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Design Your Wardrobe Tips

8 Lessons taught by Sienna

1,368 Seamwork members have watched this class.

Lesson 1: Plan. Sketch. Sew.

Are you feeling a little intimidated to sketch your wardrobe plans? Think you can’t draw? In this video, Sienna will show you why that’s not true! With the help of MyBodyModel, Seamwork design flats, and some drawing tips, you’ll soon be sketching all of your sewing plans! Save 10% off any purchase of 1-5 MyBodyModel download credits with the code: DYW

In this lesson you’ll learn:

  • What technical flats and croquis are (00:53)

  • How to make a custom croquis with MyBodyModel (02:16)

  • How to add helpful reference lines to your custom croquis (03:10)

  • How to work from big (overall silhouette) to small (details) (04:10)

  • Tips for sketching pants (04:32)

  • Tips for sketching a jacket (11:09)

  • Tips for sketching a top (17:45)

Sketching supplies:

  • Your Design Your Wardrobe looks

  • Your MyBodyModel croquis

  • Seamwork technical flats on croquis

  • Tracing paper

  • Pencil

  • Eraser

  • Fine tip pen

  • Optional: colored pencils, watercolors, markers, etc.


Hi everyone! My name is Sienna and I’m the content producer here at Seamwork. For this round of Design Your Wardrobe, we’re going to take a look at using custom croquis and technical flats to design and plan our capsule wardrobes.

I know what you’re thinking. “I can’t draw.” But here’s the thing, you absolutely can. Drawing is learnable skill. Just like learning to sew, learning to draw well takes practice, patience, and perseverance. With the help of MyBodyModel, Seamwork’s technical flats and croquis, and some sketching tips, I’m sure you’ll be drawing all of your sewing plans in no time!

In this video I’m going to cover:

  • What croquis and technical flat are and how they can help you plan your Design Your Wardrobe looks

  • Information about MyBodyModel

  • And some drawing tips for sketching your Design Your Wardrobe looks and projects.

So what are croquis and technical flats? The word “croquis” means to sketch in French and in fashion, it refers to a sketch of a figure. A technical flat is a drawing that generally illustrates the front and back views of garments. In the fashion industry croquis combined with technical flats are used to communicate a garment’s intended fit and design details to the patternmakers.

Here at Seamwork, our designer Haley uses croquis to design each and every Seamwork pattern. And here’s a little fun fact, our misses and curvy croquis have been drawn using photos of our fit models so when Haley passes off the designs to the pattern team, they’re looking at pretty accurate representations of what the garment will look like on the fit model.

Combining a custom croquis and technical flats is a really powerful way to plan your Design Your Wardrobe looks and projects. In addition to testing out entire outfits, you can consider details like necklines, fit, garment length, fabric choices, and many other details.

Chances are, your body isn’t exactly the same as a pattern company’s fit model, not to mention many commercially available fashion sketchbooks use croquis with pretty unrealistic proportions.

Since one of the intentions of drawing a Design Your Wardrobe look is to know how the garments and combinations of garments will look on your body, you can create a custom croquis using MyBodyModel.

With MyBodyModel you can make your own printable and digital fashion sketchbook, featuring croquis of your own body.

MyBodyModel is free to try! It takes just a few minutes to enter your measurements in the website and get your free body model preview. You can even fine tune your body model until it looks just right. Then, you can purchase your choice of download packages, including a digital and printable sketchbook with front and back views, and 1-12 croquis per page.

To sketch your looks, you’ll need:

  • Your Design Your Wardrobe looks, maybe even your mood board

  • Your MyBodyModel croquis

  • Printed copies of Seamwork technical flats on croquis

  • Tracing paper, I like to use this brand because it works well with markers.

  • Pencil

  • Eraser

  • Fine tip pen this, I’m using a micron

Before we dive into sketching garments, let’s add some helpful reference lines to our MyBodyModel croquis. Drawing is all about seeing how lines relate to one another so adding these reference points will help you draw more symmetrical and proportional garments.

First let’s add a really light or dotted line down the center front. Then I’m going to draw an ever so slightly curved line at the narrowest part of my waist. I’m also going to mark the armscyes on both sides here. And lastly I’m going to add in some rough princess lines that go from about mid shoulder, through the bust apex, then down to the knee. I’m also going to note where the base of neck is.

Now that we have marked out the reference lines on our croquis let’s put this under some tracing paper and grab my first reference image.

A good sketching habit is to work from big to small. So in garment terms think overall silhouette first, then details like pockets and belt loops last. It’s really easy to zone in on the details first because they’re fun! But resist the urge to draw them right away and you won’t have to erase as much if you need to change anything.

Okay, so if I’m looking at the waistband the bottom of it appears to be hitting right at the natural waist, so I’m going to go ahead and draw that in. Then if I’m looking at how the pant fits on the croquis, it’s pretty snug and fitted in the hips, but then begins to fall away from the leg at the low hip / top thigh area. So I’m going to give myself just a little mark there on both sides so that I know that’s where I’m going to transition away from the leg.

