A few water color fashion illustrations from the past…

Back in 1979, when I was in Apparel Design at college, one of my toughest assignments was a water color project. I was very new to this medium so this task was more than a bit stressful to me. Each member of my class was given a certain scenario and you were told to design clothing for that particular setting. My assignment was to design clothing items for someone who was traveling to Jamaica. The catch was they could only take 10 items of clothing with them. It was my job to come up with those ten pieces, and then paint them using watercolors. Talk about practicing before the final rendering… I did!!! We were allowed to use pattern books to get general ideas for the body shapes, but the clothing had to be all our ideas. (so NO laughing at my faces!!) I’m a seamstress not an artist!

If you click on any of “closeup” pictures, (the second ones) they will enlarge…

First I came up with a color scheme… coral, white, green and blue. Okay, so let’s start and I’ll show you what I came up with.

First up is piece (#1), the bathing suit… Done in a pretty green and a very pretty style. The professor graded it on the back and she liked the bathing suit but said the thigh needed reshaping… (I’m thinking how about reshaping and recoloring those cheeks!!)



Then I needed a bathing suit cover up (Piece #2), so I designed one in a fun see through fabric…that could also be worn over a top and I added a long skirt (#3) for those dressy nights my client might need one for. My favorite thing in this whole project was the print I came up with on the skirt, but my professor liked the transparency of the cover up best.





Of course my client would need a pair of nice white pants (#4) to match all the other items I was giving her. These were fun and comfy pants done in a wrinkle resistant fabric…(who knows what that fabric was actually called back in 1979??)
2 fun tops were added that could be worn with the pants… a nice coral knit top(#5) with a little bit of interest at the bust and a white gauzy top (#6) with lace at the edges…



A set of detachable sleeves could be added to the white gauzy top… and another halter top (#7) done in a light coral with some embroidery work on the front. Two pairs of shorts (#8 and #9) with drawstring waistbands were added for fun wear. (Don’t look too closely at the crotch of the shorts… my professor said they looked a bit funny… and I would have to agree.) I’m assuming I did my shorts first and then added the legs..



And of course a pretty sun dress (#10) would be needed in Jamaica… so I designed a sweet white one with an empire waist and a feminine ruffle around the hem.



O-k-a-y…so do you think you could go to Jamaica with these 10 pieces and make it work? Hope my client did!

Just a quick note:
I’m not certain what YOUR blog posts look like, but mine had it so you had to go to the top of the post after reading it if you wanted to make a comment. I believe it also depended on if you were using a laptop, a desktop or a tablet. Several ladies said their’s was at the bottom and others said theirs was at the top. I’m not sure how everyone’s was, but I had my webmaster put the comments at the bottom. It will be immediately after I sign off and right below the little colored icons for Pinterest, Etsy, Facebook, etc. I hope this makes it easier for everyone…and I LOVE comments!!

If you are receiving my blog posts in your email each day, you’ll have to click on the BLUE title to be able to read all the former posts. Just follow the directions below…

Also, I have a new counter at the bottom of the pages so you can go backwards and forwards reading the posts. There are generally 4 posts stacked on top of one another and then it will say next page at the bottom. Now you’ll see 1,2,3,4….22 (etc)
If for some reason you don’t see that, go to the top of my post, and click on the BLOG tab. It will bring up all the posts in running order so you just have to scroll down and then back. You can start at 22 and work your way forward to the newest post or just go backwards to the beginning. I hope this helps out too, as several ladies wanted to read my blog from the beginning but didn’t know how.

Sorry about all the directions…I’m learning all this along with you…

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne


  1. Linda Doyle says:

    Watercolor??? My goodness, those illustrations are WONDERFUL! As a former art student, I know how difficult watercolor is, and I had several watercolor classes myself!
    I love those illustrations and your sense of style, especially since you were still in college! Maybe those cheeks in the first picture were due to the paint itself, you know with watercolor, once it’s there—it’s there!
    I think I would have loved to wear those outfits, and probably back then, would have been able to, but now—-not so much! There is too much of me!!!

