I started designing this project using paint, because I didn't think I had time to learn how to use new design software. There was sewing to be done, after all! But when someone walked by and asked "Why aren't you using Sketchbook?", I figured I'd give it a chance.
It was surprisingly easy to learn, and I quickly figured out that I could take a picture of the fabrics I had chosen, and use the actual fabrics in my design! That way, it was really easy to see how the finished garment would look. I was really happy with the results, and within a couple of hours, I was all done with my design! The sewing part took about 2 days.
Hopefully you'll have as much fun designing your clothes as I did!
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Step 1: Sketch a Quick Silhouette
I turned on the "Symmetry Y" function, selected the pencil and the oval tool, and made a head. Easy enough! Then, I selected the "steady line" tool, and drew a neck, shoulders, and the rest of the torso. I saved this image so that I could come back to it easily.
Step 2: Upload Your Fabric!
I originally started coloring in my swimsuit on the silhouette using the paintbrush tool, and plain green and blue colors. But the blue fabric I had selected was patterned, and it wasn't very well represented by the plain blue. I wondered if I could take a picture of the patterned fabric, and use that to build my design! I took a quick snapshot, and then selected "Add Image", from Sketchbook's "file" menu. I chose the picture I had just taken. And there was my fabric!
I selected "Multiply" in the layer menu, because that way I could still see my silhouette underneath the fabric blocks I was adding. I resized the fabric so that it was in scale to my body, and placed it on the silhouette according to the plan I had in mind.
Then, I removed the excess fabric on the sides of the silhouette, using the paintbrush tool set on "transparent". I also drew over my original pencil lines again, to make them sharper and cleaner. The "Steady Line" tool made it really easy to follow my original drawing.
Step 3: Filling Out the Details
I drew a rounded neckline into the higher piece of green fabric, still using the "Symmetry Y" tool.
I knew I wanted triangles of the patterned fabric to tie in the front, making a bow. So I selected "Add Image" once again, and added a block of the patterned fabric to the empty space below my silhouette. Then I used the "Steady Line" and "Symmetry Y" tools, and the paintbrush set on "transparent" to draw around a bow shape with a knot in the middle. I took off "Symmetry Y" to add little ties of fabric hanging down from the knot. We all know the ends of the ties won't be symmetrical in real life... they'll float around and do whatever they want!
Then I used the "Select" tool to select the bow I had just made, and drag it into position on my silhouette. Since I could still see the green fabric underneath the bow, I moved the bow away from the swimsuit while I tinkered with the "Layer" menu. I figured out that I had to change the setting from "Multiply" to "Normal", and then the bow looked just the way I wanted it!
Step 4: Now for the Back...
I knew I wanted the straps to crisscross in the back. That way, they aren't going to fall off my shoulders easily! I also made the straps flare at the base, so that they're a bit wider where they attach to the front and back of the suit. I thought the front and sides would be more stable and comfortable that way.
Step 5: One More Detail...
I decided that the swimsuit just HAD to have a ruffle around the outside of the legs! So I used the "lasso select" tool to select little semi-circles of the patterned fabric. Then, I copy and pasted them, and arranged them on the legs of the suit one at a time. Perfect! My suit is cute on-screen...
Step 6: Finished!
...and even cuter in real life! I'm a little too shy to be wearing it for the picture, so my body double did the honor. But it fits really well, trust me. ;)