Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Coming Soon! Gertie's New Fashion Sketchbook: Indispensable Figure Templates for Body-Positive Design


Readers! Between book projects, I've been working on a  . . . wait for it . . . book project! But this is a sketchbook project and one with a super exciting concept at that. Let me explain.

Have you ever bought one of those fashion sketchpads filled with croquis (body figure templates) all excited to hash out your ideas? And then once you realize the figures are a little bizarre-looking, your excitement fades a bit? (By "bizarre," I mean that the figures are strangely elongated and spindly, and twisted into strange poses like the "broken doll" or the "sad alien.") That's because fashion people work with a concept called "nine heads," where the figure is nine head-lengths tall. To put this in perspective, actual people are only seven to eight heads tall. Here's an interesting image that breaks it down:

Source

One of my missions over years has been to write about sewing and fashion in a body-positive, feminist way. So these nine-head ladies were bringing me down. And so the idea for this sketchbook was born and brilliant illustrator Sun Young Park brought it to life. Here's how it works:

For Gertie’s New Fashion Sketchbook, Gretchen Hirsch teamed up with illustrator Sun Young Park to reinvent traditional figure templates—known as croquis—for the 21st century. Instead of the unnaturally skinny, tall, and frequently off-balance croquis the fashion industry has been sketching on for decades, this game-changing alternative presents hundreds of realistically sized and proportioned female forms in balanced, lifelike poses. In addition, Park has rendered the croquis with multiple tracing lines, allowing the sketcher to follow the lines that most accurately reflect the body shape desired. Also included are an overview of the design and sketching process and a visual history of garment component styles, all to make it easier to create fashion sketches for women of all shapes and sizes.

The figures are presented in a "nested" configuration (almost like a sewing pattern!), so that you can follow the lines (bigger or smaller) to represent different figures. You can make the figures smaller on top or bottom to replicate a woman's actual curves and proportions. I tested the whole thing out with some wonderful sewing friends, and it really works! I can't wait to show you more once the actual books arrive.

But for now, just know that the sketchbook is available for pre-order!

42 comments:

  1. Squeeee!!! I've been making do with variations of croquis for years. I've wanted to buy these sketchbooks to save hassle, but I've been so put off by the twigs. Thank you!!

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  2. I LOVE THIS. Thank you!

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  3. I kid you not, part of the reason I dropped out of fashion school 20 years ago is that I could not draw the croquis to their specs. I just didn't have the skill. I love the idea of having curvy-figures and other realistic basis on which to create designs!

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  4. wow! this is really inspiring - I haven't bothered using a croqui for years because they are just so unrealistic. Can't wait to get sketching!

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  5. What I great idea - I'll have to order one from my local bookshop!

    Fun fact - I once used a photo of you from the blog as my croqui when I designed my Oakdale sweater years ago. You can see the sketch here: https://www.mscleaver.com/chronicles/2011/11/14/introducing-oakdale.

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  6. This is just the very best idea. Everyone should have one. I have used the normal ones but they are so unrealistic, and indeed so unlike a woman that it's pointless/nauseating to go down that road. This is so cool I can't begin to tell you how exciting I think it is.

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  7. I am so ridiculously excited about this because the answer to your questions is YES! I bought a fashion sketchbook - I loved the idea - I hated the figures - I longed for this exact product! I have been either sketching my own or printing realistic ones I find online but that is not neatly as convenient and I missed having a sketchbook of them.

    Seriously I am so excited.

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  8. I am so ridiculously excited about this because the answer to your questions is YES! I bought a fashion sketchbook - I loved the idea - I hated the figures - I longed for this exact product! I have been either sketching my own or printing realistic ones I find online but that is not neatly as convenient and I missed having a sketchbook of them.

    Seriously I am so excited.

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  9. This is the coolest thing ever. When I did my own croquis in school (because I needed maternity figures or busty nursing figures) one of the things that made me happiest was changing them to the 7 heads and action poses. I love how this is both body positive and retro and sewing!

