[Module 2] Capsule Design | 8. Drawing Design Options

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

Just prior to starting the designs, have another look at your Style Sheets that you filled out in the last module. Considering your body type do you want to alter any of the styles that you choose, tick or cross any other styles or alter anything in your last edit?

Lastly look at the clothes you have in your wardrobe for your capsule so far or reference your Capsule list and Garment Gap table and make a final assessment as to whether you want to allow them to stay, do they fit into the colour scheme you have or are you going to shift them out.

There is a very good chance here that you are moving lots of decent clothes out of your wardrobe that fit you and that you like and are in good condition. Don’t worry they are viable garments so are not going to leave the house it is just that they may not be the most flattering for you at this time because you have ascertained what colours you believe are more complementary. Either bag these clothes up separately for storage or add them to Bag E to review amongst your next season clothes for reconsideration. Now the other thing you could consider is to dye the clothes with natural or manmade dyes to bring them back into the capsule that you are creating in which case go for it, less waste and an upcycled garment to wear.

Obviously if nothing or very few garments made the cut and this could be possible then don’t get down hearted. The whole reason we are doing this is to try to get you wearing much better clothes than you had previously for quality, fit and comfort, just don’t pack away some of them until you have started to build up your capsule. Just use your common sense, you can think for yourself I am offering suggestions and a framework as I said this is not set in stone, please don’t go out and buy something now because you think you have nothing to wear, just make do with the best of what you have got, it only has to get better from this point onwards.

Now we have the final list of garments that have made it, and hopefully at this point you have garments that fit your colour scheme as a starting point.

From your Capsule List and Garment Gap Table downloaded document deduct the list of garment that you currently have to give you what you need to design in order to complete the capsule, how many tops, skirts, dresses etc. do you think you need to complete it, what is the gap.

Designing and drawing your garments are going to get you focused on visualising what you are going to buy or make. There is nothing worse than buying some fabric you like on a whim and making anything with it and putting hours into it and then at the end thinking well it’s OK but it’s not what I thought it was going to look like. With little planning how can you expect any more than that, and this purchasing practice just takes us right back to where we started and we don’t want to go back there again.

By taking the time to plan you are selling the whole package to yourself, you are questioning what you really need by planning it into your wardrobe. If you get it wrong well you can go through the process and try to work out why so that you don’t make the same mistake again, we only learn from our mistakes. Question yourself, yes you might have drawn some really nice pictures worthy of sticking them up on the wall even, but will you really wear that white silk dress for work even if you think it could be comfortable and sexy! (Oh yes and I have been there too!). Think actively about the whole process.

After that warning, designing your own clothes is really a fun part of the process, get some pencils, coloured pens, paints etc. whatever your choice of mark makers – raid the kids pencil case if you have to.

Invest in a few clean page notepads of any size if you can. If you can afford it you could buy pads that already have body outlines drawn but it is lots of fun trying out ways of drawing bodies and finding a style of Croquis that suits you.


Here is my confession, I don’t think I can draw very well and I am sure there are others out there that feel the same way. But I know that I get better with practice. However, don’t let that stop you. I actually love doing this, if you don’t have a go I think you might be missing out on a chance to let your creativity come out. You can do this anywhere you go – just keep a little sketchpad and pencil in your bag. A Croquis is basically a quick drawing of the shape of a body in any pose and usually used in fashion drawing. Obviously for drawing clothing it would be good to have at least a figure outline for a front body and a back body or even a side. They can be standing straight, or one or both legs bent and same with the arms. They can have features and be very lifelike or you might want them to be very arty or edgy in design or larger bodies or thinner bodies it’s really your choice, so google it and have a play.

Now you can either keep life simple and use the ones provided and download and print them out as a quick way to get started or you can have a play and create your own style. My current Croquis is rather simple to allow for some proportion and give a better idea of what it would look like on the body.

