Sketching is such a useful tool to inform your sewing and design work. I have always found it helpful when designing something for a special occasion. Now that I have a reliable croquis, a My Body Model that reflects my unique shaping, I pick it up to sketch quick ideas all the time.
How do you develop a reliable sketching tool?
My Body Model is another sewing resource we are happy to share. You put a series of measurements into their program and the computer turns them into a croquis or sketching tool, just for you. Don’t get hung up on the measuring part, Erica, the product’s creator, has a great photo step-by-step to help you take the measurements yourself. It is a perfect I-sew-lation project. She even has a series of questions you can answer to take it from good to great.
What is the best way to use a sketching tool?
Last week, the My Body Model Blog featured a full report of the outfits I wore to my daughter’s wedding and how I used the sketching tool to inform my design and pattern work. You might remember the sketches I included in my Wedding Worthy Tabula Rasa Jackets post; visit the post to see how the sketches gave clarity to my design ideas.
My favorite configuration for the croquis has 3 figures across the page. Once you create your own, you can print it in a variety of configurations and print intensities. So, you can have a large one, 3, 6 or 9 smaller ones on a page. You can print it with very faint lines or regular black lines. Because I learned to sketch with a darkly lined croquis under my sketching paper to give form to the design, I have made a master, outlined in sharpie, so my aging eyes can see lines through the paper as I build my sketches. With this body model you can print as many copies as you want, no need to use my cumbersome process. Old habits are hard to break. Plus, when I learned to sketch design ideas, downloadable printable sketching tools were not available.
Tools you need to sketch productively.
I keep my sketching tools in a drawer next to my favorite chair: colored pencils, sharp graphite pencils, blank pieces of paper, an eraser and the croquis print outs. When I have an idea about a garment or a fabric I want to sew with, I pull them out and make some quick sketches. Here is a set I made for a dress I was planning to make from black eyelet. I already knew the basic shape but wanted to explore necklines, sleeve lengths and sleeve finishes. I decided on the V-neck thinking that the angles provided linear lines that would give the illusion of some height.
Wardrobing with your sketching tool.
For my wedding outfit sketches I added color for a more detailed look. The My Body Model was used in a different way with each outfit:
- To choose a design for a particular set of materials to be worn to the post wedding brunch.
- To choose specific lengths for a border print fabric to be used in my Mother of the Bride outfit.
- To compare a series of potential outfits for the rehearsal cocktail party.
A more basic way to use a sketching tool if you are just beginning, is to play with different silhouettes on your body. Here are the 3 silhouettes I often use for my own sewing. I feel best in them. They are all different, but all balanced. Quick sketching shows how it looks if you mix up the looks. The balance of each ensembles is not as complimentary to my shape.
Let fabric be your guide.
Having fabric in mind really informs my sketches. As I clean out the studio, the discovered treasures are becoming my sketching inspiration. Add some color with colored pencils for a more artistic look. It is relaxing way to spend an afternoon or evening.
Get started and enjoy a new sketching practice.
Take advantage of the coupon code FITFORART for 10% off with no expiration date, compliments of Erica at My Body Model, to entice you to try her product. There are also tutorials, newsletters and a blog to inspire and keep you motivated.
Stay Well and Sew Happy, RAE