grass, rhea and grass cloth. The fibres
are found in the bark of the stalk. The process of transforming ramie
fibre into fabric is similar to manufacturing linen from flax. The fibre
is very fine and silk-like, naturally white in colour and has a high
Advantages of Ramie
• Resistant to bacteria, mildew and insect attack.
• Extremely absorbent.
• Dyes fairly easy.
• Increases in strength when wet.
• Withstands high water temperatures during laundering.
• Smooth lustrous appearance improves with washing.
• Keeps its shape and does not shrink.
• Can be bleached.
Disadvantages of Ramie
• Low in elasticity.
• Lacks resiliency.
• Low abrasion resistance.
• Wrinkles easily.
• Stiff and brittle.
Ramie as a blend
Ramie is most often blended with other fibres for its unique strength,
absorbency, lustre and dye-affinity. When blended with high-quality
cotton it offers increased lustre, strength and colour. When mixed
with wool, ramie adds lightness and minimises shrinkage. When
blended with rayon, it offsets the low wet strength.
Uses of Ramie
Ramie is used in fabrics resembling linen, such as apparel fabrics for
shirts and shorts, tablecloths, napkins and handkerchiefs. It is often
found as a blend with cotton in knit sweaters. Ramie is also used in
fishnets, canvas, upholstery fabrics, straw hats and fire hose.
Care of Ramie
Ramie-blend fabrics can be laundered or dry-cleaned depending on the
dyes, finishes and garment design. The care label will state the preferred
Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing II
method. The dry-cleaning method helps prese1ve the beauty of woven
ramie items and gives best colour and shape retention and a wrinkle-
free appearance. With caution, white ramie fabrics may be bleached
with chlorine-type bleaches. Ramie fabrics withstand ironing
temperatures up to 400 to 450 degrees F or the cotton setting on an
When storing ramie or ramie blends, lay them flat. Ramie fibres are
brittle and tend to break. Avoid folding the garment or pressing sharp
creases in woven fabrics.
Imagine a fibre so fme and delicate that it's four times fmer than o o ~
three times finer than cotton, twice as fine as the finest silk and one
hundred times finer than hwnan hair.
Micro-fibres, as they are called, measure less than one denier. The
term denier measures the fmeness of man-made fibres. Denier is the
weight in grams of 9,000 metres of yarn, which is equal to one denier.
One to three denier refers to fme cotton or wool, five to eight denier
is average cotton and wool, 10 to 15 denier corresponds to very fme
Micro-denier fibres are finer than any fibres occurring in nature. These
fibres are available in a range of deniers making it possible to produce
a variety of fabric types and weights.
Micro-fibres are not a new idea. The Japanese developed micro-fibre
yarn nearly 20 years ago. The most well-known micro-fibre fabric
today is Ultra suede.
Composition of Micro-fibres
Micro-fibres are made from polyester, nylon, rayon and most recently
acrylic. They also can be blended with other fibres including cotton,
linen, wool, rayon and Lycra spandex. Blends enhance the appearance,
hand, drape and performance properties of the fabric. At this time
there are no regulations about the per cent of micro necessary for
using the term micro-fibre.
The fabric industry agrees that 35 to 40 percent is the minimwn
amount required to retain the desired hand and performances.
Make R Career in Textile Rna FRShion Dmening II
Companies are concerned about small amounts being used in a fibre
blend as an advertising hype and calli!lg the product a 'micro-fibre'.
Micro-fibres can be woven or knitted into a variety of fabrics such as
twill, satin, faille, crepe, taffeta and broadcloth.
Various finishes enhance the look and feel of micro-fibres. Peach skin
provides a velvety hand, others have a silk, sand washed or a leather
Characteristics of Micro-fibres
• Strong and durable
• Lightweight and supple
• Good stability and shape retention
• Wrinkle resistant
• Washable and dries quickly
• Comfortable to wear as they are more porous
• Water repellent and wind resistant
• Doesn't water spot
Use of Micro-fibres
Because air passes easily through the fabric, moisture is wicked away
from the skin's surface to the outer face of the fabric. This makes
micro-fibres particularly desirable for outerwear and body wear. These
fabrics can take on vinually any surface and texture quality. They can
be sanded or sueded giving a lush velvety texture. End uses for micro-
fibre fabrics include men's slacks and ties, women's silk-like blouses
and dresses, hosiery, evening wear, tailored suits, children's wear, rain
wear, intimate apparel and sheets and pillow cases. Luxurious
upholstery fabrics are also getting the micro-fibre touch.
Fabrics made from these ultra-fme fibres can be produced from filament
and staple yarns. Other applications include wiping cloths, high
performance filters, artificial blood vessels, sanitary and towel products.
Kinds of knits
Sewing with Knit Fabric
Knits are an important part of every
wardrobe because they are comfortable
to wear and easy to care for. They shed
wrinkles well and do not ravel when
sewn. Knits are versatile and can be seen
in everything from the most casual wear
to the dressiest. Knits come in a variety
of fabrics that vary in texture,
stretchability, fibre content, weight and
A knit is fabric made from interlocking looped stitches. Knit fabrics
available for sewing can be grouped into six general categories.
• firm, stable knits. These stretch very little and are handled similarly
to woven fabrics. These include double knits and Raschel knits, a
novelty knit recognised by lacy, stable construction.
• Lightweight single knIts. They have lengthwise ribs on the right
side, horiwntal rows on the reverse side and moderate stretch.
Examples are jerseys and tricot knits.
• Interlock knits. These are lightweight, -drapable and have a fair
amount of crosswise stretch. They do not curl at the edges, but
can run on the crosswise edge. Interlock knits are heavier, thicker
and easier to sew than jersey knits.
Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Desi9
• Textured knits. These may be single or double knits. Examples
include knitted terry and velour, sweater knits and sweatshirt fleece.
These knits have moderate to good stretch except sweatshirt fleece,
which has little or no stretch.
• Tho-way stretch knits. They stretch in both length and width and
have a high percentage of resilient spandex fibres. These knits are
usually selected for active sportswear.
• Ribbing. This is a stretchy knit used for stretch trims at wrists,
ankles, neck and waist. It is available in tubular ribbing and in rib
Interfacing is a supportive fabric placed
between the facing and garment fabric.
Although hidden from view, it is a critical
part of clothing construction. The necessity
for interfacing is dependent on garment
detail, fabric type and desired effects. It can
make the difference between a professional-
looking garment and a disappointment.
Interfacing is used to:
• stabilise and prevent stretching where strain occurs, such as
neckline, buttonholes, waistband, pocket edges.
• add shape to waistband, collar, cuffs, lapels, plackets and other
• add body or crispness in cuffs, pocket flaps, pockets
• cushion bulky seams.
• reduce the frequency of pressing and
• increase life of garment.
Where to use interfacing?
Use interfacing wherever stability; shape or body is needed. While
most patterns suggest where to use interfacing, you may want to use
it in additional areas. Collars, except for cowl necks, turtlenecks and
ribbing, benefit from the use of interfacing. Buttons and buttonholes
Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing II
have a nicer appearance when they are backed with interfacing. Cuffs
and waistbands need the suppon that interfacing can provide.
Interfacing provides stability when applied to facings in collarless and
sleeveless areas. Pockets and tie belts have more body when interfacing
is used. Other detail areas may need intelfacing to create a specific
look. Interfacing is applied to the wrong side of the garment pieces in
the upper collar, upper cuff and garment front. If it shows through,
then the interfacing is applied to the facings.
Select interfacings that are compatible with the weight of the fabric,
the crispness needed and the care you will give the garment. Check
the label for care instructions.
Hair canvas is the traditional interfacing used for tailored wool
garments, but other woven, non-woven or knit interfacings in either
sew-in or fusible styles can also be used. If a sew-in is selected, drape
the wool over the different weight interfacings to see which one gives
the effect you want. If a fusible is selected, test it to make sure it gives
the right amount of crispness and doesn't change the surface of the
wool. If you see a ridge where the interfacing ends, either pink the
edge to prevent it from showing through, interface the facing or do
the entire piece.
Most fusible interfacings will last through laundering and dry cleaning
if they are applied properly. Pre-shrink the interfacing by placing it in
hot water for 10 minutes. Blot excess moisture and air dry.
Follow the fusing instructions given by the manufacturer. If
instructions state to use a dry iron and dry press cloth or a steam iron
on wool setting and a damp press cloth, do so. It may take anywhere
from 10 to 15 seconds to fuse the interfacing in place.
The appropriate interfacing to use in a specific garment should
compliment and reinforce, not overwhelm the fabric. The best choice
will depend on garment fabric, fabric care, fabric construction ana'
desired effects. A lightweight interfacing might be used for a draped
collar, for instance, while a tailored colour would require a :heavier
interfacing. It may be necessary to use more than one type and' weight
of interfacing in a garment, depending on its purpose. Consider the
following factors when selecting interfacing:
Care- The fashion fabric and interfacing should have similar care
requirements. Do not use a 'dry clean only' interfacing in a garment
you intend to launder.
Colour- Since colours do show through some fabrics, select an
interfacing in a colour compatible with fashion fabric. Beige coordinates
with neutral shades and warm pastel tones, blue coordinates
cool tones, silver with neutral shades and cool pastels tones, red with
warm, white with all tones and charcoal and black with dark tones.
Fabrication and application- Interfacings can be woven, non-woven
or knit fabrics. They can be applied by fusing (fusible) or sewing
(sew-in). Select the fabric and application that will give the results
Give or stretch- Some interfacings are very stable or stiff, others have
varying amounts of stretch or give. Select a stable intetfacing for an
area that you do not want to stretch (buttonholes, waistband) . An
interfacing with more stretch is used in areas that need shaping.
Interfacing weights vary from sheer to quite heavy.
Malu a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing II
Interfacing should be, slightly lighter in weight than the fashion fabric.
It should complement, not dominate the fashion fabric. An interfacing
heavier than the fashion fabric might be desirable only if special shaping
or effect is needed. If in doubt, choose the lighter interfacing, as one
that is too heavy may give unprofessional results.
To deterqline if a sew-in interfacing is suitable, drape the fashion fabric
over the interfacing. Shape and manipulate the combination to see if
it gives desired results. The appropriateness of a fusible interfacing can
be determined only by fusing a small piece of the interfacing to the
fabric. In the fusing process, the fashion fabric gains extra body.
Build up a supply of interfacings so you will have the kind you need.
Purchase 3 - 5 yards of any interfacing you use frequently. Having a
supply of interfacings also makes it easier to test fusibles to see if they
provide the desired results (including ease of fusing and quality of
adhesion). The variety and quality of interfacings have increased in
the past few years. The decision between fusible and sew-in is
dependent on fashion fabric, degree of firmness and personal choice.
Types of Interfacing: Fabric
Interfacings can be grouped by type according to fabric, stretch and
application. Almost every combination of these three types is available
in an interfacing fabric.
Fabrics used for interfacing can be woven, non-woven or knit.
