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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Monday, May 9, 2016

The question of finding a basic fit pattern

My friend Robin got me thinking with her thoughtful comment to my last post.

Obviously what I am providing here are some first principles for flat pattern alteration to help new and returning sewers get started, and to help them understand why patterns are not fitting exactly right straight out of the envelope.

For real fine-tuning once you understand the basics, or to establish a good fitting basic garment you can use to overlay commercial patterns, or even as a basis for your own designs ideas, a sloper - a custom fit garment is a great idea.

You can learn how to draft these, Craftsy has good courses and Robin is a grad of many of them, or develop them through your own trial, error, and efforts.

Full disclosure here, I am not myself a person with a lot of time (humane wildlife removal going on here all week plus I am committed to helping my middle guy paint his new B and B) or more to the point a lot of patience for those processes. I am more a sit and sew when I have a few minutes kind of  girl these days.

So all of this made me perk up with interest when I saw Bootstrap Fashions has introduced some new dress slopers for wovens and knits.

I was delighted to see the fit specs included things like belly protrudence, posture and shoulder slope which indicates to me that these patterns, very reasonably priced too, might be very helpful in automatically sorting out some common fitting issues.

I haven't tried these patterns myself, but they are moving to the top of the to-do-list, and I would be most interested in anyone else's experiences.


Anonymous said...

I have been looking at those basic block patterns my self - really curious as to how they would adjust for my rather substantial FBA. It could save a lot of work.


Anonymous said...

As I recall, an affiliate.

Barbara said...

Right you are anon. did disclose on this blog. Not my motivation for this post, you will have to take that into consideration of course. Minute returns at any rate btw.

Marianne said...

Nice series, Barbara! In response to JenL: Bootstrap seems to have trouble with substantial FBA's. After I had a bad experience (HH-cup) I did some research and found other bloggers mentioning the same issues with either Bootstrap or Lekala.

SewRuthie said...

I am thinking about Bootstrap patterns to see if they could solve my full butt, saddlebags, full tummy problem or whether I just have to wear wide legs pants with a jacket and not look at the wierd droopy stuff round the back under my butt (I need that fabric for sitting). In that case it'd be really worth it!!

Lynn said...

I have an idea for your series on basic sewing and fitting. How about addressing ease and size in terms of too little wearing and style ease. I see a lot of beginning sewers head down the rat hole of over fitting and worrying about every wrinkle, crease and pleat and try to fit and fit and fit their clothes until they are so tight and form fitting that they can barely move but still complain about the creases and wrinkles. Sometimes those creases and wrinkles are about not having enough room in your clothes instead of too much! I think this is a difficult thing for beginner sewers to understand.

a little sewing said...

I have tried both Bootstrap and lekala. They both use Leko patternmaking software. I was impressed with the results. You do have to print it out and tape the pages together. For me, it saved me the effort of doing a full bust adjustment, lengthening sleeves and it got the shoulders darn close. Since I do still need to alter the shoulders, it ends up being a bit more work than I usually want to take on.

Something else I just remembered is how I used to make my own patterns, way back before the internet and all this marvelous information online Because of my previously mentioned issues with altering patterns to fit me, I hardly ever bought them. I wore mostly RTW, altering it to fit me. Over time I went from very simple alterations, such as letting out the hem on pants or taking in the side seams on a skirt. But eventually, I got pretty bold with worn out clothing and started experimenting more with adding extra fabric where I needed it and I started to see where I needed more fabric or less fabric. Once I improved the fit, I went ahead and made a pattern from that. You can "rub off" a pattern from a garment, but I really prefer to pick it apart with a seam ripper. That way, I get to see exactly how it was constructed. I know, it all sounds a bit odd - I've never met anyone who says, "Oh I do that, too!"

I am sure I would be a pattern junkie if I could sew them up more easily, but I have evolved into someone who uses the same tried and true patterns over and over with different collars, different sleeves, etc. I rely on the fabric to keep it from looking like I only wear the same thing over and over. Also, I love to listen to audiobooks while I sew, which I couldn't do if I needed to keep checking the instructions.