Drawing Fashion Flats in Illustrator:
Tips & Tricks

In process of compiling here a collection of Tutorials
on Adobe Illustrator Drawing Tools & Techniques. 
More to Come.

Class FOUR


Got most of you thru first Tech Pack!!! Pretty Much. That changes everything. Next week is a drawing class. In addition to finishing Tshirt – garment driven pen exercises, start of brush library, full on examination of how points work – as a solid review. Also how to EDIT a brush. And closer look at Clipping Masks. 

The introduction to tech pack lesson worked, but there was some bugs. I will continue to work on perfecting and organizing the reference materials that get used in this class. My materials are all being written at once. The seam library the tech packs the points of measure – as teaching “appliances” – whenever you see an error – please point it out to me. 


Will reopen Tank Tech Pack – after finishing drawing Tshirt. In thursdays Class – we worked our way thru compiling seam details from Seam Library and it went smoothly. I want to do that with you too. It allows us to write up our seams & allowances referring to pictures. Much simpler for them to see.


Wednesday will add Front Collar, do back. Add to linelist.

Thursday still have to add the brush and mask for the ribbed collar, and then add front collar and do the back. Add to linelist.



I know now that by the time the 2nd tech pack is done, you guys will start being able to do parts of it on your own. By the 3rd tech pack you will be able to oversee compiling your first tech pack. 

Class 5 is Tshirt Tech Pack Class, will spec Tshirt after we go over the points of measure – bring in points of measure on its own page, fill out cutters, trim, draw seam allowances, pull in seam details, write up seams.

Class 5 HOMEWORK – building toward Midterm 

Shirts for YOUR first tech pack. I will be bringing in (so far) five shirts like I want yours to be based on in terms of complexity. You can bring in one of your own (of a similar level) or share one I have brought into class. I’d rather you do one of your own. That said, you would have to bring it to class – 3 classes in a row. WITHOUT FAIL!!

  1. bring in a shirt of your own similar to ones I will be showing you (or you will be stuck sharing mine),
  2. trend/track down decent pictures of at least two other similar shirts online, front & back – bring pictures.


If you need help over the course of the semester –  you can set it up with me to stay/meet with you after class on Thursdays. But ultimately, I will only be able to help you catch up. Its a studio course. And I am not your mommy. You come in late, you skip class, you miss out. And it will create stress for you. And me! So I highly discourage it. That said, I know that you have full lives and course loads and am open to giving help. 

Though next week Thursday school is closed because of Holiday. 

Digital Flats & Specs 1


  1. Drawing Flats using Illustrator;
  2. Creating Designer Tech Packs using Excel; and
  3. Compiling a Seasonal Linelist using Adobe Indesign.


  1. Basic Illustrator
    Intro to Excel
    Intro to Linelist
  2. Review Illus & Drawing 1
    Draw Tank Top.
    2 Needle Bottom Cover Stitch Brush
    Spec Tank Top
    INTRO to Tech Pack, Seams
  3. Review Illus & Drawing 2
    Hems, Taped Collar, Folded Clean Edge, Serged & Tacked Shoulder
    Tank Top Tech Pack
    Draw Short Sleeve Shirt
    Add Tank Top to Line List
  4. Review Illus & Drawing 3.
    Spec Short Sleeve Shirt
    Short Sleeve Tech Pack
    Joined & Serged Sleeve
    Discuss Side Seams & Sleeves
    Add Short Sleeve to Line List
  5. Drawing 4/Intro Midterm
    Draw Skirt with Waistband & Darts
    Edge Stitch-Single Needle Hem
    Edged-Busted Side Seams, Stitch in Ditch
    Spec Skirt
    Start Skirt Tech Pack
  6. Invisible Zipper
    Finish Skirt Tech Pack
    Draw Ruffle
    Spec Ruffle, Add to Tech Pack
    Add Lining to Tech Pack if time.
    Review Midterm
  7. Review & Approve Midterm
    Finish Ruffle Skirt Tech Pack
    Make Simple Print
  8. Add Print to Tech Pack
    Workshop Midterm Flats, Line list, Tech Packs
  9. Midterms Due
  10. Drawing 5: Pant Details
    Draw Pant with Waistband, Elastic, Darts, Invisible Zipper
    Spec Pant
    Start Pant Teck Pack
    Rises Pant with Side Zipper
  11. Drawing 6: Pockets
    Finish Pant Teck Pack
    Draw Pant with Side Pockets, Front Fly
    Rises Front Fly
    Intro Final
  12. Drawing 7: Collar, Placket
    Add Side Pocket & Front Fly to Tech Pack
    Finish Pant with Pockets Tech Pack
    Review Final
  13. Drawing 8: Pleats
    Meetings: Review & Approve Final
    Exposed Zipper
  14. Final Workshop Details Per your Garments, Tech Issues
  15. Final

