More fitting woes…
6 years ago
OK, so if the finished measurements of a pattern are not provided, and you place your toile (which only has wearing ease) up against it, how can you tell if you will have the amount of design ease that is required to make the dress look like it should? And I must admit, after feeling delighted because I had a toile at last, when I compared it to the dress pattern piece it looked nothing like it and I didn’t have a clue where to start to adjust pattern to fit me. Sigh, this fitting lark is MUCH harder than I thought.
Could we maybe set up a separate topic on these forums for fitting for when we sew for ourselves? Or am I the only frustrated person? I have the bistro and cinema dress but don’t want to waste good fabric unless I am sure I can get it to fit me. I don’t really want to have to make a toile every time. Or perhaps you have to?6 years agoSarvi @Sarvi
I hate to say it, but I think that unless you’re making a very boxy, loose style (like an oversized sweatshirt) or you happen to have fit model proportions, you’re going to need to make a muslin/toile. That’s the thing that will save you from wasting good fabric. It would be great if there were a way to not have to make a toile, not happen to be the exact size and shape each pattern was built for, and still be positive of getting a perfect fit, but unfortunately human bodies vary so widely that it’s just not possible. Measurements are a useful starting point but just to give an example, two women of the same height might have very different proportions — one might have a long torso and the other long legs. They’d need different bodice lengths.
I am not very experienced, however — do any of the gals with expertise know of some clever ways around this?6 years agoBrittney @georgeandizzy
I am not super experienced in this field as I am just starting to sew for myself, but IMO muslins/toile are very important, like Sarvi said, you don’t want to waste the good stuff! I have been using muslin I picked up for $1/yd and using a longer stitch length, it actually goes quite fast in the sewing, cutting can be a pain though;) Sorry to not be more help.6 years agoNicole @motherof5
Linda, you made a muslin of the dress you wanted to sew? Is that correct? Or did you make a basic dress muslin?
If you made a muslin for the dress you are sewing it should be similar enough.
I am sorry if I am not understanding you, may I have some more information?
Thank you!6 years ago
Thanks for the help, Sarvi. Sounds like I have to make a toile for each item I make. I thought once I had ‘my’ toile I would just use it to adjust the pattern pieces on the garment I wanted to make. It’s not cost, as I’ve got some fabric for toile making, I suppose it !UST be impatience and thinking about having to make a toile EACH TIME.6 years ago
Thanks for helping, George and Lizzy. Sounds like toiles for each garment are the way to go.6 years ago
Nicole, good morning! Yes, I made a basic muslin from a Butterick pattern for a toile. And as I said, I was under the impression that as I fitted that to my measurements I would just lay that on top of a new dress pattern and I would instantly see where to adjust new pattern to fit me. Well, firstly my toile didn’t bear any resemblance to new pattern- darts in different place, neckline different curve etc. And then it suddenly hit me that if I adjusted the new pattern to be the same size as my toile, I would possibly have adjusted out all the design ease, as my toile is fitted closely just with a small amount of room to breathe, raise my arms etc. Feeling rather subdued…6 years agoNicole @motherof5
How disappointing for you, but now you have the basis for a lovely fitted dress.6 years ago
Linda, don’t get discouraged! If you have a ‘fit pattern’ that you have used for your muslin, and you have it fitting you very well, you have accomplished a lot!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Keep in mind, this exercise is excellent skill building, you will be happy you did it, once you can start reaping the benefits of having gone through the exercise.
Now, having said that, I have to say something I feel like will be etched on my tombstone one day, “sewing a muslin is not a dirty word”!!! I consider the making of the muslin part of the time, cost and effort of making a garment that fits me well. I do this for child sized garments, too. 🙂 The exercise you did in getting your ‘fit pattern’ to actually fit you, will be the same skills you use in getting a muslin of whatever garment you want to make, to fit you well. Personally, I am not a big fan of the ‘fitting pattern’ for my personal use, though there are many people who enjoy them.
If the pattern you purchased does not have the wearing ease on it, you can simply do the math to find out what it is. If you look at the ‘body measurements’ listed on the pattern, then look at the finished measurements either on the back of the envelope or printed on the tissue, you can figure out from there, how much ease they put in my subtracting out body vs. finished garment measurements. A lot of times, they don’t have much of the finished measurements to be found on the patter or envelope. That’s when you now have to take out your tape measure and measure the tissue pattern, minus seam allowances, and skipping over (not including) any darts. Keep a piece of paper and pencil close at hand and write everything down, so you don’t forget. 😉 I try to ‘cheat’ this step, sometimes, and I always regret it when I do.
One of the reasons you want to do a muslin, even after quick changes to your tissue patterns make it close to what you want, you may find you don’t like some design element of the pattern and want to alter it. In other words, the design ease may not look like what you thought it would, and you will see that in the muslin stage and you can either add to or take out at that stage. Your muslin for the garment you are making, allows you to tweak anything in the pattern design, before you invest in good fabric for your final garment.
