How I Adjust Photos for my Croquis

Here’s a photo tutorial on just how I adjust my photos. (Warning. It’s a little bit technical.)

The first thing I do is find an image for something I like. Here’s one I found.

This is Vogue 9202. It’s best to find an image that is straight on so it will paste over the croquis, which is also facing straight on.

You can see from the above screen shot, I save the image. I save all my images as JPEGs, as I find that the easiest image to use.

Once saved, I open my Photoshop program (I’m sure there are other programs that can do the same thing, or look for an older version of the program – it doesn’t have to be the newest. Mine isn’t new.)

In the above photo, I’m selecting the Lasso Tool. You also want to select the Magnetic Lasso Tool next.

In this next photo, I’m part way around the dress with the Magnetic Lasso Tool (MLT).

That might be a little hard to see, so I’ll enlarge this one.

Those little dotted lines and squares show the part being saved, and what will be cut out of the photo. It only takes a minute or two to do all of this so far.

The next thing I do once I’ve gone around the entire image with the MLT is I go to Edit, and Cut. Below is what remains. An outline of the image. This is the background that is left over. The image itself has been cut out from it.

Select the Move Tool (just because it’s easier to use at this point).

Now, I go to File, select New and then Blank File. That’s going to be my new photo without the background – the one I can now use to paste or layer over other photos.

Here’s the new blank photo ready to have the dress pasted onto it.

With this blank photo, I go to Edit, and select Paste.

There. My dress is back. This looks pretty much the same as the first image I opened in Photoshop, but it will behave very differently! As well, I cut the back neck away from the dress.

If you’ve done this with me, you’ve done the work and now comes the fun!

I open my croquis now. It won’t close the other photos I have opened in the program.

You can still see the new dress photo without a background, and the original dress photo with only an outline left, and my croquis all at the bottom of the screen.

Now I simply click on the dress and drag it up over my croquis.

You can see it doesn’t fit yet. All you can see of my croquis is an elbow and wrist peeking out from behind the dress. That’s okay.

I click on the dress photo and a small box appears around it, which I can adjust in both height and width.

Above I’ve adjusted the top. You can see the box in the photo. The dress is still too big, so time to make another adjustment or two.

There. I’ve brought the bottom up to about the right length for me. Still too wide though.

Now to adjust the side. I try to adjust it so the width of the dress is covering my hips. They’re my widest part, so I want to see how this will look covering that part of me.

There. That gives me a really good indication of how this dress will look on me.

Just one more click outside the dress area, and I see the final results. The box is gone.

If there’s anything I still feel needs adjusting, I can simply click on the dress again, and that same box will show up allowing me to make adjustments. This new image can now be saved.

It’s not perfect. If you look closely, you’ll see the shoulders are too big on my croquis, however, the croquis proportions are right. I can see what this dress will look like on my figure – shorter than the image on the pattern cover, and wider too. At this point I can see if I like it or not, and decide if I’m going to try the pattern or if it’s a pass.

I hope this helped. Let me know if you try this, if you have Photoshop or another program that you use to do something similar.

Happy creating!

Making a Personal Croquis

Have you used a personal croquis? Last year I decided I was going to make one. This is one of my UFOs that I’m completing this year. If I’d had any idea of how much fun I would have, I’d never have put it off!

To me, a croquis is a basic drawing used to see how clothing will look on a body – in this case, on my body.

Adjusted Hourglass Figure

I think croquis are a great concept, except I don’t look like them, not even the hourglass ones. You almost never see a croquis with shorter legs! You definitely don’t see them with a little more padding than they need, or with curly hair! I found the image on the right online and played with it to give her shorter legs, more curves, and curly hair!

I have to say, I’ve been having fun with my curvy curly girl.

Digital Paper Dolls

Here she is trying on a couple of outfits.

Here she’s wearing the top from McCall’s 7538. The original is below for comparison.I’ve been wondering about this pattern because of the emphasis at the waist. There’s a fine line between defining a curvy girl’s waist and looking like Jessica Rabbit.

Here she is with the same pattern, but wearing one of the dress options.

I’m not loving this dress on her. It makes her hips look even wider.

However, this dress shape is from the same pattern. I can see right away this is a better shape for my curvy curly girl.

