The Front View Croquis

The 10-heads front view croquis

The front view croquis is not very exciting.  She has little attitude and no pose to speak of.  But this 10-heads croquis is the easiest one to trace over and use for quick sketches of your ideas.  Since you do not have to deal with a pose and attitude, you can concentrate on the details of the garment.  The 10-head croquis is the popular size used today.  The 10 1/2, 11 or 12 head croquis is very elongated and better suited to someone who likes to handle a larger sketch.  I hope you enjoy using this croquis.  She may be reused and circulated freely.  Please provide a link back to this posting.

I show a resulting sketch in the next section.

I uploaded the full size scan so the detail lines are visible. 

Sketching over a croquis

You do not need expensive art supplies to start fashion sketching your ideas with a croquis.  The most important things to have are a good light and, if possible, a drawing table.  If you do not have a drawing table, you can improvise by using a smooth wooden board which you can place over a book so that it tilts towards you.

I buy my tracing paper, #6, #2, #HB2 pencils, erasers, paper clips and other supplies at my local 99 cent store.  Graph paper is also very helpful if you can handle looking at all the little squares.  It is a great aid in keeping lines straight and ensuring accuracy of details like darts and pockets.

As soon as you remove the sketch from the croquis you get a good idea of the combination of elements will work or not.  Here you can see the hairstyle I sketched is not appropriate for the Chinese style dress in the sketch.  I also thought that the drop shoulder short sleeves might look nice but would impede movement of the arm.  I wanted to find something else so I kept sketching…

I ended up with something different than what I started with but am happy with the development.  The short kimono sleeves are comfortable and balance out the sheath skirt of this two piece dress.  Or it could be a couture blouse with skirt designed to look like a one piece dress.

To add interest you can add a sense of texture to the sketch and create the look of a rendering of a fabric.  This is a shortcut that helps further the idea.  Here I used a paper doily put under the tracing paper.  I used a crayon to color over the sketch.  Only a little of the surface impression was made so I’d have to find something better.  From experience I’ve learned that sandpaper, wickerware chairs, thick netting and other bumpy surfaces have the potential to create an interesting look when colored over.  The key is to keep the pattern small so that the pattern doesn’t overwhelm the small scale of the whole sketch.


Fashion Sketching for you…Meet the RetroGlam Croquis

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:

–Center Front.
–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.