How Do I Design a Dress?

A woman wearing a dress.
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  • Written By: Marco Sumayao
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 17 July 2014
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To design a dress, the tailor should first consider the individual for whom the dress is being made. The dress should not only flatter the client's figure, but it should match her personality as well. The designer should then work on preliminary sketches and discuss modifications with the client on a regular basis. Once a final design is determined, the designer should canvass the cost of materials needed for the dress, making adjustments to the design when necessary.

Experts recommend that any projects that require individuals to design a dress start off with a client interview. During the interview, the designer should take notes on the client's purposes for the dress. The results of the interview will have a significant effect on the design. A client headed for a wedding reception, for example, will require a formal dress that does not match the color, cut, or pattern of the bridesmaids' dresses. The client's personal qualities and preferences matter, as the finished dress should not only look good on its own, but also be an ideal fit for the client's personality.


During the interview, the designer should take the client's body measurements. It is extremely important to design a dress that both fits the client perfectly and accentuates the best parts of her physique. The cut and features of the dress will depend largely on the client's physical properties. A bottom-heavy woman, for example, will most likely look best in a dress that balances out her figure by drawing attention to the upper part of her body. In the same vein, designers should design a dress that places emphasis on lower parts of the body if the client is more top-heavy than normal.

The designer should design a dress based on the insights gained from the client interview. A preliminary sketch should ideally be made available to the client during the first meeting, incorporating cuts, colors, and other stylistic details that match the client's personality and preferences. The fabric used in the dress is another important matter, and the designer should make swatches of fabric samples available for the client's perusal. The designer and client can then have an open dialogue regarding any alterations to the design.

When both the designer and client are satisfied with a final sketch, the designer can begin to source the materials needed for the dress. If the fabrics or embellishments in the dress are not readily available, the designer can recommend alternatives based on the client's budget and other guidelines. After receiving input, she can design a dress that includes the necessary alterations.


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