Understanding ease - What is ease and how do I add it into my sewing patterns?

Updated: Jul 19

Knowing about ease is going to help you understand your sewing patterns so much better, create that beautiful smock dress ready for your summer BBQ and it's also going to help you create clothes you can comfortably move in!

First, we need to learn the difference between design ease and wearing ease (aka fitting ease) before we learn how to add ease into our sewing patterns.

What's the difference between design ease and wearing (fitting) ease?

There are two types of ease, design ease and wearing ease (also known as fitting ease).

What is design ease?

Design Ease is the extra space purposely added into a garment/sewing pattern to create a particular silhouette. For example, you might want to create something oversized so you'll add in design ease. This isn't to be confused with wearing ease which is defined below.

Here are some examples of clothes where design ease has been added into the pattern to create an oversized garment.

Images sourced from pinterest.co.uk

What is wearing/fitting ease?

Wearing Ease, also known as fitting ease, is the extra space added into a garment/sewing pattern to allow for day to day movement in your clothing. For example, sitting, walking and moving your arms around. This type of ease tends to already be incorporated into your pattern blocks. Learn more about pattern blocks here.

Different types of pattern blocks/slopers have different amounts of wearing ease incorporated in them already.

For example, a very fitted bodice block will have little to no wearing ease added to the actual measurements of the body whereas an easy fitting bodice block will have more wearing ease added to the actual measurements of the body.

So basically extra cm/inches are added to the pattern blocks to allow for movement depending on their purpose.

Watch the video below where I explain the difference between design ease and wearing ease to help you understand further.

How to add design ease into a sewing pattern

Now we know the difference between design ease and wearing ease, it's time to learn how to add design ease into your sewing patterns to create those beautiful loose garments just like the examples above.

Once you've added in extra design ease to the bodice blocks you can also remove the front bust dart as you will have enough room for the bust (this is optional depending on the style you'd like). You can find the tutorial for this here:

This is also something I go into in a lot more detail inside Design Confidence my 10-week program to designing your own sewing patterns for your dream clothes. Join the waitlist to be the first to know when doors open again for Design Confidence here.

In the meantime for more great tips, tutorials on pattern cutting and sewing, come and join me over on Instagram @thesewingretreat.

Happy creating,

Sarah xxx

P.S. If you want to start creating your own sewing patterns, download my FREE eBook here. It's the perfect beginner's guide to get you started. You'll learn about the grainline and why it's so important, discover the differences between stretch and woven fabrics, learn how to annotate your sewing patterns and so much more.

Click here to download your free copy now!