To Croquis or not Croquis


First use: 1805

Origin: French, from croquer to sketch, rough out, literally, to crunch

As sewists we face an ongoing challenge of perfecting the fitting of the garments we sew.  When I was young, a 20 something, I used to fit a perfect Butterick size 14, including the pant length. Mind you, a younger me did not make challenging clothes; simple pants, tops, dresses. I even made a corduroy coat and a quilted mandarin jacket. Over the years, things have changed and I am no longer a perfect anything!!

I am thankful that ingenious people have created many different fitting aids.

At a previous Sewing Connection Auckland meeting we made custom dress forms using paper packing tape, which have worked well for many of us.

In the book The Colette Sewing Handbook, there is a discussion of how to create a personal croquis.  Her technique is to take a photo of yourself in close fitting clothes against a light coloured plain background and then trace your outline. The low-tech way of doing this is to print the photo on a plain piece of paper, trace around the outline and use that to understand your proportions and to trial garments. The high-tech way is to use a program such as photoshop or the free Gimp to do the tracing. Link  Here is an example of how to use the croquis Link

Palmer Pletsch discuss body maps in their book Fit for Real People.  This is a different approach and result used for a similar purpose.  The body map is a full size, low tech version. You just need paper, pencil, meter stick and a buddy to help. Wearing close fitting clothes such as leggings or yoga pants and a t-shirt, trace the body onto paper fixed to a wall, marking relevant land marks eg shoulder points, waist, top of head. The resulting body map is used to understand your proportions and trial pattern pieces before cutting your fabric.

In our June meeting we will be making body maps for each other and learning to use them to help us on our journey to making well fitting clothes.


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