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Topic: Plus Size Croquis and Fitting Advice Appreciated  (Read 21631 times)
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ThriftyMillennial
« on: October 12, 2010 01:08:40 AM »

I am still a very new member of this fantastic forum. I've been coming here for a year or so and decided I should stop lurking and start participating.

For my first attempt at an interesting post I would like to share my personal croquis or technical sketches. The sketches were made from tracing the outline of a photograph then I added some shading for depth and realism. I'm not sure if this is classified as brave or stupid, but you know what? I'm ok with how I look. I would prefer to keep it as a link to an image, rather than embed it for two reasons. First, I'm still too new to post it as an image. Second, I'm fat. If for whatever reason you're offended by larger physiques... don't click the link.

My Plus Sized Croquis: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4110/5074095929_fe0373898b_b.jpg

If anyone with a similar figure wants to use them as a base for their own plus size design sketches- knock yourself out. It should print out on A4 in landscape mode. My only request is you don't claim the original image as your own.

My other motivation for posting this is to solicit advice about pattern adjustments. What I see and what other people see may differ. This are the fit or physique problems I see when I look at that picture.

- A well defined but very high waist.
- Low protruding belly.
- Wide and flat, kind of angular (?) seat.
- Broad back with rounded, sloping shoulders.
- A much higher bust than I thought I had.
- Chicken drumstick thighs.

Am I on the right track?


I went through college and did fashion design ten years ago. Sadly, they had to stick to "the norm" as far as fit went. Standard size ten patterns for standard size ten dress forms and standard size ten models hired for end of year fashion shows. I remember doing some basic modifications, but nowhere near enough to cater to hard-to-fit figures.

If any of you curvaceous craftsters have tackled fit issues you will probably sympathize with horrible shapeless patterns. I'd like to get the bulk of the block/sloper fitting issues sorted before I start making patterns again.

Looking forward to feedback!

Thrifty!
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2010 05:52:32 AM »

It's so nice to see a human figure in a croqui!   Cheesy

Looks like the figure is a "pear" or "hourglass" because of the well-defined waist.  What I would call a beautiful female figure, personally, not "problems."  Smiley

My only real input for patterns is to concentrate on playing up the best feature which is the defined waist. 

Anyway, I just want to offer encouragement, mainly.   Smiley
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ThriftyMillennial
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2010 08:43:40 AM »

 Grin Thank you for the positive affirmations. I'm happy I decided to go through with making a personal croquis. If you can handle seeing yourself as you really are, it is an awesome tool to find the most flattering styles. Just grab a camera, wear some tight clothing, take some photos and trace the outlines.

I've got another link to the croquis in action, minus the shading this time. I gathered the technical sketches of some of the commercial patterns I like and overlayed them on to my figure. They're all kinds of warped and distorted to fit the form but you can see some of the fit problems (it's ok to call them problems  Wink ) that appear with my figure type. These are mostly dresses, a few tops and a couple of skirts. Pants are my worst nightmare... so I'll skip them for now.

Link: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4088/5074961297_53569d0bc2_b.jpg

I did that as a time waster but got a bit carried away by how many patterns looked different "on" than I thought they would. I tell ya, sometimes our self image- the one in our head- likes to lie to us! *giggles* Some of my favourites look horrible on (to me), and my least liked ended up looking fabulous.

I agree with you, Ludi, about being somewhere between an hourglass and a pear. I think Trinny and Susannah call it a "cello". More on the bottom than the top, but the waist is still there... it's just moved north and forwards. Wink
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« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2010 09:14:15 AM »

Wow, that's very cool!   Cheesy  Do you mind listing out which are your favorites "on"?

My immediate first impression favorites are:

M6201
B5384
V8390
V8612
« Last Edit: October 12, 2010 09:15:36 AM by Ludi » THIS ROCKS   Logged

ThriftyMillennial
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2010 10:17:04 AM »

Styles I would gladly go through with:

B5384- That would be one heck of a bombshell outfit for a business look.
B5317- I am hankering for a 50's dress. If the pleats were done right it would look much better than the distorted image you see now Wink.
V8548- For a winter coat, I like the stovepipe neckline and the higher waist.
V8390- That's a pretty "safe" style for knits and very simple to make.
V1194- For a more formal look, made in a nice thick and drapey modal.

Styles that made me say "holy moley!":

M6166- Pixie hems on seam lines... good lord, nooooo!
B4657- Way too much going on with all those gathers. It would probably make a decent fairy/princess/costume look though.
V8296- I thought I would like that skirt, but the asymmetric lines and bias cut made me gag. >.>
V8658- The horizontal seam lines point to the "problem" zones. The raglan sleeves make my smaller top half even more obvious.

