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Making Fashion: Draw, Draft and Sew

Lesson 13 of 14

Constructing Clothes: Put it Together

Jay Calderin

Making Fashion: Draw, Draft and Sew

Jay Calderin

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Lesson Info

13. Constructing Clothes: Put it Together

Lesson Info

Constructing Clothes: Put it Together

So let's talk about putting it together. When it comes to sewing, you wanna think about the basic things you'll need, a lotta people will take this for granted, where you're talking about notions like threads, and closures, and trim, we talked a little bit about collecting those sources of inspiration from your moodboard, but here you need the actual, physical, you know, notions, so the difference between taking a white garment and finishing it in white versus red is going to be a design decision, and you might not think of doing red thread you know on a white shirt, but that could be, in a certain place, or as a detail to outline the shape of it, where you're doing contrast stitching all around it and you've defined this little red outline over a white shirt, can be a beautiful detail. So don't forget that there's a lot of power in these simple little things, a zipper, you know doing an invisible zipper, versus doing a zipper that is very you know utilitarian and you can see, and very...

heavy. And I'm seeing more and more, there was a couple of seasons ago where dresses all had these exposed zippers, you know where you saw they were actually kinda, they looked like they were slapped onto the dress, and I was a little surprised at first, but then I thought, cool. First of all a zipper is really hard to put in, so if someone found an easy out, (audience laughing) but it became this design detail, it became this spine almost to a lot of dresses, which is a cool way to look at it. With structure, we're building the body into the garment, we want to make sure that that is at the core, no matter what the relationship of the clothes is, whether it's loose, or very fitted. And the sequence, as we mentioned when we were talking about the darts, we actually covered all this which is good in different ways, with the sequence when we're doing those intersections we want to ask ourself which lines do we do first, like when piecing things together. I'll give you the example of a sleeve. Okay so you might have, I don't know if this is back and front, I think so, so you'll have a sequence, so you'll decide this is the front and back of a bodice, you're gonna join the shoulders, right? You could do that first. And then you can insert the cap of the sleeve, and then sew the sleeve closed, and finish the side seam. Yes, I see a shaking of the head, that is, a really kind of quick way to do it, the more special way to do it is to close the garment, the shoulder and the side seam, and close the sleeve and set in the sleeve, and one of the nice reasons for that is you can set the angle a little bit, you can make sure the arms tilt forward a little bit and you can have ease in the cap, so those are all things that are important to the sequence. But that is another strategy, you know if you're closing something up and you don't wanna worry about these, and to be honest with you if it's a real flat garment, like very, sort of loose and drapey, that other route could be a quick fix, but again it also depends on the quality of the garment and the level you're working at. Inside-out, I think it's really important that our garments look as pretty inside as they do out. Yes. Right, one of the worst things is, especially in something like evening wear, when you see inside of the dress and it's just ugly, you know there are threads, everything's just really messy, things aren't clipped, and you wanna figure out how you can make that user feel special because there's stuff inside that only they know about, you know. And I have a great shot coming up that I can show you an example of that. And then innovations, oh we cut off the bottom of this, but innovations, knitting and weaving machines, that can actually weave or knit the entire garment, without any sewing involved. And I'll show you an example of that. So this is some of the examples of the inside of the garment, we have the boning, we have you know all this is going on on the outside, but I just thought it was really amazing to see all the structure inside that's all giving that dress support. And this is what I was talking about, this is actually Issey Miyaki, it's called A-POC, A Piece of Cloth, and there's a machine where it comes out on the roll like this and you cut it out, and you just slip into it. And I don't know how it works, it's like a magic trick to me, but it's beautiful how a computer can generate a pattern that it's producing so that it interlocks in such a way that it's a finished garment. And the nice thing is you can customize it, here you see a couple of examples of people turning that neckline into a collar, cutting it off completely, shortening the sleeves, so those are all things you can do by actually just cutting it off, and it finishes itself, it doesn't fray, doesn't fall apart. We have this sewing machine here. Yeah. And maybe you could give us some of your top like sewing techniques, or- Okay. Did we have something that we have time to do within? I don't think we have time to actually like sew something together, but I think talking about the machine is really important as well as talking about hand-sewing. I think a couple of things that are real issues when you're sewing on a machine, are things like the tension of the stitch, if it's a very tight stitch, you wanna make sure that it's loose enough for the fabric you're working with because you can get seams that kind of scrunch up. The other thing is the size of the stitch. Ryan had just asked me a question about you know working with a basting stitch on a machine, which is a much bigger stitch, and then actually putting in the stitch which is tighter and stronger, you know and those are things that you want to get to know your machine. One of the things that's, I think that takes the most time, when you're working with sewing is really getting to know your machine. We were also discussing earlier how a lot of the new machines have these really cool computerized things you can do with them, which is a lot of fun, but I'm of the school of thought that you should be able to produce almost any technique, either by hand or by machine, without all the bells and whistles, but there's no fighting technology I mean sometimes it is just easier and can be just as beautiful so again I don't wanna discount that, but really try to, I would say master, the assembly and the details with your machine. Yes. You mentioned basting, and I do have one question, when you were talking about basting earlier before you sewed, were you talking about hand-basting or doing it on the machine? I mean some machines if you have a large enough stitch like usually on my machine is like a five, and it's a pretty big stitch that it would be easy to pull out. The whole idea behind basting is that it's temporary, or it usually is. And you can do it with a machine but most basting, if it's something, you know that isn't just a straight line, you really wanna do by hand, and again it's usually about, I do them about a 1/2 an inch stitch, a 1/2 an inch under, 1/2 an inch over, and it just makes it, it gives it, it holds things together, a good example is I was sewing this satin dress, and I had this really long seam down the side right, and I said I don't need basting. And two things happened, one it started to stretch on me, one side started to stretch not the other one, so all of a sudden that ended up wrong, and one time, the second time I did it again, not basting, the one side underneath completely slipped away so I was just doing a stitch down 1/2 of it. (audience laughing) So those are little things that you wanna remember that it's worth the slightly extra time to kind of put into it. So and then again with hand-sewing, hand-sewing is an important part of the process for those temporary stitches and then for doing really delicate work. And I know we actually have some sewing classes here and some sewing machine-specific classes here on CreativeLive, but where are some additional places, would you recommend you go and take a sewing class in person, or what? Yes it's something that's, I mean I can go through every step, I can talk someone through it, but until you've done it and to be honest with you, messed it up- Yeah, yeah. I can't emphasize, when it comes to sewing, until you've figured out what not to do sometimes, it's really hard to kind of go smoothly from there on because a lot of times that mistake can help you anticipate things and that's really key when you're putting stuff together. The pattern-making is a little bit clearer, but every fabric has a different nature, every needle is different, you know it's like different sizes of needles for different fabrics, the threads are all gonna react differently with different fabrics, so you don't really know that until you've actually done it so I definitely recommend, even if you're not thinking of becoming a full-time stitcher, even a simple, you know basic class that gives you the steps, and then you get to actually play for a good amount of time is really great.

