Creativity with a Pieced-Fabric Approach to Garment Design

If you follow fashion, you will see that one of the current trends is clothing created using multiple fabrics. Here at Cochenille, we find this incredibly exciting, as it offers all forms of creativity, from choosing the fabrics, to planning the garment. And, in many cases, since you can save and use small bits of fabric in pieced garments, it is a feel-good sustainable practice.

Read on to see how we create this an another garment using a pieced approach to design.

Cochenille Design Challenge #1 for 2023

Here at Cochenille we have occasional design challenges for our users.

The theme of our next design challenge will be Pieced Garments (due March
11th, 2023
). Create a garment using Garment Designer pattern software and using a pieced approach. Then send us a photo (or a few) of your project, as well as your Garment Designer file. The winner of the challenge will receive a $50 gift certificate from Cochenille.  Send your entry to

How we define ‘Pieced Garment Design‘?

Our definition of a pieced garment would be one that is made from multiple fabrics combined in a variety of ways.

Advantages of Pieced Design

There are many:

  • It’s a creative outlet
  • You will have one-of-a-kind unique clothing
  • It is a sustainable practice
  • You never need to worry about not having enough fabric for a project, as you can always add another one

Need Inspiration?

Here are some images from fashions on one of our favorite web sites (Artful Home). One can get inspiration there.

We also have a Pinterest Board which contains multiple ideas on the various ways to create a pieced look. Check it out to see there are many ways to get this look.

General Approach to Designing in a Pieced Manner

The Simplest approaches includes mixing fabrics by cutting each pattern piece out of a different fabric. Or, you could add new fabrics for Bands, Facings, Trims, Embellishments, Pockets

A more complex approach is to utilize multiple small bits of fabric and piece them together. You can create a pieced fabric and then cut your pattern piece from that. Or, you can print out the full pattern, and then piece fabrics together to fill the space. This is often called a template approach.

Sample Project #1

Several years ago, I attended an art and craft fair in Japan and fell in love with this garment. It was a beautiful, but I decided to try my own hand at piecing, so I purchased small bits and pieces of a variety of Japanese fabrics.

Inspiration Garment for Pieced Design
My purchased fabrics (small bits of old kimono or other garment)

I decided to create my pieced garment using a ‘strip approach’ as I thought this might be the simplest approach to employ when you don’t have large pieces of fabric.

Here is my Garment Designer Pattern.

Garment Designer Pattern

To build the pieced strips, I started laying out various fabrics, and then using my rotary cutter to cut them to the right width. One by one, I stitched them together to create the first panel. I laid this on my pattern (using it as a template) and cut out the neckline.

First Panel

Then, I built the next panel and joined it to the first one. 

Second panel in the planning stage.

This process continued for both the front and back of the garment, and in total I created 6 vertical stripped panels.
I used a black linen to cut out the sides and sleeves of the garment, and then, employed a little piecing on these pieces as well, as I didn’t have much fabric left. You can see how I incorporated small bits in the photo below.

Adding inserts of Japanese fabric to the Side Panel.
Insert to the sleeve.

I bound the neckline with a bias strip of the black linen.

Neckband of black linen

Here is the finished garment on the dress form and in life.

Final Top
Front View
Back View

And if one project wasn’t enough…. Project #2

I repeated the process with a second garment. My small bits of fabric in this case were from fabric that I printed using ‘found objects’.

Fabric created by printing with found objects

See this blog entry for more info on that.

I decided to use a different pattern.

Garment Designer Pattern for Pieced Dress

Here are some images of the final dress.

Dress made using a pieced approach with fabrics printed with found objects.
Close-up showing the raglan sleeve and the printing

I hope you enjoyed the process of pieced design. I love the creativity that comes with this process. Yes, it takes longer to create a garment, but the energy and time are worth it!

Susan… Cochenille Design Studio.