- This topic has 4 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 8 years, 4 months ago by the_professors_assistant.
March 7, 2013 at 3:12 PM #9768the_professors_assistantKeymaster
Hi. I’ve recently returned to sewing after 20+ years. Bought a new machine, lots of new (easy and very easy) patterns and lots of “practice” fabric. With the help of your videos and the new machine, my sewing techiques have radically improved. HOWEVER, I’m having a hard time with the actual patterns. Although I’m following the measurements on the pattern to a “t” something comes out wrong – bodice is too tight, waistband is too loose, etc. I’m about ready to cry, haven’t been able to wear any of my “creations” yet. What tricks am I missing? THANKS!!March 7, 2013 at 3:13 PM #9769the_professors_assistantKeymaster
That is frustrating and I’m sorry to hear that you’re having problems. Yes, the human body is a tricky thing and we have never really fit into the commercial pattern measurements perfectly. And even each side of our body can be a little different because of how we carry ourselves or for whatever reason. For example, I recently discovered that my right hip rises higher than my left hip. So sometimes even with a pretty good fit, you still have to do tweaks here and there and the more you do it, the better you’ll start to understand your own shape.
I would first suggest retaking your measurements and if you can, get someone else to do it for you. It’s really hard to take your own measurements, because you’ll be bending over and you really need to stand up straight and look straight ahead.
Next, it’s a good idea to do a muslin of the pattern. This is a trial run so you can see how it’s going to fit before using your good fabric. So cut out the bodice in muslin or cheap fabric. You don’t have to worry about doing any facing, collars, or sleeves. We just want to see how the shell of the bodice fits. Pin or baste the bodice pieces together. Don’t forget to do the darts if there are any. If there’s supposed to be a zipper, leave it open but make sure you take that into account when you try it on. See how this shell fits. If it’s too small, try the larger size and see how that fits. If it’s too big, let’s say in the waist area, pin it to where you’d like it to be and do a larger seam allowance and see if you like it better and if it’s good just trim the seam allowance down. Just don’t make it too tight because you need some ease so it’s comfortable to move around.
For the bottom part, I would do the same. If it’s for the skirt of the dress though, I don’t think it’s necessary to cut out the full length of the skirt. Maybe go half way, because you’re just check the waist and hip fit and don’t need to waste fabric.
And sometimes you’ll find you’re a different size on top than you are on the bottom. If this is your case and there are separate bodice and skirt pieces, try cutting out two different sizes respectively. When fitting them together you’ll probably have to ease the pieces together as they will not fit together perfectly but as long as the main seams line up, no one will ever know.
For things that you’ve already made, try making the seam allowance a little smaller or the darts a little smaller and see if you can at least wear it comfortable. I hope you only need to make small changes. Making things smaller like the waist is a little easier and you can first try to make the seam allowance a little bigger.
I hope that helps and you have better success in the future. I want you to be able to wear your creations and be happy with them. And we know you will succeed and we can’t wait to see what you make.March 7, 2013 at 3:13 PM #9770the_professors_assistantKeymaster
Hi Janet! I understand your frustration. I have made a few things that didn’t fit me as well. I agree with Professor Pincushion answer. If only I had done what she suggested I would have spared myself the expense and wasted time. I wish you the best results and look forward to seeing your completed project.March 7, 2013 at 3:13 PM #9771the_professors_assistantKeymaster
I am a new to sewing and had taken a video course for making a skirt. I had no idea how to alter the pattern to fit. After 3 skirts that still really don’t fit, I know your frustration.I began searching the web and I came across this web site. I appreciate all of the advice, tips and instructions Professor Pincushion provides. I wish I had discovered this site earlier on. Thank you for the suggestion to not feel as though I have to make the whole garment with the muslin. I am going to start from scratch and put into practice what I’ve learned through your videos. I purchased a bolt of muslin from the local craft store so I have plenty to pratice on. I will not purchase any more material until I have the fit I’m looking for!!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I wish you much success in making your future garments.June 15, 2013 at 10:13 PM #17618the_professors_assistantKeymaster
Hi Janet. The best thing I ever did was to contact a master tailor in my area and commission her to make me a custom fitting shell. I use this fitting shell as my personal pattern block to make comparisons so I can make the needed adjustments to any pattern I purchase. I am barely 5 feet tall and have a mature figure. Vouge pattern company makes a fitting shell pattern, and so does Butterick.
If you do not have access to a tailor, purchase a well made, cotton blouse that best fits and flatters your body type and carefully take it apart. Use sturdy fusible interfacing to create a pattern from this garment. When I first started sewing I used to go to thrift shops to purchase well made classic clothes that fit me and then take them apart to use it as a fitting blocks to make new clothes for myself. After I became more confident, I purchased commercial patterns and compared them to my fitting blocks. This method enabled me to sew clothes that fit If only Professor Pin Cushion was around back in the 70’s when I started to sew, I could have avoided so many frustrating clothing failures! The Professor’s helpful videos really make it easy to learn new techniques. Thank you and wishing you happy sewing.
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