When it comes to fashion sketching, you might encounter that voice in your head telling you that you won’t be good at it. In this special guest blog post, Sandrea shares how she pushed past that fear. Read on to see how she went from months of not touching her croquis to 14 stunning fashion sketches in just one weekend (!) and how the sketching process became much more than just a way to try on garments on her body.
Hi, my name is Sandrea, and thank you for joining me on my very first blog post. I got to admit I am feeling a bit nervous, but I hope you enjoy reading as I share my experience with the MyBodyModel croquis.
I have only been sewing garments for about a year, and while I have found many plus-size pages to follow on Instagram and Youtube, there has not always been size representation for the patterns I wanted to try. This is one of the main reasons why when I discovered MyBodyModel it appealed to me so much, knowing that there was a way for me to get a preview before deciding to sew up a project. Seeing all the beautiful sketches on Instagram and watching the MyBodyModel Youtube channel was inspiring.
Delving into garment sewing has allowed me to reflect on my past interactions with clothing. I realized that I have been settling for items that fit both my body and my budget and not necessarily finding items that I loved or that fit my personality. Since starting to sew garments I have been intrigued with the idea of finally figuring out my personal style.
For this reason, knowing that I could use the MyBodyModel croquis to basically “test” out a garment on my body before even sewing a stitch was a huge draw.
But still, I didn’t buy MyBodyModel right away.
While I loved the MyBodyModel idea, I still hesitated to make the purchase because of my fear that I would not be any good at it. Despite the testimonials and watching the MyBodyModel videos on Youtube, there was still that voice in my head that mine could never look like the ones I have seen on Instagram. I felt like I would get frustrated and never use it.
Despite these feelings, I made use of the free preview of MyBodyModel. I decided to see if I could simply sketch an article of clothing before I even purchased the croquis so I got a sketchbook at the Dollar Store, and sketched one pair of shorts. It was a while before I finally mustered up the courage and took the first step by purchasing my printable MyBodyModel fashion sketchbook in January 2021.
And then it sat there downloaded but unprinted for months. There were quite a few things that kept me from actually using my croquis right away, including health issues, work demands, moving to a new home, and yes I still had not silenced the little voice in my head telling me I would be no good at it.
The turning point
Sometimes things just click, and in May 2021 a Youtube binge/autoplay led me to the Sew Daily Network channel and Meg Healy’s live sketches. Her approach really appealed to me. It was not only watching someone sketch, but also hearing their thought process and watching that come to life that inspired me and made me think to myself that I could do that.
Once I finally realized that the goal was not perfection but simply for my sketches to convey what I have imagined, it relieved a lot of the stress that I had imposed on myself around the whole process.
Around the same time, I also watched the MyBodyModel sketchalong video which included the Calder Pants from Cashmerette Patterns which I had recently purchased and was excited to sew up. Watching that process, and how Erica used not only the pattern line drawings but also photos from Instagram, also boosted my confidence that I could do it. This confidence boost fueled my excitement about finally using my croquis.
Choosing art supplies for my fashion sketches
I did not go crazy on the supplies. While I was now excited about doing the sketches I still wanted to make sure it was something I would love before I invested too much money in tools. From my bit of research, I knew I wanted to get some alcohol-based markers. I wanted something that was not going to break the bank but still offer me a lot of color options. I went with the Shuttle Art dual-tipped markers with 100 colors. I also purchased some iBayam fineliner pens to use for smaller details and outlines. The Dollar Store sketchpad was ok to start with, however I did have to skip pages due to bleeding so not ideal in the long term. I ended up picking up a similar sketch pad at Target that had better quality pages to use once I’m finished with the one from Dollar Tree. I had a light box already at home that I used to help me trace my croquis onto my sketchbook pages and then I continue my sketches from there.
I want to add here that I share my supplies list so that it may be helpful for anyone also looking for supplies, but by no means do you need even half of these to get started. If you are reading this and you are like me, you may feel that in order to do something you need to have all the “right/recommended” supplies before you start but that is not the case. For example, sergers/overlockers are great but you don’t need one to sew knits or finish seams. In the same way, you can start sketching with just the computer print out of your croquis and a no. 2 pencil. If you have pencil crayons or marker use those, and if not that’s ok. Don’t have a printer? You can do it on your tablet or phone with digital sketching. There is no need to buy “all the things” right away.
So my markers came and the second weekend of June 2021 I finally pulled out my croquis pages…
And over two days I did 14 sketches.
Yep, I kinda went wild that first weekend, but it was so much fun. I have always loved art and coloring but will be the first to tell you I am not great at drawing. I simply went for it though, like when you had your first sewing project. For a lot of us, that first project was not the best but you are here, a part of this sewing community because you kept at it.
