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Chapter: 11th 12th std standard Textiles And Dress Designing Cloth stitch Higher secondary school College practical steps methods Notes

Elements of Cloth Design - Form and Shape - Its Types

Form:It is an object having three dimensions like length, width and depth. The human form changes visually with clothing, especially as fashion changes.

Elements of Design


A complete knowledge on the various fundemental elements of art and design would help a person to create and design a garment on an asthetic manner. To create beautiful garments consistantly one need to follow certain guidelines in selecting and arranging design elements. In creating a design one of the components which interact is the Design Elements.


The elements and principles of design are flexible and should be interpreted within the context of current fashion.The principles of design are the rates that governs how elements are combined. The elements are therefore the raw materials that must be combined successfully.


The following are the different elements of Art.


1. Line

2. Form and Shape                            

3. Colour and                                    

4. Texture


These elements are considered as 'plastics' in art language because they can be manipulated or arranged by the designer to create a desired illusions.

2. Form and Shape


Form:It is an object having three dimensions like length, width and depth. The human form changes visually with clothing, especially as fashion changes.


Shape: It describes the outer dimensions of an object. Through clothing design, the shape of the human body is often revealed in a natural way, but sometimes even distorted. The shape of clothing on a human body, communicates silently, the messages about the wearer.


The shape of the body plus the lines of garment create an overall form that defines the garment silhouette. Often the silhouette gives the first impression because it is seen from a distance and because it is contrasted to a background. The silhouetted form of the clothes next to body reveals the shapes of various parts of the body line, and the garment, such as sleeves, shirt or pants.


Every fashion period, a shape emerges slowly or evolved suddenly, what ever it is, every period has a specific shape of garment which once determined can be modified and be styled for variation in design without changing the basic shape of the garment, it is either flare or tight, circular or straight, a line or raglan. It is therefore advisable that the designer chooses an easy silhouette to keep on creating for a longer duration.


Shape and form are the terms that are used inter-changeably with some differences. The term 'form' is generally considered to apply to two-dimensional areas or shapes as well as to three-dimensional volumes or masses as 'shape'. When lines are joined to enclose space, they result in an outline, a contour, or shape. When a two dimensional shape acquires a third dimension, it becomes a form. The

form of an object usually suggests its use. Form may be viewed as an enclosure of volume surrounded by limiting factors. Shape is the primary means by which we distinguish one form from another. It may refer to the contour of a line, the outline of a plane, or the boundary of a mass. In each case, shape is defined by the specific configuration of the lines or planes which separate a form from the background or surrounding space.


Form is an important element in decoration. Without beauty of form, application of excellent colour, texture and decoration are of no use. It can be said that two essentials of good form of an object are that it,


         Should suit its function


         Should be strongly influenced by the material with which it is made.


There are three broad categories of shapes and forms. Natural Shapes represent the images and forms of our natural world. These shapes may be abstracted, usually through a process of simplification, and still retain the essential characteristics of their natural sources. The second type of shape and form is abstract. This type of shape and form is derived from objects in nature or from other things that are familiar to us; however, they have been distorted, exaggerated, and reorganized, and at times beyond recognition. The third type of shape and form is called non-objective. Non-objective shapes make no obvious reference to a specific object or to a particular subject matter. In this grouping, geometric forms and biographic shapes are found. Some non-objective shape may result from a process such as calligraphy and carry meaning as symbols. Others may be geometric and elicit responses based on this purely visual qualities.


         There are three separate and distinct types of geometric shapes.


         Rectilinear - Square or rectangle


         Angular - Triangle or pyramid


         Curvilinear - Circle, sphere, cone, cylinder


In their most regular form, curvilinear shapes are circular while rectilinear shapes include the series of polygons which can be inscribed within a circle. In all these, the most significant geometric shapes include the circle, triangle, and square. Extended into the third dimension, these primary shapes generate the sphere, cylinder, cone, pyramid and the cube.


(i) Squares and rectangles : The square form represents the pure and the rational. The equality of its four sides and its four right angles contributes to its regularity and visual clarity. A square shape has no preferred or dominant direction. It is a stable, tranquil figure when resting on one of its sides, but becomes dynamic when standing on one of its corners. The square form epitomizes strength but, used exclusively, it tends to become tedious (hence the descriptive term 'square' for certain people).


All rectangles can be considered to be variations of the square with the addition of width or length. While the clarity and stability of rectangular shapes can lead to visual monotony, variety can be introduced by varying their size, proportion, colour, texture, placement or orientation.


(ii) Triangles : Triangles contribute unity and balance. The triangle represents stability. The dynamic quality of a triangular shape is also due to the angular relationships of its three sides. Because these angles can vary, triangles are more flexible than squares and rectangles. In addition, triangles can be

conveniently combined to form any number of square, rectangular and other polygonal shapes. Pyramid and triangles differ from rectangles and squares in their pointed dynamic character and express greater flexibility.


(iii) Circles: The circular forms are also useful and compact. It represents unity, continuity and economy of form. They are man's and nature's most conservative and economical forms as they enclose the greatest area and volume with least surfacing. A circular shape is normally stable and self-centering in its environment. When associated with other lines and shapes, however, a circle can appear to have an apparent motion.


b) Pattern : Pattern refers to any sort of extrinsic surface enrichment. It is a two-dimensional or three-dimensional ornament arranged in a motif form. Because patterns can be created by textures and forms and is found in the shape of individual items. Pattern has movement and should be arranged so that it will flow with the rhythm of the object it adorns.


Pattern can coordinate the entire decorating theme.


The cost of an dress is no indication of the quality of the decorative pattern used on it. The finest designers are employed chiefly for expensive goods. However, we also find that their designs are adapted or duplicated or imitated in inexpensive materials. It is desirable to buy patterned articles and other furnishings and fabrics designed by famous designers. Manufacturers often underestimate the taste of the consumers and make articles decorated with cheap elaborate designs, which people buy because nothing else is available.


Pattern creates an illusion of depth and adds character and to garment. A pattern is an overall design. A 'motif' is an individual unit of pattern. Fabric design is often created when motifs are repeated in a manner to create an overall pattern. These may be considered formal - showing a regular or methodical repetition of the motif, or informal - having irregular placement of motifs.


While choosing a patterned fabric, design of the fabric and colour are enormously important. Patterns range from huge flowers in rich blue and pink plus purples, mauves and apricots to paisley patterns in dark blue, deep magenta and burnt orange and colourful spots and stripes. While buying a fabric that is to be pleated / gathered as draperies / curtains, check how the pattern will look pulled together in their way. Some subtle designs come to life when used in a pleated or gathered form, while other patterns lose their impact.


Space is generally considered to be the area seen between the shapes. But space in clothing becomes distractive and fatiguing to view where an interesting space may go unnoticed or appear monotonous. Both repetition and extreme contrast of a line, shape, space or form produce emphasis.

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