Join Robin Schneider for an in-depth discussion in this video Adding stitching, part of Illustrator for Fashion Design: Drawing Flats.
Now that we have our t-shirt, let's add some stitching. One of the nice things about doing stitching in Illustrator is that you don't have to draw every single stitch. Illustrator will do it for you. Let me show you how it works. I'm going to zoom into the shirt. And remember, we grouped them together. So in order to work on this, we need to go into Isolation mode. And to do that, I'm going to double-click on the shirt. Let's do the stitches. First thing we need to do is draw a line where the stitches are going to go and I'll start with the hemline. So let me move this up just a little bit. We're going to do this in a very similar way to the way we added the back neckline in the sleeves.
Start with the Direct Selection tool and select that anchor point right in the center of the hemline. Copy it, Ctrl+C or Cmd+C. Paste in front, Ctrl+F or Cmd+F. And with your arrow key on your keyboard, you can then nudge it up just a couple of clicks. Make sure to change the Fill to None and now we can change this stroke into stitches. To do that, we're going to open the Stroke panel. Remember if your Stroke panel got closed and the icon isn't here, you can always go up to the window dropdown and find it under Stroke, but I've got it over here so we'll open that.
If it opens small like this, you can expand it by clicking on this arrow. And what we want to do is turn on this little icon here next to dash line, which will turn our line into dashes. Now mine automatically went to 2 points, because I did this once before today. Yours is going to open to 12 points and what you want to do is select it and set it to 2. Hit your tab key, type in 2 for the gap, and then hit Enter or Return. This is going to make your dashes 2 points long, which is a good size in proportion to the shirt we were drawing.
But if you zoom in, you'll notice that they're still sort of thick and chunky like we drew them with a big fat crayon or magic marker. And stitches are very delicate little things, so what we want to do is change the line weight. I'm going to dropdown here, scroll up to .25 from my line weight. Now there's a very clear cut definition between the border of my garment and the stitches, and they're very delicate and they look like stitches. Let's do some more. To do the stitches at the hem of the sleeve, select the Direct Selection tool, Copy, Paste in front, use your Arrow tool to nudge it up a couple of clicks. For the sleeve, because of the angle, you might also have to nudge it once over and now you can change your line weight to .25, turn on the dash line.
Make sure that you remove the fill. For the other sleeve, we have two options. We can either select this sleeve and reflect it to the other side or we can do the same process, which is select the path, Copy, Paste in front, nudge it up a couple of clicks, and over one. But instead of having to type in all the numbers again, we can use the Eyedropper tool to copy the stitches from someplace else we've already drawn them. The Eyedropper tool is in your tool bar and it looks like a little eye dropper. Click on it and click on the stitches elsewhere on your page and it will turn the selected line into stitches.
We have one more place now where we need to do the stitches and that's around the top of the neckline. So I'm going to zoom in. Again, I'm marquee selecting around the area I want to zoom in to, so it takes me right there. This one is just a little more tricky. Take the Direct Selection tool. You're going to find that center anchor point, click on it. We're going to copy the neckline so, Ctrl+C for Copy and then Paste in front, Ctrl+F or Cmd+F. With your arrow key, you're going to nudge it down a couple of clicks. We have a fill on here and we really can't see what we're doing, so we're going to change the Fill to None by using the / forward slash key on the keyboard.
Now what we want to do is get this curve t o match this curve and we're going to do that by switching tools. The bottom curve is still selected. We don't want to de-select it, so don't click any place on your page, but we're going to switch tools and switch the Selection tool, the black arrow. Now remember when we talked about drawing shapes and I made it a point to tell you that to draw from the center, you hold the Alt key? Well, here's where this comes in handy. I want you to go ahead and hold down your Alt or your Option key and take one of the side handles and drag it to the right.
And you want it to be just a tiny bit wider than the distance from here to here. Now release that Alt key and grab the top handle and drag it straight up until the neckline touches the outline of your shirt and now you've got your stitching line for around the neck. All we need to do is change it to stitches and we can do that with the Eyedropper, right? Let me zoom out a little bit. We can grab the Eyedropper tool and copy the stitches from this arm. So we have one more to do and then the front of our shirt is done.
Take the Direct Selection tool. Grab that Anchor Point on the back of the neckline. Copy, Paste in Front. Get rid of the fill with the / forward slash key. Nudge it down a couple of clicks with the arrow key. Grab the Eyedropper tool and copy the stitches. And there's the stitching on the back neckline. Double-click on the page to exit Isolation mode, and now all we have left to do is the back of the shirt. Now truthfully, if I was drawing this myself and not doing a demonstration video, I would have done all the stitches on the front before I did the back, but this gives us a chance to do it one more time.
So let's do the back of the shirt. Again, we need to start by going in to Isolation mode, so double-click on the shirt. Now we can add the stitches. With the Direct Selection tool, select the anchor point at the center hemline, Copy, Ctrl+C, Paste in Front, Ctrl+F, nudge it up a couple of clicks and we'll change it to .25 with a dashed line. Another thing that I should note about the dashed lines, there are two buttons over here. The one on the right is the one that's going to give you the most even-looking stitches and we'll talk about this a little bit more when we get to doing shirt plackets.
For the sleeve, select the hemline of the sleeve. Copy, Paste in Front, nudge it up and we can use the Eyedropper tool to copy the stitches from the hemline. We'll do the other sleeve, Select, Copy, Paste in Front, nudge it up. And with the Eyedropper tool, we can Copy. And last but not least, we have the neckline. We'll select, copy. Paste in Front, nudge it down. Get rid of the fill. Switch to the Selection tool.
Hold the Alt or Option key and drag to the right. Release the Option key or the Alt key and drag straight up until the line touches the upper shoulder of the shirt, and then you can copy your stitches and get rid of that fill. Double-click on the page to exit Isolation mode. We can zoom back out a little bit and there you have your completed shirt. Your front and your back is already automatically behind the front, because of the order in which we grouped it. Everything is nicely grouped together to move around.
None of the stitches are going to fall off. We can go to the layers panel and turn off the template. And there you have your first front and back t-shirt drawn in Adobe Illustrator.
- What is a flat?
- Scaling, rotating, and duplicating shapes
- Simplifying and mastering the Pen tool to get you up and running quickly
- Drawing shirts with sleeves, collars, and placket details
- Drawing skirts, trousers, and jeans
- Using custom brushes to add stitching and trim quickly
- Creating and using symbols for buttons, zipper pulls, and drawstrings
- Drawing and rendering croquis with faces and hair
- Creating professional quality layouts