Guest blogger Sarah shares her simple yet effective corkboard method for seasonal sewing & knitting planning. Read on to see how Sarah uses her corkboard & MyBodyModel croquis every season – not just to get inspired and organized, but also to actually bring those planned makes to reality!
I first heard about MyBodyModel while studying fashion design in college. It was a refreshing concept as I was used to sketching on 10-head-tall fashion croquis. I didn’t switch to the more realistic model because it wasn’t the “industry standard” at the time. I wish I had started using MyBodyModel back then, but it wasn’t until I began making my own clothes again last year that I made the switch for good.
Why I use MyBodyModel croquis
The ability to sketch and visualize garments on a figure that reflects my own body has been a game changer for my sewing practice and self-confidence! I can determine if that cute-new-dress-pattern will be a style that works for me or if that amazing-new-top-everyone-is-sewing will work well with the other items in my wardrobe.
Sketching with MyBodyModel constantly reminds me that my body is perfect as it is and that I’m lucky to have the skill, ability, and privilege to make clothes that fit it just right.
My seasonal sewing & knitting planning process
There’s something magical about the changing of the seasons. I like to make my seasonal sewing & knitting plans around the time of the solstice or equinox that marks the official transition to a new season. I’m constantly collecting sewing inspiration from Instagram, ready-to-wear and runway collections. When I think of something I’d like to sew, I make note of it for easy reference when it’s time to make my plans.
I ask myself a few questions when choosing what to make each season:
- Are these items seasonally appropriate? Sometimes choosing which project to start with can be difficult. I suggest starting with the most seasonal of items (a coat in Winter or a bathing suit in Summer) or choosing the item that you’re most excited about.
- Will these items work well with other pieces in my wardrobe? I always try to think through a couple of outfit combinations for a piece before I commit to making it. Some items will stand on their own, but it helps to consider how a piece will work in your wardrobe before sewing it up.
- Do I have any special events coming up? Each season usually brings one or two special events that merit their own garment. Last year I knew I needed to make a costume for an “Old Hollywood” themed murder mystery party and a dress for a wedding rehearsal dinner.
- How many projects can I realistically finish this season? I’m a speedy sewist so it’s realistic for me to sew Winter clothes during the Winter months and still have time to wear them before Spring. If you work at a slower pace I’d suggest working a season ahead – making your Winter clothes in the Fall, for example.
How I use my corkboard
Once I have decided what I’d like to try and make for a given season, I sit down and sketch all the styles using MyBodyModel. I label each style with the name of the pattern I plan to use and attach them to my cork board. Seeing this board in my sewing room everyday really helps me to stay motivated throughout the season!
Now for the fun part: shopping for fabrics! I always prioritize using fabrics from my small stash, but when I have to purchase new fabric I look for deadstock or other sustainable options. I also enjoy checking out some local thrift shops each season to see if there are any secondhand curtains or linens waiting to be upcycled. As I choose and receive fabrics, I’m careful to cut a little swatch of each and add it to my board.
A tip for staying inspired
I try not to think of my seasonal sewing plans as set in stone – the corkboard is aspirational only! If a new pattern comes out that I’m super excited about, I’ll go ahead and make it. If I’m not feeling a certain garment I had planned to make, I don’t force myself to make it. At the end of each season I look at which styles are still on the board and decide if I want to add them to the next season’s board or let them go.
Knitting project planning
I’ve recently fallen down the knitting rabbit hole and have started including some knit projects on my boards as well! I’m working on my first sweater right now and was so excited to add it to my Winter 2022 plans. I’ve already completed two knit hat projects from my Winter 2022 plans!
From corkboard to project journal
Once I start working on a garment I transfer the sketch and swatch to my sewing notebook where I document the making process and keep fitting notes. This is quick and easy because when I first put the sketches and swatches on the corkboard, I just roll up a little piece of Scotch tape and use that to stick them on the board. Then, when I’m ready to put them in my notebook, I just pluck them off and stick them right in the book!
I love being able to look back at my sketches and creative process as I work towards a fully me-made wardrobe.
Do you keep a corkboard of your seasonal sewing & knitting plans? Or are you inspired to give it a try? Let us know in the comments!
Sarah is a lifelong crafter and artist with a particular affinity for fiber arts. She received her fashion design degree from the Columbus College of Art & Design and went on to work as a designer in New York City for several years. Since moving back to Columbus in 2019, Sarah has been designing and producing her own clothing line. Follow her creative pursuits on Instagram @Sarah_Seams.