Discovering a Major: Technical Design

by Olivia Jorge as told to Emily Bennett

Olivia Jorge

Olivia Jorge

Technical Design involves fitting garments and understanding both the design and production sides of the industry. Most students in the program came from a fashion design background or took prerequisite courses in draping and pattern making. The Technical Design program focuses on understanding garment construction through flat and computerized pattern making and fit corrections, as well as technical sketching and measuring garments.  Live models are also brought in to strengthen our knowledge of fitting.

I’m in my 8th semester now. My Associate’s degree is in Fashion Design, and I switched right into Technical Design for my Bachelor’s. I didn’t know about the major when I started at FIT; I originally chose the school for the Fashion Design program because it was so prestigious.  The location and in-state tuition didn’t hurt either! However, once I heard about the Technical program I knew I wanted to switch. After my first year of Fashion Design, I realized I was becoming less motivated in actually designing. I’ve always liked math, and the pattern making classes were what I enjoyed most in my first major. When I heard about the Technical Design major, I knew I would enjoy the more “technical” side of things.

These pictures show one final project I completed last year. This is the technical sketch I created as the first step

These pictures show one final project I completed last year. This is the technical sketch I created as the first step

I really enjoyed the pattern grading class I took. We first learned how to grade, or increase and decrease the size of a pattern, by hand using a device that had precise measurements, down to 1/32 of an inch. Then we moved on to using a computer pattern program. Grading involves a good amount of math, and it’s interesting to see how such small differences in measurements actually amount to complete garment size differences.

This is the first fitting we had of the design. We worked with partners to sew it and correct the fit

This is the first fitting we had of the design. We worked with partners to sew it and correct the fit

Because FIT is so career-oriented, it’s hard to focus on anything but your major. FIT taught me that hard work can take you far, as long as you love what you’re doing. Coming in as a freshman, I had my mind set on becoming a designer. Once I realized that wasn’t truly right for me, I became a little discouraged but eventually found my path. As a senior now, I’m still not completely confident that technical design is right for me, but I’ll continue figuring things out as I go on.

These were the fit issues we documented and fixed for the final presentation. Everything was handed in as a technical packet to show our process

These were the fit issues we documented and fixed for the final presentation. Everything was handed in as a technical packet to show our process

While in Fashion Design, I did two internships with small design companies and worked for another designer making patterns. After my first year of Technical Design, I did a (paid!) summer internship at Victoria’s Secret in their swimwear department. The people I worked with loved having me, so they’ve been extending my time ever since. Right now my last day is in February, but they’re already working on getting an extension approved. The maximum time allowed for their interns is one year, so by then I’ll have graduated and they can hopefully hire me full-time. If not, I’ll be applying for an assistant or associate technical design position. I would be working with other technical designers in achieving a brand’s ideal fit each season. I’d be assisting with the fittings and sending tech packs overseas with all the garment details and fit corrections to prepare garments for production. Ideally, I’d like to end up working with fitting bras and lingerie.


Find out more about the Technical Design major (BS) here!
–Emily–