    • Linda,
      Thanks for your kind words about my attempts… I always liked to color with crayons and I think that would have been easier for me. I used the water color paints with a dry brush to get the details on some things.
      Yes, those girls I painted were quite skinny… but hey, we can dream… and imagine ourselves there again.
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. Jeanne, I loved your creations! I don’t remember ever seeing them. You did a great job & I really liked the skirt fabric too, you were very consistent with the pattern color. I’m always surprised every morning when I read your blog of what you come up with! Great fun! Love you!

    • Morning Cindy,
      Yep, I’ve had these and a few more drawings saved for all these years… coming from the artist you are… I’m flattered that you complimented me on my work.
      Love you too, Jeanne

  3. You created timeless designs. Those could all be worn today, Jeanne. Great work! I hate to do watercolor too. You did wonderfully though. I am very impressed! I love how you showed the sheerness of the coverup too.

    • HI Cindy,
      You know, they aren’t too outdated… are they? I hadn’t thought about that. Thanks for taking a look… I think your little dresses are the perfect example of little watercolor cuties!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. Jane Miller says:

    Hi Jeanne,
    Finally I could leave a comment..I’ve been wanting to forever, but could never figure out how to do it.
    Anyway, I love your blog and all the eye candy looking at the beautiful outfits you create. I won’t let my dolls look at your site…they would want them all! LOL

    • Hi Jane,
      YAY! You got to leave a comment and I’m so happy you are enjoying the pictures I post each day.
      You say “you” have to keep your dolls away from my blog so they don’t see the pretty doll dresses… well, I have to do the same… my dolls aren’t allowed near the computer either… they stand naked all the time on a shelf until it’s time for them to model something. They don’t know there are seamstresses who “actually” dress their dolls even while selling other clothes… I can’t let my girls find that out!
      Thanks for reading Jane,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. I love your designs, boy do they bring back memories..my prom dress had those angel wing sleeves.

    • HI Regina,
      I had a few of those sleeves too! My “after prom” outfit had those wings too…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  6. Loved your drawings! I think they would be perfect vintage Barbie designs too
    Always wanted to learn watercolor…I may do it yet!

  7. What a fun read? The pieces could be worn today at an elegant resort in Jamaica.

    • Thanks Jan,
      You know… you might be right… they say fashions come around again, so maybe this is the year for it… who knows..
      Blessings, Jeanne

  8. Meant a ! , not a ?. I just love the styles and the models too!

  9. I love these designs. I guess thats why you got the job…
    You are really good. I am so glad we became internet friends.

  10. I won’t let my dolls look either…

  11. Charlotte Trayer says:

    Loved your fashions, Jeanne. Reminds me of when I took Fashion Merchandising, back in the early 70s. One of our required projects was to plan (on paper) a fashion show–Everything from the press release to the stage setting to the occasion to, of course, the fashions. I had fairly recently learned the Stretch & Sew method of sewing, so my fashion show was all S&S fashions–I included pattern numbers and fabric swatches as well as–get this–WATERCOLOR representations of the fashions!! Great minds and all that, huh?! LOL

    • HI Charlotte,
      Well, it looks like we have similar backgrounds… glad we both had a little walk down memory lane…
      blessings, Jeanne

  12. Well!
    Looks like more than ONE person has some things in common with you! Personally, although I live in the southwest now, (and have for the past 30 years) I’m originally from the Midwest (and most of my extended family still lives there) and actually obtained my degree from Northeastern Illinois University (Chicago) in 1980! I’d already determined we’re approximately the same age. My degree is NOT fashion related, but I DID really want to go that route, just didn’t think the job prospects were there. I NEVER would have been able to paint ANYTHING, not to mention fashion in watercolor – that’s a really HARD medium to work in – so it’s probably a good thing I didn’t LOL !!!
    I have to say, I really like all the pieces you created, and definitely could see women wearing most (if not ALL) of them today!!

    • Thank you C,
      I wish I was better at drawing and illustrating than I am, but I can do much better with a piece of fabric in my hands than a paintbrush!
      Thank you for the sweet compliments… it was a LONG time ago…
      Blessings, Jeanne

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