Styles that surprised me:

V8323- Quite a tight v-neck but could be good for workwear.



M6202 is a plus size pattern, no wonder it's flattering on. I'm not listing it as a fave because I can't think of a good bottom for it, other than jeans. Not that there's anything wrong with that! I am on the fence about V8612. I loved it until I saw it "on". I have a feeling it would be quite "boxy". Both in fit and in the style lines.

After saying all that, I'm still open to suggestions about fit and style lines. If you're brave enough to pick out your most and least favourites, and list why you chose them, I would love to hear what any of you have to say.
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OrangeKnickers
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2010 02:25:30 PM »

I'm not sure that I've seen a Croquis before, but this is really cool and useful.  Thank you for sharing.  My body type is a little narrower in the hips (more hourglass I guess), but this is still really helpful to get an idea of what these styles would look like on me too.

Here are my opinions.  I have no training in sewing or fashion, but I like to shop Wink and have been told that I have nice taste, so take it with a large grain of salt.

I'm going to disagree with you on B4657.  Yes, there is a lot going on up top, but it serves to balance out a larger bottom and forces the eye up.  I think this style makes the most balanced silhouette.  Maybe there is a way to achieve the same effect while editing out some of the gathers to suit your taste better.

V8633- Since you have a defined waist, play it up.  Although I would change the neckline because that high neck would drive me crazy.  I like the wide waist band, though.

I agree that V1194 would be a great look in the right material.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2010 02:26:31 PM by OrangeKnickers » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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ThriftyMillennial
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2010 05:57:03 AM »

Thanks for the feedback OrangeKnickers (love that nickname by the way!). There's no need to add salt when reading your opinions, I'm trying to cut back on my intake anyway. Wink

I think the reason why I didn't like B4657 was because the suggested fabrics were chiffon and georgettes. All I can think of is a mother-of-the-bride look in some pastel green floral print. It reminds me of my mother, or even worse, my grandmother! When I look at it I think it should be worn with a big hat and sensible shoes. I'm having a giggle over what a monstrosity it looks like in my head but believe it or not, I also agree with what you said about how it balances my figure out.

I went back in to Photoshop and this time I went back to basics. I sketched the outlines of a fitting shell (aka sloper, block) just to see what fit issues I might encounter.
Link: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4092/5077640417_0e73d809a1_b.jpg

I think the most interesting view is from the side. In order for the side seams to really be at my "side" the front pattern pieces will have to be quite a bit larger than the back. I think the bust darts should be angled lower at the side seam in order to nip it in a bit more at high waist. I don't think the vertical darts will be enough.

Why am I being so fussy about fit problems? I've been away from this for too long and I need to talk it out before starting. Hopefully other people might find it useful. Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2010 06:21:13 AM »

This is the most fabulous idea, ever!  I have to ask, how do you fit the dresses to your shape?  Is it just photoshop manipulation?  Or do you draw them out?  I would really love to learn how to do this...
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ThriftyMillennial
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2010 08:21:16 AM »

Hi Ailsynn.

To get the commercial patterns to fit the croquis I just transform the heck out of them in Photoshop. Free transform, scale, warp, inflate, perpective and liquify if pieces don't fit where they should. I just keep going until the bulk of it fits. If you don't have Photoshop, GIMP has similar features. GIMP can do basic transformations (scale, perspective and so on) but it's missing the "warp" option. It does have iWarp though, which is similar to liquify in Photoshop. Just remember to work in layers, duplicate them before moving on to another step so you can go back if you mess up.

To make the croquis I took a photograph and traced the outline with the pen tool. Paths are much cleaner and quite easy to work with once you get into the swing of things. The last image of the fitting shell (block, sloper, whatever) was also done with the pen tool. Photoshop is what has distracted me from dressmaking for the last couple of years *lol*.

I'm almost certain I've made this sound so quick and easy, but it's not. It's HIGHLY addictive though. If you're the type of person who likes to tinker until you get the results you want I would encourage you to try. I remember when I started. I knew nothing and I loved every minute of learning what all those tools do.

Adding another link to a dress I want to make. It's a Mod 60's inspired dress. This time I've knocked it up a notch. It's still based on the front view of the croquis but it's all shaded and purrrty. What do you reckon?

