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Making sketches

Communicating a design idea when you are artistically challenged.

Very often we find clients sounding apologetic about sending their design idea as a roughly drawn out sketch. Here’s the thing- you could have great design ideas and “know” the look you want to have for your label without being able to translate that into a perfectly drawn flat sketch. That should not stand in the way of your sharing your design ideas with your manufacturing team. So we always tell our buyers to use several means of communicating design ideas; to use a combination of words describing the design, pictures to explain similar effects, and yes, a badly drawn sketch is perfectly acceptable - these are all great ways to tell your private label manufacturer what you need. It’s their job to put it together in a form that makes sense to you and their production team.

Confession: I have worked at creating clothes for the last 2 decades at least and I have to fess up that I have never once managed to produce sketches that have those long-legged model silhouettes enveloped in soft fabric folds.

And the way we work at Strawberry Stripes, there is a fair amount of collaborative effort with our buyers – we provide design and embroidery inputs to the preliminary ideas sent to us, so I have had to learn to make working sketches that can communicate a design idea both to the customers with whom I am collaborating and to our back-end production team.

My designing shortcut is to use SketchbookPro with the mirroring tool. That helps create perfectly symmetrical garment silhouettes. I then color block portions as needed, draw in piping effects, add in fabric prints etc. This produces a working sketch that is more than enough to communicate the design idea to our CAD team who can then use it to create patterns, flat sketches and techpacks.

It’s not a work of art but it is quick, it can incorporate a lot of detail and easy to make changes on as we tweak the design in conversation with the buyers.
Or else, there’s always the back of a napkin 😊.

What is your designing hack?

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