Document 99192

Designing Textiles
4-H member will:
• learn the steps for designing a fabric
• use a variety of resources to develop an understanding of textile design
• practice designing fabrics
At first thought, designing textiles may seem simpler than
designing a garment, but in reality, it can be more difficult. There
are many factors that combine to make the actual fabric. An
understanding of fibers, yarns, fabric construction, and dyeing and
finishing processes is needed to achieve the desired finished textile
Textile science is the identification
of fiber and textile
constructions, dyestuffs, and printing techniques. However, the first
step is to study actual fabrics. This involves visiting fabric and
apparel stores and fabric manufacturers. Studying the types of
fabrics used for certain garments, seasonal fabrics, care required,
colors, dyes, and methods of dyeing will increase one's knowledge.
Some of the information needed is available in school textbooks,
libraries, and county Extension offices. Textile kits are sometimes
available from the county Extension office and may be checked
out. Also, there are several lessons from the current 4-H Clothing
Leader Guide that pertain to textile design and can be easily
incorporated into a design project. This will provide a good
understanding of various aspects of textile design.
Textile designers must remember that an apparel designer selects
fabrics on the basis of price, aesthetics, fashion, and the fabric's
suitability for the line. A lovely fabric may be rejected if it is too
similar to another fabric in their line. Apparel designers look for
different weights and textures. Textile designers can create unique
prints or fabric colors to give their line an edge on the competition.
Apparel designers constantly consider who their customers will be.
Fabrics are made from either natural or synthetic fibers. Wool,
cotton, mohair, ramie, silk, and flax (linen) are natural fibers and
come from vegetable, animal, and mineral sources. Nylon, rayon,
polyester, and acetate are just some of the synthetic (man-made)
fibers derived from various sources. These man-made fibers can be
created from minerals, metals, rubber, or polymers (chemicals).
Throughout history, each culture has made its own unique
contributions in fabric structures, designs, and types. Fabrics may
be woven, knitted, knotted, or felted from yarns and/or fibers. This
is called fabrication and refers to the type of fabric produced. The
method of construction of the textile determines the character of the
fabric and involves the following three elements:
SURFACEINTEREST- color, aesthetics, pattern, and texture
WEIGHT - how much a given amount of the fabric weighs; for
example 6 ounce denim is much lighter and drapes better than 12
ounce denim; necessary for seasonal uses and for different garment
construction details
HAND - touch, drape, weight of fall, or "handle" of a fabric (how
it feels and drapes)
The complex science of dye chemistry has developed due to a
demand for fast, vivid color which will withstand wear, sunlight,
and the rigors of modern laundering. The appearance of a fabric is
often determined by the stage in manufacturing at which the dye is
applied. Fabrics may be dyed by the following methods:
FIBERDYEING- is used to produce color in a mat of fibers before
they are spun into yam. Colors penetrate the fibers thoroughly and
are likely to be fast. Commonly used on wool.
SOLUTIONDYEING- is a procedure that introduces pigment into the
liquid state (chemical spinning solution) before it is formed into
fibers. Color is extremely permanent.
YARN DYEING- is a process in which spun yarn is dyed before it
is made into fabric. This is the oldest method of dyeing.
PIECEDYEING- is a process of dying fabric after it is woven. This
is the most common and economical means of coloring fabric.
The surface of a fabric provides an enticing stimulus for an artist's
creative imagination. Surface patterns can be reproduced in many
ways. Some of the methods are listed be10w:
SCREENPRINTINGis a sophisticated version of the stencil process.
A screen, which has parts blocked out, is laid on top of fabric
stretched out on a table, and allows one color to be printed at a
time. Although it may be a slower process, exclusive, high-quality
dress goods are often printed in this manner.
ROLLER PRINTINGis a simple procedure used to produce large
quantities of a design inexpensively. A large roller is inked and
rolls the colors onto the fabric.
HEAT TRANSFERis a method similar to the iron-on transfers used
with T-shirt art today.
TIE-DYEINGis an ancient craft that produces interesting and varied
designs by wrapping or gathering puffs of fabric in waxed thread
and then dipping in dye to create an unevenly dyed effect.
BATIKis a method of resist dyeing in which wax is applied to the
cloth in areas which are not to receive color. After dyeing, the wax
is boiled off and the process repeated for several colors.
EMBROIDERYis a process in which hundreds of needles embellish
a pre-woven base fabric with a variety of lace and eyelet designs.
Fabrics as they come off the loom, bear little resemblance to those
that reach a dressmaker's sewing machine. Before they are sold,
fabrics may have been washed in chemical solutions, brushed,
pressed, beaten, and polished. Substances and treatments may alter
their texture and appearance and improve their resistance to moths,
static electricity, spotting, staining, shrinking, sagging, wrinkling,
and burning. These processes are called fabric finishes.