I found that for me, my croquis and the sketching process turned out to be much more than just a way to see how garments may look on my body. It also had more practical applications than I initially thought about:
- Sketching for me was also therapeutic. I found it relaxing and a way to decompress.
- During my two days of sketching, I realized that they were fabrics that I had more than one garment in mind for and the sketching process helped me to decide which garment I would rather make.
- I do not get as much time to sew as I would like so sketching is a way for me to document not only my ideas but also keep a track of the things I would like to sew. Like a list, but way more fun.
- I also have so many things that I want to make and sketching can help me prioritize which ones I’m excited to do first.
- Sketching also allows me to take part in a sewing-related activity at times that I may not be able to sew or just not in the mood to sew.
- It is a part of the sewing process I can take on the go (I confess to sketching on my lunch break).
- It is an activity that has truly enhanced my creative process and is fast becoming a much-loved hobby.
To wrap up, why did I wait so long?!
I am absolutely loving the sketching process and doing it on a croquis that is my body shape and measurements makes it much more fun and useful in my sewing process. I love pencil and paper but also want to explore digital sketching and especially paper dolls (those look really fun!). I hope you enjoyed my very first blog post and if you are on the fence like I was I can truly say it is not as hard as it looks. If it is something you are interested in, just go for it and have fun!
Are you inspired to dive into fashion sketching, and start adding color and prints to your designs? Check out MyBodyModel’s new class: “Intro to Coloring & Prints: Paper Dolls for Grownups, Level 2″ now online at Illustrated Style School!
My name is Sandrea Brown. I was born in Jamaica but currently call upstate New York home. I work as a Social Welfare Worker in the Hudson Valley Area. I grew up around a dressmaker, who was a family friend and while I spent most of my childhood summers handing sewing buttons and hemming I never had any interest in doing more until around 2017 when I started with pillowcases and bags. In addition to sewing, I love papercrafts, reading, furniture diys, listening to music, and recently podcasts. You can find my sewing and crafting makes over on my Instagram @stitchesaftersunset.
15 thoughts on “From fear to confidence: 14 fashion sketches in two days”
I’m so very inspired (and still terrified…I got F’s in art and penmanship…during a summer camp, I made something out of clay & asked the teacher what she thought and she said “I hate it.”). I have my box of 64 Crayola colored pencils & it’s time to start sketching some things I want to create using my fabric & knitting machine. Thank you for telling your story!
Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. I hope the inspiration leads to you taking the plunge. That response was poor especially coming from a teacher who should have been offering encouragement. The great thing about this is that it can just be for you. It does not have to be perfect and you do not have to share it if you do not want to. I say give it a go. Do it despite the fear. Happy sketching 😊.
Your patterns and fabrics were so flattering and appealing! Thanks for showing us your work process, I have been very inspired!
Thank you! Happy to hear you are inspired. I had so much fun once I finally gave it a go and hope you do as well!
You’ve done a great job. The drawings and colors are wonderful. It has inspired me to give it a go.
Thank you. Yes, give it a go, and remember progress not perfection. Happy sketching!
Love your sketching and the way you combine the fabrics with your pattern choices. You are also really talented with those markers at recreating your prints on paper! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how they looked after my first sketch. I can actually look back on them and know what fabric I was referring to 😊.
Love the idea of sketching different views of the same pattern to narrow down sleeve options. I suffer from “analysis paralysis” and often end up not sewing anything because I can’t make up my mind about options. Thank you for letting me know a way to use my croquis for making decisions, as well as for creating capsule wardrobes. This could be a game changer for me!
I’m happy to hear that. That “analysis paralysis” is no joke. I suffer from it myself sometimes and seeing the options on paper can definitely help with the decision making process.
Thanks so much for sharing your process. I love your sketches! And will definitely try your idea to use a light box to copy body image
into a sketchbook!
Thank you! The light box, though not required was a definite plus especially if your paper is thick or the lighting is poor. Happy Sketching!
Thanks for your article. I have also waited a long time to print out and use my croquis. So they are now in my print cue partly because of your inspiration.
I think we have similar thought processes, too! I was in social work as the last job before I retired on disability. It is a hard job, for sure, and it was sometimes so sad I couldn’t bear it. Social workers are a huge blessing to the society we live in. Best of luck in your career.
I have all the views and documents I bought in 2018 back in my print cue. When the sun comes up I’ll be doing some planning and sketching. Thanks again.
On Instagram @ 1StitchSaves9 and @WonkySewist
Thanks for your kind words and I’m so happy to hear that you’re finally getting around to giving your croqui a try, if it’s even just to know you are making use of your investment. Happy planning and sketching!