Characteristics of fabric construction give different properties to fabrics.
While many fabrics are produced exclusively for use as interfacing,
others may also be suitable. Woven fabrics, such as batiste, muslin,
broadcloth and some lining/interlining fabrics, may be very suitable
as interfacing. The garment fabric can sometimes be used, especially if
it is a solid colour.
~ v e n interfacings may be cotton,
. rayon, wool, polyester or a blend of
fibres. Lengthwise yarns are interwoven
with crosswise yarns at right angles to
make a woven fabric. Those containing
wool can be shaped and moulded with
steam. Generally, woven interfacings are
cut on the same grain as the
accompanying garment section.
However, when cut on the bias they
have more give and -are more suitable for shaping.
Non-woven inte1facings are usually made of polyester, rayon, nylon or
1142 Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing "
a blend of fibres. The fibres are distributed at random and held together
by chemical binders and heat. Since they do not have a yarn direction
or grain, they will not ravel and can be cut in any direction. The
weight and amount of stretch can vary significantly among non-woven
interfacings. Give careful consideration to selecting the most
Knit interfacings are available in tricot, weft insertion and warp
insertion forms. Nylon tricot has crosswise s t r e t c ~ and lengthwise
stability. It adds shape and body to practically any knit or woven
fabric. Weft insertion has additional yarns inserted in the crosswise
direction that enables the interfacing to provide stability in both the
crosswise and lengthwise directions. It is used when you want more
stability than a tricot, but less stability than a woven interfacing. Warp
-insertions have additional yarns inserted in the lengthwise direction
and provide stretch in all directions. They are used for soft shaping.
Today's interfacings have different amounts of stretch or give. Do not
use stretch in areas where stability is desired.
No give or stretch - Non-woven stabilised interfacings do not give or
stretch in any direction. They are primarily used forpurses, draperies
and craft projects, although they may be desirable for waistbands.
One-way stretch - Interfacing stretches in the crosswise direction and
is stable lengthwise. It can be used in areas that need to stretch or to
stabilise areas such as waistbands. It can be non-woven or knit.
Modified one-way stretch - This type stretches mostly crosswise, but
has some give in lengthwise and bias. The direction of stretch can be
used to advantage by cutting the interfacing to use the stretch in the
Bias - The most 'give' is on the true bias. Typical of woven fabrics, it
will give like woven fabrics when sewn or fused in place.
All bias - This type stretches in lengthwise, crosswise and bias
directions. It is a non-woven fabric.
Types of Interfacing: Appli-
Interfacings can be applied to garment sections by sewing or fusing.
Both woven and non-woven interfacings can be purchased as sew-ins
or fusibles. Knit interfacing is currently available only as a fusible.
Sew-in - Use thread to attach these interfacings to the fashion fabric
by hand or machine. When attached to a seam allowance they are
often basted in place. A glue stick can be used to baste interfacings,
but use it with caution and only in the seam allowance.
• Advantages - Gives softer, more supple shaping, may used with
both woven and knit fabrics, a variety of woven fabrics not
specifically designed for interfacing can be used.
• Disadvantages - May shrink, so preshrink before cutting, may
need to be basted in place, a non-woven sew-in may buckle in an
area (such as collar) where it is completely enclosed, may need
machine or hand pad stitching for extra firm tailored shaping.
Fusibles - Fusible interfacings are designed with an adhesive on one
side of the fabric. When heat, moisture, pressure and time are applied,
the adhesive melts, attaching the interfacing to a ~ c o n d surface. Because
extra body is added to the garment as a result of fusing, select a lighter-
weight fusible. Always test a fusible interfacing on a sample of garment
fabric to determine if it is the proper weight, adheres well and gives
the desired results. Test by fusing a circle onto a fabric scrap. The form
Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing II
of the circle will definitely be noticeable if the weight is too heavy.
Wash the sample to see how the garment will look after it is laundered
and to determine how well the interfacing remains bonded to the
• Advantages - Quick to use, no basting needed, shape can be
built into garment with additional layers, adds firmness to an
• Disadvantages - Gets fmner after fusing, may damage some fabrics
that cannot be steam pressed, fusing adhesive may come through
lightweight fabrics or sheers, fusing process flattens the fabric
surface and may not be suitable for the following types of fabrics:
pile, nap, rough or textured surfaces, heat sensitive fabrics, open
work fabrics, silks and silicon treated or water repellent fmishes.
Low-temperature fusibles- These interfacings have a special adhesive
that applied with a cooler iron temperature. They are used on heat-
sensitive synthetics such as micro-fibres, ultra light polyesters, silks
and faux suedes. These low-temperature fusibles help prevent fusing
adhesive from coming through lightweight fabrics.
Jute: The Golden Fibre
Jute, the golden fibre has gained immense
popularity around the globe because of its
biodegradable character. It is a natural
vegetable fibre, which merges with soil and
does not emit toxic fumes or residue on
combustion. India is a major jute producing
country and it produces more than 40% of
entire world's production.
Jute handicrafts of India have created a niche all over the worla. A
wide range of skills have been honed to perfection by craftsmen who
have learnt to transform this natural fibre into products of daily use,
with an aesthetic appeal. Eastern region of India abounds in jute
products and handicrafts, reflecting the traditional craft skills.
Jute products from India are in great demand in the European
countries. Needless to say jute handicraft items are very much in vogue.
Assorted varieties of jute bags made in various weaves and blends are
available in the market today. Jute bags also come in various shapes
and sizes. Advanced manufacturing techniques have transformed jute
into an attractive and versatile fibre, with a high degree of user appeal.
Processing the jute in its formative form or the finished products can
make it water and even fire resistant.
Jute garments are available for all occasions. Hand blocked, hand
printed, embroidered, quilted and tie and dyed variety of jute garments
can be worn anywhere for any occasion. Garments of jute can also be
made with cotton blend (JUCO). Jute can be stylish and colourful, it
Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing II
can be customised to suit the exact needs of buyers.
The jute office accessories have a class of their own. They come in a
variety of pen stands, files, diary covers, card boxes and office handbags.
Highly innovative products like string bags, boxes, lampshades etc.
have been developed out of jute pulp and strings to give extra strength
to the products.
A luxurious range of jute home decor products are available to suit
different life styles. Cushion covers, tablemats, table covers, tea cosies
add class to, the lifestyle. Exquisite jute floor coverings add ethnicity
to home interiors. Be it light, soft and practical portfolio bags for
executives, Jute + cotton blend bedspreads, easy to clean decorative
wall hangings, soft non-scratching mats/ baskets or sturdy and
comfortable hammocks they all come in jute.
Importance of the 1\vist Balance
If the twist is not well balanced, the thread is snurling when loose,
mosdy this has no influence on the sewability. Mter sometime the
snarling becomes so heavy that it springs into the tension disk of the
sewing machine and forms a kind of knot, the tension is raising and
sometimes the thread is breaking.
Snurling can build a loop on the thread guidance, the winding of the
thread is blocked. This also can cause thread breaking. Sometimes the
loop of the thread in the needle falls aside. In this case faulty stitches
are the result. Sometimes the loop forms an eight causing also faulty
stitches or sometimes thread breaking. This problem also occurs when
the needle is out of the fabric and the thread is not under tension. In
this case, adjustment of the machine is very .important.
Even if the twist is well balanced, but the tension is too high, the
twist is pulled in one direction, i.e. it is becoming higher before the
tension disk and lower behind the tension disk, especially in the region
of the needle it is too low. The twist is opening. With lockstitch
seams the thread can be destroyed by the hook.
Why always Z - twist is used in sewing thread?
The direction of twist is important only for lockstitch seams. The
movement of the hook in relation to the direction of the transport
MRJte a <Areer in Textile n d Fashion Designi"" II
normally makes a Z-twisted thread necessary. If the transport (during
back-tack) in running back or with a 2-needle machine on the left
needle, a S-twisted thread would be better because the thread is more
closed. For a multi-directional working on a lockstitch machine, e.g.
for attaching pockets, the twist direction cannot be changed and
therefore a high-twisted core spun is necessary so that the thread
remains closed, even if the machine is running backwards.
Long time ago on a 2-needle machine a Z-twisted thread was also
used on the right needle and a S-twisted thread .)fl the left needle.
Different twist direction has an influence on the lustre and the colour
of the thread. Therefore, today the S-twisted thread does not exist
anymore and has been replaced by the higher twisted core spun.
The S-twisted thread is typical for a hand sewing thread or for example
bonded threads for ovedocking or a bulked thread, which will be
never used in a lockstitch machine.
Technologies Used in Textile
With the increasing convergence of technologies, CAD/CAM will
continue to evolve into an integrated environment that drives the
entire company. No longer serving just design or production functions
within the company, CAD/CAM will become an integral part of the
company 'intranet', - feeding sourcing, merchandising and marketing
processes that support the entire enterprise. The technology trends
that will drive this evolution include:
Modularisation: Proprietary software packages will give way to
modular plug-ins-software solutions that are narrow in focus and
designed to easily integrate with existing custom or off-the-shelf
3D body scanning: 3D laser scanning interpreted into accurate 2D
flat patterns will become a viable entity in the industry. This technology
will enable a proper fit of a garment and will fuel the end of mass
production and excessive retail inventories. In their second generation,
body scanners will be combined with video display and will enahle
the customer to 'tryon' sized-to-fit virtual garments.
Mass customisation: As we enter the technology age of mass
customisation, CAD/CAM technology will become a driving force in
the sales and marketing of apparel.
'1150 Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing II
Training the users
Three areas of CAD/CAM technology that will have increased focus
in the next five years are: ease-of-use, system self-diagnostics and
the U§e of knowledge-based technology. Applications expand to
smaller companies with fewer technical resources. The human
interface with CAD/CAM systems must become simpler and more
efficient and future equipment will have the ability to train the
people who are using it. The technology, called computer-based
training (CBT) will continue to rapidly develop and expand in
the years to come.
Similarly a built-in self-diagnostics will help users determine why a
machine may be operating improperly. Users will be able to deal with
many equipment malfunctions quickly, thus minimising downtime.
The need for less outside service support will also reduce total operating
A further extension of CBT and self-diagnostics will be the need and
ability for CAD/CAM equipment to actually acquire knowledge about
what functions it is doing. For example, some systems can now acquire,
over time, the correct settings for different types of fabrics, ply heights
and marker designs that will allow the cutter to achieve a desired
quality at the maximum speed. The knowledge of how to operate the
machine thus 'stays' with the machine.
Off-the-shelf software catering to small design houses
Due to the emergence of powerful desktop systems, the apparel
industry now enjoys a greater choice than ever. But these come at
a high price and small design houses, cannot afford them. To
resolve this, many firms are employing off-the-shelf graphics
software, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Despite there
features these programs don't offer specific tools for apparel and
Create and integrate
The products are designed for the apparel industry, the concepts and
different stages of design are covered, from volume to style, from the
collection to the garment, from the garment to the component piece.
