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sufficient ease?

4brossis | Posted in Fitting on

What is a sufficient amount of ease in a normal-fitting garment? My past attempts have too much or too little and I just want to alter some patterns, not make a sloper. Making a sloper doesn’t seem to be a great solution for me because muslin isn’t compatible with the fabrics I’m using, in my opinion (despite the fact that many articles see it as the cure-all), and buying a similar but cheap fabric has ended up with its own fabric quality problems.
Any suggestions?


  1. GailAnn | | #1

    If you have some clothes already in your own wardrobe, that you like, and enjoy the fit, you could measure them at various crutial points and alter your patterns to correspond with those measurements.  Gail

  2. GailAnn | | #2

    I think we've all grown a little used to the fit of "Ready to Wear" and so maybe we don't ecactlly know what proper fit and ease might be.  That which is popular may not necessarily be what is proper.  Gail

    1. 4brossis | | #6

      That is so true! I haven't sewn in a long time, and have gotten use to "un-fit" in ready to wear. "Petite" pants are as much as 8" too long, etc., etc.
      Thanks for your response.

  3. suesew | | #3

    Ease can be different for many type of garments. You will want much more ease in a jacket than the blouse under it or the camisole under that. I agree with Gail, check out some of your favorite garments and compare their measurements with the pattern you want to use.

  4. Josefly | | #4

    Amount of ease is often a matter of preference, as suggested by those who've recommended you measure your favorite clothes to see how much ease is incorporated. Different styles also call for different amounts of ease, and fabric type also affects the ease - other factors equal, thicker fabrics may need more ease, knitted stretchy fabrics need less.

    That said, several books do recommend minimum ease for motion and comfort allowance, associated with bust, waistline, hip, and bicep measurements. From my copy of "The Perfect Fit" from the Singer Sewing Reference Library, the following ease allowances are recommended:

    Bust -
    blouse or dress - 2.5 to 3 inches
    unlined jacket - 3 to 4 inches
    lined jacket - 3.5 to 4.5 inches
    coat - 4 to 5 inches

    upper back width -
    blouse or dress - .5 to 1 inch
    jacket - 1 inch
    coat - 1 to 2 inches

    hip, under size 16 - 2 inches minimum
    hip, size 16 and larger - 2.5 inches

    upper arm -
    blouse - 1 to 1.5 inches (I prefer 2 inches, though)
    dress - 1.5 to 2 inches
    unlined jacket - 3 to 4 inches
    lined jacket - 3 to 4.5 inches
    coat - 4 to 5.5 inches

    waist (waistband) -
    under size 16 - 1/2 to 3/4 inch
    size 16 and over - 1 inch
    (a skirt attached to a waistband has more ease than the waistband itself, 1 to 1 inches.)

    There is a wonderful description of the "proper" way pants should fit (with ease incorporated) at this site:


    Hope this is helpful.

    1. Cherrypops | | #5


      You have received excellent advice especially from josefly. The website given is a great one. Lise-Laure is also one of our forum members. you can find all her past advice using the advanced search function liselaure is her screenname.

      Cherryp (australia)

      1. 4brossis | | #8

        I did go to the liselaure site. It was fascinating reading. As you mentioned, lots of good advice.
        Thank you.

    2. 4brossis | | #7

      Thank you, your response is very helpful.

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