Technical Sourcebook for Designers

by Jaeil Lee and Camille Steen

Great production oriented reference book for tech design (not required).



Basic Ruffle Skirt

How To Make A Basic Ruffle Skirt

How many ruffles to add, how close together they need to be, how narrow is the space in between each ruffle, depends on how big the circle of the skirt is –

Drawing ruffles so that they roll at hem of a full skirt – its illustration depends on “Ancient” Artistic Principle: the VANISHING POINT.


For simple rolls, ruffles coming toward you in front are wider and deeper, ruffles where turn back are narrower and less deep – by a considerable amount!

Step by Step

  1. On bottom of skirt add EVEN number of points – approx. same distance apart. Doesn’t have to be exact, we will be moving them.
  2. With (Change) Anchor Point tool, pull out handles – straight up and straight down – alternately, starting up, then down, then up, then down – keep lengths of handles approx. the same to begin with – DO NOT EXAGGERATE. We still will want the ruffles to look the same length, across hem of skirt. Handles should NEVER be any LONGER than necessary.

In the next two steps we reconfigure position of points and length of TOP handles.

  1. Using White Arrow, move Anchor Points so rolls coming forward are wider – and those with curves going back are MUCH narrower. Receding curves should be MINIMUM 1/4 as wide as those coming forward. Wider objects come forward, smaller objects recede into distance.
  2. Using White Arrow, go in on each anchor point and pull the TOP HANDLE down, so that it is MUCH shorter, top handles should be MINIUMUM 1/4 the size of bottom handles. For the moment keep the bottom handles at original length. Depths are larger coming forward, much narrower going back into distance.
  1. Using the straight Line Drawing tool, draw a line heading up the skirt at each point, alternating heights. Line on left side of wide rolls should angle right, line on right side of wide rolls should angle left. Angles are around +/-20 to 25deg, as the vanishing point softens when it crosses the hips.
  1. Select ONLY the lines (not the skirt) and apply a Tapered Stroke. This can be found in the Stroke panel. It is on the bottom, labeled Profile. For this issue, I tend to use Width Profile #4 – the one with a flat end. Taper should be AT TOP. (If Tapered Stroke gets applied in the wrong direction, there is a toggle to flip it, directly to right of Profile drop down menu.)

Adding Roundess

  1. Vanishing Points tend to flatten out over the hip. Rolls coming forward in middle of front of skirt should appear widest and deepest. As ruffles get closer to side seams, I tend to adjust them slightly, to shorten not only the back handles, but front handles as well – slightly, to make skirt look as though circling round.
  2. Ruffles right on the seam, treat a little differently. Corner points at the seam I usually nudge up 3 arrows (x 1pt), and also might add a point to move the center of the ruffle closer to the side of the skirt – so it looks as if it is rounding to the back.

Adding Shading

  1. Shading should be added from only one direction of light, for a simple skirt. A triangle can be added directly next to vanishing lines using the Rectangle drawing tool for speed. Draw out a narrow rectangle same height as vanishing line, adjust bottom points so rectangle sits up against the skirt hem, delete the left top point. Move the remaining top point directly against the tapered stroke so fits right in. Usually only add 2 or 3 patches of shading on a simple garment. There are two ways to add shading: 5-15% opacity black, or more traditionally – using a pattern for shading lines.
  1. TRANSPARENCY. Select the triangle, fill with pure black, in color picker where indicates number, write in #000000 (otherwise may come out a dark reddish grey). Go to Appearance Panel. Empty out stroke if necessary. Click on opacity, change to 15% or less – use your judgement, every printer is slightly different.
  2. PATTERN. Open up Pattern Library for Basic Line Patterns: Window>Swatch Libraries>Patterns>Basic Graphics>Basic Graphics Lines, add first stripe pattern to Fill, empty color from stroke if necessary. With Selected, open up Object>Transform>Rotate, check PATTERN ONLY (uncheck Transform Objects) – rotate MINUS 45deg. Then open up Object>Transform>Scale, check PATTERN ONLY, and scale by 50%.
  1. BACKS. Move the zipper pull to the other side if on the side, lower length of vanishing lines somewhat, as vanishing points tend to spread out further over the bum. Adjust ruffles so look a bit different. Also, remember – waists on backs generally round up, are higher than fronts – to cover the bum.

