Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dressing the croqui

Just a little about the lines you draw in on the croqui, you can use these to "plot" a new style, or just to keep symmetry on designs you draw.


1) start with the v at the neck and draw the base of your neck
(imagine a column)
(it should look a little like a crew neck)

2) Then find your shoulder bones and draw down following your side seams
(you can always give it a little shape later).

3) Between the shoulder joint and your neck - mark a halfway point.

4) Find your waist and draw it in starting with your belly button to the indentation at the side seams. Alternatively, just start with the center and go straight out to the side seams.

5) Then mark your crotch, knees, ankles.
6) Then draw in where your legs bend at the hips (this could be the bottom edge of a pantie line depending on what style you wear).

7) Then mark center front - from the v, to the crotch, intersecting the belly button.

8) Then quarter the body - shoulder midpoint, waist midpoint, hip joint midpoint.

After doing this exercise, I found a few things out about my own body, like different shoulder lines. One straight and the other that curves downward. This would explain why I always find myself making shoulder adjustments. You may find high hip, tilted waist... we're all a little uneven:)

Do a last check to make sure that your lines are as symmetrical as possible. Since this is all done in pencil you can still play with the lines until you're happy with it.

I found two outfits in an old Anthropologie catalog that I think would like nice on my Croqui's body type.

Now whenever you want to dress the croqui, you have reference lines to refer to. Look at the style on the model and where these points fall on her body and transfer them to your croqui.

So I found two styles for "Kate the croqui" and dressed her.

Here we've marked the major points and outlined


Then I found this style, which I also thought might be fun.



Making your croqui

To make your croqui, you need a digital camera, your computer, a pencil, tracing paper and patience. Dress yourself in clothing that will show you all of the lines of your body, you could do this in underwear (which is probably better), shapewear or a yoga outfit. Preferably something that will show the reference lines that you will need in the future (like waistline, neckline, etc). Set up your camera or have someone take a photo of your full body. Try to get them to fill as much of the frame with your body leaving a little on the top and bottom so that you don't cut your head or limbs off. Also, since you are doing all this prep, make sure to take the back as well as the front, and take a few in different poses, so at least one with the arms down at the sides and another with one hand at the hip, and maybe another with the both hands on the hip (these will come in handy if you try to draw a butterfly sleeve or dolman). And if you want to see what you would look like in heels, by all means take a few of those as well. So here's your homework..

Photos - in underwear, shapewear, bikini:)

Hands by your sides Front, side, back

One hand on hip Front, back

Both hands on hip Front, back

*** Try the same shots with heels, especially if you are planning a formal or dressy outfit, something you would normally wear heels with.

As an example we have Kate Moss. She's skinny isn't she? Perfect right? I'm using her as an example because we are sometimes blinded by our own imperfections. I tried to find an example in the fashion magazines that was in underwear, and was a full body shot, but I think this will work as a sample.


Upload those photos to your computer. Open up the first image, and don't panic, I have never liked being photographed. I had a few feelings of ugh, how many more sit ups will I have to do? How many cupcakes will I need to give up, this is just an exercise, and no one need ever see these, they are just for you.

Decide which stance you want to start with, take a piece of tracing paper and place it over your screen or print the image out in black and white. Do not use permanent marker or pen, use a pencil. Lightly outline your body completely, try to do this as carefully as possible capturing as much detail as you can. Be sure to mark all of those points which give you a guide to your future garments.


Outline body
- mark the base of the neck (where the little V is)
- waist (bellybutton)
- crotch
- knee
- ankle
- elbow
- wrist
- hands (you can just draw lines for the knuckles)
- shoulder
- high bust point
- head

If you are tracing from the screen take the paper off the screen and work on a table top and work on the lines a little more until you are happy with it.

Outlines automatically look larger because they don't show shadows and areas that recede. So don't throw it out because you don't like what you see. Even models don't have perfect bodies and what you are looking for is a realistic shape, so that you can play later. When you finally get something you like, take a thin line black marker and put in your final drawing. This will help with the next step.


This is just to illustrate that no one lives up to the fashion croqui which is more like this...

We will dress Kate's croqui in the next post.

Working with the Croqui

Planning a wardrobe is never easy, even if you're buying it. It involves really taking a look at how you live, what fabrics you like (what fabrics you can obtain), how they all combine for a workable solution.



This is the most cost effective sort of play, a little pen and paper and some time.
No muslins or patterns, just a look at what is practical, comfortable, and flattering. Most of what is here is based on items that have been in my wardrobe in the past. The "safari/military" jacket is based on one that I still have but is falling apart and needs to be replaced. V neck t-shirts are a good way to go for me, I have a few in my wardrobe that also need replacing. Jeans I need desperately, and shirts I find comfortable. What I really need is a replacement for the running shorts I wear day in and out. Maybe leggings? We shall see.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hermes scarves

For those of you who missed Martha Stewart yesterday, the lovely people from Hermes were presenting their wares. Their scarves tied in the most inventive and classic ways, so thoughtful of them, really, all you have to do is drop $800 for the two scarf tunic they tied (what????). I didn't hold out much hope for the shrug they tied, (it was falling off the model's shoulders), then I tried it at home, and low and behold it was cute (I guess it needed some broader shoulders).

Martha Stewart Hermes

Here's a pic of my scarf, (just remember to make sure the motif is right side up). You don't need an Hermes scarf to do this, how many of us have a 36" square of silk lying around the house (that is a finished measurement, with a rolled hem). This would be a good time to pull it out and finally use it. What a great idea to practice rolled hems, or a mitred border.

Colette patterns has a cheat of a hand rolled hem (click here). I'll have to try this out.

and Threads Magazine has a mitred hem tutorial (click here). (although this might be too thick for a delicate little knotted corner.)




To make this lovely shrug, just fold scarf in half and tie ends in dainty little knots. If you are smaller leave larger tails on the knots, or make your scarf smaller. It's not a bad option for traveling, when you just want to cover your shoulders with a little something.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Where did maxi dresses start?

Was this the first pattern catalog ever? The start of the tunic / maxi dress we know today, I would wear all three... except the bare breasted one.

79a/b - the modern day jumper, they just left the underblouse out of it (but haven't we seen that on the runway as well?)

80a/b - the predecessor of the modern day tunic.(Tory Burch, Lily Pulitzer to name a few)

81a/b - Look a shift dress!! Narrow at the shoulders, and wider at the hem, Do you think J Crew was an Egyptian?

Fashion History Eygptian Costume-Page-2x

Fashion History Eygptian Costume-Page-2x

Friday, May 7, 2010

Egyptian pattern making

I knew I would get you with that catchy title. DVF did not invent the wrap:) This was part of the research done for a design based on ancient history. It's always fun to go to the library and search for etchings of ancient costumes. They can be quiet elaborate and inspiring.

Fashion History Eygptian Costume-Page-1x

Fashion History Eygptian Costume-Page-1x