LOOKING DEEPER: VERTICAL AND HORIZONTAL EASE IN A PATTERN
DESIGNER JOI, FIT DOCTOR
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.
There does have to be some sort of standard so patterns are consistent so it is not wrong, but most people expect a pattern to be exact which is unrealistic. Patterns are a wonderful tool for creating a garment, but a little modification is required.
I make a fit sample for every garment I create and through the years I have determined most people need much less ease than the standards charts prescribe because the excess is just that – working excess so they go around lots of bodies.
My best fitting tip is to make a muslin fit sample and pin fit the ease so you have a beautiful tailored look every time. Tailored does not mean tight it just means polished and remember just because it goes around the body does not mean it’s a good fit.
Vertical areas on a pattern
Most vertical areas on a pattern do NOT need ease above the body measurement unless a particular style calls for it. The reason is that the fitting points on the pattern will not match the corresponding points on the body unless they measure the same. Vertical areas should match the body exact or within 1/4-1/2″ giving some “wiggle room”. Areas like shoulder to apex, bust curve, lower bust line, back shoulder to full back, lower body waist to abdomen, and waist to hips are examples of pretty literal areas of fit from body measurement to pattern.
If any one of these areas on a pattern is shorter than the body, then the pattern is too small, short or too tight. Or, if any of these areas measure larger than the body you have bagging, sagging, excess. As a result things like darts, apex points, design lines, seams and other details won’t match or touch that corresponding area on the body affecting the fit and overall look, scale and proportion in relation to the body.
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