Friday, August 26, 2016

In the Sketchbook- August 2016

Welcome to In the Sketchbook, a monthly look at fashion design sketches that we are working on for ourselves. Sketching garments on a personal croquis is a great way for the individual couture enthusiast to move beyond the use of commercial patterns and into a world of personalized design! It can be intimidating at first, but with a little bit of practice it becomes something you look forward to. Join us for a look of what we have going on In the Sketchbook! Brought to you by Wendy Grossman of Couture Counsellor and Steph King from Siouxzeegirl Designs.

My inspiration for this month's sketching and designs came from politics and a visit to Washington DC. I was in DC for a full week at the very end of July and beginning of August. While I was there I decided to use another 'What if' scenario to jump start my creative juices.

So this time it was a two-fold what if:
What if I was attending the presidential inauguration and followed up with a what if I was invited to the inaugural ball?

For the inauguration itself I imagined myself in some sort of a smart day dress ensemble and since this event happens in January and is outside I would most likely have on a coat. I decided to ignore the coat for now and just go for the idea that it would be unseasonably warm outside!
Similar silhouettes, one as a dress and one a 2 piece ensemble. The dress on the left, in blue, is meant to be worn with knee high boots. The 2 piece ensemble is one that I really like and is representative of fabrics in my collection. Although I really like these two looks I would not likely wear them to the inauguration, not serious enough to my eye. 

These 3 options represent a more fitted look. All 3 have very different vibes! I think the first one in grey with brown lacy accents is my favorite for the occasion, it is the most serious. The one in the middle is my second choice, the colors give a feeling of hope, something that I feel is really needed in this political climate! The Blue dress with pleating detail is quite interesting and unique but probably not the best choice for the inauguration.

These 2 were my rejects... I included them just to show how I work through different ideas. I was thinking a midi length skirt would work on me but clearly this style looks frumpy. A more fitted silhouette as in the center skirt in the photo above is a much better look on my body. The second look was just playing with angles, I saw this skirt on a work acquaintance and loved the look on her, she is very tall and slim and the a-line with the broken lines gave her some shape. On me this just looks blah. the Jacket has some potential but would need quite a bit of work! Obviously I did not even like it enough to color it in!

Now onto the Inaugural Ball! There are so many red-carpet looks out there on the internet and in fashion magazines that are just so abhorrent to me. Many of them really seem to be all about the hey look at me factor and how much attention can they draw and not necessarily what was beautiful and flattering to the wearer. That was not my goal! My goal was to play with different dress ideas to come up with something that would work on my body, be beautiful as well as respectable!
This first set of dresses is an interesting study. I had in mind yards of beautiful silk chiffon and how would I make that work along with some structure. As soon as I finished the first drawing all I could think of was how OLD FASHIONED and matronly it looked! So I immediately worked on a second design that would give this same dress a much updated look! I think I achieved that but then also made this more into a cocktail dress versus a ball gown.

These three dresses were playing with different ideas.I did not want to just sketch multiple of the same dresses or same silhouettes. The first is representative of a more traditional gown with large inverted pleats on the skirt and lace detail scattered throughout. This would be quite beautiful but maybe a trifle expected. The middle is an interesting draped gown with a bubble hem. It is interesting... not sure I would ever wear that. The hem would have to be very exaggerated and the bodice very fitted to make sure the silhouette came out properly and not just looking like a giant potato sack! The third dress is an all ruched bodycon dress. It has possibilities but there are much better designs for me. As you can see none of these interested me enough to even bother adding color to them!

These two are my favorite! The purple gown was sketched very quickly to try to capture the fluidity and the softness of all the draping. Both gowns are draped and both have elements of asymmetry. I envision the purple in yards of chiffon and the green in more of a crepe de chine or a lovely charmeuse. 

Wendy and I would love to linkup with other bloggers! If you are interested in joining in this creative adventure or just want to share what you have been designing, please leave a comment to this post with a link to your blog post or online photos and we will add the links  to the blog post for everyone to enjoy!

Don't forget to hop on over to see what amazing designs Wendy Grossman of Couture Counsellor has come up with this month!


  1. Thank you for showing your sketches! The blue dress to wear with knee-high boots looks very much like the go-to pattern that I've created over the years. I've made it in everything from Liberty lawn to wool crepe. It's a surprisingly versatile design.

    1. Thanks Brenda! I really like that silhouette and it's always nice to have something so versatile.


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