For all three of these clothing images, I copied the image from the web, played with it in Photoshop to remove the background, layered it over a photo of my girl, then adjusted the height and width to fit her figure. It sounds like a lot of work, but it only took a few minutes for each image. I found it rather fun. It really is like playing with digital paper dolls.

It was also very helpful in seeing how the dress design would look on my shape.

Beautiful Croquis

Gwen, a fellow blogger, goes beyond a simple croquis outline and does an illustration of herself in the garment she plans to make. I love it! Here’s an image from Calm Under Tension (used with permission).

Isn’t this fabulous? I marvel at Gwen’s drawings as much as I admire her makes. Gwen is a fellow lingerie-maker, so I know you’ll love her blog too.

Personal Croquis

Where did this whole desire to make my own croquis even get started? I received an email with this video. This is a great tutorial that takes you through the steps to create a personal croquis. It’s on the Threads website. The video goes through the whole process. I love seeing how something is done rather than reading how.

Making a croquis has been a goal of mine since this tutorial came out, so I finally did it. Here’s the beginning of mine.

In the video, the next step is to learn to draw your figure out, much like Gwen’s above, and draw the dress, or clothing on it. Here’s the final image from the Threads’ tutorial.

Yes, this is very much like what Gwen is doing. I may try it at some time, but I have to admit, I’m pretty happy playing with my digital paper doll and using the simple outline. It does exactly what I’m wanting as an outline.

Here’s my very basic croquis. She’s my measurements and my proportions, which I was quite surprised to find out were very close my curvy curly girl above. The curvy curly has a more exaggerated waist, and her legs are longer. I gave my croquis nicer curly hair, which resembles mine.

This last image gives me a really good indication of how that same McCall’s dress will look on me. I like it! Happy creating!

A Review of Craftsy’s Vietnamese Classics: Pho, Noodles & Beyond

It’s time for my monthly Craftsy class review. If you missed our first review of Design & Sew an A-Line Skirt, you can read it here.


Marsha and I agreed, with Christmas, holidays, and the New Year being such a busy season, we’d be a little easier on ourselves and review a cooking class this month.

A friend of mine had this class before I did and I heard so many great things about it from her, I had to buy it too. I was not disappointed. (Thanks, Naomi!)

 What is this great class? It’s Vietnamese Classics: Pho, Noodles & Beyond with Andrea Nguyen.


Great reviews.

This class has 35 reviews, which isn’t a lot, but… of those 35 reviews, only one review wasn’t a Five-Star review. That one was a Four-star.


There are so many reviews that say ‘Love this class’. I love it too. If you read my last review, I had a little trouble with my feelings towards the class. I have no trouble at all with this class! I not only bought this class, but also Andrea’s Favorite Asian Dumplings from ScratchI didn’t even think about it.

A personal comment.

Just a personal comment here. Andrea really has to be great because I can’t have gluten and I bought her dumpling class! I will share more on that when I review the class.

Class content.


There are a number of lessons in this class I was thrilled to try, starting with lesson One. I love Rice Paper Rolls, and Andrea shows how to make them, and make them so they present well too.


Aren’t these lovely? This is a screen shot from the class. Mine didn’t look that nice, but no one here was complaining about them. They were delicious!

Andrea shows us how to make these, with tips on displaying the shrimp and making the rolls look pretty and delicious. It’s little touches like this, that make this class great. As well, Andrea is so engaging.

Pho, Pho, and more Pho.

From the Rice Paper Rolls, Andrea takes us right into making Pho. In fact, she shows us Pho four ways. We start with a shortcut Chicken Pho, which I haven’t tried yet, but have heard it’s really good. Then right on to full traditional Chicken Pho, Beef Pho, and Grilled Pork Rice Noodle bowl.

Last month in our teaser posts, Marsha and I each made one of the Pho recipes. You can read Marsha’s recipe review here. You can read mine here.

For my recipe review, I made rice paper rolls and traditional Beef Pho. All I can say is my house smelled so good! And there were no leftovers. My family was delighted with the recipes I tried.


So, would I recommend this class? Yes! I have no hesitation in recommending this class. It’s really great. From the lessons, to the recipes, to how engaging Andrea is, in my opinion this class is one of the best classes Craftsy has to offer and I’d love to see more classes with Andrea!

