"Designers often begin the design process with a 'croquis'...it comes from the word 'sketch' in French. And that is exactly what it is: a sketch of clothing on a figure...With this drawing template at hand, you can easily sketch clothing on your own figure, examining the lines and visualizing the final garment more easily. "
-Sarai Mitnick, The Colette Sewing Handbook
Making my croquis has been something I've been looking for and yet I have been experiencing a small amount of anxiety about it. On the one hand, a personalized croquis is a fantastic addition to my sewing tools; however, taking a cold, hard look at my figure can be a bit daunting. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained!
So, here I am in croquis form! My measurements are 36-28-38, which makes me technically pear-shaped; however, I do have broad shoulders which I think balance my lower half.
From the side you can see my swayback, which isn't very noticeable when I wear full skirts or dresses with a cinched waist. It is, however, quite noticeable when I wear trousers. I also embrace Nigella Lawson's lifestyle and enjoy all foods in moderation, hence my rounded belly.
Another reason I wanted to make a croquis was to finally settle on my body shape. Before Miss Friday was born, I was a through-and-through linear: straight up and down with very little definition. After Miss Friday's birth I gained a pair of hips, for which I am quite grateful. Skirts and trousers have fit much better ever since.
Cardigan Empire, written by stylist Reachel Bagley, tackled body shape with a positive attitude and sense of whimsy. According to Reachel, there are five essential body shapes:
Now, taking a look at my croquis, I would say that I am a Pear, but due to my broad shoulders, I could also borrow from the Hourglass' closet. According to Reachel, I should be doing the following:
- Accent my smallest assets rather than the fullest.
- Draw the eye upwards by wearing bold colours or prints on top. Keep interesting design elements (i.e. ruffles, buttons, etc) up here.
- Stick to solid coloured bottoms.
- Belt it! Always remember to accent my smallest asset - my waist.
- Trousers that fall straight from the hip are best. Boot cut is also good.
- Slim fit trousers are possible when paired with a tunic.
I came across this brilliant set of videos by All Things Fabulous that I had to share! She discusses how to dress for your shape and I think the information she shares can easily be applied to sewing. Click on the links below to learn more:
Lean and Linear
So how does this impact my sewing? Well, for the Pastille, I will need to wear it belted in order for it to be most flattering. For this, I think I may make a contrasting belt from my Peony pattern. Both an SBA and hip pivot adjustment are necessary alterations for me.
It's a lucky thing that Sarai and Caitlin design beautiful patterns for real women. It's also lucky that they provide outstanding tutorials for altering their patterns to fit every shape and size. Another real women designer is lovely Tasia, of Sewaholic fame, who is a fellow Proud Pear!
Are you planning on sharing your croquis? I sure hope so! What shape are you? What changes will you make when sewing the Pastille to accentuate your best assets? Will you make overall changes to your sewing now that you have the tools to know what is most flattering for you?
* * * * *