Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

book on fitting

HeartFire2 | Posted in Fitting on

If you could have the perfect book on fitting, what would you want to see in it?

What sort of things don’t you understand about how to do fitting?

How many of you have someone to help? a fitting buddy?


  1. Ralphetta | | #1

    I really wish I had a fitting buddy.  None of my friends sew and there has been a time or two that I enlisted the help of my neighbor.  She doesn't sew, but she's smart and willing to try something new. It took more time, but worked out well.

    I think my perfect book would be a spiral book with tabs extending out labeling every part of the body...neck, shoulders, bust, etc., so that I could look at one single thing at a time.  I know that it all has to fit together, but while you're learning, I think it's less intimidating if you can just do one part at a time. I'm beyond that now, but I remember  looking at all those drawings, etc, and being overwhelmed and wanting to just give up. I guess I'm saying that the format is just as important as the content.


  2. Roznos | | #2

    I, too, wish I had a fitting buddy, but since I don't I rely on several books: first being Fast Fit by Sandra Betzina.  She breaks down all the fitting problems in easy to read and easy to understand chapters, moreover she outlines how to identify fitting problems. How many times have we made something and realize that it does not fit, but we don't really know why?  Also, I use Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer & Marta Alto. This is a great resource for all sort of fitting problems and altering patterns, too.  Lastly, I have the several of Easy Guide Books from Taunton.  Yes, this sounds like a sales pitch, but their books are very helpful - they do cover some fitting but mostly construction; however, while sewing I find myself referring back to the Easy Guide books over and over again.

  3. Pansy | | #3

    Alas, no fitting buddy for me, either.  It's not too hard to fit pants without a buddy, but fitting a bodice is frustrating.

    I like the suggestion about a spiral book with tabs.  One thing a lot of fitting books don't explain is the order in which pattern alterations need to be done.  The generic Singer fitting books are okay, actually.  The illustrations are well thought-out.

    I would like to see more on altering commercial patterns and on dart manipulation in fitting (adding and moving darts).

    I once bought a video tape by Betzina about fitting.  There was NOTHING in there I could use because it was all geared to women who are heavy or headed that way.  I don't have a tummy bulge, I don't have a large bust, I don't have thick thighs.  So many fitting books are based on this "fitting for REAL PEOPLE" idea.  Hello -- I'm slim and tall but that doesn't make me not a real person. I still have fitting problems, believe me.

    But MY fitting problem is NEVER discussed: broad AND square shoulders.  This problem means the armholes are almost always way too low.  That is a really difficult thing to fix.  So, if you are writing a book: Put that in there, man!

    (Okay, that was my rant for the day!)

    1. Ralphetta | | #4

      It's funny that you mentioned square shoulders because mine are not broad but are the squarest, (parallel to the floor) I've ever seen. I even make my own coat hangers!  It was a problem never, ever mentioned in basic fitting.

    2. Beth | | #5

      Pansy, have you tried a book by someone named Liechty or something like that? It has drawings of fitting problems with three different ways to correct it. I don't have either broad or square shoulders, but think this book covers it. I borrowed the book from the ASG library. It would be available on Interlibrary Loan from your public library.My greatest fitting difficulty has been isolating the problem. I could see a problem with my shoulders, but it took a while to learn the cause.For a year or two I corrected for forward shoulders. Now I correct for a forward head and an erect back, which is quite different. So a good fitting book would help identify figure variations.As has already been mentioned, the best sequence to correct the pattern would also be helpful.

    3. platexas | | #8

      You've probably already gotten responses... but try the Kenneth King DVD's. He's got them on pants, bodices, sleeves, etc. Very good and thorough.

      1. rodezzy | | #13

        Does the Kenneth's DVDs address plus size issues for the bodice? 

  4. tmorris1 | | #6

    Hearfire;Are you writing a book on fitting? The biggest problem that I run into is that people can see where a garment does not fit, but have no idea why. Maybe a book that covers all of the basics, starting with what to measure, where to measure, and how. Include a detailed reference chart to note measurements. Perhaps you could include a chapter on how to accurately transfer these measurements to an adjustable dressform. Then if you could explain what these measurements correspond to on the patterns, and then get into the alterations etc, I think that it could be very helpful to new sewers.Include information about what a proper fit is. How long should the arms of a shirt be? Where Should the shoulder seam sit? How long is a proper pant length? etc, etc Info for both men and women. I like comparison pictures (this is right, and this is wrong) Many of us have learned through trial and error what works, but I find that a lot of the people coming to me wanting to learn to sew cannot find the VERY basic information that is needed to get started.Just like you cannot grasp multiplication before you learn to add, you cannot fit a pattern until you know exactly how to measure, and what those measurements mean.