For a frame of reference, I previewed almost every cooking class Craftsy offered in October 2015 when they had a monthly pass. There are a lot of good cooking classes, and really good recipes, but I can’t say all the instructors are as engaging as Andrea.

I’m going to head over to Marsha’s post now to read her review. Let me know if you have this class and have a favorite recipe too. Of if you don’t have this class, what is your favorite cooking class on Craftsy?

Happy creating!

2017: The Year of Finishing Things

I don’t make many resolutions, but as I began my sewing year this year with messes all around me, I made one. I’ve decided that this year I’m going to finish a lot of the unfinished projects that are all around me.

Let me give you a few examples of what I’m going to work on.


Our footstool is often used and looked like it. The top had split along all four seams, and my wonderful hubby suggests I make a new cover for it.

I got as far as cutting the old top off.

Then after another month or more, I tried some material on it to see how it would look.

I even cut out material to make a band all around it. All I have to do is sew it. Yet it sits there, with half my pins in it.

It’s been sitting there for two or more months just waiting for me. Part of the problem for that is I’m not 100% sure just how I want to finish it. The other part of the problem is I want fresh and new projects all the time.


Do you remember when I’d met a sewing friend a year or so ago? She had made her own handbag, and I complimented her on it. She also gave me three handbags that she’d cut out and interfaced! All I have to do is sew them! But I haven’t yet.

They’re all cut out! And interfaced!

That is one of my UFO projects I’m going to do this year. In fact, I’m not packing them all back up and putting them all away again. I’m keeping one of them out to sew up.


More specifically, hemming pants. I have a favorite pair of pants that I love, but hate to wear because they’re too long. Every time I put them on, I thinking I’m ruining them because they need hemming. Pretty much weekly, they make it to my mending pile, only to be taken back out again.

We won’t even bother going into mending…


Craftsy Classes

I love Craftsy, and unfortunately I have a lot of classes I haven’t watched yet. I’m changing that. Once a month, I’m going to review a Craftsy class. Since I’ll have to watch them to review them… You get my logic here. I win, and hopefully, you win too with the reviews. I’ll say here, although I am an affiliate with Craftsy, any class I review will be my honest opinion.

Let me go back to those favorite pants for a minute. And while I’m there address something else – my CoverPro machine. One of the reasons I hadn’t hemmed my pants was because I have this wonderful CoverPro machine and I wanted to use it to hem the pants. But… I didn’t know how to use it!

So I bought a Craftsy class on that. Coverstitch: Basics & Beyond. I’ve watched it, and hopefully, with my new resolve to finish some UFOs, I’ll use the class info and my machine to hem my favorite pants. I think there’s another pair of pants and a skirt in that hemming pile too. Yup, it’s time to get around to this.

So, I’m trying to plan out my sewing and blogging for the year. My goals so far are to do a class review once a month. I was thinking if I also do one UFO each month, that leaves me two weeks to play with new things, which are much more motivating for me.

So, we’re into our second week of January. Did I start? I did! I repaired a blouse I’d bought. It’s a stretch knit, with chiffon below the hem. As pretty as it looked, the chiffon had no stretch but the rest of the top did. Here’s the photo from the website. There’s a link in it too.

Well, because it didn’t stretch at all at the hips, it wasn’t fitting very well. I opened those seams and did an overlock stitch along them. There! The first of my mending pile/UFOs done. The chiffon is now vented giving me that little bit of extra room where I needed it.

Do you have a UFO pile? How about your Craftsy classes? Are you getting through them? Did you make any sewing resolutions this year? I’d love to hear!

Happy creating!

Winter Survival

We have had a lovely Autumn. Even though I live in the Great White North, we didn’t see very much of the white stuff or experience freezing temperatures until December.

It was in December I realized we had a real motley crew of dog booties left over from last year. I have no idea why either.

Missing Boots

We have one animal print boot.

I wonder what happened to the other three.

We have two of the full pad bottoms.

And one left that I made from an actual pattern and put straps on. I often referred to these as the mittens of shame because he’d lose a boot and usually my husband would have to turn around and try to find it. With these ties, they weren’t getting lost because they were pinned to his sweater.

I was sure these ones would last, however, there was only one left.

It was time for new dog boots. At least I had enough experience making them last year that I knew how to put them together quickly and well.

New Boots

Here are my pup’s 2017 winter boots.

