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

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

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, let me clarify what ease is.

Ease is the extra fabric/amount you add into a pattern to either allow for room to move in or for design purposes.

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

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 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. You can learn more about Design Confidence inside my FREE masterclass below.


How much ease do I add into my sewing pattern or blocks?

These are the things you need to take into consideration to work out how much ease you want to add:

1. First, identify if it's wearing/fitting ease or design ease you want to add in.

If it's fitting ease, you're probably going to add it into your blocks and then create a set of blocks that works for that type of ease so you can use them over and over again.

OR, if it's design ease you will usually add it into your sewing pattern rather than the block.

2. Consider your size.

The larger the size you are, the more ease you will be adding in because ease is added in proportionally to your sewing pattern or block. So someone who is smaller will add in less than someone who is larger.

3. Lastly, take into consideration your personal preference.

Everyone's idea of easy-fitting, close-fitting and oversized garments is different.

This is where toiles will come in handy! You can learn more about toiles here.


Are you ready to nail ease and start creating super comfy oversized garments you love to wear?

I talk more about ease from a design angle inside Design Confidence and from a fitting angle inside Fitting Confidence.

Design Confidence is my 10-week pattern cutting program to go from image to unique patterns to garments in your wardrobe. Discover more about Design Confidence in my FREE masterclass here.

Fitting Confidence is my 8-week in-depth fitting program to create perfectly fitting clothes patterns and blocks. Discover more about Fitting Confidence here.

Happy creating,

Sarah xxx


1 Comment

Cecilia Takawira
Cecilia Takawira
Dec 26, 2023

Thanks This is very helpful

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