Now that you know the basics to get started, it's time to talk about fit!
In part 1 of this blog series, I shared my top 4 tips for altering patterns to work for your style or size and examples of how I've used a little bit of pattern cutting knowledge to transform sewing patterns to suit my designs. In part 2 I also explained the difference between pattern blocks and sewing patterns and took you through step by step how to begin using the blocks.
Why is the fit so important?
Let's be honest, when we're sat people watching & admiring all the outfits walking past, we never really sit and think about what size the clothing is.
Instead, we appreciate the design features, the fabrics, colours, prints and most importantly the fit. The fit of clothing brings a whole look together and makes your clothes not only look good but feel good to wear too.
This is why I am so passionate about teaching others how to create the perfect fit as well as how to pattern cut. I want you to create clothes that you're proud to wear and that you feel amazing in.
I know how it feels creating clothes that aren't comfy because they don't quite fit right and all you want to do is take them off and change into a super comfy pair of leggings or joggers that easily stretch around your body.
BUT, this doesn't have to be the case and I'm here to help you create your very own clothes that fit perfectly. I've even developed a whole 8-week in-depth program, Fitting Confidence, on this as I know how much it means to create and have clothes that fit.
What makes the perfect fit?
When it comes to thinking of what makes the perfect fit and how to create this, it can seem quite tricky but don't worry, I've been there before too and I'm here to show you that it's possible!
There are two things you need to look for when creating perfectly fitting clothes:
Does it look like it fits? By this I mean - Is it twisting a funny way/ Are the seams sitting where they should be. Not half off one of your shoulders or wonky?
Does it feel like it fits? A good fit = a comfy fit - If it's not comfy it probably doesn't fit well (or you need a comfy, natural fibre fabric, not something scratchy and synthetic)
For example, when we compare a poorly fitted suit to a well-fitted tailored suit, we can really see and feel the difference.
On a poorly fitted suit, the shoulders may be too wide and the sleeves or trouser leg may be too short or long. Whereas a perfectly fitted suit will curve around the shoulder seamlessly laying flat and the cuffs will sit just below the waist and so on. It will also feel great, be easy and comfy to sit in as well as move around and stand-in.
TASK: If you've used sewing patterns before to make clothes, try these on again. Stand in front of the mirror and look at the fit of the garment, take a little walk around the room and sit down too. Note down all the things you notice:
Does the garment move easily with your body shape when you sit down or is it too tight around certain areas?
Do the sleeves tilt forward as your arms do?
Is the armhole too tight? Or maybe it's too loose for the design?
If your garment has bust darts, do they sit correctly on your bust so the dart points to the apex (highest point) of your bust?
Does the shoulder sit flat around your shoulder and in the correct place?
Is the trouser length right for the shoes you'd wear them with? Pop the shoes on, walk around in front of a mirror and see
Are the seams along the line they should be?
All of these things can be altered easily when you know how! You can learn all about how to adapt your sewing patterns to fit your unique body shape perfectly inside my signature 8-week fitting course, Fitting Confidence.
Why it's important to know what occasion you're making your garment for
Before you create your sewing patterns, it's really important to know what occasion you are making the garment for.
TIP: Wear the right underwear when you're fitting your garment. If you tend to wear different bras in the evening than you do during the day, for example, a strapless bra or something along those lines, then wear the bra you'd wear with the garment when you are testing the fit of your patterns and measuring.
Different bras can really alter the shape of your body. If you wear different bras for daytime vs. evening, you could create one block which is for daytime wear and a different block for evening wear.
TIP: Make sure you consider what shoes you'd wear with the garment too. If you're making suit style trousers to wear with heels it's important you wear these heels, or a similar height, when taking measurements and considering the length of your trouser leg pattern. EXAMPLE: If you want to create eveningwear, you may want your garment more fitted. To make a garment more fitted you will need to make sure you include darts on your sewing patterns and move them to the appropriate place to create your desired look. You can learn exactly how to do this, along with how to move darts and so much more, in my Fundamentals of Pattern Cutting Mini-Course which you can find here.
If you decide you want to make comfy daytime clothes instead, you don't need to add in any darts and you probably wouldn't need to add any design features either. This is why it's so important to note down the occasion your garment is for. It really influences your pattern making decisions and the overall fit.
5 Tips For Creating Perfectly Fitting Clothes
These top pro tips are perfect to use for altering clothes you already have as well as clothes that you're
1. Try it on inside out
I know it may look a little funny but if you try your clothes/toiles on inside out you'll be able to easily get to the seams and see the construction of the garment clearly. Learn more about toiles here.
It will also allow you to:
Undo or pin in any alterations required - TOP TIP: use safety pins instead of normal pins so that they don't ping out when you take off you toile/garment, plus they won't spike you too
Easily undo the seams on your garments and tack any adjustments when pinning isn't an option
Use your toile like a 3D notebook - aka draw on a different dart position if it isn't quite right and so much more!
2. Make sure your seams are sitting in their correct places
WHEN THE SIZE IS TOO BIG/SMALL:
If you have multiple panels on your garment, I know it's tempting to just take out/add into just one seam but you need to take out of all of your seams evenly across your garment so the seams will end up sitting where they should be.
FOR TWISTED SEAMS:
Make sure all the seams sit where they should be. For example a shoulder seam along the top of the shoulder, side seam vertically down the side and not twisted. If they're twisted and not sitting where they should be unpick them and pin them where they should be. This may mean taking more fabric from the back or from the front but this will really make a difference to the fit of the garment and how it hangs.
3. Darts should point to high and low sections
If your garment has darts, the end of these darts should sit pretty much on the high and low points of your body. For example, you may have bust darts and they should sit almost on your bust points. If they don't, then adjusting them will really help with the fit.
TIP: The larger your bust size, generally the further away your bust point will be as you will have a larger flatter area around the apex of your bust
4. Use fabric that behaves in the same way
If you need to add in extra fabric, or if you're creating a toile of a pattern you've designed, then always use fabric that behaves in a similar way or the same way, if possible, to the final garment.
If you mix stretch with woven or light-weight fabrics with heavy-weight fabrics then you will probably find that the garment pulls and distorts in strange ways.
5. Start as you mean to go on
Now, this one only applies when creating your own sewing patterns. If you start with perfect fitting blocks (you can learn more about blocks here) then you'll save so much time, money and avoid any frustration.
Why have the agro of altering a sewing pattern every time you make something new when you can start off with the perfect fit and create exactly what you want? And, it'll fit pretty damn well first time with possibly the odd tweak here or there!
If you'd like to create perfect fitting blocks so that you can create sewing patterns that don't need a million and one alterations every time you make a new garment, then I have the perfect course for you! Fitting Confidence is my 8-week program that I have designed especially for you. In the course, I show you how to adjust your sewing patterns and blocks to your size and shape. It's the perfect course designed to fit into a busy schedule whilst learning skills that you'll have for life. Sound good? Click here to learn more here
As much as we say we love to sew, create or alter something to make a fabulous garment, it's not always plain sailing. This is why I am constantly trying to make things easier for you and I'm always sharing my tips and tricks on here as well as Instagram.