Fashion Design

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HFD202 Principles of Clothing Construction

Course Description

Principles of Clothing Construction. Clothing construction techniques using commercial patterns. Wardrobe planning and clothing for different age groups. Personal grooming. Pattern adjustment, fabric preparation, pattern layout, cutting and transferring of markings. Use of support fabrics. Fitting, pressing and garment evaluation. HFD102: Introduction to Clothing Construction is prerequisite to HFD202.

Course Outline

Construction techniques using commercial patterns, style fashion and notion selection based on body size, figure type and occasion.Basic principles and processes in garment construction including preparation and attachment of various garment units such as edge finishes, collar, sleeves, pockets, fastenings, waistline, treatment, support fabrics and trimmings.


  1. )The body, pattern, and fabric relationships
  2. )The sewing equipment
    • Measuring tools
    • Fitting tools
    • Cutting tools
    • Marking tools
    • Sewing tools
    • Sewing machine
    • Pressing tools

3)The pattern and fabric

  • Translating pattern information

4)Pattern preparation, layout and cutting

  • Fabric selection
  • Pattern alteration
  • Pattern layout and cutting
  • Marking techniques


  • Different types of seams and their appropriateness in garments

6)Methods of handling fullness

  • Gathering, smocking and shirring
  • Darts
  • Tucks
  • Pleats


  • Common openings and methods of working them:
  • Major closures e.g. bodice front opening
  • Continuous wrap opening
  • Faced slit opening
  • Bound opening
  • Fly-Front opening


  • Different types and methods of application e.g. welt, bound pocket and in-seam pockets

9)Collars and neckline finishes

  • Basic types of collars, and construction
  • Neckline finishes and closings


  • Type of sleeves and methods of application of Raglan, Kimono, set-in sleeves.


  • Types and their application

12)Waistline finishes

  • Waistbands
  • Faced waistline
  • Casings
  • Belts

13)Edge finishes e.g. facings, hems and cuffs

14)Support fabrics and their application

  • Differences between interlining, lining underlining and interfacing.
  • Preparation and application


C.A.T. to include class work - 55% Final exam - 25% Total - 100%


  1. MARY J. O. KALLAL:Clothing Construction
  2. EVERLYN A. MANSFIEL: Clothing Construction
  3. PAM TURBETT: Techniques of Cutting & Sewing
  4. E. LUCY TOWERS:Techniques of dress making and soft tailoring
  5. MELITA A. NEAL: Needlework for schools
  6. MARGARET G. BUTTLER: Clothes, Their Choosing, Making and Care



Constructing apparel for yourself and friends enables you to utilize both our aesthetic and technical skills. Ù The preliminary selection steps are just as critical to the success of your completed garment as your construction skills. Ù You select the time Ù Determine the pattern size Ù Fit the pattern Ù Prepare the fabric Ù And construct the garment Ù Create a unique new outfit. Ù Design and fabric co-ordination are critical. If the garment does not enhance the wearer, it is not a successful garment. Ù During the preliminary selection process you are dealing with three interrelated components which condition the ultimate appearance of the garment: body, pattern and fabric Ù The human physical structure is the structural framework foundation for all your designs. Ù Body dimensions directly determine pattern size. Specified measurements are later used to fit the patter to specific contours, lengths, and widths. Ù The pattern forms the decorative design. Since this design will cover the human form, it should relate to the anatomical structure and permit comfortable movement. Ù You can utilize the design elements in your design to enhance your figure assets and camouflage any irregularities. Ù As you begin to consider various pattern designs, try not to be overly careful about what may seem to be overwhelming physical deficiencies (on those broad hips! That round tummy!). If you are too careful, your wardrobe may become rather boring and dull. Use the design elements to spark up your wardrobe – and have fun manipulating lines, colours and textures. Ù Analyse potential patterns.


Ù The body is your framework and the pattern your applied design. Ù Your fabric thus becomes the medium through which the two are interrelated. The garments may be composed of one or more fabrics. These fabrics support the garment silhouette and style features and also add the design elements of colour to your design. The fabrics used must harmonize with one another through colour, pattern, or texture. Ù Consider how the fabric behaves. Pick up may different fabrics and observe how they fall. Fabrics which fall in oft folds will work best in soft, gathered designs; fabrics which stand out crisply will work best in tailored, structured styles.


Ù A pattern that conforms closely to body dimensions and contours will provide the best fit and comfort.

