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Sketching the Square Armhole

When exploring design ideas for a new piece or group of fabrics, sketching is a great tool.  Not extravagant fashion sketching, but basic sketching.  When it is done on a croquis or body model that reflects your proportions, the information is invaluable.

Sketches for a brunch outfit.

Carrie and I both work on our personalized croquis from My Body Model.  Erica, the owner, has created an amazing computer program where you put in a number of measurements and some body type information and like magic, you can print the personalized body in a variety of groupings on paper or on your tablet.  About a year ago I shared in the post, Sketching Sewing Possibilities, a variety of ways I use MyBodyModel to make sewing and design decisions.  This week I will show you how to actually sketch the square armhole of your Tabula Rasa Jackets, variations and knits with any sketching tool.  Getting the proportions right will give you the most accurate information whether you are working on paper or a computer screen.

Here is my process:

  • Start with the body model. Mine is outlined in very dark marker and I place a piece of plain paper on top to draw over the model underneath, with a pencil.
  • Trace the neck into the shoulder and a least the chin area of the face. This provides a great anchor for the drawing.  If you are working on a tablet, or you copy a new body for each sketch, then you can skip this step.

    Neck and neckline are where I start.
  • Add the garment’s neckline and shoulders. I was taught to make my sketches of clothing just a bit outside of the body line and this is my habit.
  • Draw the seams that connect the front to the sleeve/side by starting at the shoulder point and moving straight down the paper to your desired length.

    Add seams
  • Fill in the sides and sleeves, choosing the length and details you desire. I always add in my darts to keep the sketch honest.  The armhole of the TRJ falls a bit below the actual curve of the armhole and connects to the top of the side with a straight line.  If you are drawing the sleeveless tank style in Twin Set Variations for the Tabula Rasa Knit Tee and Tunic, the armhole will be closer to the true curve of the body.
  • Add some hair and the hands and feet, this really helps me pick my favorite.

    Filling out the body
  • Add any details you are considering including the print of the fabric. These don’t have to be actual representations, but they can help you assess fabric combinations quickly.
  • Color in your sketch if you want an accurate visualization.
  • If you are using a multi view model, follow the same directions for your next idea.

Sometimes it is days before I actually choose my design direction.  Drape the sketch you decide to use on the dress form with the actual fabric to further assess your idea.

Here is my new tee fabric

Now take a look at my most recent set of sketches for this fabric grouping.  The entire Tabula Rasa Knit Tee will be made with blue wisp SewBatik cotton jersey.  The colored and stacked circles are made with jersey scraps.

Numbers 1-3

I have not colored them in yet because you are going to help me choose.  Register your preference for one of the six embellishment designs with a comment here or on Facebook or Instagram in the next couple of days.  We must decide before the sewing can begin!  Be sure to consider the embellishment, neckline and hemline in your comment.

Number 4-6

What are your sketching habits?  Have you played with any of the MyBodyModel paper doll ideas?  Are you sketching on your tablet?  It all looks like great fun.

Happy Sketching and Sewing, RAE

12 thoughts on “Sketching the Square Armhole

  1. #6
    Asymmetrical with embellishments on an angle would be the most flattering for your body shape

    1. Thanks for voting Judy!

  2. So interesting–and helpful! #1 and #4 seem the least flattering, with #6 being especially flattering, followed by #5.

  3. #2 makes your legs seem longer, with it dipping up at the front of each leg. I also like the asymmetry of the design elements. It will be fabulous, no matter which one you choose!!

  4. I like #2. #6 is ok too

  5. Rae, I think the neckline and hemline on No. 6 seem to affect the drape and make the look much more slimming. I’d vote for that one.

  6. I like #5 and #6 best. I also think #5 with #2’s hemline would be great.

  7. I’m a fan for asymmetrical tops so I am voting for #6! I think the look is great for every body type.

  8. I like #2 and # 5 with #2 my favorite.Like how the placement of the flowers make it look interesting .

  9. I like the linear design of embellishment on #4. Vertical is flattering for most figure types. All over embellishment might be too busy.

    1. And #6 would be my second choice!

      1. Not 6 … I meant # 3

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