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Now how do I USE my sloper?

AJ43 | Posted in Fitting on

I’ve done it! I’ve finally made a sloper of my upper half. I used to think I had broad shoulders — turns out I have square shoulders. Well whaddya know. So anyway, my problem now is how to USE this sloper. Is there a good reference, either book or online, on how to take a commercial pattern and adjust it using my sloper?


  1. stitchintime | | #1

    Congratulations on making your sloper! It is an eye opening experience.

    Karen Howland wrote 2 excellent articles on using the sloper in previous Threads issues. The first one in Threads #79 (pp.48-52) is on simple tops (blouses, jackets etc.) with darts and the second one in Threads #83 (pp.61-65) is on tops with princess seams and side panels.

    There should even be something here on the website, according to the article.

    Basically you overlay your sloper on top of the pattern and see where you need to make changes to suit your needs.

  2. User avater
    Becky-book | | #2

    Fit for Real People is a good book to have and not too expensive; I just bought the spiral bound edition on-line.


  3. mem | | #3

    I have read the Karen Howland articles and I have found them quite hard to understand . I have to say that I love the Palmer Pletsch method of using commercial patterns . I have also done some pattern making from my sloper pattern and that has been very interesting . I think it all adds up to familiarizing yourself with your particular body and how it adds up to altering commercial patterns to fit you . I have certainly become far more observant and quicker at seeing what the problem is since doing this work and reading the FIT FOR EVERY BODY book. I could hug those women !

  4. User avater
    capucine5 | | #4

    Hello, I do have a question about this problem. When I want adjust myself I'm alone and I don't think that my husband can do this for me.  Even if he has an engineer brain... to my surprise it is not working in sewing project! ;-)

    So I do as my mother did, I place the garment wrong side up on the dress form (sloper: is this the correct term?) and adjust it.  For me it is the best way I understand because reading the technique in the magazine with all the measurments it confuse me.

    Do you have simple suggestion for me?

    Thank you all!

    THERESE :-) 

    Edited 9/2/2006 12:51 pm ET by capucine5

    1. AJ43 | | #5

      A sloper and a dress form are two different fitting tools.  I, too, have a dress form, and although I'm not an expert in using it, your method sounds fine.  A sloper is a close-fitting garment which was created from a flat pattern piece which has been customized to my measurements.  Now that I have a flat pattern which fits my shape, I'm trying to figure out how to "apply" that shape to a commercial pattern.  I'm guessing that I lay it over the commercial pattern and ...  then a miracle occurs ... and then the commercial pattern fits me. 

    2. mem | | #6

      The sloper is'nt just a close fitting garment it IS your body in 2 dimensions. I use one to show me what needs to be routinely altered . such as waist to bust point length . and full bust adjustment shoulder length crotch length etc. and I also use it to derive patterns from by doing dart manipulation .The thing that is hard with a sloper is that the darts need to be distributed ina similar manner to he pattern which you want to use for it to be a meanigful comparison. This means that you need to understand dart manipualtion which isnt that hard and is VERY well described in Harriet Pepins book which you can access at Vintage Sewing.com.where it is available to read online.

        When I have altered the pattern using the tissue fitting method and the slpoer , I make up a muslin and adjust that on the dummy and then on me ,but usually its pretty accurate by that stage . Then I mark all the seamsand darts etc. with a fat felt marker and pull the muslin appart and iron it and cut off all the seam allowances and I have my full adjusted and customized pattern . I add the seam allowances on when I cut out the fashion fabric and that allowes me to mark all the stitching lines as I like to have nice big side seams.

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