fitting, sewing

Better Pattern Fitting, Start Here! – (Mini Post)

Hey Guys,

Over the next few weeks, I plan to put out a series of mini posts. Here’s the first. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject as well. Please feel free to leave a comment or question below.

For most sewists, proper fitting is probably the most challenging and frustrating aspect of sewing. At least that has certainly been the case for me and because of this, going into 2019 my number #1 sewing goal was to focus more attention on learning to fit my body better.

Even when I am making a simple garment with just a few pattern pieces I usually find that I need to make at least 2 adjustments to get the fit right. Case in point, in today’s post I am wearing one of my all-time favorites McCall’s 6886. This particular version consists of only 2 pieces, back and front, both placed on the fold. What could be easier you ask? Why nothing if your body measurements match up exactly with the pattern measurements! But with me and my body this is not the case.

This particular dress required 3 adjustments. 1) a decrease in length between the bust and waist 2) an increase in length between waist and hip, and 3) an increase at the hipline.

Most often when we measure ourselves, we are most likely to only pay attention to the width of our body parts as opposed to the length but this is no good, trust me. For years I was doing this myself.

On any given day, I could easily tell you how wide my waist or my hips were but I didn’t know the distance between the two.

Because this style dress is fitted at the bust, waist, and hip it is super important to know where your bust, waist, and hips are positioned on your frame. For example, if your waist area is shorter in length than the waist area of the pattern this can cause fit issues not only in the waist area but also through the bust, shoulders, and neckline.

When you know your body measurements you can compare and adjust to the sewing pattern as needed or even one day use these measurements to draft your own patterns custom to your body.

And if you don’t sew, knowing this information is just as valuable to you because having this information, will help you to make better buying decisions.

One of the best decisions that I made when I started back sewing was to have my measurements taken by an alteration’s professional. I figured that someone who tailors clothes and takes body measurements for a living, would know exactly what to measure and also how to properly measure.

I also went online and located a printable pdf listing of the usual measurements needed for sewing. (Click here for an example.) We used this as a checklist/guide for the measurements that were taken.

I’ll admit that even after I had the measurements, I didn’t exactly know what to do with all of them or how they exactly related to the garment that I was sewing but that’s okay, the more I sew, the more I learn. Having this information has truly been empowering.

Actionable Step:

Get your measurements done. I was willing to pay for this service but you may not have to. Many of the online pdf sewing measurement guides come with how-to instructions and pictures. If you have a tape measure and a willing assistant, that’s all you’ll need.

While it’s not impossible to take some of these measurements without assistance, it’s easier and probably more accurate to have someone else to take them for you

Next Week’s Mini Post – Sewing & Weightloss.

6 thoughts on “Better Pattern Fitting, Start Here! – (Mini Post)”

  1. Great blog post! I look forward to future blog posts about this! Fitting can be very frustrating, but the outcome is rewarding! Who doesn’t love a well fitting garment! That blue is stunning on you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am new to your blog—-lots of good info! I agree with the fit challenges, there’s no way to get around having and understanding the measurements. I have learned this the long, frustrating way! I love the dress and the fit and color are fabulous!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I definitely agree with you. I don’t obsess over fit but it’s pretty high up on my list. I’ve learned that I will wear a garment that fits well but isn’t perfectly finished over a perfectly finished ill fitting garment any day.


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