You can straighten your top-stitching, neaten your seams, and smooth out your darts, but if the finished garment doesn’t fit your body correctly, none of those will trounce fit.
You bought the perfect fabric, cut out the pattern accurately, stitched the pieces together precisely, and yet…it looks like a dog’s breakfast on your body. Sloppy shoulder lines make you look like you are wearing your husband’s jacket. Straining at the waistline brings a sausage tied in the middle to mind, and a too-high crotch seam causes a bit of “lift and separate” where it is least attractive.
It’s time to take charge of your fitting issues, ladies. I for one vastly prefer an orderly approach to problem-solving (and fitting IS a problem), and IMHO Lynda Maynard tackles fit in an extremely sensible manner. Top down. Big to little. I just spent 3 days watching her fit every conceivable body shape during a hands-on class, and it was magical. Helping women of all ages, sizes, and body types achieve better fitting garments is her passion, and it shows in all she does.
If you can’t get to San Francisco to take one of her classes in person, Sew the Perfect Fit on Craftsy.com is an excellent online fitting tutorial. (Bonus: you can watch the class as many times as you want – it never expires!)
Do yourself a favor and invest in learning more about fitting. You will be happier with your sewing results if you do.
Do you own a dress form? I have one from PGM that I love, love, love. As odd as it may sound, I do not use it for actual fitting. Since it is a little, errr, smaller in the waist and hip, I use it primarily to design.
But I intend to change my ways! The folks at Fabulous Fit have their Fabulous Fit Dress Form System on sale AND are offering free shipping right now. I’m in! Several of my ASG pals have used this system to customize their dress forms and swear by it. The way it works is you place their stretchy “sheath” over your dress form (most commercial brands can be used), and then add the pads where you have a little more body “padding” than the original dress form. Sounds easy, and for less than $100 it is definitely worth a try. Pictures will be forthcoming – assuming they will show my curves in only the most flattering light. 😉
I recently ordered Sarah Veblen’s new book, The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting, and I have to say that at first blush it looks appropriately named. Some concepts are not new. Making muslins, or test fitting garments, is hardly revolutionary. Though I was a little surprised that Sarah makes from 4 to 10 test garments to get the fit just right. Ten! It seems she is indeed striving for perfection. She shows photographs of fitting issues on real bodies, not stick thin models, so that is also helpful to illustrate specific points. Again, other fitting books have done this as well. The part that was new to me was her method of showing fitting problems related to length issues. Sarah visually shows the impact of too much or too little length by having sewists draw a horizontal balance line, aka HBL, on all fitting garments. For example, on pants this line should be drawn across the hip area. If the HBL dips down toward the floor, the crotch is too short and the solution is to add more length. Doh! Just by having this visual marker you can instantly see a fitting problem, AND you can also see when you have corrected it sufficiently. Nicely done, Sarah! I am going to try this method to adjust my jeans pattern since I am not at all happy with my current fit. I promise to post again after actually using her techniques and provide details. Maybe once I get my own jeans fit corrected I can stop looking at everyone’s butt to see how well THEIR pants fit! 🙂
Note: this post contains Amazon affiliate links that provide revenue for Sew Maris
One of my favorite classes from conference was titled Working with Your Pattterns for Fit and Creativity, taught by Susan Lazear, a teacher in the fashion program at Mesa College in San Diego. Contrary to many sewing instructors, Susan is not keen on using fitting muslins. Her approach is to measure clothing that you already have in your closet to learn the garment measurements you prefer, and then to use that information to modify commercial patterns.
For example, if you have a v-neck t-shirt that you really like, measure both the length and width of the neck opening. Use those numbers to help you tweak the fit on all shirts and dress patterns calling for a v-neck.
What a great idea! Simple, achievable, and a real time-saver (by eliminating making a test muslin). The only issue I can really forsee is if you do not have many clothes in your closet with a fit or proportion that you really like, which would be a bummer all around. 🙂
Susan also developed a software program named Garment Designer by Cochenille Design Studio to help sewists with fitting problems. I have not used this software program, tho I have to admit it looked rather intriguing. The main reason I have balked at all of the pattern-making software programs is the Scoth tape issue. The thought of taping up a million or so sheets of 8.5×11 inch paper and driving to the store every week for a new ink supply has no appeal. None whatsoever. Simply BOR-ring! But Garment Designer caught my eye, so I may have to investigate this one a bit.
What are your thoughts? Do you use any pattern-making software? What do you like and what do you dislike?