Ù Because ready-to-wear sizes do not always correspond with pattern sizes, it is essential that you be measured, evaluate the size charts and choose a pattern size.

Ù If you already know your pattern size, re-evaluate it periodically to check for dimensional and proportional changes due to weight fluctuations or redistribution.

Ù Pattern size is determined by comparing individual body measurements with standardized body measurements.

Ù The best pattern size will enable the final garment to fit any figure close in size and proportion to the standard

Ù Figures varying in proportion or contour (with extra bulges or hollows) but close in dimension will require pattern alteration for a good fit.

Ù Body measurements are taken at important anatomical structures in relation to body joint location.

Ù They include length, circumference, and width measures.

Ù Length measurements indicate vertical proportions of body segments including the upper and lower torso (back waist length, crotch depth), arm and leg lengths and shoulder to apex length. Bust, waist and hip levels are thus indicated.

Ù Circumference measures provide girth dimensions of important anatomical structures: bust or chest, waist and hips.

Ù Width measures provide horizontal fitting dimensions for the back width and shoulder length.

Ù Pattern measurements are somewhat larger than their corresponding body measures. The patter is cut larger than the body to provide ease for comfortable movement. The pattern is only measured only when dimensions will be used for two dimensional pattern fitting.


Accurate measurements are essential but they may be difficult to acquire. Ù Even when measurements are taken carefully, it is nearly impossible for one fitter to get the same figures twice from the same individual, therefore precision and care are crucial.

Guidelines to follow: - 1) Ask a competent friend to take your measurements 2) Stand with feet together in a normal posture. 3) Take the measurements over the undergarments to be worn with the complete garment. 4) Use a non-stretching tape measure to take the measurements, pull the tape taut but not too tight. 5) By standing in front of a mirror, you can make a visual check of the tape position as each measurement is being taken. Vertical measures should be taken perpendicular to the floor. 6) Body locations can be marked to maintain a more precise point of reference for several interrelated measurements. The marking of body point also ensures that the measurements are double checked with accuracy.

A) Adjust a fine chain around the neck so that it lies at the base. Neck-base location is important for determining shoulder length and back and front waist length measurements. B) Tie a string or narrow elastic around the natural indentation of the waistline to identify its position for length measurements including back and front waist lengths, waist to hip, waist to floor and crotch level and length measurements. C) Tie a narrow elastic around the armscye, positioning the elastic at the top shoulder joint where the sleeve will join the garment. From front and back the elastic should appear to fall perpendicular to the floor. The armscye elastic is used to measure shoulder length, arm length, and back width. Ù Determination of pattern, figure type and size. Ù Decoding the pattern (interpretation of commercial patterns).

Determining of pattern figure type and size

Correctly calculating the pattern figure type and size is essential to achieve a well-fitting garment. A wise sizing choice can eliminate many adjustments that might otherwise be needed to perfect the garment fit. Figure type is determined before size.

  • Figure type

From general observations, it can be seen that women’s figures vary more in contour, proportion and build than do men’s. To better fit these many body types, women’s patterns have bee classified into seven figure types: -

  1. Junior petite
  2. Junior
  3. Miss petite
  4. Misses- The misses figure type is considered average, so there are many more pattern styles available for it.
  5. Half sizes and
  6. women’s figure types are designed for developed figures.
  7. Young junior/teen is designed for young developing figure.

Before the correct pattern size can be determined each figure must be analysed so that a figure type can be elected. Figure type is based on three factors: -

  • Height
  • Back-waist length
  • Individual body proportion.

The figure type with a size corresponding to both the back-waist length and the circumference body measurements will provide best fit thus requiring fewer alterations later.

  • Pattern Size

To select the best size, compare your body size measurements with those provided for the figure type chosen. If the measurements fall between sizes, several factors must be considered.Decide which size will require fewer or simpler pattern adjustments.Consider the type of fit desired, Snug or loose? Different pattern sizes may be required for the upper and lower portions of the body. Consider any key measurements needed to make the best sizing decision.

Key size measurements For Women

  1. Garment fitting upper torso
  • The bust and high bust measurements are key to pattern size selection for any garment fitting the upper body, such as dress, blouse, jacket or coat.
  • The bust-shoulder-armscye portion of the body can be difficult to fit because of the combination of the convex and concave body curves located here.
  • The more closely the pattern size matches this area, the simpler fitting should be later.
  • To accurately determine bust size, compare the bust and high bust measurements. If the difference is 5 cm (2 in) or more, the bust is full.
  • Select the pattern size by the high bust measurement and be prepared to adjust the bust portion of the pattern.

