Making clothes that fit is one of the biggest reasons people start sewing.
It's also one of the biggest challenges. It's a difficult skill to pick up, because there's so much variation amongst our bodies. That's why we want to give you a way of thinking about fit that streamlines the process.
This is step four in the Sewing by Design framework.
Last week we talked about the first "room" in your little sewing house, Design Your Wardrobe. Today, we're talking about another room you could choose to work on, and we call it Find Your Fit.
The Best Fitting Tip You’ll Ever Get
Is it the right time to focus on fitting skills? If fit is a big motivation in your sewing, or if you feel frustrated with how clothes fit, then this might be the component you focus on right now. Learning how to fit clothes to your body is just like any other skill—it takes practice—but your mindset can affect your success.
Here’s the best fitting tip you’ll ever get: your body’s measurements are just data.
When you experience fit issues, your body is not the problem. And the issue is not necessarily the pattern, because the pattern could be drafted from data different from your body’s data.
The issue is that your body’s data and the pattern’s data aren't fitting together. So to find your fit, you're going to do some math and pattern manipulation to make the data speak to one another better.
Fitting is a fun exercise of self-love because when your clothes fit you well, you don't think about them when you're wearing them. As a result, you feel more present in your body and yourself. Fitting is worth the endeavor, so if you start feeling negative about your body throughout the process, take a step back and remember that your body’s measurements are just the data that will give you the answers you need.
How to Find Your Fit
There's a reason we call this "find your fit."
When it comes to fitting, there is tremendous variety in our bodies, which means there's also tremendous variety in individual fitting skills you could learn. For example, there are bust adjustments, swayback adjustments, hip and butt adjustments, crotch adjustments—if there's a body part, you could likely make multiple adjustments for it.
We take a different approach. Instead of starting with looking at individual body parts, we break all adjustments down into two basic categories:
- Length and width adjustments
- Fullness adjustments
The answer to finding your fit is in the wrinkles on your muslin. Learning how to read these wrinkles will help you determine if you need to add or remove length or width or if you need to increase or decrease fullness. That’s it! You can fit any part of your body with these two types of adjustments.
Haley covers exactly how to do this in the How to Fit with Confidence class, which is free if you’re a Seamwork member. You can read all about the class here.
The class also explains the exact principles you can follow to analyze and diagnose your fit. But there’s one more (free) tool to help you along the way.
Get a Free Fitting Journal
Imagine being able to look at pattern pieces and know if you need to make adjustments before you even sew a muslin.
Once you understand how to find your fit, the next step is to track your changes over time. Tracking your adjustments will help you see what sort of fit changes you need to make consistently, which will help you focus on the fitting skills that matter. It'll also help you recognize fit issues more quickly each time they come up.
Download our free Fit Journal. It will help you to analyze a pattern before you sew it up and track adjustments you make over time.
More Fitting Help
Sarai and Haley walk you through the entire find your fit process in episode 79 of the Seamwork Radio podcast. You can also listen to a 3-episode podcast series about finding your fit.
What are your fit expectations? In this episode, learn how to develop a healthier mindset around fitting while still working to develop the skills and outcomes you're looking for when you sew.
How to start your fitting journey: Learn more about the core principles of fitting, and how you can get started on your own fitting journey.
Our top 5 fitting resources: A round-up of some really helpful fitting resources with options for every experience level and approach.
Here are a few more resources as you find your fit:
8 tips for starting your fitting journey, which boils down some of the tips from episode 60, if you prefer to read.
4 Essential Small Bust Adjustments: Learn the building blocks for mastering the small bust adjustment.
4 Essential Full Bust Adjustments: Learn the building blocks for mastering the full bust adjustment.
Pants Fitting Basics: Learn how to combine intuitive and technical fitting for pants.
How to Adjust Armhole Depth on a Pattern: A long armhole can impact your mobility and lift. A short armhole will be tight and uncomfortable, and you won't want to wear it! Learn how to adjust armhole depth with this tutorial.
How to Adjust the Shoulder Slope on a Pattern: Your shoulders are anchor points for any top or dress, so if the shoulders don’t fit, the whole garment won’t fit!
- Browse the tutorials on our site to find even more hacks and adjustments.
Fitting is a big topic, but you can break it down into some basic principles. Once you understand those principles, it's a matter of discovering what works best for you and your body over time. That's the Find Your Fit process!