The cuffs seem to be hitting right at the ankle bones. I’m going to go in and add a little curved line there. Those are not at the same height, that’s why it’s important to have an eraser.

Altight, then crotch appears to be hitting right on the body. I’m going to add just a little mark there.

Now I’m ready to start drawing the pant legs. So they’re skimming the body right until about low hip, break away from my leg, just skimming right next to it.

Okay, now if I look at the inseam, it’s close to the leg for a ways, and then breaks away. So I’m going to replicate that.

So that’s the general shape of the Nolans. Now I’m ready for details. If we look at the waistband it comes up about that far. Slightly rounded line to make it look like it’s actually fitting on a body. Then CF is the same on my body, so I’m glad I added that reference line on my criquis. Then if I want to add the stitch line of the fly, it come up a little bit from the crotch and then just a little bit to the right of CF.

Go ahead and add that button in. Now if I’m looking at the belt loops, those match up pretty well with where the princess lines are. They kind of hover right over them. They extend just a little bit below the waistband.

Now looking at the pockets, those are just outside, the top lines begin just outside of the belt loops. And they end about high-ish hip it looks.

Alright so the pocket stitch line is gonna be just from about there to just about where the pant begins to move away from the leg. I’ll give myself some little reference marks. And they fall kinda of at a slight angle. And then they have just a touch of an angle up. Kinda don’t look like they’re falling in line though. Again erasers are handy! That’s a little bit better.

Okay, and then the cuffs look to be about the same width as the waistband. Just going to mark that and then they follow the same shape at the bottom that we already created. Just going to mimic that, and then they come out a little bit on the sides there.

One drawing tip is I’m keeping this straight up an down so that you all can see what I’m doing, but feel free to move your paper so that your hand isn’t smudging things.

The cool thing about sketching your makes is you have an opportunity to think about finishes. Like do you like the straight lines? Would you like to have a curved stitch line to mimic the pocket opening? You can test out these ideas before you even start making a muslin.

Okay! I’m going to let this dry for a little bit before I go in and erase my pencil marks.

Another project that I want to make to complete this look is a chore jacket and I’m planning to make Seamwork Rhett. So this point appears to be right in the middle. It’s kind of hard to tell, there are a lot of lines happening, but the collar, even though that’s a small detail, I’m just going to get the general shape of where it falls on my neck. So it comes up just a little bit like that on both sides. Okay, then this shape is a slight curve. That’s all I’m going to do with the collar right now.

CF appears to be a little left of the actual CF line, draw that in. Also if I’m looking at the hem on the jacket it comes past my natural waist, but not by a whole lot. So I think actually where I ended that is good. And then it appears to be coming out from the hips quipe a bit. I’ll give myself some little markers there. Then just do a very sublte curve like that.

Let’s head back up here. If I look at the jacket, it is resting right on top of the shoulder line and even the sleeves, so I’m just going to follow MyBodyModel’s lines here. I’m going to use that same armscye line that I created earlier that I created on MyBodyModel. And then if I look at the line of the side seams here, they fall pretty straight.

Then the position of the arms are a little bit different but that shouldn’t really impact the drawing a whole lot. I am noticing though that the sleeve does fall a little bit away from the croquis arm, so I’m going to add that in as well. And it’s ending right at my wrist bones.

So I’ve got my general shape down, now I can go in and think about the details. So looking at the collar, I’ve got a little upside v shape, and then a slight curved line shape out to the side of my neck. Then I’ve got a stitch line that falling from the point of the collar down to the hem. This line should also be lining up there. Okay, button appears to be hitting right at the bust.

Now I need to think about pockets. I’m not entirely sure what kind of pocket I want, so I’ll draw one of each. Looking at the angled pocket, it’s hitting above the button… hmm these buttons look spaced a little strange. I wonder if this is too long. Yeah that making me think I need to shorten this a hair.

So the angled pocket is below this button here, but above this button. Botton seems to end around this button area. The line is a bit curved. This line appears to be in line with the button almost. For the rectangular pocket, the top is still hitting at the same spot, the bottom is near the bottom button. Then there’s also that interior pocket that appears to be right on top of the bust.

If you want, you go ahead and add some colors that represent the colors of the fabrics you’re thinking about sewing your garments in. You can use, markers, you can use watercolor, the choices are really endless. Just use what you have. And if you don’t have anything, don’t worry about it, they can just be simple line drawings like these.

Now that the pen has had a little bit of time to dry, I’m going to erase my pencil marks. I always like to do little test swatches of my markers to see what’s closest to that. I know I’m not going to match it perfectly, but I want to get kinda close.

Cool! So that’s one way you can plan your Design Your Wardrobe looks and projects using MyBodyModel. Happy planning, sketching, and sewing!

Design Your Wardrobe Tips

Each video lesson will cover necessary supplies, however, you might find the following helpful:

  • One 3-ring binder

  • A 3-hole punch

  • Optionally, tabbed separators

  • Writing utensil

  • 3-ring zippered pouch for your fabric swatches

  • Foam core or poster board for a mood board

  • Scissors

  • Tape or glue

  • Pencils or pens for sketching


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