With so many knitting patterns and yarn choices out there, it can be hard to choose – And even more difficult to predict the end result. Guest blogger Victoria shares how she uses her custom sketch templates from MyBodyModel to visualize & focus her knitting project ideas, paper doll style! The result: beautiful and versatile knitted garments that complement her personal style, her body, and her wardrobe.
I was very intimidated by garment knitting. With a taste for luxury hand-dyed yarns and a fat body, the investment of time and money was significant. I was terrified that either it wouldn’t fit, or wouldn’t suit me, or I wouldn’t know what to wear with it. I eventually dove in with a well-regarded, simple pattern, some inexpensive yarn in a solid neutral colour, and a knitting group full of support. I came out with a wearable garment, and was so proud of myself.
Now I had the confidence to knit garments with “the good yarn” – but I was still second-guessing every option and struggling to make decisions about my knitting project ideas:
- Would I wear this colour more than that?
- This colour is utterly divine, but what would I wear it with?
- Will this pattern look the same on me as it does on the model?
I found a solution in the humble paper doll. A frugal children’s toy for hundreds of years, more recently it has been elevated to an art form by talented artists who create elaborate designs and outfits. Now, knitters and sewists are using them to plan their outfits and creative projects.
I went a step further and used my body model croquis to make a paper doll – one that accurately reflects the size and shape of my body – and also to design planning templates for both knitting and sewing garment project ideas. Together, these tools let me plan outfits that mix my handknit and handsewn items into my wardrobe, and plan future projects to make sure they get worn.
I started out with a simple croquis and just added a little colour to the skin – I wanted to keep it minimal so that the clothes would be the stars. Then I quickly moved on to drawing garments I already had. I was drawn to my favourites, some of which I had bought new, some preloved, some hand knitted or sewn. I did some basics – denim jacket, black leggings – and some statement pieces.
I’d recently finished knitting a cropped cami top that was wildly outside of my usual style; I’d had no idea what to wear with it, but experimenting with options on the doll soon gave me a few ideas. I was finally able to show off the finished item to my knitting group.
I found that the act of drawing each item made me pay more attention to it – where exactly does the hem hit? How wide and deep is the neckline? Does it bunch up when I wear it, or lie flat? What scale is the print? What shade is the colour? I wanted to get it as accurate as possible.
As I put different pieces together, I had an immediate visual giving me a good idea of what the outfit would look like – not just in general, but on my body – and I found I was considering the specifics of each garment in detail.
In short, drawing them all out made me really notice and appreciate the items I already have.
This naturally led me to reconsider my queue of knitting and sewing project ideas:
- Were these garments things I was going to wear often?
- How would they work with these pieces I already have?
- Was I going to unintentionally create “orphan” pieces, destined to languish on a hanger because I had nothing to wear with them?
Once again, my body model croquis was the answer. I put together a template for each of my knitting and sewing patterns, making sure that my croquis was printed on these at the exact same size as my paper doll.
Now when I want to plan a project, my first step is to sketch the shape onto a project template to check how it might suit me. If it looks good, I can go ahead and work it into my wardrobe.
Here’s the beautiful part of the planning process: I can try on the garment, before I’ve even finished planning it, to see what it might work with in my wardrobe. Because my paper doll’s garments are the same size, I can lay them on the project planning page and see how they look together.
By seeing which items of my existing wardrobe work well shape-wise, I can make a more informed choice about what yarn to use to knit. I can see which colours will coordinate in a way I like, and whether it should be a solid, semi-solid, or speckled yarn, for example.
And then it all comes together.
For more knitting inspiration, check out these posts:
- 5 ways to use MyBodyModel to plan your knitting projects, by Julie
- My favorite knitting tools, by Diane
- From Sketch to Finished Makes: Knitting Edition! by Diane
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Victoria loves to create, and isn’t too fussed about the medium at hand. Having failed to learn to knit from her grandmother as a child, she finally cracked it as an adult after first learning to crochet. She now knits, crochets, and sews, and would love to sneak a loom into the house, if only she had the space. A passionate advocate for fat positivity and inclusivity, she is determined to wear what she likes, especially if that means making it herself. When not creating, she can be found growing veggies in the garden, cooking, or hanging out with her husband and daughter. You can follow all of her exploits on Instagram: @arlandria606 and find her knitting and crochet patterns at: www.victoriamarchantknits.com.