Being an African fashion designer can be both fulfilling and tasking, considering fashion’s role today.
Apart from the rigorous training that designers need to undergo, they also need to continue researching to keep up with trends.
African fashion designers are known to continually expand their scope and try out new things with strategies.
Indeed, they need the right tools to match their innovative ideas to bump up their skills and experiences. These tools also save time, cost and give the designers some degree of freedom.
Find in this article the ten world-class tools that make the African fashion push-button easy.
1. Sewing Machine
An essential tool that an African fashion designer needs is a sewing machine, and it is used primarily on making stitches and sewing.
Therefore, a fashion designer is not complete without a sewing machine.
Sewing machines come in different types for different tasks. For instance, the industrial sewing machine can sew any fabric, whereas the manual is difficult with elastic materials. Also, a zigzag sewing machine is helpful to make attractive patterns on fabrics.
However, fashion designers should invest in tools that are of high quality and also purchase power tools to fix minor faults.
A fashion designer needs different types of scissors to be able to make faultless cuts of designs. Of course, you cannot sew a piece of fabric or get a pattern without first cutting them.
Undoubtedly, scissors are a draping tool that you can use for diverse tasks, but you have to know that it will be blunt in no time.
The types of scissors available for grab in the market include;
Tailors Scissors: tailors and craft men prefer this scissors not just because it is small, but it can also cut through rigid materials.
Shear Scissors: to cut any fabric, shear scissors are a must-have. It is the heaviest type of scissors and comes with a long blade.
Lightweight Scissors: the best kind of scissors for cutting silk, lining, and other light materials is the lightweight scissors.
Card Scissors: fashion designers use this kind of scissors to cut cardboard and other paper-like materials.
All-Purpose Scissors: for cutting non-fabric materials, this type of scissors is a preferred choice.
3. Measuring Tape
A tape measure is a draping tool that African fashion designers cannot afford to miss out on in their atelier. Having more than one measuring tape at all times is reasonably necessary.
You can have one around your neck, the other in your toolbox, and another in your workspace. Most tailors have tapes and writing materials in their purses wherever they go.
You measure out your client’s fit with a measuring tape and then create the same in your fabric. This tool is essential because, without the correct measurement, your design might not fit.
4. Needles and Thread
A fashion designer cannon make an outfit without needles and threads. Your sewing machine needs sewing needles and yarn to form stitches on fabrics.
Even if you do not use sewing machines, you also need a hand needle to make and complete your design. Needles should come in different sizes, while your thread should also be in different colors.
These essential sewing tool kits are necessary for making finishing touches, repairs, and fixing snags on outfits.
To store needles, differentiate hand sewing and machine sewing needles and wrap them in papers to prevent rust.
5. Tailor’s Chalk
A tailor’s chalk is a product development tool that all African designers use to make bespoke outfits. Fashion designers can dust out tailors’ chalk quickly after marking the fabric.
You do not just need as many as possible with different bold colors because they can be easily misplaced.
African designers use these chalks alongside tape measures when working on fabrics. You measure first with the tape, then mark lines with chalk.
6. Dressmaker Pin
A dressmaker pin is a draping tool used to fasten measured-out fabrics before sewing them. This tool is essential because they ensure that you have a perfect design.
You wouldn’t want to have imperfect stitches after sewing. Dressmakers’ pins give the African designers ideas of how their design will look like.
7. Pencils and Sketchpad
African fashion designers get inspiration even at unpredictable places and moments. When these inspirations come up, you use the sketchpad and pencils to sketch the designs down.
Most designers prefer to sketch their designs first on the sketchpad before proceeding to the pattern, giving room for design adjustments.
Therefore, designers are supposed to have drawing abilities to easily trace and design whatever they choose to for their brands.
8. Curved Rulers
Curved rulers are draping tools that African designers use in outline patterns. There are also used to adjust areas of the body that have curves.
Curved rulers exist in three forms;
Styling Curve; the curved ruler is for curving collars and necklines while sketching patterns. They are also called fashion design curves.
Hip Curve; just like the name implies, the hip curve is for sketching patterns to curve and adjust side-seams fit.
French Curve Ruler; of all curved sewing rulers, the French curve is the one that has frequent uses. Its primary use is for designing patterns for any area that requires a curve.
9. Dressmaker Dummy/ Mannequin
Designers of African origin use adjustable dressmaker dummies or mannequins to quickly size dresses. Apart from saving space, these dummies give a clear view of the design outcome.
You stand a chance of viewing how the natural person will look on the outfit you just made. These draping tools and models save time for the designer.
No matter the kind of outfit you designed, you can size them on the models and make necessary adjustments. Depending on your space, you can have about four adjustable dummies.
10. Mousseline or Muslin
Have you wondered deeply why African designs push the button quickly? Well, one of the secrets is the Mousseline or Muslin, and they are incredibly cheap.
Why is this mousseline or muslin necessary to Africa designs?
– Trails and errors; some designs can be tricky just by merely looking at them. African designers use these cheap fabrics to test out and practice their techniques before using the primary material.
– Securing designs; as said earlier, African designers are creative minds, and they draw inspiration from anything at all.
Most of the time, when these inspirations come, they use muslins to experiment and see how the design will look on other fabrics after sketching them down.
Once fashion designers develop an inspiration, they secure it for future use even when they won’t apply it immediately.
– Cheaper alternative; have you imagined ruining your expensive fabric because a design does not suit it? Well, it can be heartbreaking.
Muslins are designing tools that help save money and time to a great level until the designer masters the designs.
Generally, the work of a fashion designer starts from creating design models, sourcing textiles from producers, and continuously making discoveries of new design concepts.
Designers in Africa draw inspiration from African lifestyles, cultures, and beliefs. These concepts make African fashion stand out among others.
Tools like product development tools, pattern-making tools, fabrics, threads, needles, sewing tools, fashion art tools, and draping tools are trends in modern fashion.
African-inspired designs are top-notch because the designers use world-class tools to make African fashion push-button easy.