After researching textiles, the designer is ready to start on his/her
own fabric design. This involves drawing the design on paper and
then using an art form to color it.
The rendering of a design in paint (or any color medium) on paper
is called a croquis (pronounced CROW-key). It shows the pattern
or print and color combinations and can reflect the surface texture
and its construction (woven, knitted, etc.). Using the same weave
and pattern and changing the color combinations, the possibilities
are endless. It is amazing to see how different the same pattern
appears using different colorations. Start by deciding on a garment
or other product made of fabric. Think about the type of fabric
construction which would work best (woven, knitted, felted, etc.),
the weight and stiffness the material should be (drapability), and
what pattern or print would work best in the product. Then draw
a design and paint it. Remember, no one is looking over your
shoulder when you are working. If you do not like the design,
throw it away and start again. Do not hesitate to try your creativity!
With today's modern technology, there are also computer-aided
design (CAD) programs that allow fabric designs to be created and
colorized on the computer screen. Computer stores will know what
is available. Also, visit textile departments at nearby universities.
They can be helpful in showing types of software needed and will
probably allow use of their equipment (with guidance) on campus.
This could aid in developing an in-depth design project.
Another valuable resource is any nearby fabric manufacturer. Visit
with the dye chemist, fabric designer, or anyone who actually
determines the fabric patterns, colors, and weaves. See how it is
done commercially, and investigate possible career opportunities.
As seen, there are many steps involved in the manufacture of
fabrics. The methods used in producing a certain fabric will
determine the final cost of that fabric.
An experienced designer can look at a piece of fabric and feel it to
envision the type of garment for which,it is suited. This ability is
developed by experimenting with many different fabrics along with
a good knowledge of basic textile construction, dyeing, printing,
and finishing.
Designers are very familiar with both natural and synthetic fibers
and stay updated by listening to textile sales people, reading trade
publications, keeping up with new developments, and learning what
the consumer of today wants in a garment. They must evaluate the
performance of a fabric as well as its aesthetic aspects before
starting the manufacturing process. Factors to consider are potential
problems associated with shrinkage, fading, ability to hold shape
and body, and many more.
Fabric manufacturers of today have rigid quality controls. When
designers use a fabric, they must also follow labeling restrictions
their garments to instruct the consumer of the fiber content and
proper care of the garment.
The following lessons from the 4-H Clothing Leader
supplement this lesson:
Designs That Work For You
Design a Master Plan
Handle With Care
What's in a Name?
From Fiber to Fabric
Now It's Finished
Fiber Families
About Fabrics
Fibers from Nature
Designing Textiles
Fibers People Make
Labels: Cues and Clues
Special Fabrics for Special People
• See activities listed in the lessons from the Clothing Leader
• Start clipping bits of fabrics when available, and start your own
fabric board, book, or file. Attach the sample and list the fiber
content, weave or knit type, cost, care, type of dye, country of
origin if known, and common uses for that fabric type. List any
finishes that are labeled on the fabric (from the bolt end). You
may refer to this board or book often to help you become
familiar with textiles.
• Try one of the applied design techniques on a plain T-shirt to
created a new look.
• Use kool-aid or tie-dyeing on cotton socks or a T-shirt.
• Take old panty hose to use for screen printing a piece of fabric.
Designing Accessories
4- H members will:
• learn the steps in designing one or more accessories
• use a variety of resources to develop an understanding of accessory design
• practice designing an accessory
Most fashion accessories started their life by serving utilitarian
purposes. Shoes protected feet, belts held up pants, gloves
prevented frozen fingers, umbrellas kept everything under them dry,
and bags carried all of the daily necessities. But if protection from
the elements and holding clothes together were the only reasons to
have accessories, then there would be no fashion accessories
industries. Although jewelry and cosmetics have always been used
to enhance or decorate, function is still important with most
accessories. The fashion aspect is the lure!
Accessories involve a wide variety of articles. They include purses,
shoes, scarves, jewelry, hats, gloves, socks, hose, and more. These
are items that accent the gmment. The type of item being designed
will affect the material used. For example, scarves may be silk,
cotton, linen, polyester, and other fabrics. Hats may be of felt,
straw, feathers, and trims. Jewelry may consist of precious metals,
stones, plastic, and natural articles such as shells, ceramics, and
base metals. Accessory designing offers the chance to use a wide
variety of materials.