  5. dotty | | #7

    I've never had a fitting buddy alas. My area of interest not covered by other books would be more about ease in various styles and fabric choices. I'd also like to see more about adapting standard fitting solutions to other than basic styles. For example-- A FBA on a drop shoulder with narrow shoulders.Could you illustrate both a darted and nondarted solution for the same pattern?

  6. HollandtownGirl | | #9

    I am on a fitting journey.  It started out with buying a software program that spit out the pattern.  I got good pants, but bodice was totally frustrating.  I was probably not inputting the right info.  I finally decided that I LOVE patterns because of all the wonderful variations, but I realized unless your name is Barbie, you will have to adjust your patterns.  I have bought every fit book and dvd that I could get my hands on.  I know so much more than I used to.  I'm convinced it is a matter of studying and learning what all the masters know.  I read the other day that we should pick out two 'idols(?) and learn everything they have to teach us.  Totally absorb everything we can learn from them.  A hand mirror and a full length mirror is totally necessary.  There are several methods.  Learn them all.  Roam the internet, but read books more than web sites.  One of the more wonderful things that I have discovered is to read the (garment sewing) web blogs.  They are everywhere.  They keep you inspired.  I learned about "TNT" patterns.  (Tried and True).  Perfect a few patterns and use them over and over and over.  Just change fabric and details.  That way you can save time on altering the patterns.  Also important is to enjoy the uniqueness of ourselves.  Short, tall, large, small, change what bothers you, but be happy and contented with the way you look as you sew for yourself.  Bye for now and go buy a new fitting book or DVD and LEARN!!!!!!!!!!

    1. heartfire22 | | #10

      The reason for my first post has to do with the fact that I'm considering writing a book on the subject.  I teach a class on fitting - I use a very different approach than what is found in most books.  Everyone in the class drafts a personal fitting sloper from their own measurements,  then they are tested in muslin to perfect the fit.  Then I show them how to use the sloper to adjust commercial patterns.  The process works very well.  While it's a very laborious process of drafting the sloper every student I ask unequivocally states that they learn so much from the drafting process.  ( I feel we spend so much time drafting I don't have enough time to really show them how to use the sloper).


      It's just that writing a book is such a daunting process, I'm not sure I can do that.

      From what I've found out, if you go through a publisher, the author only gets about 10% of the cost of a book.  Not much money unless you sell millions.  If you self publish - lots more work.  Who knows, I don't plan on doing it any time in the next couple of years, so I guess I'll just keep teachingmy class

      1. HollandtownGirl | | #11

        My then 7 year old granddaughter one day left a handwritten note on my bathroom mirror.  'Shoot for the stars and if you miss, at least you will land among the stars'.

        I think you should absolutely be fearless.  You will never know how many people you might help unless you step forward and write your book. 


        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #12

          In another discussion going on there is a woman having great difficulty passing a pattern making course because she is having problems following the textbook. The book you are proposing would do her much better than what she is currently working with as far as understanding fit and patterns, which is her goal. Myself, I have real problems with fit and I have taken patternmaking. There really is not too much out there that really takes the leap between the two like you are proposing. At least not a full fledged system. I say go for it. Once you have your manuscript completed and edited, at the very least you will have a completed text available for your own students. There are lots of binding options out there for self published works, and lots of print and copy places where you can have small runs made up. Lots of locally published books get picked up by the bigger guys after starting out small! Jean Pare cookbooks are just one example!

  7. GailAnn | | #14

    I've been reading these 'Book on Fitting' posts.  I agree with the lady who said you could self publish and bind a book, as the basis of the cirrculum for your own classes.  This is a highly effective way to organize your thoughts and procedures.

    You never know who might, then, read your cirrculum and make an offer you can't refuse.  It happens.

    During the two or so years I've been poking arround the Gatherings Discussions, I've noticed post after post expressing frustration with commercial patterns and the fit of those patterns.  Yes, I probably buy as many or more patterns as the rest of you, but I find I only use a very few, and those few are just to get me started.

    Two thoughts occur to me:

    Thought One:  Are commercially manufactured patterns always the best place to start when sewing our own clothes?

    Thought Two:  Perhaps we are thinking along the lines of "tailoring" rather than "dressmaking".  What I mean to say is that men can achieve a more standard look and fit than women. 

    Think uniforms:  Let the waist out, take the waist in, exchange one jacket for another, shorten a sleeve, here, and a pant leg, there, most men can be accomodated.  Although men do come in all sizes and shapes, a wide variety of men can be well-fitted and well-dressed in this manner.

    Women's uniforms are quite another matter.  The sweep that graces the female form, blessing us with curves of potential maternity are far more difficult to standardize.   The variences, and nuances of each woman's body is totally unique unto herself. 

    That, my friends, is the challenge of it all, and what I like best about sewing.  Gail

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All