What are Fashion Sketches?

Pamela Pleasant

Fashion sketches are sketches done by designers when they want to turn a new clothing idea into an actual design. They start with a template of a body and draw the garment onto it. This allows the designer to market his ideas and designs and to showcase originality and style. There are two ways to present fashion sketches. Images can be created by using computer software or they can be drawn out freehand.

Fashion designers sketch their ideas for new clothing before creating them.
Fashion designers sketch their ideas for new clothing before creating them.

The template a designer uses is just as important as the garment itself. Templates are used as guides and the designer must find one that enhances the look of the garment. Hairstyles and different accessories might also be included onto the template to add a splash of color or to emphasize a style. Developing figure poses for a particular garment is also important when a designer chooses a template for fashion sketches.

Fashion sketches can be drawn freehand.
Fashion sketches can be drawn freehand.

The designer will have to include the texture and color of the material being used to create the garment. Fashion sketches have to be drawn in three- dimensional illustrations and this is done by shading in areas to show different textures. There are natural folds in clothing when it is worn on the body and the designer has to emphasize these folds so that the garment can be fully understood. When preparing fashion sketches the garment has to be presented with both the front and back views.

Fashion sketches will show where zippers or other fasteners are to be placed on finished clothing.
Fashion sketches will show where zippers or other fasteners are to be placed on finished clothing.

All zippers, buttons, and seams are usually included in most fashion sketches. Any visible seam lines are drawn out on the sketch in darker-colored dotted lines. Zippers and buttons are clearly drawn out to indicate where more material is needed and to see where there may be a material pull or puckering on the garment. This can eliminate any unexpected problems when the pattern is being constructed.

Fashion sketches are an important part of creating a garment. They clearly show the look the designer is trying to convey. The intended textures and colors are also documented as well as the how the clothing falls and gathers on the body. Preparing a pattern for the garment is the last step before it is actually made.

Occasionally, fashion sketches are not converted into garments if a designer isn’t happy with the results. They can still be used as guides and the designer may choose to slightly alter the areas that need changes. The designer may have to repeat the process several times to create an acceptable garment.

A great looking suit starts with an illustration.
A great looking suit starts with an illustration.

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Discussion Comments


@Sara007 - If you are looking for easy fashion sketches that can be followed step by step there are lots of books that offer drawing guidelines for beginners. You can probably check some out from your local library. Just look for books on fashion templates and fashion drawing.

Another thing you can do if you don't want to look at fashion sketches for sale is to look online and print free templates. Since your daughter is just practicing drawing it doesn't really matter where the materials come from. A lot of online artists post their art which could also work for inspiration for her.


My older daughter is interested in fashion clothing sketches and I am wondering if there are any fashion sketches templates available that would give her something to practice from?

I would prefer if I could find free fashion sketches and ones that were easy to copy. My daughter is a pretty good artist for her age but I think she really needs a step by step guide if she wants to start designing her own fashion pieces. I have started letting her cut dresses she likes from my fashion magazines for ideas, but I think she needs more practice with the human figure. It can be really tough to draw people well.


I love to draw fashion sketches and my art teacher at school encourages the practice. If you want to enter a fashion design program in college you have to have a solid portfolio of your ideas right out of high school. Apparently fashion sketches and drawings give schools a good guideline by which to gauge your drawing ability and eye for style.

Right now I have a rapidly growing sketchbook of fashion sketches and drawings in my bag. I love using free time between classes to draw and plan to take my best drawings with me when I start going for school interviews.

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