Link: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4067/5077971829_8f240222b8_z.jpg
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peppersaskatoon
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2010 10:18:46 AM »

B5534 stands out to me as especially flattering.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2010 12:04:09 PM by peppersaskatoon - Reason: clarification » THIS ROCKS   Logged
OrangeKnickers
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2010 11:23:30 AM »

Adding another link to a dress I want to make. It's a Mod 60's inspired dress. This time I've knocked it up a notch. It's still based on the front view of the croquis but it's all shaded and purrrty. What do you reckon?

Link: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4067/5077971829_8f240222b8_z.jpg

I really like that 60's style, so I'm a little biased to begin with, but I like it.  The vertical strips are well placed and slenderizing.  I'd love to see it made.   Grin
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kinzerbud
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2010 08:35:40 PM »

This is the coolest thing ever. Sorta paper dolls all grown up...and such a great tool to "try on" patterns before putting so much work into them. Thanks so much for sharing this..I had never heard of it before.
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bananabanana
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2010 10:15:58 PM »

This is a great idea.
I really like the mod inspired dress.
My favourite of the patterns is B5384 (though I don't think I could cope with wearing the pintucks on the boobies)
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ThriftyMillennial
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2010 10:24:01 AM »

I decided to take it easy and start with a straight skirt block as a pattern, it's the lower half of a dress block anyway. I drafted it on Friday (following Helen Joseph Armstrong's "bible") and noticed I have a very obvious sway back. My first impulse was to correct it to look like a "normal" pattern but I didn't and I'm glad! the waistline sits flat against by back with no drag or pull marks. I made it up in a plain white poly/cotton I had stashed away as I'm trying to use up my stash before I buy any more nice fabrics.

I'm not 100% confident on the rest of the fit... the side seams are straight, it fits... but it doesn't fit like RTW and that's messing with my head a little.

This is possibly a bit too philosophical, but I think we (being plus sized gals) tend to wear a lot of firm, tight or binding clothing because of the type of fabric the garment is made from. I don't think there is anything in my wardrobe without a certain amount of stretch. Even my work blouses have 3% elastane. Don't get me wrong, I love these types of fabrics but I seem to have forgotten what it feels like to wear something that fits without it stretching to fit (?). Laugh at me, laugh with me... I know it seems like a very silly thing to say but it's niggling at me. I think it's strange that *I* think -in order for it to fit- it should be tight.

Getting back to the straight skirt- it fits, and it fits properly for what it is and what it's made from. If I take it in to be as firm as I think it should be I get those dreaded pull lines that point to the problem zones.  Roll Eyes

To everyone who has been inspired by the "real life" croquis, I'm glad you've found it useful but I won't take credit for the idea. I first heard about it in college but my teacher had been using the same theory (with photographs and tracing paper) for many, many years working as a custom fit dressmaker. To kinzerbub- "paper dolls" is exactly how she explained it. Wink
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« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2010 08:16:19 PM »

This is possibly a bit too philosophical, but I think we (being plus sized gals) tend to wear a lot of firm, tight or binding clothing because of the type of fabric the garment is made from. I don't think there is anything in my wardrobe without a certain amount of stretch. Even my work blouses have 3% elastane. Don't get me wrong, I love these types of fabrics but I seem to have forgotten what it feels like to wear something that fits without it stretching to fit (?). Laugh at me, laugh with me... I know it seems like a very silly thing to say but it's niggling at me. I think it's strange that *I* think -in order for it to fit- it should be tight.
Oh my goodness yes! I'm SO with you on this one.  I went through my closet the other day looking for old clothes to recraft into a rug, and the ONLY things in my closet that didn't have that 3% elastane, spandex, or other stretchy substance were the few pieces that I've made for myself.  And another drawback to that sort of clothing is that, when you go down a size or so, anything that's designed to fit that snugly will completely lose its shape, instead of just looking a bit loose. 
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« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2010 07:06:25 AM »

Hi baby!

I wanted to weigh in! I am so impressed with your fashion drawings.  Smiley WOWZA! YOU GO GIRL!  Tongue I just taught myself to do the same recently, but I am doing it with pencil. I went nuts and started re-drawing all my patterns to my body shape!

Then I started designing, just fitted a sloper, made a dress form, and am now sewing very fitted garments to my fat hourglass figure. I gotz a bit obsessed with fitting fat bodies. It's quite a challenge.
My drawings show we are similar shapes. I found the croquet on an internet search and made some changes based on my shape.


I love love love the fitted waist on myself. On my blog there are pictures of these dresses on me. Also the process of getting through the sloper and fat body fitting issues are there.