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  10. Great idea, I pre-ordered it!

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  11. I am so excited about this sketchbook. I love to doodle my costume or clothing ideas. Thank you!

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  12. Ooh, I love this idea! I was thinking about getting a fashionary, but I'm going to wait for your book instead! I look nothing like the nine heads croquis seen in that book and would love to sketch dresses on something that looks more like my body.

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  13. This sounds great. Did you include a CD with additional blank croquis for when you use up all the pages? --because you know people will. Once they get going, they won't want to stop (you could always put a pdf on your site that people can get if they can somehow prove they bought the book, too). This sounds like a great book, and I've loved Sun Young Park's illustrations in your other books. Can't wait to see this.

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  14. Brilliant, brilliant, BRILLIANT!! And yet, so obvious... still it sometimes takes a tattooed feminist rebel sewist to point these things out to the fashion world it seems. Nice work, Gertie!

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  15. I am not a designer and have no idea what a croqui was but as an end user thank you for this!!! Again I now know why fashion won't fit me, it's not because I am weird but they are. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

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  16. YES! Thank you. Please and thank you! Stretched out like gum, they are! It's not even attractive. Toes in and head and gaze averted... of all the ways for a woman to stand. This is so curious... I noticed that I loved the sketches by Jen at Grainline a while back and realised it's because they just look like women going somewhere. I'm all for stylised figures and letting the garments take centre stage, but the image of a woman can still be beautiful like women are. I love this idea and support you a hundred percent.

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  17. Just made my preorder. This is such a great idea and I'm definitely a couple heads short of a model croquis. Love Sun Young's illustrations.

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  18. This is genius and I love it!

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  19. This is BEYOND brilliant! My daughter is 15 and taking a High School Fashion Design class where she had to use the "alien" croquis. I just showed her this and she was so excited!
    Really smart.
    ~Michelle

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  20. very exciting! I just pre-ordered a copy.

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  21. pre ordered. this is so refreshing!

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  22. OMG! I have been waiting and hoping and waiting and wishing someone would do something like this! My legs are about half the length of fashion models; there is no way I could get realistic proportions for me on that "other" fashion sketchbook, handsome as it is!
    Ordered! Thank you soooooo much!

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  23. I'd love to hear more about the benefits of sketching! I can't draw, so I don't know if it's something I'd want to take the time to learn, but I'd love see how people use it and why I may want to learn!

    www.StyleSewMe.com

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  24. I love the outfits, so stylish!

    the-renaissance-of-inner-fashion.blogspot.co.uk

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  25. Ordered. Gertie, I'd buy a book of blank pages if you put it out lol! Great idea! Thank you ;)

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  26. Gertie, I adore your blog and ideas!

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  27. Knowing this GENIUS book is coming soon is the best birthday present ever!!! I thank you for myself and my daughter; I will be pre-ordering two.

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  28. It seems a very good idea of a sketchbook! I do not like preordering, please let us all know when it comes out.

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  29. This is fantastic! I am so sick and tired of abnormally proportioned women in fashion. This will be great in pushing the fashion industry toward normal looking models. It will be great for young women and girls. And, it will allow us all to see what we would really look like in our "ieads".

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  30. Love this idea! So much more helpful to see how outfits will look on a body shape that more closely resembles our own unique shape :)

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  31. Oh I love this idea Gertie! What a great concept. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for the book when it releases - offyousew.blogspot.com

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  32. Such a great idea!

    I've sewn a number of pieces from your Vintage Casual book that I'll feature on my blog soon.

    http://www.thetallmamastyle.blogspot.com

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  33. This is just an amazing idea! All the sketch pads i see always have that same slim barbie like figure that is unrealistic.I cannot wait till the release! This is the skethpad everyone should own!

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  34. I received mine in the post yesterday after pre-ordering many months ago. So very excited!

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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