How to be a Designer: Where Do You Start?

As a freelance Pattern Designer, I have had the opportunity to work with some very talented and creative designers.  These designers have specialized in such things as bags, dresses, formal wear and day wear.  However, my daily services include such things as pattern alterations, pattern grading and creating personalized slopers for those that sew for themselves as well as those who sew for others.  So, where does that leave you in the scope of my services?  

Here are a few great books I recommend that will help get you started in your chosen field of design.
At the very top of my list and I do highly recommend this one::  The Entrepreneur's Guide To Sewn Product Manufacturing, by Kathleen Fasanella for anyone who has a desire to go into business designing and producing sewn products for sale either online or off.  
This book will take you step-by-step through the entire process from idea to production and beyond.  The contents of this book will give you an overall understanding of the "Trade" and "How to Plan a Line" along with information on marketing, and production.  Detailed information is given on price-points, sourcing materials, definitions and the duties of needed industry professionals, including: Grading services, pattern makers, sample makers, cutters and setting up shop.  Forms for costing your products and defining your market are included along with forms, worksheets and production scheduling checklist and pattern template guides.

To help you understand the pattern designing process and know what to expect or to begin your own road to pattern designing, not something to be taken on by the faint of hear,  is a great book by Connie Crawford, Pattern making Made Easy

Another great book to help you understand what goes into garment designs and fashion sewing for those of you who choose to sew and manufacture in-house, would be Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers, by Julie Cole and Sharon Czachor
Another good, extremely good book for understanding how patterns work is: How Patterns Work: The Fundamental Principles of Pattern Making and Sewing in Fashion Design

I get a lot of request for making and altering patterns and thought this might help to demystify the process when searching for industry professionals.

ETA: Check out this professors youtube channel.... Zoe Hong, she has excellent information that will help you move forward in your quest!!!  


  1. Thank you so much Mrs. Andrea this information is Awesome. I have wanted to invest in a great resource for pattern making and understanding contruction. I have quite a few books in my library but still felt like I was missing something. So excited!!!!!

    1. Wonderful Sewnisha, I'm glad the info is useful for you in building your skills and business.

  2. Thank you for this information. I have two of them already and am planning to get the Crawford book as my birthday gift. Thanks again!

  3. Thank you for all this info . I'm at the stage where I would like to expand my knowledge of pattern making and now I have my eye on the Connie Crawford one.

  4. THANK YOU SOO MUCH FOR THIS INFORMATION. I'm on brain overload. I've added these to my book/study list.

  5. Thanks Andrea for all this great information, I will in the coming year to get more familiar with pattern making one of my desires for a long time. ; )


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