Guest Blog post by knitwear designer, educator and freelance pattern cutter Juliana Sissons. The Fashion Design process is an interactive one, dealing with the body as the primary site for investigation. Designs are created through ‘in tune’ communication; designer and cutter work in collaboration to develop the concept. A personal language and understanding of desired outcomes evolves and is achieved through the dedication of many hours and an experimental approach to shape making. Samples and prototypes emerge throughout the design process of cutting and draping, which then in turn informs an individual creative development, placing the body, materials, structure and form at its core. Often designs begin with ‘Geometric’ starting points, such as turning a flat geometric shape into a three dimensional form and if achieved through ‘fabric manipulation’, i.e folding, twisting, pleating and stitching, without the aid of ‘Cutting’ then the added value of ‘Zero Waste’ design is achieved. Shaping through textile manipulation aims to distort the hang of the garment in order to direct, dictate and enhance its shape. I encourage my students to explore the more creative structural elements of pattern cutting, such as ‘drape’ and ‘modelling on the stand’. These students could be from fashion, textiles, product design or architecture courses, but when working freely in this way, pattern cutting for fashion can crossover into different core subjects and have a range of sculptural outcomes. The design process enhances creativity and develops a more conceptual approach to pattern cutting. Students’ understanding of materials is critical. If they have a good understanding of what fabric qualities can produce, it will make them better designers and their vision will be realised more effectively in 3D. The knitted pieces pictured in this blog post are from Juliana's Fashion Designer residency at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2010. See the new Millinery issue of Selvedge for more on the art of pattern cutting.