He doesn’t love putting his boots on, but there are days when it’s -20 Celsius or worse and he simply stops walking. It’s just too cold for him. These booties also have the long tie to attach them to his coat. I have no desire to make dog boots over and over.

This pattern comes in one size, that’s probably a medium-large, but I reduce it on the computer and it’s been great. Seeing as he’s a small dog, at times we have trouble finding him the right size.

You can find the pattern on this blog post here. And there’s a great video for making dog boots here.

I’m Missing Things Too

One other winter survival item that went missing was my cold weather face mask. I usually put it in my coat pocket when I’m not wearing it. I went to go out on a -16 Celsius day, and it was nowhere to be found. It was back to holding my scarf over my mouth.

I was upset for two reasons. I didn’t have my mask, and my son had given it to me. It was such a thoughtful and practical gift. I loved it!

It very quickly became time to make something else.

What I Had

What I Tried

Here’s the free pattern I found.

Well, they’re not the same shape, but I was hopeful. You can find it here.

First I made one out of fleece and cotton just to see how it would all come together. It fits and I thought, maybe. It doesn’t do a thing outside.

Once I knew the size would work, it was time to break out some serious materials and stash bust at the same time. Boiled wool, left over lace from my Pin-Up Girls Boy Shorts, and coordinating cotton.

I’d hoped this one would really be warm with the boiled wool. It was better than the red one, but shape of the mask isn’t right.

The one my son bought me stood out from the face to allow a warm air pocket to develop. These don’t. I kept looking.

I found this photo online. Here’s a side view of the mask and shape I need.

I used that photo to make a template for a pattern. I enlarged it, and figured out the sewing process and…

I have a new cold weather mask.

It’s boiled wool with a cotton lining. I do need to adjust the elastic a bit more to make it snug on my face, but this is good. The boiled wool will be nice and warm, and the cotton will make it comfortable to wear.

I have a few more fun sewing things planned, so I may just leave this mask unadorned for now. It works and that’s what I was wanting.

Happy creating!

How I Fit my Dress Form

I was recently asked where I found a dress form that fits my bras. The woman asking has a small back, but larger bust and has been working with a Fabulous Fit dress form for years now and still can’t get the fit right.

This is a challenge for me too.

You can see one of my bras here on my dress form. I’m always saying my dress form, Catherine, and I are not the same size. I’m going to show you just how different we are.

Dress form STUFFED.

I never thought I’d be stuffing a bra, but I do. On a regular basis too.

Dress form naked.

Here is Catherine without one of my bras on her. I put a necklace on her because, well, I just like to do that.

Here’s a side view of her.

Catherine isn’t a sewing dress form. She’s a display form for stores. She’s very basic. You can see she’s is smaller proportioned all around. We’re the same in our shoulders and rib cage. Other than that she needs to be padded out to show how anything fits on me.

Here Catherine is wearing a bra, but no stuffing or padding at all.

Now we know what Catherine has; you can see how much I’m filling in to make the bras fit her.

Tools of the trade.

Here are the tools I use to pad Catherine and make my bras look better on her.

First, and maybe all you’ll need depending on your size, is a pair of foam cups in the same size as your bra cups.

I’ve used both foam cups I’ve purchased and ones I’ve made from Cut & Sew foam. For this use, I’d recommend purchased ones. They’re a little sturdier, and I’m wanting to fill out the cups on my bra while it’s on my dress form. They’re also rounder, so give a nice shape behind the cups.

The second tool I use is a circle of cotton Lycra filled with plastic beads. It can shape itself around the smaller breast shape on the dress form and give a little more backing behind the foam cup.

You can see these little circles can change shape, be fuller in one area, flatter in another. They really help.

The process.

Now let me show you how the process looks and changes with each step.

Here’s the bra with a foam cup only filling in the cup on our left.

That’s better than nothing, but still not as good as I’m wanting.

Next I put the circle in.

You can see both the foam cup and the circle inside that bra cup.

And here’s what it looks like with both tools inside the cup on the dress form.

That’s much better. Not perfect, but much better. Both of these tools can be moved around in the cup as well, so depending on where the wrinkles are, I can move these to fill that area of the cup out a little more.

Here are both cups filled out now.

With both the foam cup and the circle form, I help my dress form be closer in size to me and make my bras look nicer for photos.

