In good shape: COS and Usha Doshi’s pattern-making manual is a cut above

In good shape: COS and Usha Doshi’s pattern-making manual is a cut above

You wouldn’t expect a study of children’s playtime to inspire a book on pattern-making, but for Usha Doshi, a Fellow at the Royal College of Art, and member of the COS design studio since 2007, a shape-making session with her granddaughters did just that. Creating with Shapes – a new book-cum-instruction manual by Doshi and the lauded label, explores the possibility of creating garments using seven basic shapes – a square, rectangle, triangle, diamond, circle, oval or octagon. It is a technique Doshi developed when she watched her granddaughters innocently experimenting with fabric cut-outs.


Creating with Shapes is based on the premise that the simple cut-out of a shape in a fabric can create a drape, and dictate the design of a garment. ‘By means of a simple manipulation of fabric in relation to the cut-out shape (by folding and fastening) each cut-out is transformed into a new volumetric shape,’ Doshi says in the book’s Method section. These simple snips, be they in the shape of a square or a diamond, can be used to make innovative garments, differing in form dependant on where the cut-out is placed on its silhouette.

In celebration of the launch of the book, COS has released an 11 piece capsule collection which employs Doshi’s garment-making methodology. The label is renowned for its sleek and simple approach to design, and this collection is imagined in an understated colour palette of navy, optic white and oatmeal.

The book is divided into seven sections according to shape, each marked with a creamy, calico-like page of paper marked with a cut out. Found inside each chapter are DIY diagrams for cutting into 150x150cm pieces of fabric, and beautiful black and white shots of toiles on mannequins. Seen here is the rectangle. ‘By multiplying the number of rectangles you use, you can create even more volume,’ Doshi says in the introductory text to the chapter. ‘It is a shape that always produces drapes with simplicity about them, results never looked overworked.’

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