I have provided a selection to get you started in the Croquis Templates download, Front, Back views with a wider leg option for when we get to trousers, Side view and different Arm positions to have a play with.

If you want to have a go at drawing your own Croquis because your body is totally different from the one I provided or you just want to try out your own style of Croquis, you can either trace mine off and then change the sizing up or down, or just start a fresh with your own ideas. It’s a good time to have a play with it and have some fun.

I use the Croquis to draw out lots of design ideas to see how they would look. I place the Croquis outline sheet behind the page I am working on and I lightly trace out the outline for each new design that I want to sketch and then I draw my design on top of that.

As the Croquis have a dark outline I can see it through photocopy paper and also paper in my drawing pads. So I print off each Croquis and cut it down with scissors so that I can choose the position for it on the page, I then just slip them all in the back of my pad so I can use them whenever I am sketching. To add a different arm shape position the arm template under your drawing page in the correnct position and simply trace this out after tracing the Front or Back Body, you may need to play with the position of the arm on the sheet underneath until it looks right. This way I keep my printed copy clean and reusable, wasting less paper.

It is a longer process to keep tracing it out but for some reason I seem to take pleasure in the repetition and trying to draw better each time perfecting sections as I go trying aimlessly not to draw claw hands! It’s not perfect or special but it is what it is. I can’t wait to see your versions of Croquis!


Now that you have identified what type of items you need for your capsule wardrobe it’s time to start sketching out some ideas. I have sketch pads full of quick designs and I just love drawing out ideas, you can take your sketch book anywhere you go, I sketch anywhere and as a mum of three I often find myself waiting while a child has a social life or health visit.

To keep it simple and to allow for styles to been seen individually I just do one or two sketches per page. This also allows for extra explanatory notes and sketches on the page to remind you of what you were thinking when you did the sketch. Are you imagining a certain stitch lines, sewing details, pattern, colour, texture, fabric?

If you are stuck and don’t know where to start or don’t like the idea of tracing the Croquis or inventing your own I have provided Design Templates for you to download to use as sketch sheets for Basic Bodice, Basic Dress, Basic Skirt and Basic Trouser templates to get you started, just print them off and because they are light lines you can just sketch straight on top of them. You could practice drawing different necklines, lengths, collars, style lines and the Style Sheets will give you some options to practice sketching.

The idea is to keep the designs simple and use pencil so you can erase errors. The aim is to get all of those ideas out of your head and onto the page. If you are struggling to get started then use your inspiration ideas from earlier i.e;

  • Use the Style Sheets and Design Template sheets – to sketch out your preferences etc.

  • Use your mood boards to help you with shapes and texture and pattern.

  • Consider the shape of garments you already have and like.

  • Get ideas from the high street, the high street is your art gallery so take your inspiration from it.

  • Look at your photos, can you take your inspiration from a shot of nature, architecture or abstract shapes.

  • Try to be mindful about your previous thoughts about of your body shape and what shape garments might help show off your best assets and how you want to present yourself.

When sketching, consider how you use features in a garment to highlight areas;

  • What seams are you going to use (peekaboo seams will grab attention).

  • Could you use mesh inserts to bring focus to an area?

  • Could you use, piping, welts, trims to draw attention?

  • Could you reverse a fabric or make the garment reversable?

  • Could you use pockets, visual or hidden?

  • Can zips be used elsewhere in an usual place, maybe on a pocket?

  • Could a flounce be used on a sleeve, neckline or down the front back or side of the garment to move attention to that area, flounces can make a garment look longer?

  • Consider where to put style lines, extra lines can help break up a garment and create interest. Extra seams/darts also help get a better fit, vertical and diagonal lines can look slimming.

  • Tapering sleeves can give space to break up a bodice from the sleeve which can assist with making the body look less wide at the waist and hip.

As we are working towards the Capsule wardrobe, once you have drawn out a few sketches try to pull them together into a capsule. There is a Capsule Sheet in the Design Templates for you to use to get you started if you need a little help with this.