Chain Brush

How to Make a Chain Link Pattern Brush


Select Ellipse drawing Tool in Tool Bar. Click once on Artboard to bring up the Made to Measure dialog box. Input width 1.2 in, height .8 in. Can scale brush later.


Add/Increase Stroke on ring to 8 pts. Empty out fill.

OUTLINE STROKE. Select object with Black Arrow, go to Object>Path>Outline Stroke. Outline Stroke changes the stroke of an object to a shape with fill. To use Outline Stroke properly, the object should have only a stroke – with NO fill – be sure and empty fill before applying Outline Stroke.

MR.CLEAN. After outlining stroke, apply the Default Style. With object selected, go to the Tool Bar and find underneath or on top of fill & stroke (depending how you have your document set up), a miniature-sized tool with a white fill on top of a black stroke. This is the Default Style short-cut I call Mr. Clean. It applies a white fill and 1 pt black stroke to any object. I call it Mr. Clean because whatever appearances – dashes, brushes, effects, etc – may be on an object initially, Mr Clean will with one click clean it all off and return the object to Default Style. Very Handy!

METAL COLOR FILL. Fill object with a Metal color. (If you want the metal to “shine” see Add Gradient section at bottom.) You can access Color Libraries from Menu Bar under Window>Swatch Libraries>Metal or by clicking on Options Bar on Swatches Panel to access Open Swatch Library>Metal.


WIDTH OF REPEAT. Select ring with Black Arrow and holding down ALT, pull off a copy of the ring. Move copy to where want next link to begin. With second copy selected, double click on Black Arrow on tool bar to bring up Move Tool. You will see recorded the last distance moved. Illustrator remembers inside the Move Tool (also available under Object>Transform>Move Tool) the distance of last object just moved. We can use this to our advantage to determine Width of Repeat.


We will be using this measurement later to create the Placement Box for our repeat – what I call the Secret Square. Knowing we will be using later, I always round up the width to a measurement that is no more than two digits in, so it is easy to use, and will often record it on layer in layer panel to keep for later.

ROUND UP. After determining basic measurement, in this case .9391 – Delete the 2nd ring. Reselect first ring with Black Arrow, double click on Black Arrow to bring up Move Tool. Input Horizontal – your rounded up measurement, in this case .94. Input under Vertical – ZERO. Click on COPY. We want to make a copy and move it the exact Width of the Repeat. We want our Vertical to be 0 – directly in line with the original.

SAVE MEASUREMENT. Go to Layer Panel, and on the layer with the artwork, Double Click on Layer Name, this will allow you to edit it. Record the width moved between the two links – in my case .94. This is known as the Width of the Repeat and it will be used later when creating our overlapping Pattern Brush – several times.


Now we need to create an interlocking Chain Link from ring. We will be using two instances of the repeat to create our brush. Both instances of the repeat – must be the same, must be an Exact Copy. This takes a little doing. It requires we cut out an area on the 1st ring where it overlaps with the second, delete 2nd, copy & move first – to ensure we are working on exact duplicates. Then we cut out an area on the 2nd ring where overlaps the first. Delete first and copy 2nd. We can cut out an area fairly simply with the Knife Tool.

Select 1st ring with Black Arrow. Zoom in on object – so you can cut with precision using Knife Tool. Select Knife Tool in Tool Bar under the Eraser Tool.

CUT 1st RING. Using Knife carefully cut out section on first ring on the bottom where second ring crosses it. Knife is a precision tool. YOU MUST ZOOM IN. For each side of the cut you will need to begin OUTSIDE of object you are cutting and end OUTSIDE of object you are cutting. This means the cut must start above the stroke and end below the stroke of the first ring. If the cut is a little off, lines don’t match up perfectly, go back in with White Arrow and fix until correct.

