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Trying Out Three Digital Design Services for Patterns

My experience with three digital design services
Threads #199, Oct./Nov. 2018
Different pattern companies have different processes for customizing patterns, but all begin with taking body measurements.

If you’re like me, you’ve found commercial patterns don’t fit properly, necessitating precious time spent altering them. There’s no shame in it: Everyone has to adjust patterns because commercial patterns are drafted to fit an average of measurements rather than an actual person. Generally speaking, they are drafted to fit a woman who is about 5 feet, 6 inches tall and has a figure with balanced proportions and a B-cup bust. Although patterns now come in sizes to better fit a greater range of women, not all women have proportions that match a single size. For example, my bust measurement indicates that I’m two pattern sizes larger on top than in skirts and pants. Most commercial patterns are simply not designed for people with disproportionate measurements anywhere on the body.

I set out to discover how the fit-challenged sewer could find patterns that don’t require major adjustments. Today, custom sewing patterns are readily available online. Simply pick the pattern, add your measurements as the developer requires and, in minutes, a custom drafted pattern arrives in your email ready to print. The costs are much lower than average commercial patterns. I set out to test three of these services in order to find out if they were a viable alternative to commercial patterns.

My Initial Planning

For my evaluation, I chose three garments with similar construction elements to ensure any fit issues could be ascribed to problems with measurements or adjustments rather than the garments’ individual style. I selected button-up shirts, because the front placket highlights any bust-fitting imperfections.

Each of the three companies was selected based on the range of patterns and styles available. To use these services, you need a computer and a printer. A sewing buddy also will be helpful for the measuring process,…

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