Designers often start by visualizing the garment they are to
accessorize. They will first picture the season, colors, textures,
styles, and uses. Then start sketching the piece. Different variations
of their ideas are tried. If the purse has a shoulder strap, it may be
changed to a hand strap. Cutting out magazine models and placing
accessories on them to get a better idea of the way they would look
on a person is a good exercise for beginning designers. Accessories
can be fun and challenging to design. One nice thing is so much of
the material used today in accessories is available in craft and
fabric stores. A design can be made and worn at a reasonable cost.
The following lessons from the 4-H Clothing Leader
supplement this lesson:
Accessories Add Up
Accessories and You
About Fabrics
• Draw accessories on models in magazines.
• Use modeling clay or plastic, fabric, beads, etc. to make
earrings, pins, or button covers.
Use conchos, leather, and beads to make key rings or boot
• Weave or braid a belt.
• Take an old hat, redesign it and make it over, or make your own
hat using one of the currently popular patterns.
• Use ribbons, flowers, and decorations on old hair bands or clips
to refabricate and coordinate with an outfit.
• Create your own look in a fashion tie.
• Tie dye a scarf or handkerchief.
·Designing Garments
4-H members will:
• learn the steps in designing a garment
• use a variety of resources to develop an understanding of apparel design
• practice designing a garment
NOTE: An understanding of patterns and sewing skills will be
required for this activity. Drawing skills will be useful.
Making a new garment from two patterns is a good way to learn
design. This involves using the rules discussed under design
definitions. The designer will look at a pattern that he/she likes but
wants to change. For instance, a blouse pattern may have long
sleeves and the designer would like short sleeves in order for the
it to be worn in the summer. Perhaps the designer would prefer a
different collar to change the look. Sleeves or collars must be
chosen that will fit, or can be altered to fit, the pattern pieces the
designer has on-hand. Many times this is trial and error. The new
pattern pieces could be cut of inexpensive material first to be sure
they will work. Then the designer would not waste a nice piece of
fabric if it did not fit. The designer must be sure to draw the design
first to decide if the adapted part will be becoming to the garment
as a whole. As in all design, it is important for the designer to try
whatever comes to mind. Designing becomes easier each time.
The following lessons
supplement this lesson:
A Select Group
Creative Styling
in the
4-II Clothing Leader
Pattern Know-How
What's· Up Your Sleeve
• Using the "popover" skirt pattern, change one part of the design.
Add pockets or a ruffle around the skirt bottom. Make a test
garment to be sure your design can be sewn.
• Take a Tee shirt pattern and add a shoulder button opening.
• Take a long sleeve blouse or dress -pattern and make it a design
with short sleeves. Test your changes. Sketch the new design.
• Take pattern envelopes and redraw the garment using a new
• Take two patterns and discuss how to combine different parts of
them to form a new pattern.
NOTE: A knowledge of patterns and sewing skills will be needed
for this activity. Drawing skills will be useful.
There are many text books, pamphlets, brochures, and information
sheets available on flat pattern design. This is an art many
designers of today do not know. They hire excellent flat pattern
drafters to make their designs. This is best attempted after a
designer has sewn for sometime and has a working knowledge of
construction and pattern pieces.
Investing in a text that shows examples of flat pattern pieces is a
good start to learning this process. These books will show examples
of the different pattern pieces. Each example will have a verbal
description of what that piece will do. For example, one piece may
state it produces a full sleeve. These illustrations will help you to
produce the pattern pieces you need for your design. Two of these
books are listed in the reference section.
Start with simple designs using few pattern pieces. Pattern pieces
can be made out of pattern paper, freezer paper, brown paper sacks,
or any paper available. It is best to use an inexpensive cloth or
muslin when attempting a first try at constructing this garment.
Then redrawing or altering as needed can be done without any
great expense. It is important to try designs out to be sure they can
be sewn as they have been designed. Designs can be drawn that
cannot be made.
Trying a new design aimed at a particular figure problem is another
way to begin. Possibly design a pleated skirt that does not accent
wide hips. Have a specific purpose in mind. This will help
eliminate many options and allow work with a specific area.
Sometimes it is hard to start because of the unlimited choices.
After the pattern pieces have been drawn, the muslin can be cut
and a "dummy" garment made. Then it is time to make the real
thing. The designer should now be very pr.oud of the creation!
• Draw a design for a sleeveless crop top with no facings. It
should have a rounded neck. Layout the pattern pieces and cut
out a "dummy" garment. Construct it to test for sewing skills
needed and for fit on a real figure.
• Sketch a design for a simple dress. By changing only one feature
at a time, change the original so you have three versions. Sketch
these as they might appear on the front of a pattern envelope.
• Design a garment you would like to make for yourself. Using
flat pattern design methods, make the pattern pieces needed to
sew the design. Test it in a, "dummy" garment.
• Demonstrate how a design is made using flat pattern methods.