HORIZONTAL EASE IN A PATTERN
What I find in fitting and through all my experience is that commercial patterns often have inches and inches of excess ease so that a pattern can fit around many body types and sizes.
For example, a size 16 jacket pattern from a random company says it will fit a bust that measures 38 inches. When you cut out the pattern pieces it is printed that the pattern actually measures 48 inches around at the full bust. Therefore, there is 10 inches of ease in the garment. That 10 inches will fit around a lot of variations of a size 16 body. Now this amount of horizontal ease might be a perfect fit for you, but tight on someone else, and baggy on yet another.
Patterns are great starting points for a garment, but they do need some tweaking for achieving successful fit.
Just because it goes around you does not mean it fits correctly or looks good. Have you ever seen a trunk show where people are trying on “no fit” or “easy fit” garments? They put the same boxy jacket on different shapes, sizes, widths, etc… Then everyone ohh’s and ahh’s at how amazing it looks.
I never see anyone tell someone to scale the patterns to fit difwferent bodies or proportions or admit that the “perfect fit”, or “no fit” garment, while going around the body, does not actually look good on some people (that is without a little extra TLC of customization).
If I had a dollar for every short petite, person engulfed by boxy wearable art someone else would be typing this blog LOL!
HORIZONTAL EASE GARMENT EVALUATION
This series of photos is an exaggerated example of fitting a shirt.
The unfitted shirt has about 4 inches “design ease” to allow for wiggle room and a nice drape on the body. Many patterns will have 6-10 inches of “ease” to allow a garment to go around many people, but any more ease on this garment would look sloppy.
The semi- tailored fit has some tapering in the middle to allow for more definition at the waist, but there is still “wiggle room”.
The very- fitted example is exaggerated and looks a little tight and most people would not wear a shirt that snug. However, some garments might be fitted to that degree depending on the fabric, the design and the wearer.
It is important to realize that tailored, tapered and fitted does not mean tight, uncomfortable or body hugging which are often words that scare garment sewers from many styles. Don’t confuse this on patterns and you can always add ease to any pattern or style you think will be too snug.
No these are not three different shirts either!
All I did was take a giant garment fitting clip, you can use a close pin or your sewing pins, pull in the back and look in the mirror to determine what degree of fitting and tailoring you desire. If you do this in the muslin or fitting sample phase then you can mark your preference on the pattern and once you cut the garment pieces out you can sew the garment start to finish with a perfect fit. Pre-fitting saves a lot of time in the long run.
TO BE CONTINUED…
This is a longer discussion, so coming up next Part 4 and the conclusion of this thread about pattern ease: An in-depth look at horizontal areas of fit on a pattern and how to apply ease correctly- it’s probably not what you think.
After that a fun fitting post titled Broken Leg Day Blog: How a broken leg last week (my hubby’s) reminded me of an interesting fitting issue I encountered when I apprenticed for a tailor in high school, and how that experience helped me solve a fitting solution for a major jeans manufacturer when I was in college.
Real Fitting Solutions for Real People
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