The guiding principles behind the development of the new CAD
II Technologies Used in Textile Designing
range incorporates multimedia and the Internet - information
technologies that are no longer solutions for the future but features of
Design tools that offer maximum flexibility and guarantee the
quality and consistency of the processes are needed for the industry
today. Some tools allow users to recreate an environment identical
to their traditional one. Some can produce markers only one to
two percent less efficiently than those of an experienced marker
The key to the future is compatibility. To maintain continuity and
reduce problems, new systems should be created that accommodate
Use of Computers in Textile
CAD is industry specific design system using computer as a tool.
CAD is used to design anything from an aircraft to knitwear. Originally
CAD was used in designing high precision machinery, solely it found
its way in other industries also. In 1970's it made an entry in the
textile and apparel industry. Most companies abroad have now
integrated some form of CAD into their design and production process.
In fact, according to a survey in a country, of 228 Apparel
• 65% use CAD to create colourways
• 60% use CAD to create printed fabric design
• 48% use CAD to create merchandising presentation
• 41% use CAD to create Knitwear designs
Design choices and visual possibilities can be infmite if the designer is
given the time and freedom to be creative and to experiment using
the computer. Today automation is not only used for substituting
the labour, it is also adopted for improving quality and producing
quantity in lesser time. However, a CAD system is only as good (or as
bad) as the designer working on it. Computer only speeds up the
process of say repeat making, colour changing, motif manipulation
etc. It is actually the CAM aspect of CAD that will help reduce lead-
II Use of Computers in Textile Industry
1)rpes of CAD systems
Textile Design Systems
Woven textiles are used by designers and merchandisers for fabrics for
home furnishing and to men-women-children wear. Most fabrics
whether yarn dyes, plain weaves, jacquards or dobbies can be designed
and in fact are invariably used abroad using a CAD system for textiles.
Similarly embroideries are also developed at CAD workstations.
Some systems specialise in knitwear production and final knitted design
can be viewed on screen with indication of all stitch formation. For
instance a CAD program will produce a pullover graph that will
indicate information on amount of yarn needed by colour for each
piece. Another example of the new technology in the industries using
a yarn scanner, which is attached to the computer scans a thousand
metres of yarn and then simulates a knitted/ woven fabric on-screen.
This simulation will show how the fabric will look like if woven from
The process involves use of computers in design, development and
manipulation of motif. The motif can then be resized, recoloured,
rotated or multiplied depending on the designer's goal. Textures and
weave structures can be indicated so that printout either on paper or
actual fabric looks very much the way the final product will look. The
textile design system can show colourways in an instant rather than
taking hours needed for hand painting. New systems are coming which
have built-in software to match swatch colour to screen colour to
printer colour automatically i.e. what you see is what you get.
Illustrations/ Sketch Pad Systems
These are graphic programmes that allow the designer to use pen or
stylus on electronic pad or tablet thereby creating freehand images,
which are then stored in the computer. The end product is no different
from those sketches made on paper with pencil. They have additional
advantage of improvement and manipulation. Different knit and
Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing II
weave simulations can be stored in a library and imposed over these
sketches to show texture and dimensions.
Texture Mapping: 3D Draping Software
This technology allows visualisation of fabric on the body. Texture
mapping is a process by which fabric can be draped over a form in a
realistic way. The pattern of the cloth is contoured to match the form
underneath it. The designer starts with an image of a model wearing a
garment. Each section of the garment is oudined from seam line to
seam line. Then a swatch of new fabric created in textile design system
is laid over the area and the computer automatically fills in the area
with new colour or pattern. The result is the original silhouette worn
by original model in a new fabric.
Various Systems Used in
Digitisers put original patterns into the computer for use and storage.
It can be done by defining the X, Y co-ordinates of series of selected
points around the pattern. These basic patterns can be manipulated
with the help of a computer, for example in case of trousers, darts can
be moved, pleats can be created or flair can be introduced. This way
new designs can be created on screen from pre-existing patterns. Today
large scanners are also used to input pattern shapes instead of tracing
patterns on a digitiser.
After a sample size pattern has been put, it has to be graded up and
down in size. Certain points on the pattern are considered as 'growth
points' or places at which the pattern has to be increased or decreased
to accommodate changing body size. At each growth point the
operator indicates the grade rule to the computer. The system will
then automatically produce the pattern shapes in all the pre-specified
sizes. Say if we define pattern for size 30, it can be easily graded for
size 32/34/36 and so on.
Marker Making Systems
Computerised marker-making systems help in laying the pattern part
Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing II
together more economically than an operator could do with hands.
This ensures minimal wastage of fabric. On plain fabric this is relatively
simple but on striped fabric also automatic matching is done by the
computer. The layout is then directed to big plotters, which are overlaid
on the stacked fabric prior to cutting.
Pattern generated by marker making systems can be directed to
automated cutting machines which are operated without the help of
Marketing integration using computer
Designer is in direct contact with the customer and also the
manufacturer to be aware of the latest trends and also needs and
demands of the customer.
Improving the finish of a garment
Both in regard to appearance and functional performance, it is more
important than ever to improve the finish of a garment in order to
appeal to the modern consumer. Improvement in functional
performance of a garment through specialty finishing has led to the
development of up-market and niche products in recent times.
Developments have taken place in easy care, softening, water repellent,
soil-release and stain-release, flame retardant, anti-microbial and
Most of these finishes are given at the fabrics processing stage itself.
Technology for vapour-phase treatment, which allows finishing to be
carried out at the garment stage is still under development. The only
functional finish which has reached some level of satisfactory
application and performance is the 'wrinkle free' finish.
The wrinkle free finish (also known as 'Easy Care', 'Durable Press',
'Wrinkle-Resistant', 'V\'ash and Wear', 'No-Iron' etc.) is obtained by
cross-linking cotton. It was way back in the 1920's when the research
scientists started work on making cotton as wrinkle-resistant as silk.
For the next 35 years research in this field was carried out in laboratories
all over the world. In 1961, a company come up with a process and
the process used then is known today as the post-cure procedure to
II Various Systems Used inApparel Industry
introduce permanent creases in cotton garments. Initial consumer
response was lukewarm. Unfortunately, the chemistry of this
compound liberates formaldehyde over 2,000 parts per million. The
carcinogenic and dermatological effects of formaldehyde led to a
declining interest in wrinkle resistant fmishes. The fmishing of garments
to achieve permanent press properties was first presented at the 1987
International AATCC conference in Charlotte, NC, USA. Vapour
phase finishing of cotton garments with gaseous formaldehyde and
DMDHEU immersion finishing were the two options that were
discussed. At least one garment manufacturer had begun immersion
fmishing of cotton garments at this time. The trend was-established
by the mid 1990's Today there is widespread consumer interest in the
latest version of permanent press, popularly known as 'wrinkle-free'.
Textile Terminology (A-H)
An anionic dye applied from an acidic or neutral dye bath. It has
affmity for fibres containing basic groups.
A man made fibre containing nitrile. Maturing or ripening of alkali
cellulose. Steaming of printed fabrics.
Embossing effect used to give a pattern e.g. in drapery or upholestry.
A fabric that is woven in armure weave.
Term used for uncut dyed velvet cloth to be used for gowns.
Dyes containing basic amino group and applied to natural cellulosic
fibres in an alkaline dye bath.
II Textile Terminology (A-H)
Chemical process of improving the whiteness of the fabrics, yarn or
fibre with! without removal of natural colours, c.g. hydrogen peroxide.
Mixing of different fibres in definite proportion to get an end product
having the cumulative advantages of its constituents e.g. cotton
A rib effect woven cloth having high cover factor.
Finishing process involving passing of the material over one or more
brushes. It gives a raised effect.
A fmishing process to increase the smoothness & lustre of fabric. The
material is passed between heated rollers under high pressure.
A term used for plain weave cotton fabric having medium cover factor.
A heavy weight, plain weave fabric of cotton, flax, hemp or jute. It
has good strength & firmness.
The property by virtue of which the dyed material has resistance against
bleeding on washed or exposed to light, gas, rubbing.
A general term used for a) plied b) cabled yarns and structures made
by braiding, knitting or weaving.
Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing "
Ratio of the yarn/fibre's weight to length or depending on the direct
or indirect system usage. It is a measure of fineness of the fibre.
Continuous series of loops with single needle.
It is the procedure of setting of resin or plastic.
3/1 warp faced, 2c/ld twill weave, heavy cotton cloth. The fabric is
made of yarn-dyed warp and undyed weft yarn.
Dyes made of vegetable fibres. These are used for dying callulosic &
protein fibres. It is easily applied dyed but has low fastness.
Dyes used only for synthetics e.g. polyster.
A method of printing in which by application of a chemical substance
onto specific areas of a dyed fabric, the dye is discharged (removed)
leaving a white or differently coloured pattern.
It is a loom used for making double fabrics. It has healed capacity
greater than tappet loom. It also shows greater efficiency. Different
colour and weave effects can be WOven using drop box motion at the
Fabric having weave or effect requiring a dobby looms e.g. shepherds
II Textile Terminology (A-H)
A twill weave, piece dyed fabric. It is usually made in O.7m width.
A chemical containing chromophore, which on application to another
suitable material imparts colour to it accordingly.
Application and ftxing of a dye to the substrate.
A fabric composed of ftbres /yarns having very high young's modulus.
Thus the fabric is characterised by very high extensibility on application
of stress without any permanent deformation e.g. lycra.
Method of developing a raised /depressed pattern on to the material
by passing it between heated roller having the similar design engraved
upon one of them. It is generally used upon thermo plastic fabrics.
General term used for all materials made of ftbres /yarns by weaving,
knitting, lace binding, braiding, felting, bonding, fusing or inter
Fastness of material to an agent means the resistance of the former
towards the latter.
A long continuous man-made ftbre.
Make a Career in Textile and FlUhion Designing II
Treatment of fabric to improve properties.
Worsted fabric with pronounced twill face.
Crepe fine fabric with alternate twisted tam.
Textile Terminology (J. .. Z)
Plain weave with small tufts or fibres fixed by adhesive.
Woven or non-woven fabric layer between outer cloth and lining of a
garment for stiffening or giving warmth.
A weaving machine to produce intricate woven design by controlling
each warp yam.
Plain knitted fabric on circular knitting machine or tricot machines.
A multicellular baste fibre.
A process of forming open work fabric by tying yarns when they cross
one another, interlocking a series of loops.
Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing II
Joining together by tying.
Open work fabric.
Light thin cotton fabric.
A weaving machine.
Gloss of textiles.
Thin cellulosic fabric woven with figures on lino fOWldation.
A mixture of coloured stocks.
Fine lustrous hair of Angora goat.
A fine plain white cottOQ fabric.
N arrow Fabrics
Fabrics of 24-36 inch width.
Gestitchesometrically shaped mesh.
II Textile Terminology (I-Z)
Fabric from a web of fibres held together by various methods other
than felting, colouring or intertwining.
A felt Indian rug of goat's hair embroidered with coloured chain
Synthetic polyamide fibre.