Class Description

Bring your designs to life with Jay Calderin in Making Fashion: Draw, Draft, and Sew!

Jay Calderin has been called a “a budding designer's best friend,” and in this class he’ll show you exactly what it takes to create and construct custom clothes. 

You’ll learn about:
  • Drawing and planning for clothing production
  • The stages of pattern making
  • Constructing and finishing garments
Jay will help you get started with smart drafting tips and offer insights on working with muslin so your patterns lay and drape properly.

If you want to produce one-of-a-kind garments, join Jay Calderin for a complete primer on getting started in Making Fashion: Draw, Draft and Sew.

Ratings and Reviews

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Jacquelyn Bradley-Nelson

I love this class, I'm glad I found it. This what I want to learn or add to my knowledge. JayC you are awesome! I need more learning on rendering coloring for illustration for that is. I can't wait to see what's on the other class I will take. Thanks! Signed: rm515jb.

Andrea Leggett

I really enjoyed this and the draping really opened my eyes to what can be achieved. Jay made it look easy so I plan a shot at draping later and will post my effort on Instagram with thanks to him! Thank you Creative LIve for bringing this to me (in the UK) and special thanks to Jay. When I'm in Boston in August I"ll buy you a beer!


Loved the draping information. It was logical and clear enough to make me want to try it.