I hope this helps!

Happy New Year & happy creating!

Gifts Sewn with Love

It’s Boxing Day in Canada. It’s our equivalent to Black Friday in the U.S. The biggest sales day of the year. I’m going shopping! But just before I do, I wanted to share a couple of things I’ve been working on for Christmas.

Also, at the end of this post is the link for the Bag-a-Day Giveaway from Craftsy.

I love gifts. I love getting them, and I love giving them. For me, it’s a delightful challenge to try to think of something original that someone will love and want.

Gifts for her.

This year I had one extra person on my gift list: my son’s girlfriend. I had to think what I could give her.

Earlier this year she had given me some material she’d bought and hadn’t used. It’s flannel, so super soft and warm. We both love music and play piano, so she knew I’d love the material.

As soon as she gave it to me, I knew I’d give it back to her. I knew I was going to make her a lap quilt.

Here it is, folded in half, on my office/sewing room chair to give you an idea of the size.

She loves it!

It’s simply a large rectangle and I use wool yarn to tie it throughout. The yarn will felt and also with some washing and use become little bobbles on the quilt. Here’s an older lap quilt I did with the wool ties.

Gifts for him.

My son was another person I was sewing for this year. All he wanted was SAXX underwear. Really? That stuff is on the expensive side. But, if that’s what he wants, then that’s what he’ll get. However…

Earlier this year I’d bought the Pin-Up Girls Men’s Underwear pattern thinking I could make some underwear for my husband and sons. I put that idea on hold as no one was jumping up and down saying, ‘Yeah, that sounds great!’

With the holidays here, and the request for underwear, my hubby and I decided we’d buy him two pair of underwear, and I’d make him one. I made him the Michael style, which has the same sling-styling as the SAXX underwear he loves.

You can see my pattern matching wasn’t quite perfect. However, this was also a trial pair to see how they went together and would fit.

Here’s the inside of the underwear, and you can see the sling feature.

I didn’t get his measurements before I started this project. He was busy and couldn’t call me back right away. I got impatient and started without knowing his waist measurements. I cut out a size 34, and found out after I was all done cutting out that his waist is 35″. I’m happy to report they fit perfectly! He wants some more.

Gifts for my hubby.

When I was finished sewing the underwear, I showed the Michael shorts to my hubby. I asked him if he wanted me to make him some too. He said he wasn’t that fond of SAXX, so not to bother.

Okay. So I asked him if he wanted me to make him regular boxers. His reply? ‘No! If you’re going to make me underwear, I want the Micheal ones.’ Ha, ha. He wants the best. I’ll have to make him a pair… in the new year.

Have you made the Pin-Up Girls Men’s Underwear? Which style did you make? I’d love to hear your thoughts on them.

Happy creating!

More Pho

Today, Marsha is getting her Pho on.

Before I send you over to her blog, I wanted to share this. My favorite Vietnamese restaurant re-posted this. It’s too cute not to share.

Here‘s the link for Marsha’s blog to see her Pho.

Happy creating!

Navy Panties

I made some panties to go with my new bra. I used my self-drafted panty pattern from Beverly Johnson’s Sewing Panties: Construction & Fit class.

I have to say, the only thing I like better than making my own panties, and making matching panties, is making them from a pattern I drafted myself. That is the best panty-making experience. Ever.

These are indigo cotton Lycra from Bra-Makers Supply and navy stretch lace trim from Frog Feathers on Etsy. I had hoped to use the same lace I used on for the bra for the whole front panel of the panties, but this lace isn’t a stretch lace. No stretch, no front lace panel. So, I’ll save my lace for future bras and just use little bits of the left over lace to embellish my panties. Like this partial rosette on the hip  shown below.

Here is my set together:

I’m really happy with this. The navy may become my new ‘black’, or at least they will until I make myself a new black set.

Do you remember I mentioned a nasty little sharp spot on the hooks and eyes? Linda Crawford, a profession bra-maker in Ontario, Canada (Linda was part of our Canada Cups tour) shared this tidbit with me on how to fix that problem:

What I do to help with those sharp edges on the hook and eye is I put a piece of cut and sew foam under the eyes, and tiny zigzag all round the edges, then trim it so there is 1/8″ – 1/4″ left. It helps stop that scratch and it is comfy too!”

