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Exploring style: Breaking Out

By: Mary Reed Published: 04/13/2020 Categories: Planning, Wardrobe, SewDoIt

It’s easy to get in a fashion rut. Taking risks or wearing something different can be an uncomfortable experience and who wants to feel that way all day? Or, if you’re not uncomfortable, maybe it’s just that you don’t have the time or resources to experiment with what you wear.

Whatever the reason, this difficulty is even higher when we’re talking about making our own clothes. It’s easy to see a pattern and a fabric and think it will be great, only to be less than impressed with the result. Then, you can feel frustrated about the whole process.

Instead of starting the process with fabric and sewing, we’re going to check out styles without committing to making a garment. This will help us to make decisions early in the process so we don’t have to get all the way to end before deciding if it’s going to work for us.

Exploring a new style with fabric and patterns begins knowing how the fabric hangs on your shape (drape) and how the pattern wears on your body. If the fabric has a lot of drape, it will hang down from your body and not create a silhouette different than your own shape. If a fabric has little to no drape, then it will more easily make a shape or silhouette that’s different than yours.

You can hold fabric up against your body to see how it will move when you move. Does it go easily with you and then it just hangs down from your arm? Does it move sort of in it’s own way and doesn’t hang easily? Does it make a rustling sound as it moves, or is it silent? Does it flow or does it stay firm? Do you like the feel of it? If you are fortunate enough to have a dress form, you can play with the fabric on that even more to see how it hangs or drapes around the human form. If you don’t have a dress form, don’t worry, you can still learn about your fabric just as well by hanging it on your self.

After you’ve got a good feel for how the fabric is going to hang, you can start exploring some fashion lines on you. This is mostly commonly done by drawing fashion sketches on a croquis. Now, if the thought of drawing makes you nervous or if you’re convinced you can’t draw, don’t worry! This isn’t drawing in the traditional free-form artist way. It’s more about seeing a few basic lines that will help you understand your style better. You don’t have to show anyone, and they don’t have to be detailed or super accurate.

As an example, I’m going to use a croquis that I found by searching Google for a “fashion croquis”. I found a plus size one that’s pretty realistic and helps give me the feel of what something will look like. I got it from this website, Designers Nexus, and they have many other croquis to choose from. (Under Sketches & Templates, choose Fashion Croquis - Figure Template.) Another way to get a croquis would be to trace an image of yourself, or use a service like My Body Model as well. I don’t advise spending too much time on the croquis, however. Just find something that works for now. You’ll learn how much you like to use it and whether it’s worth getting a solid drawing of your own body or just need it for an occasional sketch to get ideas out of your head.

Now that you have a croquis, you can sketch a piece of clothing. You can start with something in your head, or start with an inspiration piece. Either way, start by asking yourself, does the fabric follow my shape, or stand away from it?

A garment will follow in some places and stand away in others. Where and how it does that is what makes a style. So, for instance, a t-shirt will follow your shape for the most part, but if it’s loose over the stomach and hips, it can have different look than if it’s form-fitting all over. If it’s a loose style shirt, is it loose all over, or does the looseness start at the waist and go over the hips?

Play around with different lines across the body and see if you can find some that look interesting to you. Try connecting different lines across the body and see what starts looking like garments.

Tomorrow we’ll start talking about silhouettes and how styles are shaped.

Dream your fashion dreams, so you can #sewdoit with confidence!

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