12 Stages of Making a Dress With a Fashion Student Manuella Numfor

Mcensal School of Fashion and Design

Meet the 1st Year student at Mcensal School of Fashion and Design, Manuella Numfor working her charm inside the studio. 

Manuella Numfor 
This is the story of Manuella Numfor, a First Year student at the McEnsal School of Fashion, showcasing the design process of creating a dress from start to finish. Manuella is from Cameroon and came to study at McEnsal School of Fashion. "The feel was just right." Her dream is to enrol at the Parsons School of Design and open her own fashion house and school.  Founded in 2009, Mcensal School of Fashion is the top fashion college in Kenya; offering certification from Edexcel Btec. The college is primed to produce the next generation of gifted fashion designers set to revolutionize and influence the fashion industry in Africa and beyond.

A passionate student

Manuella is passionate about fashion and is massively inspired by Karl Lagerfeld. "Passion is my purpose and I draw fulfilment from it."

"I am creative and want to do my own thing. I don't want to copy other designers even if I am influenced by them. I am the first Manuella Numfor, not the next Coco Chanel."

The making of a brocade and satin evening dress
The story of a great dress begins with the "eureka" moment, when a sudden burst of inspiration takes hold of the designer. Manuella aims to create an evening dress.

Design Process

This is a video capturing the entire design process by Manuella at the McEnsal School of Fashion in Nairobi, Kenya.

Step 1: Research

This is an inspiration board made by Manuella. For this project, she was inspired by the Surma Tribe in Ethiopia, who have a strong cultural heritage.

Step 2: Idea development

Idea development is a long process. It took Manuella almost a month to research, sketch and come up with the concepts for her design.

Step 3: Design concept

Creativity and originality is such an important aspect of Manuella's work. This, in fact, inspired her to get into fashion, along with her relentless pursuit of perfection and attention to detail.

A close-up of Manuella Numfor's final sketch.

Step 4: Pattern-making

Pattern-making is the next step of the design process. The pattern is the template from which the parts of a garment are traced onto fabric before being cut and assembled.

Step 5: Final pattern

The tracing wheel is an important tool in the pattern-making process. It is used to transfer markings from the pattern to the fabric and can also be used to transfer entire patterns as well.

Step 6: Cutting the pattern

The pattern is then cut according to the model's measurements. This is especially important in bespoke tailoring as the clothes are made specifically for a particular model. The patterns are then used to cut the toile fabric.

Step 7: Making the toile

The toile is an early version of a finished garment. It is the "draft" of the final design. It is usually made of cheap material (usually cloth or canvas) so that the design can be tested and perfected before the final fabric is made.

A close up of the cutting process. The fabric is cut according to the patterns which had been drafted earlier in the process.

Step 8: Sewing the toile

After all the fabric is cut according to the patterns, the toile is stitched. The process of toile making took Manuella about a week to complete.

Step 9: The fitting

After the toile fabric is stitched, it is fitted on the client so that the design can be tested and perfected before the final fabric is cut.

Step 10: Choosing the fabric

The fabric Manuella used for the ribbon and sash is satin. The skirt is made of brocade, from the Italian word broccato meaning "embossed cloth".

Step 11: Making the final garment

The toile has been fitted on the model and the necessary adjustments (if any) have been made in new patterns. The next step in the process is cutting of the fashion fabric before it is stitched.

Step 12: Draping and styling

Manuella applies the final touches to the dress as she drapes the sash over a mannequin, keeping a keen eye on things.


The beautiful evening dress is ready.

Credits: Story

Story by:
1. Martin K Maitha; writer and lawyer (www.obiterdicter.com)
2. Magunga Williams; writer and blogger (www.magunga.com)

Photography and video by Kabutha Kago (www.kabuthakago.com)

Produced by:
Fred Kithinzi, Belva Digital (www.belva.co.ke)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Translate with Google