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From A to Z: textile design and fashion design terms

Updated: May 22

From A to Z: textile design and fashion design terms

For a bit of fun, I thought it would be great to list everything surface pattern design, fashion design and textile design in one blog post!

Are you ready to jump into my A to Z list?


All-over print: A repeating pattern that covers the entire fabric, also known as AOP. All-over repeats can vary from one-way, multi-direction, brick or halfdrop repeat.


Block printing: A technique of printing designs on fabric by using carved wooden blocks. It is a beautiful, hand-made technique commonly used by traditional printers and artisans in China and India.


Colourway: A combination of colours or one colour of a design, garment or accessory. For example, some people may prefer the white colourway of a jacket, while others prefer the blue colourway.


Digital printing: A method of printing designs on fabric using inkjet printers, which allows for more detailed and complex patterns. Did you know that digital printing consumes less energy and water than rotary printing or dyeing? Some reports have confirmed that digital printing can reduce water usage by 70% during production.


Engineered print: A print design that is strategically placed on a garment to create a specific effect, such as a border, a motif, or a panel. A great example is the fashion label Camilla - their main offering is all about engineered prints and you will often find print and embellishments that decorate the hems and neckline of their garments.


Fabric: The material that is used to make clothing and other products, such as cotton, silk, wool, etc. Choosing your fabric is crucial in providing the customer with warming or cooling properties, comfort, durability and style.


Graphic design: The art of creating visual communication using typography, images, colours, and shapes. It can cover things like logos, branding, packaging, illustration, print, tech sketches, CAD and more.


Hand painting: A technique of applying paint or dye directly on fabric or paper by hand, using brushes, stamps, or stencils. My favourite paints are watercolour and gouache and you will often find original, hand-painted designs in my Exclusive Print Library.


Ikat: A type of print design that is created by dyeing the yarns before weaving them into the fabric, resulting in a blurred or fuzzy effect. However, many print designs are not true ikat, but a visual representation of the ikat look printed on plain fabric. 


Jacquard: A type of fabric that has an intricate woven pattern, often with raised or textured surfaces. Jacquard weaves come in a variety of textures and the look will change depending on the yarn weight and yarn type. For example, my favourite jacquard are those made with metallic yarns. The slight metallic texture also adds dimension as well as shine to the final weave.


Knitting: A method of creating fabric by interlocking loops of yarn or thread, using needles or machines. Knitted fabric is not just about your favourite fuzzy sweater! It is also used in swimwear and activewear as knitted fabric offers a lot of stretch.


Laser cutting: A technique of cutting fabric or creating holes or patterns on fabric by using a laser beam.


Motif: A recurring element or design that forms part of a larger pattern or theme. For example, a watercolour floral is full of watercolour leaf motifs and flower motifs.


Non-directional repeat: A type of repeating pattern that can be rotated in any direction without affecting the appearance of the design. These sorts of prints are the most economical and commercial as they can save costs during the cutting phase. You can place the sewing pattern anywhere on the fabric and will still look good!


Ombre: A colour effect that gradually changes from one shade to another, usually from light to dark or vice versa. You can create an ombrie effect using dip dying, or create it digitally using gradient effects.


Pantone: A company that provides a standardized system of identifying and matching colours for print and design industries. I use the Fashion and Home Pantone book when colour-matching my print designs! It helps manufacturers and printers to print the exact colour I want by using this standardised ode system.


Quilting is a sewing technique in which two or more layers of fabric, usually with an insulating material in between, are stitched together to create a padded or decorative surface. This is why quilted blankets and jackets are so soft and warm!


Resist dyeing: A technique of creating patterns on fabric by preventing certain areas from absorbing dye, using methods such as wax, tie, or clamp. I love to use Liquitex masking fluid when I create patterns in this technique. You can check out my resist dyeing style prints via my Exclusive Print Library!


Screen printing: A technique of printing designs on fabric by using a mesh screen and a stencil, which blocks out the unwanted areas. Many tees are printed in this way and it can be economical for larger fabric print runs when using a very limited colour palette.


Textile design: The art of creating designs for fabrics, either for fashion or other purposes, using various techniques and tools. This can be prints, embellishments, wovens, knitted and more!


UV printing: A technique of printing designs on fabric using ultraviolet light, which cures the ink instantly and creates a durable and vibrant print.


Vector graphics: A type of digital graphics that uses mathematical formulas to create shapes and curves, which can be scaled without losing quality. Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphic software and it is often used in creating tech sketches as files are highly editable and can be scaled to full size without slowing down your computer!


Watercolour: A type of paint that is diluted with water and applied on paper or fabric, creating a transparent and fluid effect. Watercolour is one of my favourite ways to create print designs as it can give a vibrant, expressive and emotional feel to the design.


X-stitch: A type of embroidery stitch that forms a cross or X shape on the fabric, often used to create patterns or designs


Yarn: A continuous strand of fibre that is used to make fabric by weaving, knitting, or crocheting. Yarns can be made from organic or synthetic materials.


Zigzag stitch: A type of embroidery stitch that forms a zigzag or wavy line on the fabric, often used to create decorative edges or seams.

Well, that was fun. If you happen to learn anything new from this list, let me know via email!




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