From fear to confidence: 14 fashion sketches in two days

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

MyBodyModel croquis sketch of the Style Arc Monty Shirt Dress in drapey striped fabric from Hobby Lobby from Sandrea's fashion sketches.
Style Arc Monty Shirt Dress in drapey striped fabric from Hobby Lobby.

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

My current sketching supplies

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.

MyBodyModel printable croquis and sketch pad using my light box

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.

Three MyBodyModel croquis sketches from Sandrea's fashion sketches. From the left: Cashmerette Montrose Top (hacked with a puff sleeve) in embroidered Swiss Clip Dot Shirting from Style Makers Fabric and Helen's Closet Winslow Culottes in Telio Sofia Rayon Challis, Helen's Closet Ashton Top and Winslow Culottes in polyester Heart and Circles Print from Fabric Mart, Helen's Closet Ashton Top (with short sleeves) and Cashmerette Calder Pants in in polyester Heart and Circles Print from Fabric Mart.
From the left: Cashmerette Montrose Top (hacked with a puff sleeve) in embroidered Swiss Clip Dot Shirting from Style Makers Fabric and Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes in Telio Sofia Rayon Challis. Helen’s Closet Ashton Top and Winslow Culottes in polyester Heart and Circles Print from Fabric Mart. Helen’s Closet Ashton Top (with short sleeves) and Cashmerette Calder Pants in the same fabric.
Three MyBodyModel croquis sketches of the Cashmerette Montrose Top with different sleeve options in a white embroidered Swiss Clip Dot shirting from Style Maker Fabrics from Sandrea's fashion sketches.
Three sketches of the Cashmerette Montrose Top with different sleeve options, to help me decide what version to make in this white embroidered Swiss Clip Dot shirting from Style Maker Fabrics.

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. 

MyBodyModel croquis sketch of the Cashmerette Calder Shorts in a thrifted cotton-like red and black polka dot fabric and a black ready to wear tank top from Sandrea's fashion sketches.
Cashmerette Calder Shorts in red and black polka dot, worn with a ready to wear tank top. Fabric is thrifted, feels like cotton.
MyBodyModel croquis sketch of the Helen's Closet Gilbert Top and the Style Arc Ellen Shorts in Tropical Print fabric from Joann's from Sandrea's fashion sketches.
Helen’s Closet Gilbert Top and the Style Arc Ellen Shorts in Tropical Print fabric from Joann’s.

Unexpected benefits

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.
MyBodyModel croquis sketch of the Style Arc Blaire Shirt in Vangogh Print Stripes Black from Melanated Fabrics and black ready to wear pants from Sandrea's fashion sketches, inspired by a @brittanyjjones look.
This look is inspired by a look I saw on @brittanyjjones YouTube channel and Instagram page. I believed she used a McCall’s pattern but from the moment I saw the video, I knew I wanted the fabric to make this Style Arc Blaire Shirt which is similar in style to the pattern she used. The fabric is Vangogh Print Stripes Black from Melanated Fabrics.
MyBodyModel croquis sketch of the Helen's Closet Pona Jacket and the Made by Rae Luna Pants in blue rayon linen blend fabric from Joann's from Sandrea's fashion sketches.
The Helen’s Closet Pona Jacket and the Made by Rae Luna Pants in blue rayon linen blend fabric from Joann’s.

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!

Three MyBodyModel croquis sketches from Sandrea's fashion sketches.
From the left:
- Sew DIY Lou Box Top in thrifted red polka dot fabric and Made by Rae Luna Pants in blue rayon linen blend from Joann's
- Sew DIY Lou Box Top in multi-colored white background rayon from Joann's and white ready to wear pants
- Sew DIY Lou Box Top in thrifted green fabric and mash up between the Style Arc Ellen Shorts and the Elbe Textile Fremantle Pants in Mojito Rayon Slub in the color Tobacco from Melanated Fabrics
Three Sew DIY Lou Box Tops! The blue pants are the Made by Rae Luna Pants, the white ones are ready to wear and the brown pants are a planned mash up between the Style Arc Ellen Shorts and the Elbe Textile Fremantle Pants. Fabrics: The red polka and green top are both thrifted. Blue fabric is a rayon linen blend and the multi-colored white background is a rayon as well, both from Joann’s. The brown fabric is a Mojito Rayon Slub in the color Tobacco from Melanated Fabrics.

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!


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13 thoughts on “From fear to confidence: 14 fashion sketches in two days”

  1. 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!

    1. 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 😊.

  2. Your patterns and fabrics were so flattering and appealing! Thanks for showing us your work process, I have been very inspired!

  3. 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.

    1. 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 😊.

  4. 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!

    1. 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.

  5. 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!

    1. 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!

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