Visualizing Your Sewing Projects

Something I started doing earlier this year to keep myself inspired and focused with sewing is creating mockup designs of my future projects. Here’s my summer projects board, for example:

This isn’t all inclusive – I went a bit ham on sewing this spring/summer due to COVID lockdowns.

Creating these mock-ups is a super quick and easy thing to do in Photoshop, and I love how it helps me to visualize the final project. Often I’ll create a mockup with a pattern and fabric I haven’t bought yet to see if they’re a good match. Sometimes I’ll use this method to compare different patterns with the same fabric. In the case of the floral print Orchidée in the top right corner, the mock-up ignited my excitement for the final garment. I ended up absolutely loving it!

Curious how I do these mockups or want to make your own? You’re in luck! I’ve written a tutorial below using the Carolyn Pajamas pattern by Closet Core Patterns. There’s a post about this pattern coming soon – I have some thoughts.

Note: I use the latest version of Photoshop in this tutorial, but you can do this in any image editing program that can do layers, masks and use layer blending modes (like GIMP, for example)

Step 1 – The Setup

The first thing you need to do is find the lineart drawing of your pattern. Usually you can find these online on the pattern description page. Copy or screenshot the image, and paste into your first layer.

Next you’ll need a picture of your fabric. If you’ve bought the fabric online, you can copy the image from there. Otherwise, take a picture, preferably in natural light so that it’s as colour accurate as possible. Create a new layer, and paste the fabric there. Copy and paste until your fabric is covering the line drawing completely and merge the fabric layers into one (ctrl-E or right click the layer and choose “merge down”).

I don’t bother trying to make the print tile. That’s far too much work

Step 2 – Creating a Mask

Hide your fabric layer by clicking the eye next to it and select your lineart layer. Choose the magic wand tool and make sure “contiguous” and “anti-alias” are ticked. Select outside the garment.

Invert your selection by using the drop down menu or using the shortcut (shift+crtl+I).

Now select your fabric layer and make it visible again by clicking the eye. To create the mask, click the mask icon underneath the layers.

Already looking pretty awesome!

Step 3 – Bring Back the Lineart

The final step is to change the blending mode of the fabric layer to “multiply” using the drop-down menu above the layers.

And now you have a mock-up drawing of your project! Yay! Sometimes I go back in and add further details, like selecting and darkening areas of the garment or, in this case, drawing on the contract piping.

Here’s my finished image!

There you have it: a simple way to visualize your sewing projects. You can organize your mock-ups in a single image file and mark off when you’ve completed a project, like I’ve done above. Alternatively, I think it could be really cool to print them off and pin up as inspiration around your sewing area. Practical and decorative!

Despite using it almost daily in my day job, I’m by no means a Photoshop expert. If you have an easier/quicker way of doing this, feel free to share it in the comments below. I would also love to see your project mock-ups!

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