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What Equipment Does a Clothing Designer Need?

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Like every professional, a clothing designer requires the right tools in order to produce quality work. For designers, that often includes a mix of modern technology and physical tools. The technology and the fashions change all the time, but a designer's physical tools have stayed much the same over the years.

From Idea to Visual

When a designer has an idea, she needs a way to translate that idea from inside her head to a format others can see and understand. In the past, clothing designers used a simple sketchpad and pencils to sketch their ideas. Today, they may also use computer drafting software, similar to what an architect might use, to make a mockup of a garment and to see how it might look on people of various sizes.

Bringing the Garment to Life

The next step is to create a pattern that can be used to actually make the garment. The pattern can also be made and printed with computer technology, but a designer or pattern maker might also use physical tools that include large sheets of dotted paper or "oak tag" paper to draw out the pieces. Then he'll use a collection of "snips," -- what you know as large scissors -- as well as hole punchers, "notchers" to mark seams, rulers, curved rulers, and pencils and tape to put the pattern together. At that stage, the designer puts the pattern pieces together, using pins to pin a garment or its pattern onto a dress form to see how it looks.