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Quick Fitting Solutions

Apply these techniques to remove, add, or shift fabric so your sewn garments fit better
Threads #201, Feb./March 2019

We all know that a pattern rarely fits anyone without at least a few alterations. As we acquire sewing experience, we often notice that more changes are needed. This is partly because our bodies change over time and are less similar to the standard that commercial patterns are drafted for. It’s also partly because experienced sewers become more discerning in their assessment of fit. They recognize the telltale drag lines, wrinkles, and droopy edges that reveal an incorrect fit. It can be frustrating to improve your sewing skills but still not feel great about the way a garment looks on your body.

In my years of teaching and designing patterns, I’ve worked with sewers of all shapes and sizes. In the process, I have discovered a number of fit issues that plague many of them. Gaping necklines and armscyes, and tightness around the hips and across the abdomen, all contribute to a less-than-neat appearance and cause a garment to feel uncomfortable. Although these challenges occur fairly consistently in mature women, they’re not limited to that age group. Bone structure, the distribution of flesh on your body, and posture can result in these problems no matter what your age.

I’m glad to say that all these fit discrepancies are easy to solve with straightforward patternwork. The techniques I’ll demonstrate remove, add, or shift fabric as needed so your sewn garments gently hug your body at the neckline and armscyes, and skim your torso smoothly. These fixes aren’t for fitting a snug evening gown. They’re intended to help you look your best every day, in clothes that give you room to move. If you make those same garments in a scrumptious special-occasion fabric, you’ll be able to skip the gown and be just as stylish.

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Fit & Sew Tops

Fit & Sew Tops

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