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Around the world blog hop button

Around the World Blog Hop

Last week I was nominated by Rachael from Sew Today, Clean Tomorrow (who is about to host her second  Beginner Quilt Along if you’re interested) to join the Around the World Blog Hop and was pretty excited as it’s my first. It’s a great way to discover new clever crafty people and learn more about why they write and what they do. I don’t think anyone knows where the hop originated – if you know please share!

So onto my responses to the questions –

1. What am I working on?  For the past 7 weeks I’ve been learning how to draft and grade sewing patterns in Adobe Illustrator with the Digital Pattern Drafting course with Burda Style. Taught by Lauren Dahl from Pattern Workshop, it shows how to use the Winifred Aldrich books to draft pattern blocks (slopers in the US) directly in Illustrator. Then you can manipulate the shapes to create any sewing pattern you like – it’s pretty fantastic and I’m learning a lot.

I’m also about to start my first quilting blog hop hosted by Linen from Vine Lines Quilting. Feeling a bit anxious about this project as I’ve only just decided to sew quilts, and so I’m expecting a HUGE learning curve coming my way.


Learning to grade my patterns with Illustrator is going to be a HUGE time saver!

2. How does my blog differ from others of its genre?  I’d like to think that Stitching Rules differs from other sewing blogs by showing beyond beginner level techniques. There are plenty of sites you can visit for learning to sew basics, but I noticed there wasn’t much on offer for beyond that – things you only learn while working in the sewing industry – particularly the fashion and soft furnishings industries. I know lately I’ve been playing with different challenges and collaborative projects, but my heart is with sharing knowledge to people who’d like to sell their creations. There are plans for writing about altering commercial and indie patterns so you can sell at the markets or online, and I’d love to write a series about planning a range from scratch ready to open your own online store.

creating a sewing plan for bulk sewing

3. Why do I write what I do? Because I’m passionate about sewing!  I’m of the opinion that if you’re planning on sewing something to sell, then you’d better be prepared to make it the best it can be – and better quality than mass produced items. I’d like to raise the standards of sewing to a level where “handmade” is no longer thought of as a quick, cheaper option.

I understand some people may not agree – that any effort to make for yourself should be celebrated. And that is true – but if you want to SELL those items – it needs to be better!

Martha Stewart 1

4. How does my creating process work? Ideas are percolating in my head most of the time, but once I’ve got an idea for a design, be it clothing, a bag or accessory, I sketch out the idea and start calculating measurements and dimensions. I have a hard cover notebook and write each new idea on a separate page – this enables me to stick samples of fabric and write pattern making  notes. If anything needs tweaking later I add those details too.

If I decide the design is a winner, I either write it up as a tutorial for the blog or develop it into a pattern to be sold as a PDF download for the Etsy shop. This brings us back to the reason for doing the digital pattern drafting course as I’ll be able to produce a more professional looking pattern.

Sketching - always sketching.

Sketching – always sketching.

So there you have it – I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about what I do and how I do it. Feel free to ask any further questions about my process because you can be sure that if you’re wondering, someone else will be too.

Next week I’d like you to visit two special sewing bloggers – Jen and Claire.

Claire Bear Quilts is going to share her responses to the blog hop questions and you’ll see the fabulous work she does with her quilting. Claire was one of the lovely people I met in the Aussie Handmade Birthday Club on Instagram and if you missed it you can see what she made in this post here.

Jen is the dedicated writer behind the One Thimble digital sewing magazine and is always creating new children’s patterns for her label Ainslee Fox Handmade. Click here to visit One Thimble.


Fashion Books

3 Books on my Wish List

Do you keep a wishlist on Amazon? It’s handy to have and I love how Amazon lets you know if any of your selections have dropped or increased in price.

I thought it might be interesting to do a round up of books for aspiring fashion designers and was excited about what was available. I found three, one of which I already own but haven’t read yet. Fashion SketchbookFashion Sketchbook – Bina Abling

Spiral bound, 496 pages, Available new $91, and used from $63, at Amazon.com

This book takes you through step by step instructions on how to sketch  fashion figures by showing you how to translate runway photographs. The fashion archive at the back is particularly helpful for budding fashion designers wanting to learn the correct terminology  of  garment design features.

Other chapters include –

  • fashion figure proportions
  • basic figure forms
  • garments and details
  • accessories
  • layouts
  • men and children sketching

I think this book would become a valuable resource for years to come.

Flats Technical Drawing for Fashion
Flats; Technical Drawing For Fashion – Basia Szkutnicka

224 pages. Paperback with CD ROM available new $35 at LaurenceKing.com

This book has caught my eye because it includes information on drawing with Adobe Illustrator – something I hope to teach myself this year. Knowing how to draw up technical flats is important for sharing your design with patternmakers and machinists as they will be looking for specific details and measurements when making the item.

The End of Fashion

The End of Fashion – Teri Agins

352 pages. Paperback available new $11.93 and used from $5.65, at Amazon.com

The End of Fashion details how fashion has influenced our day to day life throughout the ages and how it’s importance has changed. Designers could no longer afford to design for only the elite, and after the stock market crash of 1987, changes to the fashion business came swiftly. Agins covers how consumers habits shaped the way fashion is today and I’m really hoping to get back to reading this book soon.

So if you’re looking to add some new books to your library these might be worth a look.  Be sure to let me know if you own or buy any of these – I’d love to hear your opinions.

How to use a Fashion Croquis

How to use a Fashion Croquis

A lot of fashion designers cannot draw to save their lives – myself included! So how do they come up with sketches to figure out designs? They use a fashion croquis.

A fashion croquis (pronounced crow-key) is defined as a rough draft or sketch, used to visually describe a fashion model.  Originating in 1805 from the French word, croquer translates to sketch, rough out, literally, to crunch. (1)

There are loads of tutorials and videos you can watch to make your own croquis. Try here, here and here. The main difference you will notice between a croquis and a regular human drawing is the height.  A croquis is typically 9 – 10 heads tall compared to 7 – 8 heads for a real adult.

This is done for purely aesthetic reasons and is what society naturally recognizes as a fashion sketch. Fashion figures are commonly slender with exaggerated long legs.

Excerpt from "Fashion Sketchbook" Bina Abling


The most effective and efficient way to use a croquis is to trace over it while sketching your design. If you have a darkened print or photocopy of a croquis, you’ll be able to focus on the fashion drawing and spend less time drawing in details such as legs and arms.  This method enables you to churn out sketches quickly as your ideas often flow and develop as you go. Sketching an accurate design makes it easier to explain and share your ideas and to understand them in years to come. I’ve included one for you to download and use here.

Download printable here

But, if you really want to treat yourself to a special sketchbook you can’t go past the Fashionary. It’s pages are filled with croquis printed feint enough to not notice once you’ve sketched over the top. So gorgeous!

fashionary a5


So, off you go and sketch to your hearts content!


  1. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/croquis
  2. http://www.amazon.com/Fashion-Sketchbook-Bina-Abling/dp/1609012283/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394603928&sr=1-1&keywords=fashion+sketchbook
  3. http://fashionary.org/womens/

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