Thursday, March 12, 2020

Using Procreate for My Sewing Projects

Hiya! Hope everyone is doing well and, most importantly, is healthy. I know things are scary right now, but I'm just trying to stay calm and wash my hands like a maniac.

I've been wanting to write this post for a while now. Partly, because I'm always so interested in process and thought it would be fun to share how I've been playing around with different designs because it's been blowing my own little creative world wide open. I'm not here to sell Procreate. There are a lot of different programs out there depending on your goals and preferences, not to mention a good old fashioned sketchbook which is always great to have when you're in an analog kind of mood. I'm just excited about what I've been doing and wanted to share.

When I sorted through my scraps last year and organized them into three bins of shame, I immediately started thinking of ideas for things to make with them. And then I fell in love...with quilting. It's a scrapbusting no-brainer, but it's also just so awesome! Putting the fabrics together, the different shapes and color combos, the overall composition, feels as natural and creative as painting and drawing. While working on one of my first projects, I kept saying to Beej, "This is just like painting. Except there's all this cool texture!" So here's a few projects that started with procreate sketches and evolved into tangible, useful objects.

Knitting Project Bags

I have a couple of friends who are hard-core knitters, so I made them project bags for Christmas. As you can see from my Procreate sketches, I didn't follow the sketch exactly; instead, I used it as a starting point. My favorite thing about working with the app, is that I can keep duplicating my initial sketch and try out as many variations as I want. The bags themselves are as simple as can be. Just a boxed bottom with a drawstring along the top. I added a fabric tab and a button to the inside as a yarn guide.


After making a quilt for my bed (shown on bottom left), I decided I needed a new pillow cover to match, but I didn't want it to be too matchy-matchy.  To achieve this I used the same colors as my quilt but a different design. I also wanted to try sewing curves, and the two triangle/mountains in my pillow mirror the two diamonds in my quilt. I love how this turned out and truly feel happy every time I make my bed. This design is a slight variation on a pillow project in the awesome quilting book Simple Geometric Quilting, by Laura Preston. I can't recommend this book enough if you want to try quilting but are feeling a bit intimidated. Laura's explanations are crystal clear, and her projects are modern and elegant.


I really like sewing curves and, weirdly, find it easier than half square triangles. I just folded this quilted piece in half and boxed the bottom to make an easy zip pouch. I'm already planning more zip pouches to give as gifts.

Tote Bag

I used the Nummi Tote pattern from the Named book, Breaking the Pattern. I added a small inside pocket and magnetic snaps to keep things more secure.  I love how this turned out, but if I make another one, I will tweak it a bit:
  • I like the look of the leather straps and rivets, but the rivets were cheap so they don't feel all that secure. Also, the leather straps are only finished on one side, so little bits of rawhide come off on my corduroy jacket. I may just use fabric or twill tape and sew it into the seam like most bags. 
  • I need to invest in some slightly heavier interfacing. All I had was lightweight fusible for garments, which just does not cut the mustard if you want to make a durable bag. 
  • This is quite a large tote. It would be very easy to reduce the size since it's only one pattern piece. 
  • There is a cool lapped seam technique along the bottom, which gives the bottom added strength, that I plan to incorporate into future totes. 
  • I think my procreate study would also make a cool wall quilt. I tried to add a break in the horizontal strip, but I'm not really loving how that part turned out. 

Color Blocking

And it's not just quilting projects! I had a lot of fun visualizing variations for the Collins top that I will eventually make.

Here's a quick list of my favorite features when planning projects with Procreate.

  • As I mentioned previously, being able to copy/duplicate drawings or even just a specific layer is HUGE. 
  • Also, layers. Being able to use this feature, but in a way that feels more like drawing is awesome. I work at a desk computer all day, so it's nice to work on a tablet, using my stylus (apple pencil), while curled up on the couch. It's also way easier on my hands than using a mouse with PSD and Illustrator. 
  • The stacks feature helps me organize multiple projects, which helps tremendously since I'm a multiple-projects-kind-of-gal. 
  • Color palettes. You can create custom palettes for all your projects. For my scraps, I like to take pictures and sample the colors so that my sketches and color combining are based on the reality of what I have on hand. I'm also working on a couple of quilts that are not scrap-based. For these, I like to take a screen shot of the color on the Kona website and sample it. 
  • Resources: I'm by no means an expert on Procreate, and this post isn't really meant to be comprehensive. There are tons of resources on youtube, though. Bardot Brush is probably my favorite. Her tutorials are fun AND informative. Her intro to Procreate video really helped me get started. 
  • Downside: So far I've been waxing enthusiastic, but the major downside is that this program creates raster images. If you need vector for hi-res printing purposes, Procreate isn't there yet. But if you're working with vector images, you already know that. :)
So thanks for indulging me in this rather long post about process. There are still times when I want to break out my colored pencils and/or watercolors, but the convenience and added features of this and other drawing programs have really opened up my creativity. I'm always looking for ways to build a daily drawing/art-making process, and, so far, this is really working for me. 

Would love to know how you channel your creativity and come up with ideas for projects. 

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