I don’t sketch

Do you remember on Project Runway Season 3 when Angela Kessler (Keslar?) presented to someone and said, ‘I don’t sketch’?  I always thought that was odd. How do you sell your designs to someone if they can’t see it on paper? But, then again, I can’t draw worth a lick. At any rate, for class, we always have to use a croquis and sketch our design. The instructor says that it’s a good way to visualize what you want to do.

So, for my final project I kind of know what I want to make.  We can make a dress, blouse or skirt. I have an idea of at least one dress and one blouse I like. The first dress is this one by Helen Rose in ‘A Designing Woman’. I’ve wanted to make this dress ever since I saw it in the movie 10 years ago when my sewing skills were limited to straight lines and off-grain skirts.


We owe three different design sketches in two weeks and I decided to take a stab at my first idea:


Using the croquis makes it FAR easier. I still don’t sketch, but, I can trace. Not that this croquis is really scale to my shape! I have a beautiful red wool from ‘The Carol Collection’ that I could use. But, I actually think we’re only allowed to use wovens for class, certainly not this double knit. Hmmm, I forgot to add darts to the design above. Must remedy before Tuesday.

I’m just not sure how the bottom back goes. It looks gathered in this photo, with the tabs of fabric imitating the front tabs. Or possibly two or three rows of fabric with the tabs. I may have to rent the movie again. It’s been a good 10 years since I’ve seen it.


On Monday we’re measuring to draft our own pants! We’re not supposed to sew them up. But, if we do, the instructor said she would critique the fit. You better believe I’m sewing mine!

Darn those Japanese magazines. Something new I’ve seen and decided my life is incomplete without. Pink and red pattern weights from Bunka.

** Thanks Ginerva for providing the link to Bunka! My friends. Try not to get sucked in. Now, I am dreaming of red, pink and blue pattern weights.




  1. It looks like you absolutely DO sketch! I think you’re doing a fantastic job of it! Sounds like you’re having a ball in this class. Love the weights!

  2. I think I need them too! 🙂 Is the back by any chance flat and it just looks gathered the way she is standing? I’ve not seen the movie, so I’m just guessing.

  3. I’m pretty sure most undergraduate fashion design programs have fashion illustration as a required course. Unfortunately too many of these same students never really earn to sew

  4. We have illustration too. Which I wasn’t going to take. Now, after seeing my drawing, I better.

  5. Pink and red pattern weights!? Oh my!! Those kick my old film cannisters filled with sand to the curb!

    From the looks of your sketch, I don’t think you’ll have a problem with illustration, it’s pretty formulaic. In the classes I TA, if students are really interested in illustration we suggest that they also go to a drop-in life drawing class or two, as long as they aren’t afraid of possibly naked people, lol.

  6. I was just looking at the back of the dress again, and it almost looks to me like the pleated section is actually v-shaped at the upper edge, pointing down towards the centre back. Hard to tell because of the blurriness, but that’s the *impression* I get. I could also be on crack.

  7. I haven’t seen this movie in about 20 years, but boy do I want that dress! I’m going to rent it this week and have a look for myself. Can’t wait to see yours, this will look AMAZING on you!

  8. Legend has it that Edith Head didn’t know how to sketch or sew when started out with Paramont Pictures. Supposedly she got a job as sketch designer for the studio by “borrowing” someone else’s drawings.

    I studied design at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and I always used a croquis or line drawings from back of a pattern envelope because I didn’t think I knew how to sketch free-hand. However, for the last several years I have been doing my own sketching, and I think I’m getting pretty good at it.

    Thanks for allowing me to ramble.

  9. Uh, that’s a pretty darn good sketch. And that is a perfect style for you, how fun!

  10. You sketch well enough to get your point across, and that’s the important part. Taking the sketch course wouldn’t hurt, but you already have the important skills for what you want to do.

    I’ve always loved that dress, and that movie. If you turn out a version of this dress, perhaps you could be persuaded to knock off the pattern in my size?

  11. Girl, don’t feel bad. I don’t know how you do it, work and then have energy to sew. When I was working I was depressed because I didn’t have the energy to sew. The four kids may have contributed to that, but getting the creations completed that you do, I feel, gives you the right to be alittle slack on the organization end.

  12. i read a great article online somewhere, about creating a self portrait croquis, you basically print a full length picture of your self, overlay with paper and trace your outline, scan it back into the computer. this would be great to give you a more “realistic” shape. sorry i don’t have a link but a search may yield some results.
    if your really computer savvy you could probably just do it all in the computer using a photo you already have stored.

    good luck, your classes are coming along great! thanks for sharing your experiences.

  13. Cidell, I highly recommend that you take the fashion illustration class at the college (BCCC). I took it Spring 2008, it was fab. Before the class, I could sketch nothing. Now I’m pretty good at it. I still need work on a few details. Both Katarina and Dyane Marte are great. I loved the class it was so much fun.

  14. […] Even better, you can see some of the watercolors and how they came to life with fabric and needle. I also recognized some of the costumes from movies I’ve adored over the years including High Society and A Designing Woman. There are a few dresses from a Designing Woman that I’ve obsessed over. Especially, this red one. […]

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