Textiles and Fashion Design Sketchbooks – 18 Inspirational Examples

Last Updated on January 30, 2022

This article contains outstanding textile and fashion design sketchbooks to inspire high school Art and Design students. It is hoped that these sketchbooks motivate those who are designing fashion garments, personal accessories, wearable art costumes, fabrics, woven textiles, experimental weaving, embroidery, printed textiles (such as block printing, silk-screen printing) and items produced using any other method of decorating or manipulating fabric and thread, such as batik, dye and spray painting.

You may be interested in our new book: Outstanding High School Sketchbooks. This book has high-resolution images so that fine details and annotation are clear, making it an excellent resource for students and schools. Learn more!

Fashion design sketchbook examples
These mixed media A Level Textiles sketchbook pages by Anya Jane Magee explore a wide range of tactile surfaces and structures. The properties of threads and fabric are investigated thoroughly, using a range of mediums and techniques, resulting in rich, exciting pages. Small, tidy annotation surrounds the pieces, providing thorough analysis without causing distraction from the work itself.
Fashion design sketchbook ideas
These Edexcel A Level Textiles sketchbook pages are by Halima Akhtar, completed while studying within the Woldingham School Art Department, UK. Halima achieved 95% for her AS Textiles Exam and 100% for her AS Textiles Coursework (A*). She also gained 100% for A Level Fine Art. These pages contain layered, mixed media abstractions that command attention and suggest ideas for a textile surface. The work of relevant designers integrates seamlessly with personal investigation and informs and extends the development of ideas. As in this example, students with a strength in traditional painting and drawing should not hesitate to embrace this within a fashion or textiles project. You may wish to view more from Halima’s outstanding A Level Textiles projects.
A Level Textiles sketchbook
These textile explorations are by Daisy Wrigley, completed while studying AQA A Level Art & Design (Fine Art) at St. Mary’s Catholic High School. These pages contain a variety of different materials (velvet, corduroy, tissue paper, bracing paper, ink, acrylic, salt) and explore a range of techniques, such as applique and embroidery. Mary gained 98% (A*) for her final A Level Art grade.
Fashion design course sketchbook
A sketchbook page by Lucy Feng, completed as part of a short fashion design course. The use of conceptual models and mocks-ups can be an excellent starting point for students. Here, draped and folded fabric has been photographed and then used to inspire the development of more detailed and resolved designs. A minimal color scheme allows emphasis on the layering of fabric, forms and shapes of the garment. Lucy’s gained 95% for A2 Art and 100% for GCSE Art. You may like to view her A Level Art portraiture project.
Fashion design sketchbook by Amber Hards
Sketchbook pages by knitwear designer Amber Hards, a graduate of the Fashion and Textile Design course at the University of the West of England. These sketchbook pages contain a clear link between real world sources of inspiration (such as the jellyfish) and conceptual designs, and include a superb range of techniques.
Insect fashion design project
These AQA A Level Textiles sketchbook pages are by Hollie Wakeford-Smith, completed while studying at Woldingham School, England. The pages include observational drawings and fabric experiments (including distressed materials) inspired by insects. Designs are developed from original first-hand experience, with clear links between initial observational work and subsequent explorations with fabric and garment forms. Hollie gained A* (100%) for A Level Textiles.
Figure drawing fashion design
Drawings by Katty Hoelck, produced while studying Fashion at Parsons School of Design. This fashion collection was inspired by wild fires and explores the theme of possession and loss. The work includes experimentation with sustainable Air Dye technology and has fabric printed on both sides. The use of color and mottled surface pattern creates a visual links with burnt skies and grey ash; strengthened by the figure drawings that emulate this style.
Fashion design sketch
Fashion drawings by Anne Isabella Rasmussen. While the majority of the sketchbook pages featured on this page contain an vast array of mixed media and creative approaches, it is worth remembering that sometimes the best approach is just to draw. In this example, quick gestural drawings investigating function and form are all that are needed. Beginning with lighter lines, darker lines are applied with confidence as each concept is resolved.
T-shirt fashion design
Design development by Bryony Carrigan. This presentation has a confident, analytical, graphical style. The bold heading colors link to the design, without dominating the page. The inclusion of photographs helps to inform and illustrate stages of development, considering pattern, form and color alternatives.
