As a consumer, I have studied many approaches to fitting. I learned where my body measurements deviate from the standard measurements of RTW clothing. If it were possible to alter RTW to fit me, I may have stopped there. I might now be a shopaholic who alters my own clothes. I love clothes, I love dressing well and I love saving money. Alas, one cannot add fabric where none exists. If the top of a dress fits, the hips are too tight. Because there is insufficient height in the upper back, tops feel like they are choking me. And then there are the shoulders. A store-bought tailored jacket can't be altered for a forward shoulder.
One of my favorite resources is Palmer /Pletsch Fit For Real People (FFRP). The book contains a wealth of information and I could read it once a year and learn something new every time. (I read fitting books the way one might read every Jane Austen novel once a year). The DVD demonstrates the methods in a clear manner. I highly recommend both.
Before plunking down any cash for the book or the DVD, you can get a taste of the Palmer /Pletsch approach by using a McCall's pattern from the Palmer /Pletsch series. These patterns include extra instructions on common fitting adjustments. Even better, you can easily make the fitting adjustments, because crucial information is printed on the pattern.
|In this example, the pattern pieces display markings for a full bust adjustment or rounded back.|
|On this overview, adjustments are identified and alteration lines are clearly marked.|
|There are instructions on how to make the adjustment.|
|Personally, I need a forward shoulder adjustment, so this is helpful.|
|There are also tips on working with knit fabrics.|
Even just having the location of the waist marked on the pattern is a big help. That type of landmark helps with alterations that may not be among those included. This system, like all others, addresses the most common alterations.
Feel very lucky if your alterations are common!
The information is right here for you!
I have a couple warnings about FFRP:
- Tissue fitting- you don't have to buy into the whole tissue-fitting-thing in order to benefit from this book. You may prefer to sew muslins while you are learning how to make pattern alterations.
- A picture is worth a thousand words.
- Just looking at the pre-altered pattern on a body "before" and the altered pattern on the body "after" shows the concept. For example the grainlines must hang straight.
- Seeing a cut pattern with extra tissue inserted into the enlarged area helps to reinforce that idea that, yes I must change the pattern to fit me. I don't need to to fit into my clothes, my clothes need to change to fit me.
- Aesthetics- using this book will not throw you back to 1990. Nor will it impact your aesthetic. Great fit + your style = chic.
- That picture might be telling a thousand words worth of scary-story. Ignore, ignore, ignore.
- You can use a 2011 style pattern, make it current and trendy, using the concepts in FFRP.
- Age, shape, size & individual challenges are simply where you are. Embrace it.
There is more in the book - much more. For example, there is whole chapter devoted to body proportions (Chapter 9 Make a Body Map) and a whole chapter devoted to ease (Chapter 7).
I will continue to learn more about fitting for as long as I sew. I know now that there is not just one method of fitting that meets every need. There are many ways to approach the creation of a garment, and I need them all! It took me longer than I expected to learn about fitting and that's why I write about it here.
If fitting is easy for you, lovely! Sew on!
If fitting is difficult for you, you are not alone.
Finally, now my wardrobe is filling up with clothing that delights me. I love wearing my clothes and I love saying "I made it!". People are more interested in it than I would have expected. I keep telling them, sewing is not like a foreign language - you don't have to be young to learn. You can start any time.
You can sew for yourself, too.
Fabric for a new summer dress is calling to me from the cutting table-