Welcome to In the Sketchbook, a monthly look at fashion design sketches that we are working on for ourselves. Sketching garments on a personal croquis is a great way for the individual couture enthusiast to move beyond the use of commercial patterns and into a world of personalized design! It can be intimidating at first, but with a little bit of practice it becomes something you look forward to. Join us for a look of what we have going on In the Sketchbook! Brought to you by Wendy Grossman of Couture Counsellor and Steph King from Siouxzeegirl Designs.
This month, I’ve been trying out drawing apps on the iPad Pro and learning how to use the different features that are offered. Like everything else, the results improve with practice. Although I was excited about sketching on lovely tracing vellum, electronic sketching seems to be much better for me. I remember feeling this way about writing when I bought my very first, very rudimentary personal word processor. For a diehard perfectionist, there is something so liberating about being able to pour out thoughts before they have to be committed to paper. The undo button and the ability to erase without leaving the slightest trace of a mistake allows me to venture well beyond where I go with pencil and paper.
Even bold color can be erased and you can’t erase paint or felt markers. Then there is the fill function, which I’m still trying to master. And the ability to add a background, which I did in the sketch on the right without knowing how that happened or how to do it again. Like I said, practice is needed.
The apps I’m using allow you to work with layers, so my personal croquis can serve as my guide the way it does when using tracing paper or vellum. I can lower the opacity of the croquis or turn off its visibility entirely before finalizing my sketch. You can also sketch individual pieces of a separates ensemble on their own layers to try out different looks and you can do the same with design details.
So far, the apps I’ve tried are Paper 53, Sketches, Procreate and Adobe Sketch. My brain is resistant to Adobe software. It was all I could do to learn InDesign when I needed to and to this day I only know how to do a few things in Photoshop, so I’m not sure I’ll ever feel comfortable with Adobe Sketch. I’m getting fairly comfortable with Sketches and I’m working my way through the very helpful e-book that’s available for Procreate to learn how to use its cool features. It’s a process.
I’m looking forward to learning how to duplicate an image onto a new layer and flip it so I don’t have to draw both sides of a symmetrical piece, or I can fix a mistake when I draw one asymetrical element in the wrong direction as I did here.
Okay, enough tech talk. Let’s get to the designs.
I’ve been inspired by the fabulous samples Mary Ray showed and the techniques she taught the ASG Chicago Chapter earlier this month. The mismatched asymetrical outfit just above and and the pink square-neck blouse that I paired with a trumpet skirt in the earlier picture are examples of what has been percolating in my brain since taking that class.
Here’s another sketch where I got the swoops all going in the same direction and I played around with pattern fill in the skirt.
A technique that really captured my imagination in Mary’s class was sewing partial tucks on a grid to add a waffle effect to flat fabric. Mary told us her inspiration for this was the book, The Art of Fabric Manipulation by Colette Wolf. This is a book that was given to me as a gift by my dear friend Scottie and I’ve been inspired paging through it but haven’t tried any techniques in it yet. It’s time to change that.
Here is what I’ve been thinking about as a first trial of this technique.
This is my attempt to show using the tucks in the area that a yoke would otherwise go in a knit cardigan with a hemline that dips in back. The tucks will provide added fullness in the body of the garment and I think will work well in a lightweight rayon knit.
Before I got tucks on the brain, I sketched this jacket with a version of my favorite 60’s stand-up collar.
I also tried my hand at sketching the split collar from McCall’s pattern 6796 that I talked about in my last post.
As you can see, I’m having fun with this. I hope you are, too. Be sure to check out what fabulous designs my dear friend Steph King of Siouxzeegirl Designs is showing at 10 Sewing Machines & a Serger. We’d love to see and hear about what you’re sketching, so please leave a comment.