Fashion design study - conceptual model
A sketchbook produced by A Level Fashion Design student Elle Salt, while studying at Esher College. Photographs of a conceptual model (the cardboard dress on the left) has been drawn over, developed and extended. The work of relevant artists and designers has been analyzed and dissected, helping to inspire patterns and a bold aesthetic.
Fashion pattern design
An A Level Fashion Design (AS) Coursework project by Ellie Carless. The left-hand images show analysis of existing clothing items, demonstrating an understanding of construction methods, such as seams and fastenings. This knowledge is essential if students hope to prepare their designs for actual production. The right-hand side shows pattern adaptation and technical flats, using confident, precise, analytical drawings.
Fashion design research pages
A Level Art Textiles research pages by Virginia Durigon-Richardson. These sketchbook pages are the clear result of effort, passion and enthusiasm. Although ‘decoration’ is usually unnecessary within a textile or fashion design sketchbook, in this case, the background patterning demonstrates a complete understanding of the aesthetic; a strong personal response to the colors, shapes, textures, lines and forms.
Textiles techniques - heatpress
An A Level Textiles sketchbook page (source). This page shows experimentation with several textile techniques, such as using a heat press, machine embroidery and boning. This allows a student to demonstrate an understanding of properties of materials and techniques and to investigate forms that are relevant to their project. Each of these textile samples are derived from textures observed first-hand. In this case, the absence of color focuses attention solely upon the surface qualities of the materials.
embroidery, dye, rust sketchbook
These sketchbook pages are by Grace Baker, completed while studying AQA A Level Art and Design (Textiles) at Mayfield Grammar School, UK. These pages show fabric replications of rust, using a range of different techniques, including calico painted with dye and stitched into using a free-hand embroidery foot on a sewing machine. Synthetic fabric has been distressed and intentionally burned with a heat gun, and then built up in layers, hand-stitched, with 3D medium applied. This has then been dyed and enameled. Grace was awarded A* for her overall A Level. Grace is one of many students whose work has been featured in our publication: Outstanding High School Sketchbooks.
Draping fashion design
Mixed media drawings by Fashion Illustration student Laura April Jayne. These sketchbook pages contain several useful techniques for Fashion Design students. Photographs of conceptual experiments (fabric draped and held in different ways) are painted and drawn over – creating an expressive, hand-generated aesthetic – extending the image beyond the edges of the photograph and adding details. This allows 3D sculptural work to inspire 2D designs and vice versa. The illustrations also include carefully cut out photographic portraits, which provide a real-world context for the designs and create a dramatic visual focal points. (Taking your own photographs of human models and incorporating these with hand-drawn designs can be an excellent approach for high school Fashion students).
Butterfly fashion design project
Sketchbook pages by Fashion College student Olivia Hands. These sketchbook pages have a formal, organized, uncluttered presentation style, with a minimal use of color. Items are positioned carefully, allowing each piece of the design process to be understood. The project contains a thorough investigation of detail and pattern, with first-hand observation of moths and butterflies informing subsequent designs.
Fashion design school sketchbook example
These sketchbook pages are by an up-and-coming young designer Ania Leike, completed in her last year of a fashion design degree at Istituto Marangoni, who has had work worn by Lady Gaga. The inviting, textural, mixed-media pages are filled with multiple layers of mediums. Dramatic human faces have been glued into the work and then collaged, cut and drawn over.
dissolvable fabric sketchbook page
This sketchbook page is by Charlotte Relf, completed while studying AQA AS Level Art and Design (Textiles) at Mayfield Grammar School, UK. Charlotte uses a range of media on this page, including torn newspaper, Tipp-ex liquid correction fluid on tracing paper, and free machine embroidery on dissolvable fabric, creating replicas of jellyfish, inspired by Karen Nicol.

Need more sketchbook ideas?

This article is part of a series showcasing and celebrating outstanding sketchbooks by students, artists and designers. You may also be interested in viewing our other sketchbook resources:

This sketchbook collection is continually updated. Please bookmark this page so that you can return to it when needed! If you would like to submit your own sketchbook page for inclusion, please contact us. ????

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