I am going to make a second post, breaking this down a bit, so things don’t get lost in the long posts…I hope this makes some sense. 🙂
Carol6 years ago
I am going to state the obvious in this, but want to do it, just in case there is someone who may not know this process. When making a muslin, you will want to use ‘basting’ stitches so it’s easy to rip out and alter for fitting purposes. Also, you will want to do most of your seams, facing out, so that you can quickly rip open, alter and mark. If your seams are facing your body, it’s more time consuming to do the alterations. 🙂 Don’t be tempted to just turn the muslin inside out and make changes, because in many cases, we are not symmetrical. Yes, you can ‘cheat’ and you might get away with it, but it’s good practice to do it right. 🙂
I used to have to make no less than 3 muslins, before making a garment, simply because of dart placements, sleeve fittings, getting the ease I wanted in a garment, etc. However, NOW, I don’t have to do that. I am basically cutting it down to one muslin, by using the method that Joi Mahon teaches. Effectively, I am working out all the math changes, on the tissue pattern (or my traced off version of the pattern), before I even get to my muslin. By using my body measurements, and measuring the pattern, I simply add to or take away, on the tissue pattern. Joi has excellent body measuring charts!!! You measure yourself, in all the vertical points, first, then horizontal, then when you have those charts done up, you simply start measuring your pattern, then compare to your charts and then make adjustments. A FBA/SBA (bust adjustments) has never been so easy. Joi has you measuring your body in quadrants, and in particular the bust quadrant is broken down into several segments….plus, you get bust point to bust point measurements, which is almost never mentioned in FBA/SBA in fitting techniques these days, although I am seeing it more in the past couple of years.
Joi’s method is really very, very good! It does take time to work through a pattern the first few times. However, it gets quicker and easier the more you do it. 🙂 Her book is now out and I do have it and it’s a great resource. If your library is carrying it, check it out and see for yourself how she does things. If your library is not carrying it, perhaps you could request that. At least then it allows you to look at the book before purchasing it. 🙂
Linda, when I recently did my ‘fit pattern’ sample, I was able to see exactly the differences my body shape has, compared to the commercial pattern. It actually cemented for me, what I already knew, but it was for some reason, a more visually encouraging perspective. 🙂 I doubt I will use my ‘fit pattern’ sample, much, but it was a very good exercise. 🙂
Be encouraged at what you have accomplished, Linda, keep moving forward as I just know you will be thrilled once you ‘get there’. 🙂 And, once you ‘get there’, hopefully you will see there are still wonderful things to learn about fitting and samples that you are inspired to keep creating. 🙂
Wishing you great success!
Carol6 years ago
I just remembered, there is a ‘Book Tour’ on the blogs going on right now, with regards to Joi’s book. Here is a link to Joi’s page, just scroll down and you will see the list of bloggers and the day they are chatting about her book….they are giving away several copies of her book. http://dressformsdesign.com/word/
Carol6 years agoRobin @Robin
Fitting challenges used to really get me down too. Now I would rather have 1 well fitting pattern and make many different versions of it. Of the new patterns, I think the Bistro Dress is the one that I’m going to use a lot.
I know that kimono sleeves are not my friend, and will stay away from those patterns from now on. Doesn’t matter how well I get the pattern to fit, it will never flatter.
I think the Everyday Skirt is the easiest pattern for fitting, if you’re looking for a fairly instant gratification project.
Hang in there, it gets better. And way to go on putting all of this effort in. Lots would throw in the towel.6 years ago
Thank you Carol, that’s made me feel more positive. I have just booked Joi’s class (the first one to start) on Craftsy and ordered her book. Thank you also so much for taking the time to write such a helpful response. It has made it much clearer in my mind. The current pattern I’m trying to make (Merchant and Mills factory dress) looked simple so thought I would start there, but it has no final measurements, but now you’ve explained how to take them from the paper pattern I am going to do that. Are you a teacher or lecturer, because it sounds like it from your wonderfully clear and helpful post? Maybe you should be! Thank you once more. I am going to copy your post to Evernote. Linda6 years ago
Robin, thank you so much for your encouraging words. It sounds silly to get down over a dress pattern, doesn’t it? You made me feel better and I will plough on!6 years ago
I’m so glad you are feeling more positive and ready to tackle fitting, it’s truly rewarding and truthfully, Joi makes it easy. 🙂 The very fact you were able to get a good fitting ‘fit pattern’ muslin, tells me you can do this! I hope you don’t rush yourself and take time to enjoy the process and the accomplishments you make along the way. I have had to watch Joi’s videos, over and over again, just to cement the ‘how to’. I knew from the very first few minutes of watching that first class, she was on to something thing. It made complete sense to me, as I had already been doing some of that on my own, but not nearly to the extent she teaches! I just needed more ‘hand holding’ to implement the process and to stop ‘over thinking’ things, as she states in the videos. 🙂
I would recommend watching the class, first, all the way through, then you can start breaking it down, watching it again and doing as she shows at the same time, if you wish. You’re a little ahead of the game from having used a fit pattern. 😉 The beauty of the Craftsy classes are you can keep watching, when you need/want to, over and over again. 🙂
In answer to your question, only this past year did I allow myself to officially, ‘teach’ sewing related classes. 🙂 After years of saying, “it’s not my season”, I came to realize, I think my season is upon me. I have always ‘shared my knowledge and love of all things sewing related’ with those who enjoyed learning. I have been home educating my children for nearly 25 years with 6 more still to go. I enjoy sewing and creating and I enjoy teaching. I’m a big believer in education and I continue to take classes. 🙂 I believe we should always be learning. 🙂 So much to learn….so little time. 😉
If you have questions about your fitting class, you can ask Joi, directly, and she’s very good about answering questions! I am also available, so feel free to contact me, if you wish.
I’m excited for you, Linda! Don’t get discouraged or be afraid to try things….you CAN do this! 🙂
Excited for your adventure! 🙂
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