Naomi of Spare Room Style and Norma of She Sews You Know provided constructive comments on the posting of a line drawing of my dress for the 1930s Sew-along. During our exchange I mentioned that croquis are very useful for working out the ideas we all have in our imaginations when it comes to our sewing and designing process.
To make a successful sketch it’s a good idea to be aware of the body underneath the clothing. A croquis provides that visual element when you sketch. The croquis is a rough representation of the body in a particular pose. In the pose is infused a little attitude, too. It helps prompt you when drawing to add a sense of life to the drawing.
These little croquis I’m posting may be circulated and reused as needed. All I ask is a link back to this posting. To use the croquis, print it out. Then use paper clips to place the lightest tracing paper you can get over it. Use very, very sharp #2 pencils and a ruler to sketch the garment over the croquis. I’ve provided the waistline and princess lines for the upper body. Along these lines are placed vertical seams and darts. If you need to lengthen the seam below the waist just continue it to the hem.
To better discern the key lines, mark them off in colored pencil as follows:
–The Princess lines also serve as your vertical dart placement lines.
–Waistline at the 3″ line of the scan.
–Apex is a 1/8″ above the 2 1/4″ line of the scan.
–Hip line is at the 3 3/4″ line of the scan. You can raise that a little higher if you want.
For horizontal darts use all three figures to get a better idea of where the placement looks best in relationship to the entire torso. This is especially helpful when figuring out the starting point for a French dart.
Since the croquis are in motion your sketch should take into consideration how your design will look when you wear it. What is the fabric like? Will it fall softly? Will it flare slightly or will the flares be very pronounced? By sketching you can get a better awareness of what you are seeking in the finished garment.
The Center Front line ruins right down the center of each figure. If you are drawing a blouse, you place the buttonholes and buttons along this line but do not draw the line itself in your sketch. A line is drawn about 1/8″ to the right on these little figures to indicate the extension from center front.
If you have any other questions about using a croquis please put them into the comment section and we can discuss this further.
It is not necessary to draw the body when you’re working out your fashion ideas. I have created some very interesting effects by drawing hairstyles, bracelets, gloves, shoes and the finished outfit without drawing in the head, arms, legs and the rest of the body. The result is very edgy and forces you to pay attention to how all the elements look. The distraction of a cute figure is not present to take away from the evaluation of what you are trying to bring to life.
Enjoy your adventures and I hope your awareness and abilities advance. The original file is 11 1/2″ wide by 8 1/2″ high. I included the measurements because I’ve been told there is a way to increase the image in increments if your download isn’t exactly the correct size.
Please note: The feet are drawn for shoes with high heels. To lower the foot you have to redraw it. That means for the side and front views you draw a wedge over the current foot and then work out the lower position of the heel. Then redraw the rest of the foot. This also involves redrawing the lower leg to keep proportions correct.