Fashion sketches are an essential part of product development. They are the first and one of the most important steps in bringing your fashion products to reality. In this post, we will explain what CAD fashion sketches are and how to draw them, even if you don’t have extensive technical design experience.

What is a CAD sketch in fashion?

In the fashion industry, a Computer-aided design sketch (CAD sketch), also known as a flat sketch or technical flat, is a technical drawing of a garment that is laid flat to show design details such as seams and stitching.

technical cad sketch
An example of a float sketch via Repsketch. You can repurpose this denim pants template here.

A CAD drawing is a black-and-white flat sketch, that is created at the start of the product development stage. It serves as a guide for drafting the pattern of the garment. It is drawn without any stylized illustrative elements to represent the garment laid flat.

A technical sketch that shows how the garment fits on the body is called a float.

What is a float in fashion?

A float is a version of a technical flat that represents a garment’s silhouette and movement. Unlike a technical sketch, a float is characterized by shading and movement lines. The purpose of a float is to show how the garment should fit on the body.

float cad sketch
An example of a float sketch via Repsketch. You can repurpose this polo shirt template here.

What is the purpose of a CAD sketch in fashion?

A technical sketch is included in the Tech Pack to communicate to the factory the design, construction, and stitch details of your garment.

They can also be used as a placeholder for styles that are still in development during adoption presentations. They can also be used on a website, hangtag, or in product catalog.

CAD sketch tech pack
Example of a tech pack with a CAD sketch

Difference between fashion flat sketches and fashion illustration

A fashion illustration is an interpretation of your idea that captures the mood, proportion, and color of your design. The technical sketch, on the other hand, aids in translating the garment into something "universal" that a whole team of people can understand and work on.

Fashion flats must include technical design details like stitching, while fashion illustration doesn’t have to include any. Very often, the fashion illustration is drawn by a fashion designer. Then, a technical designer draws a technical fashion flat based on the illustration.

Difference between fashion illustration and technical sketch
Fashion illustration by Jenny Walton


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3 main rules of a CAD fashion flat

There are three essential rules that you need to follow to nail the technical flat sketches.

Be very detailed

Draw every last detail for your factory to follow. It is preferable to invest the time now rather than receive a sample that you cannot use and waste even more time. Create detailed templates (for example, the inside lining, pocket stitching or label placement of your garment) that you can reuse in subsequent tech packs.

Detailed technical flat sketch of a t-shirt
Draw every little detail on your sketch. For example, stitching on the pocket.

Include multiple views

It is common for garment sketches to include only a front and back view. However, keep in mind that you may need to add additional sketches to show the inside of the garment and/or how different parts of the garment function. Multiple views of accessories are important because they provide a better understanding of the design.

Include multiple views of your garment, for example, additional inside view of a jacket. 

Keep it simple

Creating a sketch for a tech pack is not the same as creating a fashion illustration. Because movement and shading can be distracting in tech pack sketches, they are not required. Sketches in black and white can be easier to understand and provide a clear representation of your design.

Black and white polo flat sketch
Draw flat sketches without any distracting details like shading.

How to draw a technical flat sketch?

What software to use to create fashion CAD sketches?

Very often, fashion designers use software like Adobe Illustrator to draw CAD sketches. It is a great tool to create a fashion flat from start to finish with many details incorporated in it, for example, colors and prints. If you are new to the fashion field, it will take some time to learn the basics of using this software. Luckily, there is a variety of online tutorials to learn from.

A great alternative to this are online vector editing tools. Which are great for fashion designers that want to save time on building CAD sketches. For example, Repsketch offers an immense library of fashion flats and fashion illustrations that you can repurpose. You can find a great variety of styles there, from footwear and accessories to swimwear and baby clothing.

Repsketch is a great tool for fashion designers who want to:

  • Save a ton of time on drawing fashion CAD sketches.
  • Try themselves in a new fashion field for example footwear, kidswear, or accessories.
  • Build mood boards and draw inspiration for new collections.
Repsketch fashion sketch library
Repsketch fashion sketch library

You can also brainstorm on new collections on Repsketch. The platform provides a variety of body templates (also called croquis) to choose from. Simply select a body type, like woman, man, or child, and start designing directly on it. Simplify the job by reusing the vector templates that Repsketch offers.

Fashion CAD sketch on croquis
An example of a fashion sketch on a body via Repsketch. You can repurpose this template here.

How to create a flat sketch step-by-step tutorial

Let’s create a flat sketch step-by-step together. We will make a button-up men's shirt. Let’s start by looking up a men's shirt template on Repsketch:

Fashion technical sketch templates
Type a keyword to select a template on Repsketch‌‌

Once we select the template that works for us, we click on the “Repurpose this sketch” button to start working with it.

From there, we can edit the template as we want. We can change colors, and delete elements like buttons, collars, or sleeves. We can also add new elements like a new sleeve, pocket, or collar type. Repsketch also provides graphics that you can place on your garments.

draw fashion technical sketches online
Add new components to your technical sketch on Repsketch‌‌

We will start by changing the color of the shirt to white and changing the pocket type.

Make technical fashion flats online
Change colors, delete elements, and add new elements to your fashion sketch on Repsketch‌‌

You can also create a short sleeve version in a similar way, by selecting a long sleeve element from the components page.

Fashion flats templates
Adding a new sleeve type to the flat sketch on Repsketch

Once the standard blank and white version of the sketch is finalized, save it for future use in the tech pack. We suggest having a basic flat sketch along with colored sketches in your tech pack for manufacturing purposes.

Once the fashion sketch is complete, you can easily save it or download it in SVG format.

In addition to that, you can enhance your tech pack with other templates available on Repsketch. For example, collar construction details:

Fashion technical sketches for tech pack
A detailed technical sketch of a collar. You can repurpose this template here.‌‌

Or brand label placement:

Fashion flat sketches for tech pack
A brand label placement sketch. You can repurpose this template here.

And even create your own care label!

care symbols for tech pack
Washing symbols. You can repurpose this template here.

As you can see creating a fashion CAD sketch in Repsketch is easy as one, two, three. Are you ready to give it a try? Sign up here.

Video Tutorial on how to draw CAD sketches