Thin transparent stiff effect on cotton.
2 x 1 basket weave.
Dying of yarn in packages.
Pick and Pick Weaving
Weaving by alternate picks.
Polymerised product of alcohols and acids.
A plain weave fabric with ribbed or corded effect.
Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing 1/
Looms driven by power.
Reeled silk directly from cocoon with slight twist.
Frame in front of harnesses separating warp and swinging forward.
A woven cloth of smooth surface caused by weft floats.
Process of making yarns.
Silk yarn from short filament.
Average length of fibre for natural or, cut in case of man-made fibre.
A finish to resemble chamois leather.
Plain closely woven ftlament fabric.
Yarn dyed figured fabrics in jacquard loom.
Absorbent fabric with uncut pile loops.
II Textile Terminology (I-Z)
British polyester fibre.
Surface effect and appearance of fabric.
A rough fabric of wiry heavy wools.
Weft interlaced with warp to form diagonal ridges in fabric.
A cut pile fabric heavier than velvet, longer piles with fme raised fmish
of cotton /woollen.
Cut pile fabric of silk or man-made fibre.
Yarn running lengthwise in woven fabric parallel to selvedges.
Interlacing of two sets of yarns usually at right angles to form a fabric.
Winch Dyeing Machine
A dyeing machine consisting of a dye vessel fitted with a drive winch,
which rotates and draws a length of fabric, normally joined end to
end, through the liquor.
Descriptive of yarns or fabrics or garments made from yarns, which
have been produced on the condenser system, wholly from wool fibres,
" 68 Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing II
new or otherwise. (Wool is the fibrous covering of a sheep.)
Descriptive of yarn spun wholly from combed wool in which the
fibres are reasonably parallel and· fabrics or garments made from such
yarns. In most countries fabrics with a small proportion of non-wool
decorative threads can be described as worsted.
A fabric manufactured wholly from worsted yarns, except that
decoration threads of other fibres may be present.
A product of substantial length and relatively small c r o s s ~ section
consisting of fibres and jor fllament (s).
Fashion is a language of signs, symbols and iconography that non-
verbally communicate meanings about individuals and groups. Fashion
in all its forms, from a tattooed and pierced navel, to the newest
hairstyle, is the best form of iconography one has to express individual
identity. It enables the individual to make himself understood with
rapid comprehension by the onlooker.
For centuries, individuals or societies have used
clothes and other body adornments as a form of
nonverbal communication to indicate
occupation, rank, gender, sexual availability,
locality, class, wealth and group affiliation.
Fashion is a form of free speech. It not only
embraces dothing, but also accessories, jewellery,
hairstyles, beauty and body art. What one wears
and how and when he wears it, provides others
with a framework to subdy read the surface of a social situation.
Fashion, an indicator of cultural c h a n g ~ s
How one perceives the beauty or ugliness
of his body is dependant on cultural
attitudes to physiognomy. Today an
inability to refashion and reshape the
bodies, while constandy monitoring the
cultural ideal, leaves the designers failing the
fashion test. Those that pass the fashion test
invariably spend their lives absorbed in a circle of diet, exercise,
cosmetic surgery and other regimes. This includes the rigours of
shopping in search of the ultimate garb.
An innate characteristic of human beings is the desire to strive for
differentiation. The removal of sumptuary laws and rigid dress codes
has enabled the individual to use fashion as a means to identifY clearly
the many different roles that a person plays irlyany one day. Sociologists
borrowed the word 'role' from the theatre, because like actors
individuals play many parts and each part has to be learnt. Roles are
continually learned and rehearsed and relearned. They are also shared,
because like the actors on a stage, fluid interaction only occurs if all
the performers know the behaviour expected.
Roles and activities are closely linked to what people wear. People are
affected by their role-set, which includes boyfriends, girlfriends, sisters,
brothers, friends, husbands, lovers, mothers, fathers, grandparents,
relatives, employers, customers, clients, work mates, business
colleagues, peer and age groups.
The people with whom a purchaser interacts affects the final purchase
and this applies to any fashion-dominated item ranging from. interior
furnishings to choice of cars. Likewise, the purchase of fashionable
clothes, fabrics or accessories becomes a visual currency and',s.peaks
volumes silendy. The tools of fashion provide the signs and symbolism
that function as an information service for the role-set.
People are aware that others make judgments about them th.rough
their clothes and accessories.
The Purpose of Clothing
Those with high status occupations wear the I
clothes they think. others expect them to wear.
They do not wish to experience role conflict
by wearing the incorrect clothing. It is from
the clothes a person wears that people get his
first impression of personality. They provide
mental clues to a person's status and
occupational role, as well as being a means of
conforming to peer group expectations.
Clothes also have the utilitarian function of ,
providing protection from the extremes of the
elements, keeping one warm or cool or safe.
They also act as an aid to modesty or immodesty as the wearer so
The state of a person's clothes is synonymous with self-respect and is
a sign of respectability. It also adds another sign that the person has
sufficient status in society to maintain at the cost of time and money,
laundering, dry cleaning and repair. To be respectable some expense
has to be incurred in the maintenance of cleanliness and neatness.
Clothes are the status signs
One of the most favoured forms of semiotic distinction is fashion,
because fashionable clothes, accessories and body adornments are easy
for others to observe at glance. In addition, incidental items, particularly
branded specific handbags, footwear, jewellery, accessories and new
hairstyles act as important status symbols.
II The Purpose ofCwthing
It is interesting that
First, a fashion is approved by others.
Then, it is copied because of competition.
Finally, it is replaced as it. becomes commonplace and has ceased to
fulfill its function of being distinctive.
The status fashion can be anything from a particular jewel, such as
solitaire diamond stud earrings or the latest fad for long drop gold
earrings to a brand logo pair of jeans in a particular style and colour.
The ability to decode trends that are not deliberate and obvious is
limited to a small group, who adopt consumer items early.
The US economist, who wrote the book, "The Theory Of The Leisure
Class", in 1899, maintained that dressing for status, as an outward
expression of wealth, is indeed functional by the very fact that such
clothes prevent the wearer from engaging in manual labour. Also,
because of their restrictive design they need the assistance of others to
dress the wearer and keep such clothes in pristine condition.
'Haute Couture' is a French phrase meaning 'high
fashion'. 'Couture' means dressmaking, sewing, ,
or needlework and 'haute' means elegant or high,
so the two combined imply excellent artistry with,
the fashioning of garments. The purchase of an
haute couture model garment is at the top level
of hand customised fashion design and clothing
construction made by a
couture design house. A
model haute couture
garment is made
specifically for the wearer's measurements and
body stance. Exclusive clothes are virtually
,,/'" made by hand, carefully interlined, stay taped
and fitted to perfection for each client.
High 'cost for high fashion
Dependant on the haute couture design
house and the garment, the cost of a couture
item runs from about £10,000 to £ 40,000
and often beyond that figure. If the client is
not rich, it will be hard for him to .' ':1 .
understand why the price is so high. The ., ;
price stands for service, workmanship,
originality of a unique design and superb
materials of the finest quality.
II Haute Couture
High priced fashionable fabrics
The fabrics used by couture houses are very luxurious and include the
latest novelty fabrics and expensive silks, fme wools, cashmeres, cottons,
linens, leather, suede, other skins or furs. In the case of a famous design
house, the design and colour of a cloth, may be exclusively reserved
for that couture house.
Some designers make accessories either by established design or
inspiration. Hats, trimmings, buttons, belts, costume jewellery, shoes
and innovative pieces are fmely crafted to complement the fabrics and
fashion ideas being created. Superb craftsmanship, a fresh idea and
publicised internationally renowned names command a price to match.
Those able to afford couture are happy to pay for exclusivity and the
privacy afforded by the system. Designers create their initial designs
either by using muslin, which drapes well for flowing designs, or by
using linen canvas or calico for more structured garments such as
The fmal toile of a design idea is an accurate interpretation of the line,
or cut right down to the button placement or hemline that the
designer is seeking. Once satisfied, the designer instructs his staff to
make up the garment in the selected and exclusive materials. One
seamstress, or tailor works on the garment from start to finish. The
cutting and finishing is done in one room and the workroom
manageress is responsible for everything produced in that room.
Haute Couture Caters for
Sometimes designers work for
their owp. label and sometimes
they work for a famous Haute
Couture house. Very few
couture model sales are made in
a year and these rarely total more
than about 1500 sales for each
house. This is not surprising
when you learn that only about
3000 women, or so, worldwide
can actually afford t9 buy clothes
at the highest level and fewer than 1000 buy regularly.
Because of this, haute couture actually runs at a loss. Design houses
present expensive million pound fashion shows of often dubious, but
outrageously noticeable designs, intermixed with exquisite garments
on supermodels. The couture house sells only a very limited percentage
of Haute Couture model garments to a contracting number of
customers. The profits from this activity are negligible, amounting to
less than ten per cent of gross profits of the couture name or even
sometimes a loss.
You might then wonder what is the point for so Iowa percentage sale
in relation to efforts and deadlines. The answer lies in the phrase 'selling
a dream'. The fashion shows attract huge media attention and gain
enormous publicity for the couture houses. They sell a dream of the
II Haute Couture Caters for ExclusiT1e Customers
intangible. A dream of chic cachet, of beauty, desirability and
exclusiveness that an ordinary person cannot buy.
If a consumer can afford the bottle of perfume, the scarf, the designer
boutique jewellery, the bag of the season, the couture named cosmetics
or the ready to wear 'designer label' products, they convince
themselves they are as exclusive as the 1000 women and the
supermodels, who regularly wear haute couture model gowns.
It is fair to say that the goods are usually of very high quality, so many
people are happy to pay a price that they feel reflects the image and
Fashion designers create garments and accessories making them
functional as well as attractive, the main consideration being the needs
of the client, which are obviously influenced by trends, market
predictions and the climate. The designer needs to keep close track of
fit, style, colour, texture, size and material. Fashion designers design
outer and inner garments and also the accessories to go with them.
The process of designing clothes begins with sketching the original
idea on paper. Then the designer shapes the pattern pieces, which
make the garment. The pieces are then drawn in actual size on paper
and cut out on a rough material. These pieces are stitched together
and fitted on a model. Modifications in the pattern pieces or other
features of the mock piece are made and thus the design is completed.
From the rough model, sample garments are made in the final
fabric. Much time is spent on exploration and research.
The work of a fashion designer is both competitive and
stressful. Considerable time is spent standing and working on large
worktables. There is a lot of teamwork that goes into a good creation.
Fashion shows require perseverance over long periods of time. There
is considerable travel involved during fabric selection, analysis of
fashion trends and fashion displays. There is hectic work pressure
during fashion shows.
inexperienced designers usually receive on-the-job training, and
normally need 1 to 3 years of training before they can advance to
higher-level positions. Experienced designers in large firms may advance
to chief designer, design department head or other supervisory
II Fashion Desi[Jners
positions. Some designers become teachers in design schools and
colleges and Wliversities. Many faculty members continue to consult
privately or operate small design studios to complement their
classroom activities. Some experienced designers open their own firms.
