If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me mention mybodymodel a handful of times. MyBodyModel is the brainchild of my friend Erica, and is a web-based tool for building sketching templates, also known as croquis, to your exact measurements.
I can't tell you how excited I am by this project. As a designer, I use croquis all the time in sketching out my design ideas. It sames me time from having to redraw the figure and allows me to focus on the clothing design. For quite some time, I've been using the same croquis, seen above in the sketches for Prairie Wife, Atlee and Lady Heartrose. I found it by doing a Google image search for "plus size croquis."
If you click on that Google search, you'll find that the fashion sketch definition of "plus-size" feels not quite right. The croquis I've been using seems much more in line with the 34-inch bust standard most of my samples have to been knit in, than anything resembling plus-size.
So while my standard croquis gets the job done for basic communication purposes, it falls short in several ways.
First, it's not a great tool for scaling designs. When I grade, I work off a spreadsheet and make some general assumptions about how to grade different design elements - for example, is the button band the same width for all sizes, or would it look better if it's wider on the larger sizes? Sketching on different body types helps me make that decision in a more informed way.
Second, I often see comments when new designs come out along the lines of "that's nice, but not for my body." Unlike sewing, where additional samples can be made in the span of hours, new knit samples usually take weeks. Which means having samples photographed in various sizes is often not possible, so makers may have to wait months to see someone close to their body type post a finished object photo to get a sense of how a particular design would work for them. MyBodyModel helps with both of those shortcomings.
MyBodyModel is currently in the midst of a Kickstarter fundraiser, and I've backed at the designer level to get access to 3 custom croquis. For me, I would use the following measurements for my croquis:
- The standard set of measurements I use for my 34" sample
- My own measurements as a "middle of the range" example
- The largest set of measurements from my grading spreadsheet
By doing this, I would have a range of body types to sketch on and design for.
Even if you're not a designer, having a sketching template of your own measurements would be highly valuable. You could plan adaptations like sleeve or skirt length, and "try on" a number of different styles without actually having to commit to making items.
As some examples. I've used MyBodyModel's sample sheet of croquis, developed from real testers measurements to sketch out two of my designs - the upcoming Renovation Cardigan (above) and the Lamina Pullover (below).
If MyBodyModel successfully funds its Kickstarter, I'll be testing the Beta phase of the software and I can't wait to give it a try. If having more realistic sketching figures seems like a good idea to you, I highly encourage you to go chip-in on the Kickstarter, which runs until August 24th.