Applied Arts
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Textile Designing

Just take a look around, and you will see someone wearing or using textiles created by a designer – clothing, bed linens, kitchen towels, carpets, and blankets, or non-fabric materials like wallpaper and wrapping paper.

Textiles are anything that is made up of yarns, fabrics, or fibers. To be useful, they must have flexibility, abrasion resistance, strength, and moisture control properties. Sometimes textiles are used in materials meant to be protective, such as bulletproof vests, helmets worn by soldiers, and cut resistant gloves used by butchers. The carpeting on the floor of a school, the gowns worn by nurses and doctors, and the sound absorption wall coverings in a theater are all examples of textiles. Textile design is a highly creative field that involves the process of creating the designs that are printed on these woven, knitted, or other types of fabrics.

The field of textile design includes pattern-making, while also managing the production process.

In other words, a designer will incorporate both their initial creative vision of the finished textile with the technical aspects of production, while keeping in mind the characteristics of certain dyes, fibers, finishes, and yarns. Today, nearly all professional textile designers use CAD (computer-aided software) to create designs on fabrics or other surfaces. Heat-transfer printing is also a popular printing process used in textile design.

Textile designers draw ideas for patterns and designs on paper or by using computer software programs. There are numerous types of repeated patterns; the most common, half drop and straight. Sometimes, the same design is produced in a number of different colors, which are called color ways. Once a pattern or design is complete, the process shifts to picking the fabric(s) on which to print or weave the pattern.

Textile designers are highly-creative people who can draw, have a superior eye for color, pattern, and texture, and an appreciation for the fine points of textiles and fashion. They recognize the fluctuations in trends and fashion, understand textile techniques, are good communicators, possess problemsolving skills, and enjoy a challenge, all while staying on budget and deadline.