Designers in most fields are expected to face keen competition for
available positions. Many talented individuals are attracted to careers
as designers. Individuals with little or no formal education in design,
as well as those who lack creativity and perseverance, will fmd it very
difficult to establish and maintain a career in design.
Overall, the employment of designers is expected to grow faster than
the average for all occupations through the year 2010. Increased
demand for fashion designers will stem from the continued emphasis
on product quality and the demand for new products.
In popular fashion houses, median annual earnings for fashion designers
were $48,530 in 2000. The middle 50 percent earned between
$34,800 and $73,780. The lowest 10 percent earned less than
$24,710, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $103,970.
Median annual earnings were $52,860 in apparel, piece goods, and
~ H A P I E R
Fabric is one of the initial marks of a designer. Every fibre used in
textiles for apparel has its own history and details:
1. Flax 5,000 + B.C.
• Generally considered to be the oldest natural textile fibre.
• Fine linen was used as burial shrouds for the Egyptian pharaohs.
• Largest producer: Soviet States. Other large producers include
Poland, Germany, Belgium and France. Largest exporters are
Northern Ireland and Belgium.
2. Cotton 3,000 + B.C.
• Earliest use estimated between 3,000 B.C. to 5,000 B.C.
• Worn by Egyptians earlier than 2,500 B.C.
• Eli Whitney'S invention of the cotton gin in 1793 revolutionised
the processing of cotton.
• The development of the power loom in 1884 brought significant
improvements and variations to cotton fabrics.
• Major producers: United States, Soviet States, China and India.
Lesser producers include Pakistan, Brazil, Turkey, Egypt, Mexico
Iran and Sudan.
Cotton is an all time favourite for summers.
3. Wool 3000 B.C.
• Used by people of the Late Stone Age.
• There are 40 different breeds of sheep, which produce
approximately 200 types of wool of varying grades.
• Major producers include: Australia, New Zealand, Soviet States,
China, South Mrica, and Argentina.
Nowadays, designers experiment with woollens to give the models a
chic look. Short cardigans with accessories have emerged as the latest
4. Silk 2600 B.C.
• It is believed that a Chinese princess discovered silk.
• Silk is made from two continuous filaments cemented together
and used to form the cocoon of the silkworm ..
• Silk culture began about 1725 B.C., sponsored by the wife of
• India learned of silk culture when a Chinese princess married an
• The major producer and exporter of silk is Japan.
Silk is one of the most dominant fabrics in the fashion industry. From
gowns to expensive Indian saris, the silk costume gives a look rich in
status and splendour.
1. Rayon 1910
• The first man-made fibre.
• T\Vo different chemicals and manufacturing techniques were used
to develop two basic types of rayon. They were viscose rayon and
• Rayon fibres are superior in moisture and water absorbency and
can be dyed deeply and colourfully with a variety of dyestuffs.
2. Nylon 1939
• It is the second most used man-made fibre in this country, after
Nylons are used for designer pantyhose and laces in designer corsets.
3. Polyester 1953
• Polyester is the most used man-made fibre in the U.S.
4. 1Hacetate 1954
• The first commercial production of triacetate fibre in the United
States was in 1954.
• Domestic triacetate production was discontinued in 1985.
5. Spandex 1959
• It is an elastomeric man-made fibre (able to stretch at least 100%
and snap back like natural rubber).
Spandex is used in fllament forms for frills.
II Ma1H1UUle Fibres
6. Polyolefin/ polypropylene: 1961
• The first commercial production of an
olefin fibre was in the U.S.
• In 1966, polyolefm was the world's first
and only Nobel-Prize winning fibre.
7. Micro fibres 1989
• The true definition of a micro fibre is a
fibre that has less than one denier per
filament. Micro fibre is the thinnest, fmest
of all man-made fibres. It is fmer than the
most delicate silk.
• Environmentally friendly, lyocell is produced from the wood pulp
of trees grown specifically for this purpose. It is specially processed,
using a solvent spinning technique, in which the dissolving agent
is recycled by reducing environmental effluents.
Types of Cotton
Within the basic categories of fibres, there are different types of fabrics
that are identified by their construction (how the fibers are woven
together, or by their design). Here is a brief list of some of the types of
1. Batiste - very fine, soft, usually sheer cottons often used for
handkerchiefs, nightwear and children's dresses.
2. Broadcloth - closely woven fabric. If you look closely, you will see
tiny crosswise ribs.
3. Calico - plain woven cotton, usually printed with tiny floral
4. Cambric - tightly woven cotton, usually in solid colours, such as
cambric blue. Used in apparel, especially casual shirts .
. S. Canvas - heavyweight cotton, used for items that require strength,
such as tote bags, knapsacks and slipcovers.
6. Chambray - finely woven cotton, usually with white and another
colour. The white is ~ e r y subtle, used in the crosswise (warp)
yarns. A chambray shirt, for instance is usually pale blue, but if
you look closely you will see the white yarn.
7. Chino - this is cotton twill that has been pre-shrunk and
mercerised. Most often used for sports pants and other sports
8. Chintz - highly glazed cotton with a rich glossy finish. At Cranston,
l11Jpes of Cotton 8 5 ~
it is called 'Cransheen finish'. Chintz adds a decorator touch to
home furnishings and is also great for dressier apparel.
9. Corduroy - cotton pile that has been cut and woven with wide or
10. Denim - better known as the workhorse of cottons! Very strong
and similar to Chambray, in that it is often made with white
11. Duck - another strong, durable cotton, used for projects that are
meant to last, i.e. travel accessories, slipcovers, awnings, etc.
12. Flannel - very soft cotton, usually with a nap. Used often in baby
wear. For children and baby apparel, make sure it is flame retardant.
13. Garbardine - can be cotton or wool. This is the twilled fabric
that spans the seasons and is often used in jackets, skirts and pants.
14. Gingham - yarn-dyed woven cotton, usually seen in the form of
15. Khaki - another strong cotton
weave. It is used in uniforms and
other items that require strength.
16. Lawn - cotton lawn is a fme, crisp,
combed cotton fabric, used in
children's wear, nightwear and
17. Madras - originally from India. Real
madras is hand-loomed and dyed ~ ~ m ~ r
with plain woven fabrics.
Depending on the type, it can be
coarse or fine, dyed or unbleached.
Patterns are usually stripes or plaids.
18. Muslin - very basic. The unbleached variety is often used for pattern
making or test garments.
19. Percale - fmely woven cotton, often used for sheets. The higher
the thread count, the softer the hand.
20. Pique - cotton that has been woven with a raised, cord or weld
effect. Also called dobby weave.
Other Types of Fabrics
'JYpes of silk
1. chiffon - very transparent, sheer fabric, often used in evening wear.
2. China Silk - plain weave silk, usually used for linings of garments.
3. Crepe - textured silk, sometimes pebbled or crinkled.
4. Crepe de Chine - smooth, plain-surfaced silk crepe, luxurious hand
and look. It is often used in evening or bridal wears.
5. Georgette - heavier form of chiffon with pebbly texture. This very
sheer fabric is often used for blouses and dresses.
6. Organza - very fine, sheer fabric used for formal wear for women
7. Peau de Soie ('skin of silk') it is silk woven in a satin weave. This
term now also applies to synthetics with this look.
8. Pongee - natural, nubby silk, usually with tan colour.
9. Shantung - originally shantung was hand-loomed Chinese silk.
Now, it refers to a plain weave silk with hand-loomed textured
10. Challis - soft, draping fabric often with a floral pattern. Used for ,.
scarves, skirts, etc. It may also be rayon or cotton challis.
11. Flannel - very soft plain-weave with a nap on one or both sides.
Used in outerwear, menswear, etc.
12. Jersey - a plain will-knitted fabric made of w09l, cotton, nylon,
rayon, or silk and used especially for clothing
II Other 1Jpes of Fabrics
13. Melton - heavy wool without glossing or pressing. Extremely
warm, used in outerwear.
\ 14. Merino - very fine wool, used in sweaters, vests, etc.
15. 1'weed - Fibre-dyed yarns, rough textured wool in a variety of
subtle colour combinations. One well-known tweed is Harris
There are 120 different kinds of clothes that you can use to establish
a style statement of your own:
aloha shirt anklets apron
bathing suit bathrobe bell-ottoms
belt beret Bermuda
bib blazer blouse
blue jeans bonnet boot
bow tie boxer bracelet
button-down shirt cap cape
chain charm coat
corduroys costume crew soc
crutches culottes cut-offs
denim jacket evening dress flannel shirt
galoshes glasses gloves
gym suit handkerchief
hat jacket Jeans Jersey
jogging suit Jumper
knickers leg warmers leggings
leotard locket mittens
moccaSInS muff muffler
neckerchief necklace necktie
nightgown nightshirt overalls
petticoat pinafore plaid shirt
pleated skirt polo shirt poncho
Make", Career in Trxtile and Fashion Designing
pullover raincoat ribbon
nng robe rompers
sailor suit sandals scarf
shawl shirt shoes
short-sleeved- shorts ski pants
ski suit skirt slacks
slicker slippers sneakers
snow suit socks sport shirt
stockings suit sundress
sunglasses suspenders sweat socks
sweat suit sweater sweatpants
sweats sweatshirt swimsuit
T-shirt top tie
tights track suit trousers
trunks turtleneck tutu
underwear uniform V-neck sweater
vest watch Windbreaker
As a fashion designer, you should
explore new ways of using popular
stitches to create richly patterned and
Traditional, comfortable cross-stitch
has become so associated with work
on even weave fabrics and with kits
that its versatility can easily be
overlooked. In your designs, you
should strive to liberate the humble
cross stitch by using it experimentally
with a variety of materials in order to produce intricate and rich
patterns, which can be used for many different purposes and projects.
You can combine cross-stitch with other simple stitches such as running,
franch knots, seeding and straight stitches.
Sampling (or trying stitches, patterns and ideas out before embarking
on an embroidered project) is a very impor:t:ant part of the process of
developing your work.
Begin slowly with simple stitches and then gradually explore more
complex possibilities, adding layers of stitching and applied materials
to your work. As you begin to understand the patterns you can achieve,
you will soon be able to create your own original and exciting designs.
Stitched on backgrounds of felt, silk, space-dyed cotton and polyester,
all the work here has been stitched 'by eye' rather than from a planned
design. If you feel nervous about working cross-stitch on plain-weave
fabrics, you can carry out similar ideas on even weave fabric (try space-
Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing "
dyeing it or printing a subtle design on your fabric before stitching),
or you can use waste canvas where appropriate.
