How to Draw Fashion Flats

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Fashion flats are an essential part of a designer's portfolio. They are sketches of separate pieces of clothing without a figure underneath. Flats are highly technical and need to include all seams, stitches and design details. Flats are the primary method of design communication in the industry and are used for presentations, sometimes filled with color and print. Flats can either be done by hand or using Adobe illustrator on the computer. Flats done on the computer can be replicated, changed and added to, whereas flats done by hand must be re-drawn each time.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Pen
  • Piece of paper
  • Tear-out of a woman or man prefereably in a bathing suit or lingerie
  • Computer
  • Adobe Illustrator

Draw Flats by Hand

  • Lay the piece of paper on a table.

  • Put the tear-out of the person underneath the piece of paper. You should be able to see the person through the paper.

  • Use the sharp pencil to draw the outline of the bodice of the garment. Use the body underneath as a template for placement and size. Use sharp, fluid lines, not sketchy light ones. Draw the appropriate amount of volume for the desired fabric. If it's a light chiffon, it should hug the body, if it's a chunky sweater, it should extend well beyond the figure underneath it.

  • Draw the outline of the sleeves, if any, using the body underneath as reference.

  • Draw the neckline of the garment, again, using the body for reference.

  • Draw the hem of the garment, keeping in mind the volume of the garment and using the figure underneath as reference.

  • Draw the interior lines and seam lines, adding any fabric details such as pleats, gathering or tucks. Add embroidery, lace or any other embellishment.

  • Draw the stitch lines using a dashed line, or a double-dashed line for a double-needle cove stitch.

  • Trace over the entire sketch with the pen, in the same order that you drew the flat. If possible, use a thicker tipped pen for the outline and a thinner tipped pen for the interior lines. Erase the pencil lines.

Draw a Flat Using Adobe Illustrator

  • Draw a body in Illustrator freehand, or scan in your hand-drawn flat to trace. Open Adobe Illustrator. Open a new page by clicking "File," then "New." If you will be tracing your hand flat open it by clicking "File," then "Open."

  • Select the pen tool from your tool box on the left; the third from the top on the left side. Your cursor now becomes the pen tool. When clicked, the pen tool distributes points which make up the lines. Click and hold the cursor for a curved line.

  • Trace or draw the outline of the fashion sketch with the pen tool, using one continuous line. When you arrive back to the first point, click on it to make a complete shape. Keep in mind the desired volume of the garment.

  • Use the pen tool to trace the inner lines; seam lines and fabric treatments, such as pleats, gathers and tucks. These do not need to be continuous lines. Draw any embellishment on the design. To make stitch lines, go to the stroke menu on the right side of the screen, and click "Dashed line."

  • Save the document by clicking "File," then "Save."

Tips & Warnings

  • Different versions of Adobe Illustrator may have different placement of menu selections.
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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