Thanks, Linda! That’s a great idea.

Back to my panties. These panties are very similar to an old favorite of mine – a pair of La Vie En Rose panties that were discontinued. I loved those. They are also similar to another favorite. Kwik Sew 2286.

After I drafted my panty pattern, I started looking for more panty-making resources. One can’t have too many resources! It wasn’t long after I took Beverly’s class that Margreet, the owner of Merckwaerdigh on Etsy, brought out her own Mini Panty course to design your own panties. One of the things I love in this mini course is how Margreet shows the original master pattern in her sketches and then the altered one. I really like seeing both images together. It’s helps me understand the changes. A comment I recently read on one of the bra-making forums on Facebook had this to say about Margreet’s designs: “The brains behind Merckwaerdigh has a talent for making the female form look exceptional.” I agree!

Here’s a video glimpse into her course from the Merckwaerdigh Facebook page (used with permission):

It’s a great mini course, and Margreet’s designs really are lovely!

As much as I wanted to make a second pair of panties to go with my new bra, I’ve had to work on some sewing for gifts. That second pair will have to wait.

Happy creating!

Trying Some Recipes

Next month, my fellow Craftsy Review bloggers and I will be covering Vietnamese Classics: Pho, Noodles & Beyond. We thought in the time between now and then, we’d each review a recipe or two from the class.


This is really exciting for me as my favorite restaurant is a Vietnamese restaurant. I hope I can learn to make a few of my favorites.  Here are the recipes I tried, and Marsha and Naomi will be in the next couple of weeks. I’m making Goi Cuon or Rice Paper Rolls, and Pho Bo (Traditional Beef Pho). Yum! One of my standard orders at the restaurant is for Salad Rolls, so the Rice Paper Rolls are perfect for me.

First up was a shopping trip. Andrea gives you all the ingredients and supplies you’ll need to make these recipes. Oh darn. I had to go buy more fun kitchen supplies. I think kitchen utensils are the cooking equivalent of a sewing stash!

I needed a skimmer for making my broth. Unfortunately, I bought a skimmer that looks like this:


It didn’t do a thing. Then watching the video again, Andrea is using a skimmer that looks like this:


This is a fine mesh skimmer and it actually skims. I don’t have that exact one, but I do have a fine mesh skimmer that worked a lot better than the one I just bought.

Something I had to search for were the spices. I could not find them at my local grocery store. However, I did find them at a local Bistro. They have a whole wall of spices.


They had everything I needed.

As far as the recipes go, I’ve made Rice Paper Rolls before. I really love some of the tips for making them more presentable that Andrea shares. Edible is one thing, pretty and appetizing is taking it to a new level.

For both of the recipes I’m trying, I’m using screen shots from Andrea’s Craftsy class and then comparing them to my makes.

Here is one of Andrea’s Rice Paper Rolls:


And here are mine:

I had a little more trouble with my second roll (top in the photo) than my first one. This is definitely a skill one would need to practice. My husband had no complaints though. He enjoyed them and said the recipe is a keeper.

I can’t have seafood, so I left out the shrimp and added some seasoned chicken, but everything else that’s yummy is included. They were a wonderful lunch.

Next up is some yummy Pho. Again, I’ll start with Andrea’s beautiful Pho Bo. Hmm. Maybe I need new Pho bowls…


I decided I didn’t need new bowls. I’m using the bowls I have now.

Here is my Pho stock simmering away. My house smelled wonderful while it was simmering.

Pho Ba stock

I’ll skim it again when I’m straining it. There are too many flavorful goodies floating on the top too. I want them in there adding flavor.

Just before I show you the finished Pho Bo, I want to show you my assembled bowls. My son decided he wanted a small bowl, so he got a small one.

Here they are waiting for the broth to be added.

In this next photo the broth has been added to the small bowl. Can you see the difference in the color of the meat and how the hot broth cooks the meat? That was fun to see. It happens right away too.

Here’s the second bowl all ready. I’ll warn you right here; there’s no photo of all three bowls. Once that third bowl was ready, we were all ready to eat. In fact, my hubby started eating right at the counter! We had to call him over to the table to join us.

Check out Marsha’s post next week on Flying by the Seam of my Pants for her recipes makes from this same class.

 Happy creating!