Design Inspriation and direction

Have you ever thought about what type of designer you would be? Who would you design for? What type of fabrics would you specialize in? What style of garments would you make? or Who you are most influenced by?You don’t have to make all these decisions at once because you style as a designer will evolve as you learn.

I found early that I like to design clothing that is comfortable but elegant and very well made. My designs are in the details.  The classic styles call to me. Simple and Soft. I design in soft supple fabrics that flow. My color family is deep rich blues, turquoise, purples, greens and soft creams/ivory/light earth tones. What will your style be?

Being a designer is hard work, but rewarding in a variety of ways. If you want to be a designer start documenting your journey. Keeping a sketch book, Photographing the garments you make, and adding illustrations/Flats to your photos of your garments.  This is a great way to view the changes as you transition into a true designer.

If you want to be a well-paid designer, please the client.
If you want to be an award-winning designer, please yourself.
If you want to be a great designer, please the audience.


What do you think the first step will be for you?

JCCC Students CALL for DESIGNERS !!!!

All JCCC student designers interested in participating in the FM&D fashion show for Spring 2013 should attend a mandatory Informational Meeting Wednesday Sept 19th at 2 pm in GEB 343A.
Come to receive the details for requirements to participate in this years show. Must attend to participate or contact Joy Rhodes to make appointment. See JCCC website directory for her email address or contact the FM&D dept.

This is a great opportunity to show the skills you have acquired while attending JCCC!!!

Be prepared for the first day of Class

The Fall 2012 semester is getting ready to begin. Everyone thinks they are ready but you just never know.
I have a couple of suggestions for you “Before” you head off to class,

1. Check you campus email address for last-minute instructions, campus alerts, or just to be informed about what is going on.

2. Bring your textbook, Pen and a pad of paper to the first class. This sounds like an obvious one but you would be surprised how many students ask to borrow a pen or paper. Also they will wait to get their books and then find they could have gotten a better deal by planning ahead by buying used textbooks or ordering online. If you get the wrong one, all that is lost is time because they will give you a refund.

3. Arrive in plenty of time so you can find a parking space and relax a bit before class. Arriving late always makes a bad impression on the first day.

4. Do not skip the first day of class. Yes this does happen! That is your chance to get to know the instructor, other students and get organized. It shows disrespect to skip the class because you think “nothing is going to happen the first day”. I give a pop quiz for points on the first day!

5. Turn off your phone. I know several professors that take points off for attendance if you phone goes off! My favorite is the professor that requires you to bring treats for the whole class the next class period for a ringing/buzzing or disturbance in class.

6. Never Text in class. Most teacher can tell when you are putting dates in your calendar which is a good idea, but if you are clicking away, you are aggravating the students around you and We know that too! Because the other students will tell me and I can hear you.

7. Put gas in your car, check for bus money, set your alarm, etc. Excuses are not good for the first day of class, you do not want to set a precedent for a teacher to evaluate your behavior.

8. The first day of class is usually very relaxed so take the initiative to sit close to the front of the room. Students that sit up front usually do better in class, this has been researched. If you decide you want to learn give your self the best view-point.

9. Make up a list of questions the night before that you have about the class, how much homework? types of Exams? when are assignments due? Then when the teacher asks if there are any questions you will be able to scan through them and ask any that were not covered. Shows you are really interested in doing well in the class.

10. TAKE NOTES! there is nothing more annoying to an instructor than to have a student sit in a seat while they lecture and do nothing. This tells me you don’t care about learning the material. It usually means that student will be lost when test and quizzes come up or you will have to borrow notes from another student. I find I’m more willing to help a student with notes than one that asks me to explain something that they can’t show me they were even paying attention.

College is not like high school. If you don’t go to class it’s your business, and if you fail a class it’s your problem. You pay to be there so get the most out of the experience that you can! There are plenty of other people who would love to go to college that can’t.
Enjoy the first week of the semester!

Taking the first step in your career in fashion

If you have thought you had the talent to design, construct, merchandise, buy or sell garments then Johnson County Community College might be your first stop. Our program is rated among one of the best in the area. We can start with students that have never even sewn a stitch and give them the skills they need to succeed in the fashion industry. If you have developed some talents on your own, we will hone those skills and help you add to them. is the link to the department website. Take a look and contact us when you are ready to be the next big “FASHION STAR!”

CAD Pattern Design

Computer Aided Pattern Development is the next step in the Pattern drafting courses at Johnson County Community college. The Prerequisite is FASH 131 Flat Pattern Design.