CUT SECOND RING. After cutting 1st ring, you must, delete 2nd ring, delete cut out, copy 1st ring AGAIN Width of the Repeat, using the Move Tool. And we need to do the same now with the top of the 2nd ring – we need to cut out area where crosses the 1st ring at the top.

And after making the cut out, at top of the 2nd ring, delete 1st ring, delete cut out, select both top and bottom of the interlocking motif – which has now been cut into two separate pieces, and GROUP – Command/Control G. This Group is the Interlocking ring. If we did one ring then other ring, without deleting and recopying, one side would have a bottom cut and the other a top cut. This DOES NOT work. In the Final Motif both instances of a brush – must be exactly the same, which is why we have to cut, delete, recopy, cut, delete, group, recopy. Here again, last two steps, produces final artwork for brush. 


At the outset of making Pattern Brush I always ensure motif is on its own layer. And then create a layer underneath – which I name the Secret Square.

GET HEIGHT. Before making the Secret Square Placeholder for the repeat itself, we will also need the actual height of the motif. Height of Secret Square Placeholder needn’t be exact, but it must clear top and bottom of the motif. Select the motif. Height can be found in one of two places – on the Control Bar where it says H: for Horizontal or in the Transform Panel, Window>Transform. In my case Height is .925. So will make height of Secret Square 1.1″ – in order to ensure full height of motif is easily covered.

SELECT PLACEHOLDER LAYER. Select layer in the Layer Panel that we previously added underneath Motif. What I called the Secret Square. Layer fills in when selected.

MAKE SECRET SQUARE, NO FILL NO STROKE. The Secret Square is actually a Rectangle that has NO fill and NO stroke and is used by Illustrator as Placeholder to determine brush overlapsping at the true Width of the Repeat (width of repeat is NOT the same as the width of the motif, it’s smaller). Select Rectangle Tool. Holding down ALT to create from Center Out, click once (do not drag) at center of the two instances of the motif to bring up the Made to Measure box. Using Alt will create the Secret Square Placement Rectangle at midpoint between the two motifs, and at center top and bottom. Input the Width of your Repeat, in my case .94″ and height plus clearance, in my case 1.1″. Click OK. With Secret Square selected, go to Menu Bar or the Control Bar and empty fill and empty stroke.

MAKE BRUSH. Select the Secret Square and the Artwork for the brush, drag all 3 objects into middle of the Brushes Panel – release when little green dot with plus sign pops up. If Brushes Panel is not open, open under Window>Brushes. When dialog brush pops up choose Pattern Brush.

CHANGE SPACING TO 100%. Pattern Brush Options box will open up. An overlapping Brush actually doubles the instance of the repeat on top of itself in the background. This sometimes will show thru. To correct this you must change spacing to 100%. Click OK.

APPLY BRUSH TO LINE. Draw a line with the Line drawing Tool, and with line selected click on your new brush in the Brushes Panel to apply it.

EDIT/SCALE BRUSH. To scale size of brush, Double Click on Brush itself inside the Brushes Panel to edit it. The Brush Options box will open up. Enter new scale size. Click OK. Another dialog box will pop up asking to Apply or Leave Strokes – click on Leave Strokes. Reselect line your Chain Brush is on, reclick on Brush in Brushes Panel to apply new size.


If you want the metallic look of your chain to “shine” you could use a Gradient for the fill, but it requires some extra steps.

APPLY GRADIENT TO FILL. First open the Gradients>Metals Color Library under Window>Swatch Libraries or Swatches>Open Swatch Libraries. Apply Gradient to Fill.

EXPAND GRADIENT. After applying Gradient to fill, with object(s) selected, go to Object>Expand, select Fill only – deselect Stroke. Under Expand Gradient To, enter under Specify 15-20. This will break down Gradient inside a Clipping Mask to 15-20 objects. Click OK.

MAKE BRUSH. As before, copy 2nd instance of motif Width of the Repeat using the Move Tool, if necessary. Create Secret Square UNDERNEATH both instances of motif, inputting width as Width of the Repeat, and a Height that clears both top and bottom. Make the Secret Square INVISIBLE, emptying both Fill & Stroke. Drag Artwork along with Secret Square into Brushes Panel to make the Brush. Change Spacing to 100%, adjust Scale as required.