MyBodyModel Sewing Sketchbook Portfolio by Mel Thorley

From Sketch to Finished Makes: My Amazing Body Model, by Mel

Hi, it’s lovely to meet you here. For anyone who doesn’t already know me I’m Mel from Handmade by Ditsy Tulip.

Now, let me start by saying that I’m no artist, but I do love to create, and will give anything a try, but sewing is where my heart is at. I first heard about the MyBodyModel app whilst listening to the Love to Sew podcast (like so many others I’m sure), and this was perfect timing for me as I’m trying to slow down with my sewing a little, and ensure that I’m creating garments that will work well together and that fit in with my style, and that will suit my shape.

I thought that the MyBodyModel app sounded like fun and went ahead and created my croquis. I was really pleased with how it turned out, it was a close reflection of my body shape.

I had some lovely fabric ready to use for my next project, but I hadn’t yet decided what to make, so I thought that this would be the perfect time to test out my sketching. For this sketch I used the paper version of the croquis, but I actually traced it onto watercolour paper as I knew that I wanted to paint the colour, and I went for 2 bodies so that I could plan out 2 outfits and then choose which one I prefer.

MyBodyModel Sewing Planner sketch 1 by Mel Thorley
MyBodyModel croquis traced on watercolour paper to try this beautiful printed fabric as a dress and as Tilly and the Buttons Marigold Trousers


I couldn’t believe how much it helped me to decide. I could see instantly that the Tilly and the Buttons Marigold Trousers would suit my body shape so much better than the dress that I had in mind. It also helped me to see that the large scale print will work with the trousers, whereas without the sketch I’d have probably ruled this out before it was even an idea.
MyBodyModel Sewing Planner sketch 1 by Mel Thorley - finished garment
My finished Marigold trousers in large-scale floral printed fabric from Minerva Crafts


The next fabric on my cutting table was some leftover mustard and white striped jersey (this was left over from making the hubby a t-shirt), and I had the Coco funnel neck top in mind, but I didn’t have enough fabric unless I made the collar with the stripes in the opposite direction of the body, but I had no idea whether this would work so I sketched it out.
MyBodyModel Sewing Planner sketch 2 by Mel Thorley
My body model sketch of the Coco top in yellow striped jersey


I loved the look of it so went ahead and made it up. I love how it turned out and the collar turned out to be my favourite feature.
MyBodyModel Sewing Planner sketch 2 by Mel Thorley - finished garment
My finished funnel neck Coco top in yellow striped jersey from Girl Charlee UK


My next project was to use 2 co-ordinating fabrics that came with the June Craftine box, I didn’t what to stick with the patterns that came with the box as the skirt just wasn’t my thing. I’d seen the Helen’s Closet York Pinafore dress which had caught my eye, so I sketched out my ideas again using MyBodyModel.
Fabric from Craftine box for garment sewing plans by Mel Thorley


This time I used the digital croquis, along with Procreate on my iPad, this was super useful as I could work on it on the go without having to take pencils and paint with me.
MyBodyModel Sewing Planner Sketch 3 by Mel Thorley
MyBodyModel digital sketch of the York Pinafore with the low neckline view


I’m so pleased that I sketched it out as I loved the low neck version of the York dress, but I thought that this would not look good on me at all due to my small chest size, but how wrong was I! I sketched it out and it looked great, and again I loved the end results.
MyBodyModel Sewing Planner Sketch 3 by Mel Thorley - finished makes
My finished York Pinafore in beautiful linen fabric


My final project so far was to plan what to make from some beautiful mustard and navy striped French terry that I was lucky enough to test. I had the Jennifer Lauren Handmade Gable dress in mind but wanted to play about with the positioning of the stripes, so sketching was a perfect way to decide how I wanted to make the dress.
MyBodyModel Sewing Planner Sketch 4 by Mel Thorley
MyBodyModel digital sketch of the Jennifer Lauren Handmade Gable dress to test out stripe direction


I used the digital version again which was great as I could change the stripes about without having to start the whole drawing again, and I was so pleased with the outcome. I also printed it out on watercolour paper and you would never know that I’ve created it digitally, it looks just like I’ve painted it.
MyBodyModel Sewing Planner Sketch 4 by Mel Thorley - yellow striped jersey fabric
MyBodyModel digital sketch printed onto watercolour paper


MyBodyModel Sewing Planner Sketch 4 by Mel Thorley - yellow striped jersey fabric - finished garment
From body model sketch to finished garment: My striped Gable dress in mustard and navy french terry


I have found MyBodyModel so useful and it makes my sewing feel even more creative now that I have incorporated the planning/sketching step into my sewing routine. I have so far loved everything that I have made and I feel that they all suit my body shape just fine, so no wasted fabric or time! Here are some hints and tips based on my experiences using MyBodyModel so far…


  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with styles that you wouldn’t normally go for. It’s a safe place to practise and doesn’t involve wasting time and expensive fabric
  • Use the line drawings from patterns to see the style lines of the garment and draw these onto your croquis
  • Use a pencil so that you can rub out and correct or change things that you are not happy with
  • Sketch out full outfits rather than just the garment that you are making e.g. if your making a top, plan what you will wear it with (this helps with planning out garments that will work well together)
  • Check how your fabric drapes and try to reflect this in your sketch


And of course just have fun!


If you are on the fence regarding whether to give this a try, my experience is that it’s definitely worth the investment. I love sketching and it makes me love my sewing even more.


I’ve set up a portfolio to store all my sketches, so this is a great way to look back over my plans and makes too.
MyBodyModel Sewing Sketchbook Portfolio by Mel Thorley
I created a portfolio to store all my body model sketches


I can’t wait to see what you design.


Mel xxx

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2 thoughts on “From Sketch to Finished Makes: My Amazing Body Model, by Mel”

  1. Great sketches and beautifully executed garments. I use an app called SketchClub to sketch but I like the look of your watercolor sketches using Procreate. Any tips on learning how to use the app. I found it very confusing. .

    1. Hi Diane, thanks so much! I’ve used Skillshare to learn the basics of Procreate, there are several great lessons teaching how to use it, you can just search “procreate” in the search box and it will bring up the lessons

      If your not already a member of Skillshare you can try 2 months free using the link below 🙂

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