Material · required for pattern making in cross stitch
• usual sewing equipment
• an embroidery hoop or frame. It is important to keep work taut
when using large straight stitches
• small pieces of rich fabrics (to provide stability, fme fabrics can be
mounted on calico or other cotton before stitching), cotton
fabrics, commercial felt, metal tissue
• -even weave fabric (if this is your choice)
• a variety of embroidery threads to go with the colour of your
• a small collection of scraps of soft leather, sticks, beads, sequins,
canvas and other meshes if available
Exploring Pattern Possibili-
ties with Cross Stitch
Cross stitch and double cross stitch are worked on a simple background
with different threads. Scale and density, are both important in partern
making. They can be achieved with a variety of threads and by changing
the size and proximity of the stitches.
You should aim for a crisp, clear cross-shape to give good structure to
your work. If you work small crosses with a thick or softly textured
thread, you may end up with poorly defmed crosses. Do not be afraid
to make some stitches, even fme ones, quite large (the 'arms' can always
be secured with a couching stitch).
Put some of your stitches together, join them up, overlap them and
see what patterns begin to emerge. Look at the shapes you are creating
between the crosses. See if you can add another smaller stitch, or can
you make links with larger stitches across the shapes.
Applying other materials with cross stitch
Sample 1 Sample 2
Crosses and patterns built
from layering and overlapping
crosses are an excellent way to
apply a whole range of other
elements that can add variety
and richness to your
In Sample 2, carrying on from
Milke a Career in Textile and Fashion Duigning II
Sample 1, crosses and cross-stitch designs have been used as a
decorative couching method. You might fmd it helpful to use a small
straight stitch to catch down the element before you proceed with
the decorative stitchery. The folded fabric squares have been held down
with a tiny stitch in fine thread in each corner.
You will be able to fmd lots of small decorative elements to use in this
exercise, but the materials used here include:
• squares - of folded fabric, felt, leather and glass
• circles - sequins, beads and buttons
• lines - cords, ribbon and fme willow sticks
• ~ a : : ~ ~ s - of cotton and painted EJ
• threads - flower thread, soft ~ ~ ~ : ~ - _ ~ ~ - __ -_ ~
. cotton, mulberry silk, stranded
cotton (one strand), cotton a ~
hroder. and metallic machine @3 ) ~ 0
embroIdery thread .
Folded fabric squares
• Start with a square of fabric (cotton and metallic tissue were used
in the worked samples). A 3 cm square will result in a 1 cm
finished square. You can make larger and, with practice, smaller
squares. Use fabrics that can hold crisp creases.
• Fold horiwntally into accurate thirds to make a narrow folded
strip. Iron or fmger-press to give sharp creases.
• Fold in accurate thirds, vertically, to create a neat padded square.
• Flip over so that turnings are on the underside.
• Secure to the background fabric with a small stitch at each corner
before decorating with cross stitches.
Pattern Making in Cross
A background of gold dupion silk can be used for
small type of embroidery. Symmetrical design of
squares made from folded metal tissue and leather
are held down with cross stitches in metal thread.
The border, which is important in 'containing' the ,
centre of the design, is made from couched silk
and metal cords surrounded by tiny squares cut
from copper-coloured leather. This motif could be framed as a small
panel or could be used to make a box lid.
A larger embroidery piece could be made by repeating similar-sized
motifs, but of different designs, one beneath the other or in a grid
Threads used: Madeira gold 9807 couching thread, Madeira gold
machine embroidery thread, Madeira FS 2/2 machine embroidery
thread in blue/black
Size: 12 x 12 cm
Ideas for constructing layers of squares
Small squares can be cut from fme leather, suede or commercial felt,
or they can be made from folded fabric. They can be placed in layers
to build simple geometric patterns and applied to the background
with a tiny stitch at each corner. Decorative designs may be developed
by overstitching the squares with cross stitches.
Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing II
Making more complex stitch patterns by overlapping and link-
Sticks used in model making were painted with coloured ink (any
paint or dye could be used), then attached (couched) to a shot-silk
background with criss-crossed stitches. The patterns were worked
starting at the top left and increased in
complexity as the exploration proceeded. Note ,
the overlapping and joining of stitches to create
intricate and rhythmic patterns.
Threads used: flower thread, stranded cotton
Small embroidery using plastic mesh
Plastic mesh in very shiny gold was cut into
rectangles and strips. A bigger grid was made on some of the s'lapes
by cutting away parts of the mesh. The shapes were then placed in a
pleasing abstract arrangement (move the shapes around until you are
happy with yoUr layout) on a background of shot dupion silk and
held down temporarily with tacking thread., Decorative patterns were
made from layered crossed stitches of various sizes.
Thread used: Mulberry silk (medium weight) in strong colours.
Size: 16.5 x 13 cm
Embroidery on a painted background
An overlapping design of squares and grids was hand-printed on rich
red dupion silk with gold and copper fabric paint. As in the previous
piece, various meshes and grids were overlaid in a balanced abstract
arrangement and held down temporarily with tacking thread. The
boldest grid was made from cocktail sticks painted with copper acrylic
paint. Richly layered patterns were built up using cross stitches and
some straight stitches. Tiny squares of soft leather in copper and gold
were a d ~ e d and held down with yet more crossed stitches.
Threads used: Mulberry silk (medium weight) in rich colours and
Madeira gold threads.
Size 22 x 17 cm
Giving New Look to Normal
All through the fashion history, the most celebrated pieces of work
have been those, which took the monotonous outfits and highlighted
them with a new set of ideas and patterns. Simple cuts on sleeves,
lowered necklines, altered lengths of tops are the few examples that
have rejuvenated the most tedious and dispassionate clothes into the
hottest known chic stuffs.
Even a simple wear like a T-shirt can
be made trendy and attention
grabbing with a mere touch of
creativity. The word 'T-shirt' may
conjure up images of men's cotton /
poly undershirt. But with your
ingenuity and a little sharpness, you
can produce its customised version of
a ready-to-wear trendy T-shirt that
could fetch you a price tag lying
between Rs. 600 to Rs. 1000. And if
a T-shirt is well made and beautifully
shaped, it can be the glue that holds your '90s wardrobe together,
worn just as easily with a suit as with jeans.
When you sew your versatile T-shirts, you can refine the fit, alter
necklines and shaping to flatter your figure, use beautiful fabrics, arid
add fine details. Fitting and adjusting are easy when you follow a few
Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing II
A word about fabrics
To sew a T-shirt that looks like better ready-to-wear, you will need to
seek out fme-quality knit fabrics. Since knits do not have much bolt
appeal, keep an eye out for especially nice ones. And take a loolc at
ready-made garments that you like for shaping, details and other ideas.
The existing styles can induce you to create a mark of your own in the
world of fashion.
T-shirts can be made from many knit fabrics, induding cotton, wool,
velour, cashmere, panne velvet, Lycra blends and fleece. Do not worry
if you do not have access to the matching ribbings and trims that
manufacturers have made to their specifications. A narrow, self-fabric,
bound neck edge gives a fme fmish to a shirt of this quality.
For fall T-shirts, shift to slightly heftier knits, made from wool jersey,
velour, sweater knits and thermal cottons.
There are a few techniques to control stretch and get smooth liems
and edges. Test each fabric you sew and keep a record of what worked
for future reference. If you make a few T-shirts each season, you will
have a collection of tops and a few refmed patterns to use and wear
again and again. And you can endlessly vary style, sleeve length and
How to Start a Good Pattern
Begin with a pattern whose basic measurements and features are right
for you. Measure your favourite T-shirt or go shopping with a tape
measure and try on garments, noting the key measurements, plus design
and construction ideas of items you like. Note especially the shape
and length of the body, amount of ease across the bust and hip, neck
shape and width, shoulder width and armhole depth. With this
information, you can select and customise a pattern for the fit and
details you want.
Adjust for fit
Fitting the pattern takes a little time and fussing. You can continue to
refine it as you sew. To adjust the fit, combine flat pattern measuring
with tissue- and pin-fitting and make a series of changes to improve
1. Start with the flat pattern. You can use the pattern to determine
the amount of ease it includes, whether you need to alter it to fit
or to compare one pattern to another.
Calculate the ease intended for the garment style by measuring
the pattern from side seam to side seam across the front and back
at the bust and hip.
2. Next, tissue-fit your pattern. Tissue-fitting the pattern pieces, like
pin-fitting a garment during construction, is a try-on-again-take-
off-again procedure that helps you visualise the finished garment
on your body and further refme the sh!lpe before you begin to
Make a o"reer in Textile and Fashion Designi"" II
3. Refme a neckline you like. You can alter the neck of a T-shirt to
flatter your face or figure, to update a look, or to fit under another
garment. It is fine to adjust the front, back and shoulder areas
4. Sh9U1der widths vary from person to person. Determine the best
s}loulder widths by measuring favourite garments and adjusting
during tissue- and pin-fitting.
S. Go for a pleasing armhole depths. The depth of the armhole helps
determine the proportion of a garment, as well as how it will fit
beneath a jacket.
6. Once the pattern fits and you have determined the best length,
neckline and armhole depth, the next step is to refme the pattern's
7. Lengthen the front for tops and dresses: Women's upper bodies
are usually wider in front than in back, so making a garment front
1/2 inch longer gives a smoother fit. Add the 1/2 inch at the
bust. For a full bust, also add width at the bust by curving the
side seam out 3/4 inch, tapering to zero above and below. When
sewing, ease the front to the back in the bust area.
8. Balance the armhole: To balance the armhole means to adjust the
pattern so the back armhole is 1/2 inch deeper than the front.
This solves the problem of garments that fall back.
9. Refine the body shape: A subtle hourglass shape or a tapered
wedge that narrows at the hip is more flattering to the body than
the straight boxy cut found in most ready-made T-shirts and
10. Eliminate some of the fullness across the chest on dropped-
shoulder styles by reshaping the pattern, where the arm joins the
body on the pattern front only. During tissue-fitting, make a mark
3/8 to 1 inch from the cutting line, and redraw the line. Always
choose a close-fitting wrist. Measure the width of ideal wrist and
upper forearm. A model amount of ease is about 1 in, at the wrist
and zero at the upper forearm.
Tips for making a T-shirt
Preshrink and press fabrics before cutting, using the method you want'
to use for the finished garment. Garments are usually cut on the
lengthwise grain, but you may occasionally prefer a fabric's design or
stripe on the cross grain, which is fine if the fabric has enough stretch
going around the body. Since many knits have a subtle directional
shading (they are knitted from one end to the other), use a 'with-nap'
layout whenever possible.
No fancy seams needed
You do not need a serge to make beautifully constructed knits. Since
knit fabrics do not ravel, a plain raw or pinked edge works fine. Most
widely preferred option is a straight stitch and a standard 2.5 mm.
stitch length. For very stretchy knits, Use the smallest baby zigzag
stitch, which will 'read' as a straight stitch.
To control stretching, use a simple technique called stay stitch plus.
Apply pressure on the back of the presser foot or push down on the
fabric behind the foot, stitch 1 to 2 inch, then release. Repeat along
the length of the seam. With 'a bit of practice, you will maintain an
even tension throughout.
