Why is it so important to have clothes that fit?
Because fit is the key to looking fabulous every day.
You know how you feel when you clothes aren’t quite right?
You put them on thinking they look OK – not great, but OK – then spend the day pushing up your sleeves, tugging at the hem of your blouse, yanking at your waistband…….
Not a great confidence builder, is it?
You hope nobody is watching as you constantly adjust your clothes, and you feel self-conscious.
Now – think about your favorite outfit, the one that makes you feel like a million bucks. I’ll bet there’s no pushing or tugging when you wear that one.
The difference? It fits!
If you sew your own clothes you probably already make adjustments, either to your patterns or during the sewing process.
In fact, I’ll bet you make the same adjustments over and over again. If your arms are short, you’re going to be shortening every sleeve, on every garment you ever make.
But when you make your own sewing patterns, the fit is built in – so you’ll never do alterations again!
A block is a pattern for a very basic dress or pants, with no style details and minimal garment ease – it’s pretty boring but it is, essentially, a “blank slate” to which you’ll apply your creativity in style and detail.
made whatever adjustments are necessary to achieve your perfect fit, you’ll use the block to create new designs – and
they’ll fit every time because your adjustments are built in!
The sleeves will be the right length because you’re starting with a block with corrected sleeves. The bust and hips will fit perfectly because you’re starting with a block that’s already been adapted to your size and shape.
From there, creating new designs using your block is just a matter of adding style lines and style ease - like slashing and spreading the pattern to make a full skirt, adding width to the center front for a wrap jacket or top, or adding wide, gathered straps to make a cute sundress.
Whatever you want to make, whatever you can dream of – you’ll be able to achieve it, using a block designed to make clothes that fit.
You can start with a whole list of measurements and drafting instructions, but that requires someone to help you measure (because it’s almost impossible to measure yourself accurately) and some math.
But there’s an easier way to do it – start with a basic “fitting pattern”, make your adjustments to that pattern, and it will become your block.
If you haven’t already done so, go to the “Getting Started” section, and you’ll find what you need to cut and sew a basic garment from your fitting pattern. Then move on to “Fitting the Bodice”, "Fitting the Sleeve" and “Fitting the Skirt” – you’ll have your own personal block done in no time!
The examples on this site reflect MY fitting issues and how I resolved them. Your body is likely very different.
But, since this is a site about the mechanics of making patterns and not specifically about fitting, I'm not going to address other fit issues here. And believe me, there are others who can address this issue better than me.
Any of the books listed below will help you achieve good fit. You can use the techniques on any pattern; but why make the same corrections over an over again? Apply the principles to your block, and the fit corrections YOU need will be automatically built in to every pattern you make!
I can recommend any of the following books and an online course to help you achieve good fit, no matter what your size or shape. I own or have used almost all of the books on this list, and have been pleased with how they address fit problems.
- Sewing Pattern Alterations: Fixing Fit Issues - This online course from Udemy is essential for creating clothing with a good fit. There's nothing worse than spending time and money on making a garment, only to find it doesn't fit well! Learn how to fix the pattern BEFORE you cut into your fabric! The course covers necklines, sleeves, skirts and pants.
• Pattern Fitting With Confidence - A very useful book written by the late Nancy Zieman, host of the TV series "Sewing with Nancy". She provides a straightforward, down-to-earth approach to sewing and fitting. Very user-friendly.
• The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting - I love this book!!! So wonderfully illustrated with photos, using commercial patterns to demonstrate the pattern alterations. It addresses almost any fit problem you might have. So easy to understand and follow!
• Sewing for Plus Sizes - Creating Clothes that Fit and Flatter - A great book for Plus sizes! As a woman gets larger, it's not just the measurements that change - our overall proportions shift, too. This book addresses the different body types and proportions you commonly see in larger women. Truly helpful for larger women.