Personal Croquis

To make good pattern choices, it’s useful to have a drawing of our own body shape.

Fashion designers often sketch their styles over a drawing of the human body which is called a croquis. You can even get pre-printed pads of them – though those are for ideal model bodies. (‘Croquis’ is a french word pronounced ‘crow-kee’.)

P. S. 2020 – there is now an on-line way of generating a personalised croquis :
My Body Model
The shape they draw doesn’t work for everyone – if it doesn’t for you then see later.
You still have to do your own sketching of possible styles, but they have a beginners’ video on that.
I have not tried this myself.

As Imogen Lamport points out in her Body Shape Bible, there are 3 important aspects of your body shape :
– your silhouette from the front (me – I have an indented waist, and larger hips under prominent high hips),
– your length proportions (me – I’m very short waisted, so most style advice for people with a small waist makes me look all hip),
– your special features (me – small bust, flat rear, protruding tummy).

Here’s my body image for wearing a fitted top and belt.
No insult intended to hobbits, but I don’t think this is an ideal look for a human. It is the sort of thing you may be able to check for by using a croquis.

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Using a personal croquis

This is about how useful a personal croquis is, and for me to find out how to include links and pictures to a blog 😀 (Well (2009), it’s taken a couple of days to find out how to attach images and URLs using what’s available via my elderly browser, but yippee !! it works at last.) (It’s now 2020 and the latest Mac OS, and I’m still using the same method as it gives me much control.)

Anyway, back to using your personal croquis. Once you have a drawing of your personal body shape (see above or later), simply compare it with a line diagram of the pattern you’re interested in.

Here for example is me, compared with Sewing Workshop’s Deja Vu pattern. Oh dear, obviously not. Though I love the style it’s not for me.


Sadly, it would make me look like a balloon ! I may make it even so. The construction looks intriguing, and it would be a cosy cuddle-up for winter. But I won’t expect it to be flattering 😀

(This body shape diagram is for a short-waisted pear. It comes from the fomer Littlewood’s site information about Trinny and Susannah. Sadly the diagrams are not in their body shape book.)

And how about this Issey Miyake Vogue 1114 design, which Vogue Patterns recommend for the triangular of shape. Maybe it would look good on some of us, but I don’t think it’s worth trying for me.


While this Vogue 8509 dress pattern, with it’s vertical bodice pleats, could be something I would wear, if these days I ever did have reason to wear a dress.


Making this comparison has been a real ‘eye opener’. I thought I was allowing for my ‘bottom heavy’ shape in making pattern choices, but I’ve completely changed the patterns I go for since I started using this tool.

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Making your personal croquis

In the recommended method for making a personal croquis, you are supposed to :
– take a photo of yourself in your undies
– trace round the outline of your photo so you have a drawing of your body silhouette.
– sketch the proposed garment over this body shape diagram, to see if it suits.

There are very detailed instructions on making a croquis from photos in Gale Grigg Hazen’s book ‘Fantastic fit for every body’ (best selection of copies from AbeBooks).

Sketching a garment is not something I have the skills to do, But I do find it helpful to compare my body shape with the line diagrams of patterns.

P.S. Here’s a helpful site for getting an easy personal body silhouette (2020 – may not be available).
Move the sliders to change the values in the boxes.
Body Visualizer.
Doesn’t include a ‘high hip’ measure, which greatly influences my silhouette and what looks good on me, but it certainly seems to get a good near-fit.

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Originally written August 09, revised February 2020, patterns not now available

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