A mock flat-felled seam is perfect for holding seams flat, like at the
shoulder and for dropped or raglan sleeve seams. Stitch a standard
seam, press it open and then press it to one side. Trim the under layer,
if bulk is a problem, and topstitch from the right side.
A 12/80 sized universaL needle (tapered, with a rounded point) and
MRke a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing II
good-quality, all-polyester thread work well for most light- to medium-
weight knits. If you get skipped stitches on synthetics, 'power' knits
with Lycra, or very fine knits, try using a ballpoint needle (with a
more rounded point), apply needle lubricant along the spool of thread,
then try a smaller needle. It is preferable to use double needles for
For smooth hems and stable seams
Before assembling your T-shirt,
prepare the hems by pressing them
into place. Use an oak tag template
as a guide. Next, apply a narrow
cross grain strip of soft, all-bias
knit, fusible interfacing in hems to
reduce rippling. It is easier to add
now while the garment is flat.
To sew and stabilise the shoulder
at the same time, stitch the shoulder seam with the backside up, adding
a strip of clear, un-stretched elastic on top. Press the seam without
touching the elastic, which will melt.
Making a Neat and Round
For a neat, round neck, a self-fabric, bound neck edge, 1/2 to 1 inch
wide, is preferable. A cross grain strip of fabric works well for a single-
layer, wrap-around binding on medium-weight to thick fabrics, and
for a double-layer French binding on lightweight knits. Since each
fabric handles differently, tinker with the binding's length to get a
smooth finish. It should pull the neck edge in and lie flat against the
body without puckering. Before cutting the band, try on the shirt.
Nothing more will be done to the cut edge of the fabric on the neck
before it is bound, so you can see whether the neckline needs to be
drawn in, which is simple to do with the binding.
To calculate the width of the band, add three seam-allowance widths
plus 1/2 inch (for the turn of the cloth and extra to catch in the final
stitching). A 3:4 to 7:8 ratios between the length of the binding and
neckline generally works well. For example, on a 20 inch long neckline,
you might start with a binding of 15 to 17 inch depending on the
stretchiness of the fabric. Adding 1/4 inch seam allowances, cut the
neckband ends on a 45 degree angle to reduce bulk and stitch the
ends to form a circle.
To clean-finish the inside of a single-layer neckband, it is handy to
have a serge. But you can also pink the band's remaining raw edge or
turn it under before stitching in the ditch to secure. Positioning the
band's seam off-centre at the back, divide the neckline and band in
quarters and mark with pins, snips or chalk. With right sides together,
position the band on top of the neckline and stretching slightly, stitch
Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Designino II
the seam lines together, then press. Wrap the binding to the wrong
side, press again, and try on the garment to check the neck fit and
, At this point, you can even out the seam-allowance width, but never
grade or clip the seam allowance, which will weaken the seam and
On a double-layer binding, cut the binding wider than necessary,
since folding and pressing will make it uneven. Then fold the binding
~ : ~ ~ ! f ; wrong sides together, press and trim it to the length and
width needed. After joining tne cuds :it 4
45-degree angle, stitch the raw edges to the
neckline, as above. The folded edge will wrap
to the wrong side and be caught in the ditch-
stitching for a clean fmish.
For T-shirts, it is preferable to use a small,
smooth shoulder pad covered with fusible
tricot. You can either sew the pads in.place
by hand or attach them with strips of soft
hook-and-loop tape. Finally, it is better for
you not to think of a T-shirt as a throwaway
2Clnnent. Fitted and constructed carefully from a beautiful fabric, it
~ be a valued piece in your wardrobe.
Flowers, ferns, feathers,
photographs just about anything
can be reproduced on blueprint
fabric. The creative possibilities are
The blueprint was invented in
1842. It is one of the most popular
and permanent photographic
processes. The resulting prints are
white or pale blue or a dark blue background. However, different
exposure times give different colours.
You can use a variety of things to make your prints. Text, drawings or
computer designs printed in black onto acetate (your local photocopy
shop can do this), large photographic negatives, delicate objects such
as fern leaves, grasses, feathers, stencils or open-mesh fabrics, such as
net, lace or doyleys, work well. Whatever you choose to make, your
pattern must not be too large, or solid, or you will get an uninteresting
blob of white on a blue background.
The prepared fabric, either cotton or silk noil, comes in a b l a c ~ ,
lightproof bag. But do not undo it to have a look until everything
else is ready. It is easier to work with smaller pieces until you are sure -
of the process, so cut the fabric into convenient sizes. -
The following is a scanned picture of flowers, and developed on the
Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing II
computer to make a nwnber of patterns, which were then printed in
black onto acetate to use as negatives.
The original colwnbine flower, scanned into the computer to develop
The flower was repeated, overlapped, to build up a larger design.
To make further designs, parts of print 2 were isolated and printed
To keep the fabric flat during the exposure it must be supported on a
base, such as a large piece of expanded polystyrene. Place the fabric on
this (it looks pale green at this stage) and lay your chosen image,
leaves, acetate print, etc. on top. If the object you are printing is not
flat, then you will need to pin it, through the fabric to the polystyrene,
but make sure the pins do not show in the finished print. For flat
images such as stencils, cover the whole thing with a piece of plain
For the best results, choose a clear, sunny day, although it is surprising
how good a print you can get in slightly hazy conditions. Prop the
top edge of the base on a brick or box (support the glass with large
pins so that it does not slip) so that it is facing the sun and leave it for
about 8-10 minutes.
Using rubber gloves to protect your hands, remove the print from
the board and fix the print by rinsing it thoroughly in clean water.
The colour changes during the rinse and the water will turn green as
the chemicals are rinsed out. Dry the print indoors, away from direct
sunlight. Iron when dry.
Yellow and brown prints
Different exposure times will give a range of blues, but ordinary
household bleach will remove the blue to leave it yellow. The amount
of bleach is not critical, but start with a cup (any size) of bleach to
four cups of water, and swirl the fabric around in it, using rubber
gioves. Rinse it well and neutralise the bleach with a tablespoon of
vinegar to one or two cups of water. If you wish to make a brown
print, boil some teabags in water until you get a good, rich colour.
Remove the teabags and swirl the print around in it until it is the
colour you want. Rinse and dry.
~ H A P I E R
Tips for copying a Design
• Place your fabric over the design and using a hard pencil, trace the
outline onto your fabric. (It is a good idea to hold your fabric in
place with masking tape to prevent it from wrinkling). If you
cannot see the image through the fabric, try going over the design
with a black felt pen to make the outline stronger.
• Alternatively, trace the design using tracing paper and tape this
onto a light box (or a window). Tape your fabric over the top so
that the light shines through and you can trace the design onto
• On dark fabrics, use a quilters' white or silver pencil.
• Dressmakers' carbon paper is available in a variety of colours. Use
one that will show on your fabric. Place dressmakers' carbon face
down on top of your fabric and position fabric and carbon under
the design to be traced. Using a hard pencil, carefully draw around
the design, checking to see that. it is coming out clearly.
• Tacking (basting) the outline of a design leaves no marks or lines
on the fabric, so it is very useful for techniques that do not have a
II Tips for copying a Design t o Fabric
stitched outline around the whole
• Lay the tissue paper on top of the
design to be copied and carefully trace
the design onto the tissue.
• Position the tissue-paper tracing on top
of your fabric and pin in place around
the edge. Tack around the edge and
remove the pins.
• With a sharp-pointed needle and using
a thread in a colour that will show up
well against the fabric, stitch carefully along all the design lines
with small running stitches. Start the stitching with a small knot
and finish with a couple of small stitches to make sure that the
tacking is secure.
• When you have stitched along all the design lines, carefully tear
away the tissue, leaving the tacked outline on the fabric. If you
are working on light or delicate fabric, the tissue paper can be left
in place to protect the fabric, and torn away gradually to reveal
only the area being worked.
• The tacking-stitch oudine can be removed as you embroider if
your stitching will make it difficult to remove later, or you may
prefer to complete all of the embroidery and then remove the
tacked design lines.
Choosing Fabric for Plus-
Irrespective of the obese shapes, which tend to spoil the look designer
wears, fashion designers with their creativity and ability and can make
such bodies look attractive Ike the picture perfect models on the ramp.
For this purpose, aesthetics, durability and comfort of the fibre should
When you walk into a fabric store, your senses of sight, touch and
even smell are immediately stimulated by the hundreds of colours,
patterns, and textures that you see in the fabrics arrayed before you.
While the beauty of fabrics elicits a visceral and passionate response in
most sewers, there is much more to fabric than meets the eye or fmgers
and nose, for that matter. Designers, who want to design clothes for
plus-sized bodies, must understand that the fibre content of the fabric
that they choose affects the success or failure of each garment that
they sew. Fabric choices affect a garment's design, durability, comfort
and care requirements.
Fibres are the smallest units from which fabrics are made. They are
twisted together to form threads that are woven or knitted into fabrics.
Every fibre has a characteristic set of performance properties, which
affect your garment's success, no matter what style of fabric those
fibres are woven into, That is why the name of the fibre or fibres that
make up a fabric is the most important piece of information that you
nee;d to consider before you purchase it.
Some of these performance characteristics have to do with aesthetics,
the way a fabric made from a particular fibre looks. For example, the
II Choosing Fabric for Plus-sized Designs
fabric's touch describes all its tactile qualities, that is, everything you
can feel with your hand.
Some qualities are how smooth
or textured the fabric is, its
drape or how sofdy or stiffiy the
fabric hangs when gathered, its
lustre, or how dull or shiny it is
and its wrinkle resistance.
Another performance charact-
eristic that affects design is the
Comfort factors are also very
important when selecting fibres for plus-sized designs. Some fibres
are naturally absorbent and others are moisture repellent.
Because each fibre differs in how it performs in terms of its aesthetics,
durability, and comfort, you must determine the fibre content of every
fabric you buy. This information should be written on the bolt end
or on a tag attached to the roll of fabric.
Types of Fabric for Plus-
Generally, natural fibres are the bqst investment for plus-sized apparel.
They are easier to sew because they press well and they look and feel
best on plus-sized bodies.
1. Woollens and worsteds - Woollens and worsteds are usually knitted
or woven from the hair of sheep. They usually require dry cleaning.
They are warm, absorbent, bulky and fuzzy. For these softer fabrics,
pilling, abrasion and felting from perspiration, body warmth and
pressure can be a problem.
2. Silk - Silk is luxurious and comfortable to wear. Filament silk is
made from very long, smooth silk fibres, so it is slippery and
lustrous. Raw or noil silk is made from shorter pieces of silk fibre.
It is much less expensive than filament silk and feels similar to
3. Cotton - Cotton is comfortable and absorbent, drapes well and
varies widely in quality. Generally, look for a close weave and a
long fibre length. Some cottons are heavily sized or starched, to
make them seem crisRer, heavier and more expensive, but of course
the sizing will wash out, when the fabric is laundered or dry-
cleaned. Most cottons launder well, but bright colours may fade
and many cottons may require ironing.