Fitting Issues were:  
-waist almost 20 inches smaller than hips 47W/ 62H
-sway back
-upper bust 5 inches smaller than full bust
-large upper arms 20 inches in circumference
-uneven hem (big butt)

All of the above are NORMAL body fitting issues for real women. And all these issues are not designed for in commercial patterns. YOU know!
So major problems with puckering on the upper rear and bagginess in the upper chest, too smallsleeves. All these are regular RTW clothing problems.

I am still fine tuning some of these fitting issues but I am darn close. The easiest to tackle was the upper arms. The obvious is the flutter sleeve design to work around this. But with careful work I drafted a fitted short sleeve. There is a constant struffle between the sleeve size and raising and lowering that arm scythe Low arm scythes make me nuts because  they cause bagging, and i hate that.  Angry I have yet to get a good fitted long sleeve.

The swayback is greatly improved by using 2 darts on the rear as well as a wide slope from waist to hip. This is where full skirts are great. In working with my fabric sloper I had issues with my side seam being pulled to the back. I added more fabric to the back and it still went all crooked. I never figure out wtf happened there  Undecided

The chest bust problem I am still working on. I am using french darts right now to control this. As well as in multisize patterns doing a size-blending on the chest area to a smaller size.

As far as styles and flattering and all that, I am getting past that concept where "fat people can't wear this because blah blah" I think paying, attention to proportion, you can pull off anything. What fashion drawings don't model is confidence. And that, my love, is the magic fabric that makes me pull of this fitted lime green dress at work today  Grin THAT, and amen for shape wear. Your sketches are so awesome and using them you can see proportions clearly. FANTASTIC!
And i might suggest that you try to model some princess seams styles. They really IMHO flatter this figure type.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2010 07:52:42 AM by Psycho Sue » THIS ROCKS   Logged

zaluly
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2010 09:55:32 AM »

Thank you for this awesome, informative post..I'm not a very accomplished sewer and always have fit issues, so I think this'll really help. I agree with Psycho Sue, confidence is key, regardless of your size; as is personal style (LOVE yours, PS), and of course fit.
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saylo
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2011 12:15:50 PM »

ThriftyMillennial, this is cool. I've seldom seen proper pattern sketches on real curvy women before.

By the way, you don't happen to have a pattern for that mod dress? The photo shop version of it looks great!
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Macedwarf
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2011 04:40:14 AM »

I love this!  May have to try making a croquis for myself at some point, too.
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« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2011 02:47:12 AM »

I think the reason why I didn't like B4657 was because the suggested fabrics were chiffon and georgettes. All I can think of is a mother-of-the-bride look in some pastel green floral print. It reminds me of my mother, or even worse, my grandmother! When I look at it I think it should be worn with a big hat and sensible shoes. I'm having a giggle over what a monstrosity it looks like in my head but believe it or not, I also agree with what you said about how it balances my figure out.

Urgh, I HATE the georgettes and chiffons that most of us have had exposure to over the years from the big box stores. Yes it is supposed to have body, but it is not supposed to leave you with nightmares stiffness. The original georgettes and chiffons were made from silk. They are in the crepe family of fabrics, so you can start from there.

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-georgette-fabric.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiffon_%28fabric%29

I have a feeling you know more about fabrics than I would, but I would totally ditch the recommended fabrics on this one and try it in a softer, drapier fabric. Like jersey knit, daphne or even a light weight quilting cotton.

I pick out my fabrics first and then either look for a pattern or draft something (simple) myself.
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tortilladesigns
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2011 11:33:24 AM »

I love this thread. Thanks OP for the inspiration. I love  how you shaded your croqui to really highlight your curves. She's beautiful:) I'm finishing up my 3rd quarter at fashion design school and as a curvy girl myself have decided to do my line for curvy ladies. I really liked how you used Photoshop to fit the patterns to your croqui, I'm going to have to play around with that. Thanks for the advice on how to make your own croqui, I think that will be my next task!
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« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2012 07:44:46 PM »

Those are BEAUTIFULLY done croquis'! The texturing is amazing. Mine are lame in comparison. Big girls, not perfect girls, every girl (and some guys) should learn technical drawing over a croquis when they make clothes. It's the second-most-important skill for self-sewers taught in school after making a sloper.

I love a lot of those patterns. Things change from person to person on preferences. Not all girls with this body shape want to follow the conventional "Must Be An Hourglass!" idea. Some like a flowy look from underbust to ankles because it makes them feel like they're floating, some like to play up an ample bosom and booty by making it tight around those areas. It's all about personal style, then fitting that style with specific features.

Fit is #1! No fit, no style! Bad darting, misplaced shoulder seams, wrinkles in stretch fabrics where it's supposed to skim the body by design... just not as cute.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2012 07:47:24 PM by PixieSkull » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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