The course is FASH 127, CAD Pattern Design. Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to apply the use of flat pattern techniques in developing computerized patterns for original apparel designs using the Gerber Pattern Design System technology. Students will digitize basic slopers/blocks and manipulate them into original apparel designs on the computer. This class will use a combination of lecture, demonstration and hands-on computer experience to teach the skills needed for creating digital patterns. The course meets 6 hours a week for 16 weeks. 2 hrs. lecture, 4 hrs. lab/wk.

Upon successful completion of this course, the student should be able to:

1. Recognize and understand the role of basic slopers/blocks in the development of an original digital pattern design.
2. Digitize and develop a digital set of personal fit slopers consisting of five basic blocks and perform alterations to fit personal specifications.
3. Identify terminology of manual pattern drafting and how the terms are translated into the industry standard Gerber CAD commands.
4. Demonstrate the knowledge and application of standard pattern drafting principles in the manipulation and development of original CAD patterns using the Gerber pattern drafting
5. Select and apply the appropriate CAD drafting commands in the Gerber software program including point, line, piece, edit, measure as well as other design tools and functions.
6. Recognize the possible ramifications of choices made for pattern, fabric and personal body type on the planning and construction process taking into account construction skill
level and cost of construction.
7. Show ability to access digital storage areas, retrieve digital patterns and maintain an organized working environment within the Gerber program.
8. Develop a production technical package complete with written instructions including suggested fabrics, efficient fabric layout options, detailed construction instructions and any
other important information.
9. Designate the growth areas within a pattern and create a graded nest for an industry standard size range using the Gerber grading features.
10. Generate a marker for production cutting using the Gerber marker making features for a standard size range and calculate optimum fabric utilization.

Note: An honors contract is available. Contact the Honors Program Office, COM 201, for more information.

Flat Pattern Design

Flat pattern design is a course that is usually taken in the second semester of a JCCC fashion design students studies. The call # is FASH 131.

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to apply the use of flat pattern methods in developing patterns for original apparel designs. Students will hand draft a set of both standard size and custom slopers/blocks for manipulation into original pattern designs. Students will plan, develop patterns, create pattern instructions and prepare muslin samples of their designs. The class will use a combination of lecture, demonstration and hands on experience to teach the skills necessary in manual pattern development. The course meets 6 hours a week with 2 hrs. lecture and 4 hrs. instructional lab/wk.

This course requires acquiring a C or above in Apparel Construction 1, for those new to sewing it is suggested they take Apparel Construction II as a co-requisite.
This class will allow the students to:
1. Define key industry terminology of manual pattern drafting techniques and equipment by selecting and using appropriate drafting tools including, but not limited to a designer’s
neckline curve, French curve, hip curve, L square and a straight edge ruler.
2. Demonstrate the knowledge of hand pattern drafting techniques used in the designing, manipulation and development of original apparel patterns.
3. Recognize the role of the basic slopers/blocks in the development of original patterns.
4. Perform alterations and fit adjustments to a basic sloper pattern for both industry standard sizes and personal measurement specifications.
5. Construct first muslin samples for evaluation of pattern accuracy and fit.
6. Develop a written direction sheet complete with suggested fabrics, efficient pattern layout instructions, detailed construction steps and any other information needed for
7. Determine the growth points within a pattern and grade the pattern according to a manual x and y coordinate scale.
8. Create an efficient marker for cutting and calculate optimum fabric utilization.
9. Define the elements of garment costing including materials, labor and shipping costs and calculate final garment costs.
10. Create a portfolio of custom designs including pattern pieces, marker, cost sheet, directions and technical drawings.

After finishing this course you will be ready to take CAD Pattern Drafting on the Gerber PDS system (FASH 127)

Note: A 1 hour credit honors contract is also available, for added instruction. Contact the Honors Program Office, COM 201, for more information.

If you have questions about this course contact Debra Hillen at

Hello world!

Welcome to Debra Hillen’s blog site. This will be a place to read about Fashion, specifically what I call Technical support!

I teach Patten Drafting, both traditional and computerized (CAD), Textiles for fashion students and Apparel Construction Techniques including Tailoring. These courses are the bones of producing a garment. When developing designs you will also need Photoshop, Illustrator and various other talents. In the upcoming posts you will find links to many inspiring sites, sources for products and tips/tricks that can help you out. This site will have a variety of information about the Fashion Program at Johnson county Community College , sources for inspiration and answers for you about clothing development. For the first link go to the JCCC Fashion page to see our wonderful program!
This blog is just getting started so please have patience with the site and its author, me.
Thanks, Enjoy.

Debra Hillen, Fashion Merchandising and Design