How Do Fashion Designers Use Math?

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Math is a crucial element of fashion design. It is used to measure sample garments for fitting as well as to keep sizes consistent. In addition, an understanding of geometry is needed when mapping a two-dimensional pattern that has to be designed to fit on a three-dimensional body.

According to Math for Grownups, fashion designers use math-based computer programs to help manipulate flat garment patterns into three-dimensional shapes. Flat sketches of garments must be mathematically accurate. They are then paired with the measurement specs and given to the factory to produce the garments. Without knowledge of math, designers would not be able to draft garment patterns.

Math is also used when creating trim pages for the factory. Designers use trim pages to tell factories the number of trims needed for each garment. Math is necessary to allow designers to order correct numbers of buttons. Any errors in arithmetic can result in huge cost overruns.

Designers need a particularly good sense and understanding of geometry to successfully create three-dimensional patterns. They also need to be able to add fractions in their heads easily since most patterns are measured out in 1/8-inch increments. Being able to manipulate calculations regarding area is also important when it comes to designing how patterns should be laid out on fabric.