Garments fitting the lower torso

  • The hip measurement is used to select the correct trouser size. If the body circumference is larger at the thigh or abdomen level than at the hip level, use the larger dimension for the hip measurement.
  1. Garments fitting both the upper and lower torso
  • If the pattern chosen includes several co-ordinating garments and the individual bust and hip measurement, require different sizes; purchase the pattern by the bust size.
  • The hip and waist areas are easier to adjust than the bust areas.

Key size measurements For men

Ù Men’s patterns are designed for two figures types: Men’s and teen boys’ Ù Select your figure type by age and similarity of measurements.

  • Garments fitting the upper torso*

Ù Use the neckband measurement to determine the classic shirt size and chest measurement for jacket and coat size.

  • Garments fitting the lower torso*

Ù Use the waist measurements to determine pants size, unless hips are out of proportion. Ù If hips are large, use hip/seat measurements to select the pants size and adjust the waist to fit.


You should consider the amount and type of sewing you pla to do before purchasing many pieces of equipment. Only a few basic items are really essential although there are many tools available in the market. The essentials include: Measuring, Cutting, Marking, Fitting, Hand sewing tools and Pressing tools.

Measuring tools

  1. A firm non-stretch plastic tape measure (150 mm) long is necessary for taking measurements and to measure lengths of fabric.The tape measure should be clearly marked on both sides and firmly fixed at the ends.
  2. A metal gauge (15 cm) is used to measure areas where a constant measurement is desired.

It is ideal for marking hems, tacks, pleats, buttonhole spacing and pattern adjustments.

  1. A meter ruler (yardstick) is useful for ruling long strength lines, measuring hemlines and or checking grain lines.
  2. A hem marker is used to measure skirt hem lengths evenly from the floor.

Fitting Tools

The measuring tools and fitting tools work together to fit the garment.

  1. A Plumb line

Is used during fitting to check grain and seam alignment. You can make your won plumb line by tying a weight to one end of a long cord.

  1. Clear Plastic Rulers with marked gridlines simplify pattern adjustment computation.
  2. French curves or a combination curves (French curve, hip curve and straight edge and grid as used to smoothen curved seams after the garment has been fitted.

Cutting Tools

  1. Dressmakers Shears

This should be used only for cutting fabric. They are more satisfactory than scissors for fabric cutting.

  1. Scissors
  • These are more lightly constructed than sheers and have sharp points and slender blades adapted to delicate cutting jobs.
  • They should not be used in heavy cutting.
  1. Embroidery scissors

Are shorter, more delicately constructed for fine needlework

  1. Buttonhole scissors
  • Have notched blades, which permit cutting to start at a point away from the edge of the fabric.
  • They have a set screw and lock nut can be adjusted to allow the scissors to cut a buttonholed any length up to 1.5 inches.
  1. Trimming Scissors
  • These are convenient for clipping edges, trimming and clipping curved seams, cutting them.
  1. Pinking shears
  • These are for finishing raw edges of seams in fabrics, which do not ravel too badly. They have a saw shaped blade.
  • The point can be used to pick out stitches; the blade cuts seems open and can be used with care to slash buttonholes open.

Marking tools – for tracing lines on fabrics

1 Tracing Wheel They are made in a variety of styles for the edge:

  • A needle-point edge for marking a feint line on fine thin fabrics.
  • A serrated or saw-toothed edge makes and produces a prominent line especially to marking man fabrics.
  • A smooth wheel marks a solid line on loosely woven fabrics.

2 Dressmakers carbon paper

  • Is available in several colours.
  • It should always be placed on the wrong side of fabric.

3 Tailors chalk

  • This is clay chalk available in various colours for drawing lines on the fabric. It can easily be rubbed off.
  • Some chalk marks, remain visible until they are exposed to the heat of iron.
  • Chalk pencils can be sharpened to create a fine accurate line.

Sewing Tools

These include: -

  • Pins (dress markers, pin cushion)
  • Needles – Dressmaker’s hand sewing needles, machine-sewing needles
  • Machine sewing needles are designed for specific machine models.

The sewing machine

Assignment: Draw and label parts of a sewing machine.Explain the functions of each part. Find out types of sewing needles.To be emphasized in the practical lesson-Identify the working of the machine: note faults of the machine and how to correct them.