How To: Fashion Croquis

Sadly, not me!
One thing that I regret not being better at is sketching and drawing, especially when I'm trying to plan or design things I'd like to sew. In the past I've used a fashion croquis (or fashion figure) to draw my designs on to. You can get loads with a quick google image search, but they a have the same problem - the figures don't have a very realistic shape. Like dummies in shop windows, they are proportioned so everything looks fantastic on them - and sadly I am not!

Last Christmas I was given The Colette Sewing Handbook. Its a mixture of sewing manual and reference guide, with a number of patterns to teach the new techniques as you go along. Early on in the book there is a lots of sound advice on planning your projects, and making things that suit you and, more importantly, which you will wear. They also suggest making your own croquis, to your own shape.

That's more like it - I know those hips!
I had a go last weekend. I took a picture of myself in a close fitting black outfit (tights and a t-shirt), and then traced the outline from the picture. Colette suggest printing out the image, but I cut a corner and just traced mine straight from the computer screen. Having made a pencil sketch from the computer screen, I then traced the final outline in black pen, so that it would be easier to trace again. I wasn't to horrified by my final product, or indeed seeing my shape on paper. I know that I'm bottom heavy, with larger hips and bum, and a relatively small waist - which is, I guess, why 1950s style tight waists and wide skirts work well on me.

I spent a happy Sunday afternoon 'trying on' different outfits on my croquis, it was like shopping without having to deal with shopping centres and changing rooms, which I loath. Its also rather like playing with the dressing-up cut-out dolls I had when I was little. Which I used to love, and am really a bit too big to being playing with now. 

Well I say I'm too old, but I do have two set of cut out dolls in my bookcase, presents from my nearest and dearest, who no doubt know me too well. There for inspiration, honest, its not like I've actually cut them out...