designing for my post mastectomy body with my body model croquis, by Tina

Designing for my post mastectomy body with my body model croquis, by Tina

Today’s guest blog post is by Tina, who was one of our testers for the new omit-bust croquis option. Tina shares how she used the new feature to create a personal fashion croquis that beautifully reflects her body after a unilateral mastectomy. As a visual artist who also drafts many of her own patterns, Tina also gives us a look into her inspiring creative process. She shares her tools and techniques, and how she’s used her custom croquis to create garments that are lovingly designed for her body.


This is my body. It is not a Ready-To-Wear body. It has carried me through breast cancer. It has one breast, and it has a swollen left arm (lymphedema), so my body does not fit into the clothes hanging on the racks in the shops, but it is My Body and I love it.

MyBodyModel post-mastectomy croquis by Tina
This is my body.

Because of surgery and treatment my body has gone through major changes and three quarters of the clothes in my wardrobe no longer fit me. My body asymmetry has made it near impossible for me to find anything in the shops that I feel comfortable in, so I started sewing an entirely new wardrobe. Sewing is my therapy and it’s my way of embracing and loving my new body as it is. Sewing is a way for me to somehow feel in control of an uncontrollable situation by making clothes that makes me feel happy, and the MyBodyModel croquis is a great way for me to test out what dress shapes works with my post mastectomy body before I cut into fabric and sew.

MyBodyModel fashion croquis sketch by Tina grey collection
The grey collection

I am used to drawing design flats and technical drawings and have previously free-hand drawn croquis models to illustrate the artistic feel of a garment, but fighting cancer has been an emotional rollercoaster ride, so lately I haven’t been able to draw clothes for myself without my emotions taking over. Then I was contacted by Erica, who asked me if I was interested in testing the MyBodyModel croquis. I didn’t have to draw my own body, I just entered my matter of fact measurements into the form and my body model appeared on screen. It was a therapeutic experience seeing my body in a neutral rendition, and it made me realize; if this is how my body is, not seen through my emotional glasses, then everything is okay.

” I just entered my matter of fact measurements into the form and my body model appeared on screen. It was a therapeutic experience seeing my body in a neutral rendition, and it made me realize; if this is how my body is, not seen through my emotional glasses, then everything is okay.”

How I made an asymmetric body model

To make my-asymmetric-bodymodel I printed one croquis with bust and one with the omit-bust option. Then I placed the omit-bust model on top of the with-bust model, taped them onto a window (placing them on a lightbox will also work) so light shone through, and drew one breast onto the omit-bust croquis. Finally, I used tipp-ex tape to remove the straight line underneath the bust. Now, I can just run my half-flat model through the photocopier and scale it as I wish. I chose to mirror my croquis, so when I draw it is just like looking in the mirror.

I love how realistic a view the croquis gives of what the style will look like on my post mastectomy body, so now I use mybodymodel for design sketches before I decide to sew the piece, and it has proven a very useful design tool for me.

How I use markers to outline the body

MyBodyModel fashion croquis sketch by Tina image 4 different hue outline
Here, I outlined the body in a colour similar to the skin.

Sometimes I outline the body in a similar colour to the skin. This way I create a bigger difference between the garment and the model, and it is easier for me to focus my eyes on how colours, fit and texture of the dress will work for me.

Sometimes I outline the body in black. The black outline “binds” the body and the clothes together and makes it easier for me to decide what the out-fit will look like on my body.

MyBodyModel fashion croquis sketch by Tina image 5 black outline
Here, I outlined everything in black to see clearly the design lines of the garment on my body shape.

How I use an underlay croquis

I use the croquis as an underlay model under bleedproof marker paper, which is more transparent than ordinary drawing paper. The marker pens are Letraset Pantone markers with three different tips in one pen. They are refillable, and mine has lasted for 20 years.

MyBodyModel fashion croquis sketch by Tina image 6 markerpaper
Marker paper and underlay croquis.

How I use pencil and pen

I like to do a croquis in pencil (0.5) or black pen (0.05 tip) just to get an overall idea of the design, and to decide on details, stitches etc. before I start using my marker pens.

MyBodyModel fashion croquis sketch by Tina image 7 pen and pencil
Pencil sketch (left) and marker sketch (right)

Clothes that I like

I have tested and tried all sorts of sewing patterns and found that with my asymmetric body, I just feel most comfortable in vertically asymmetric clothes if the garment is in one colour, or fabrics with busy designs if the sewing pattern isn’t asymmetric. Skirts with an interesting cut or fabric also draws the attention away from my upper body. Emphasizing my waist, and adding gathers or pleats to the shoulder seam, creates volume on my upper body. Pockets or a brooch on my flat side enhances the asymmetry. I love wearing tops with a cowl or long ends for tying in a bow, as well as jackets with big collars. Drawing on my personal croquis helps me to experiment with these design features and visualize how they will look on my post mastectomy body.

“Drawing on my personal croquis helps me to experiment with these design features and visualize how they will look on my post mastectomy body.”

MyBodyModel fashion croquis sketch by Tina image 8 red collection
The red collection

For the details on the woolen fabric I have used Derwent pastel pencils. Most of these photos are sketches for fall that I have made before deciding what to sew.

I have a few different designs for tops, dresses and skirts that I sew over and over again, and mybodymodel is a great way for me to mix and match and decide on fabric, fit and colour before starting to sew.

Photos are by @schjermers_collager

Fabric is from metermeterdk, Stofhallen and stof2000

Patterns: dp_studiofashion Le502 top. The Jacket in the red collection is the Mantel Westerland from Schnittquelle. The shirtdress with chest pocket is the burdastyle pattern 6520 (the pocket is my own addition). The tweed skirt in the red collection is burdastyle pattern #111 01/2018. The rest of the patterns are drafted by yours truly.

Designing for my post mastectomy body with MyBodyModel. by Tina
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