4. Linen - Linen fibres come from the flax plant and have been
around even longer than silk. Linen is one of the favourite fibres
for plus-sized designs. It is beautifully breathable and strong and
wears very well. It is crisp, slightly lustrous and luxurious. Linen
111Jpes of Fabric for Plus-sized Designs
fabrics vary in weight from transparent handkerchief'linen to heavy
5. Synthetics - Man-made fibres are identified by their ~ b r e name,
trade name, or the manufacturing process used to tur the basic
fibre into a fabric. Most synthetics were developed to re lace more
costly or less available natural fibres.
6. RRyon - Rayon fabrics are strong when dry but weak when wet.
They are breathable, resist abrasion and drape attractively. They
also shrink when laundered and most wrinkle very badly.
7. Acrylic - Acrylic fibre was developed as a substitute for woollens
and it is often seen in the form of knits and fleece fabrics. Acrylics
are warm, bulky, fuzzy, stretchy and comfortable to e a r and can
be easily washed.
8. Nylon - Nylon, also a substitute for silk, is usually slippery and
very strong and drapes well, but it is also occlusive and has a very
low melt temperature, so it does not take a press very well. Some
of the newer types of nylon such as Taslan or Supplex are more
comfortable and make excellent lightweight, windproof and water-
repellent outerwear for plus sizes.
9. Spandex - Spandex is usually covered with other fibres such as
cotton, nylon, silk or wool to produce blends for knitted and
10. Polyester - Polyester, a.k.a. 'The Famous Twin Sisters Polly and
Esther', is really a form of plastic made from petroleum prcx.iucts.
Polyesters are wrinkle resistant, durable, cheap, widely available
and attractive looking, but they do not breathe. They are extremely
non-absorbent and uncomfortable to wear, especially for large,
Blends combine both the best and worst of their components'
performance characteristics. A cotton/ .
polyester blend, for example, may make
~ feel sticky and will hold oil stains,
but it will not wrinkle as much as all
cotton. Blends also pill more easily than
single fibre fabrics, because different fibres
may pot stay twisted together and may
break loose to form pills.
Wide or Narrow Pants
Pants can be made all the more stylish by tapering or widening them.
There is more to it than just adjusting the leg seams.
If you simply taper the seams on an existing pants pattern or on ready-
to-wear pants, you will typically find that there is still more fabric
below the seat and under the belly than you want. Here is how to
take out part of the width from the side and inseams and part from
within the pattern, in both front and back.
1. Start by noting the widths you want at hem and knee levels, then
measure the distance from hem to knee line. Fold both front and
back patterns in half lengthwise, matching the inseams and out
seams. This establishes the crease line and centre on each piece,
which should be parallel to the grain line. Correct the grain line if
it is not.
2. Unfold and cut both pieces horiwntally at the knee. After that
alter the lower-front pattern first. To make sure the hem allowance
fits inside the tapered leg, fold the pattern on the hemline before
marking and trimming.
3. Refold the pattern piece on the centreline, measure the total hem
width you want, subtract 1 inch, then divide the number by 4
and mark along the hem from the fold toward the seams. For
example, if you want a 17 inch. opening, subtract 1 from 17 to
get 16 inch, and then divide 16 by 4. Do the same thing at the
knee using the knee width you want (minus 1 inch, then divided
by 4), then connect the marks from hem to knee, add seam
allowances and cut away the excess.
II Wide or Narrow Pants
4. Now, repeat the entire process for the lower-back pattern piece,
this time adding 1 inch to the knee and hem widths before dividing
by 4. Adding and subtracting 1 inch ensures that the pattern
follows the usual ready-to-wear practice of making backs wider
than fronts (which improves the hang of the garment).
5. Next step is to reattach the upper patterns to their respective lower
parts, starting with the fronts. Align the crease lines of the upper
and lower sections.
6. Keeping the inseam/crotch side of the pattern stationary to
maintain the grain line. Pivot the out seam section, so it overlaps
the centre line by half the excess width at the knee, then slide the
top pattern upward slightly so that the out seam stays the same
7. Now for the inseam, slash or fold a tuck from the centre of the
un-shifted knee line to the crotch seam until the excess width at
the inseam lines up with the corrected inseam below.
8. Repeat this process for the back pattern, which may require more
or less tapering based on how much rear fullness is built into the
pattern already, or because of other alterations.
9. To increase the width of the leg, do the same thing in the other
direction, expanding the lower leg, then spreading the upper pieces
Most people start out believing that the only things that influence
the gown they make are their budget and sewing skill. While these are
significant, there are other aspects of making the perfect gown that
also playa part.
The purpose of your gown plays a significant part in what your fmal
gown will look like. A good aid to considering the gown's purpose is
by thinking of the five Ws: Who, What, When, Where and Why.
The type of character you are playing
If you are a peasant, then naturally you will want peasant dress. The
gown will be simple and modest, using rougher fabrics and less
decoration. A noblewoman, on the other hand, can wear velvets,
silks, satins and brocades. If you are playing a particular class or station,
or a person in a particular year, you will have to research the particulars
for that specific time frame and station. '
The choice of a gown
The length of time you wear this gown and the activities you will be
doing, will substantially influence your choice of gown. If it is a
wedding gown, you will not be doing much, recept sitting, standing,
or perhaps dancing. Therefore, you are free to choose from a variety
of gown styles, including ones with wide skirts, trains, veils and other
restrictive elements. If you are wearing the gown for an outdoor re-
enactment, or for working at a living history site, you will be in it for
several hours a day and doing lots of walking, reaching and bending.
In such a case, you will want clothing, which offers as much comfort
and freedom of movement as possible.
When will this gown be worn?
A wedding gown is worn once, or at most two or three times before
putting it away. It does not have to be durable, or easy to clean. This
is a chance to go all out with expensive, delicate fabrics. However, at
times, the designers need to create gowns that should fit well and be
comfortable. In such a case, the fabric has to be durable and easy to
Where will this gown be worn?
Where the gown will be worn that is indoors or out, in the sun or in
the rain, during winter or summer or both, is something to take into
account. If the gown is for a wedding, you will probably be indoors
most of the time. You do not have to worry about excessive sun or
rain and can use expensive and glitzy fabrics for your gown without
worrying about damage by mud, rain or sweat
from too much heat.
The purpose of making the gown
Every gown has specific requirements for
authenticity, colour and design particulars.
Articulating the reason you are making the
gown, helps bring into focus the particular
qualities it has to have.
Designing the Perfect Gown
Creating a gown that looks good and is
comfortable involves several factors. This is
the exciting part of acmally designing your
gown. Look at the pictures of the gown you
particularly like, noting the various parts that
appeal to you. Sketch several different
combinations of bodice, skirt and sleeve to
see how they look. Do not worry if you
cannot draw well. You are the only one, who
will see these and you know how you meant
the gowns to look like. Taking all the factors
mentioned above into account, choose styles,
accessories and headwear that are compatible with the gown you have
Take out some fabric swatches and pieces of trim and mix and match
them. Imagine what various colours and' fabrics would look like
together. Try the same gown drawn with different decoration and
trim patterns. If you have markers, coloured pencils or crayons, colour
in some of the gown to see what the colours look like together. Look
at the various gowns you have drawn and consider how well they
meet the criteria set by you. Eventually, narrow down and combine
your variations until you come up with the one that appeals to you
most. Go over the checklist of criteria and see how well it meets all of
these. Take a piece of paper and draw out your gown on it. Mark
comments and descriptions of colour and fabric on it, references to a
portrait that you want the bodice or sleeve to look like, and accessories
II Designing the Perfect Gown
that will go with it. Mark page numbers of particular books that you
got your design from for future reference. If you have not decided on
a particular colour or fabric, note the different colour/fabric combos
that you have narrowed it down to. If you have fabric swatches or
bits of trim, staple or glue them to the sheet. Having a picture there
of what the gown will look like is a wonderful aid to motivation.
These factors are significantly important when designing your own
gown, but they are also very helpful in designing gowns for others.
Often a person has a vision of the gown he wants, but has not
considered the details of cut and style, or thought of how well it
actually suits him and the purpose to which it will be put.
With a good solid foundation in costume history and the knowledge
of how to design a gown to suit all the needs of a particular person,
you can create your dream gowns. If you find that you really enjoy
designing and making gowns and want some p r a ~ c e , a good place to
start is with your friends and acquaintances. Even if they do not really
plan on making a gown or having one made, you can have 'practice
consultations' with them to discuss what they would like.
Computers in the Field of
In the present world, computers have
grown to be the foremost requirement
of almost every conceivable profession,
which requires creativity, accuracy and '
a good implementation of time.
Fashion designers can use computers
to enhance their designs. Virtual
display of designs on computers and the facility with which they can
be altered according to the designer's satisfaction are the most alluring
elements of employing computers in the field of fashion designing.
The two most popular and influential software's used in the world of
fashion designing are:
• Corel Draw
• Adobe Photoshop
The purpose of fashion designing on computer
• It is easy to design on the computer.
• Working time is reduced drastically.
• Enables variations of your designing in seconds.
• Choice of 16.7 million colours.
• Mixing and matching of colours at a flick of a button.
• Intricacy in dress, pattern, necklines, fitting, designing, etc.
II Cumputers in the Field afFashion Designing
• Capability of building up libraries of sleeves, yokes, pleats, colours,
patterns, etc., which you can access for permutations,
combinations and modifications.
• The ability to trace figures or designs on to screen for further
• You can create unique and world-class original and unique designs
in vector and bitmapped format.
• You can retouch, manipulate and
enhance models to suit your
unique imagination of designs.
CorelDraw is Vector graphic software,
allowing the user to produce world
class illustrations with 16.7 million
• With CorelDraw you can create illustrations from scratch, enhance
the designs, use and embellish scanned photos of your designs,
and send your finished work out in many ways.
• A vector-based drawing programme with extensive text handling
and precision-drawing features can be used to enhance your design.
• It is an ideal tool for virtually any design project from designing
to technical illustrations, advertisements, publishing and internet
• Full-colour design illustrations.
• Complex design drawings.
• Fashion designs.
• Photo realistic design images.
• Surrealistic images.
• Animation sequences.
• Libraries of designs.
Make a Career in Textile and Fashion Designing ·11
• High-quality drawings from low-resolution originals.
• Web page designing.
- 2. Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Photos hop is an image processing software package that enables
you to create and edit images on IBM personal computers. Adobe
Photoshop is acknowledged in professional fields as the cutting-edge
programme, the final word in fashion designing.
• With Photos hop's tools you can paint a likeness of a physical
• Mixing and manipulating of colours at a click of a button is
• You can blend 2 images.
• You can create patterns and designs using fills and colours.
• You can manipulate your design images with special effects and
• You can import and export your images.
• You can retouch, manipulate and enhance designs and patterns.
• It has been used to edit and create images as diverse as fashion
designs, cosmetic ads, motion picture footage, animation cells
and fine art work.
• Creates original art and converts it to desired platforms.
• Facilitates retouching, manipulation and enhancement of designs.
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