How to Design Your Own Clothes

2 mannequin sketches

A step-by-step guide to letting your inner fashion designer shine!

Do you watch Pretty in Pink and dream of letting your quirky personality shine through your edgy fashion designs like Molly Ringwald did? I used to watch that movie and envy too cool Andie Walsh and her sewing abilities. Then I thought about actually what it would entail to design prom dresses for my two teenage daughters.

Because I knew that my girls wanted prom dresses and not something that resembled a pattern made by their dearest mom, I decided to really let my artistic talent shine by designing dresses based on their favorite Hollywood stars at current red carpet events. My eldest daughter chose Katy Perry and my grade 10 daughter (who was asked to prom by a senior) chose to a dress based on one of Emma Stone’s recent Spider Man premiere dresses.

So being ever eager to impress my daughters, this mom went out and bought a sketch book and put her creative juices to work! Not only did my daughter’s wow the crowd in their self-designed dresses by moi—they knew that no one else at the event would be wearing anything even close to their 2013 prom dresses!

Here is my very own guide to designing fashion-forward clothing in 10 easy steps…

1. Go out and buy a sketchbook — learn to draw a basic mannequin body lightly on the pad. This will be your foundation and you can draw it based on the proportions of the person you are designing for.


2. Sketch your dress over top of the mannequin — I drew mine in black charcoal and then used colored pencils to embellish my designs.

2 mannequin sketches

3. Take measurements — either for yourself (if the dress is for you) or for your client (in this case, my daughters).

3 measuringtape

4. Decide on a fabric for your dress — pick a material based on its durability, texture, and pattern. It’s for a prom so I choose taffeta for one and silk for the other.

4 choose a fabric

5. Be sure to buy material according to the measurements as well as extra material for mistakes — I made a few and was glad for the excess.

5 extra fabric

6. Make a pattern for your dress design — you can also bring your design to a professional tailor and have them draw a pattern based on your dress design sketch.

6 make a pattern

7. Hit the sewing machine — you will need to have regular fittings with your client (in this case my daughters) as you stitch to ensure the dress is a good fit.

7 sewingmachine

8. Host a final fitting of the dress design — to ensure there are no flaws or adjustments needed to the final design.

8 making adjustments

9. Test accessories with the design — now’s the time to try on several pairs of shoes, accessories, pieces of jewelry, and hair styles to see what works with the design.

9 accessory

10. Reveal your final design — both of my daughters were a hit on prom night. They had the most unique dresses of any other student in attendance!

10 reveal Author: Rachel Barnard is a self-confessed shopaholic and contributing writer for Style Cynics, a fashion and celebrity gossip site that features the latest buzz and the hottest styles.

Find Your Creativity

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