Hi everybody, Nateida aka SewNaturalDane here! Every February, I host the #BHMPatternDesigners Challenge which highlights and promotes Black pattern designers. I am very excited to share with you my experience in using MyBodyModel paper dolls to plan my makes for this year’s challenge. This was the first time I used something such as a sketch or paper doll to play around with some looks I had visions of in my mind.
When preparing for the challenge this year, I knew I wanted to do several different things and one was to create these paper dolls to create looks I had in my mind. What drew me to do the MyBodyModel paper doll method was its ease, as I don’t consider myself the best “sketcher.” On top of that, and I’m probably aging myself here, but I grew up playing with paper dolls and found it so much fun to change their clothes with every new paper doll set that was bought for me as a little girl.
What’s nice, I learned quickly after taking Erica’s “Paper Dolls for Grownups” fashion drawing course that it really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. In the class Erica walks you through various hand exercises and techniques to help your brain relax before getting started. This process truly helped and definitely made it more fun and exciting. So, I do highly suggest if you are wanting to try the paper doll method that you do take the course. It’s easy to watch and eases your fears about drawing. I received so much great feedback after people saw my Youtube video showing my body model and paper dolls.
Planning for the garments I wanted to make during the #BHMPatternDesigners challenge started in late 2020. I had begun looking through my pattern stash and looking online for patterns by Khaliah Ali, a black designer for Simplicity and McCalls patterns. Many of Khaliah Ali’s earlier released patterns are out of print, but can easily be found on Etsy, Ebay or Amazon. Of course, there were a few new patterns that were released later in 2020, that I decided to use as well; because we can’t help but go for the new and shiny as sewists, right?!
Once I was settled on the patterns I would use, I studied the line drawings from each of the patterns to create my very own paper doll clothes. Again, taking the paper dolls course really helped me figure out how I would go about drawing my garments out. Also, with paper dolls, you don’t have to reprint out your body model you have downloaded from MyBodyModel. Just print your body model once, add a hairstyle, which I did, and you are good to go.
Black Pattern Designers and Pattern Links
Below are the MyBodyModel paper dolls I created for several of the garments I created for #BHMPatternDesigners challenge, as well as links to the patterns. There were a total of six Black pattern designers I used to create my paper doll outfits. For a full list of Black pattern designers, check out the directory on my website.
My Finished Looks from #Sketch2Finish
Here are all my finished outfits. The custom #BHMPatternDesigners fabric I used for several of these pieces is no longer available as these were limited edition fabrics. However, don’t be discouraged, I will have some new designs coming out for the challenge in 2022. Make sure you subscribe on my website, as my newsletter subscribers learned all about the fabrics first and had first dibs on ordering. Please also check out this Youtube video as I share about the fabrics I used.
Learn More About the Black Pattern Designers Challenge
To learn more about the #BHMPatternDesigners Challenge and support Black designers year round, please feel free to visit my website. The challenge supports all Black pattern designers, whether it be for garments, handbags, wallets, crochet, knitting or quilting. We also highlight and promote Black owned fabric companies. This was my third year hosting this sewing challenge and it was amazing to see all of the growth and participation and support for the challenge. Erica, from MyBodyModel was one of our sponsors for the challenge and I greatly appreciate her support.
Thanks again Erica, for such a wonderful experience. This was truly an enjoyable process and something I plan to use again in the future.
See more about Nateida’s creative process in our recent “Sketch & Tell” interview on IGTV!
Nateida is the founder of the Black History Month Pattern Designers Challenge. Nateida created the #BHMpatterndesigners challenge in 2019 due to the lack of representation she saw in the sewing community. The goal of the challenge is to showcase Black pattern designers, including sewing and knitting designers, as well as black owned fabric companies. You may know Nateida as @SewNaturalDane from her sewing blog, YouTube channel, and Instagram. Nateida works full time as an Internal Audit Manager in addition to running her online business, The Fabric Beautique.