On one of my recent visits to Britex in San Francisco, I learned the store was phasing out sewing patterns from the “traditional” companies like Vogue for Indie and independent designers. I respect Britex’s attention to uniqueness and its historic reputation to stand apart from the rest, especially craft/fabric stores, but it’s sad to say good-bye.
I decided to simultaneously work with a Vogue pattern and a pattern designed by independent designer, Lois Ericson. The written instructions for the Vogue pattern are more detailed, while the Sew and Design Pattern (Lois Ericson) is open-ended for creativity. I believe prior sewing experience is necessary to work with any of her patterns. (Of course, there is a new generation of designers I’m looking forward to investigating, but not limited to are Colette Patterns https://www.colettepatterns.com/ and Victory Patterns https://www.victorypatterns.com/.)
I traced the patterns onto medical pattern paper, and cut out a muslin of each pattern, and attended a garment construction class with Sally-Ann Flak. Sally-Ann fitted the patterns to my body, and I incorporated the changes to the pieces. Here is what I learned about my body in relation to these two patterns.
The pants pulled down in the back because my derriere sits low and I needed to add extra fullness. I added 1/2 inch 6 inches down from my waist by cutting and spreading the pattern piece. The front pants piece required no alterations. The top ended up being two sizes smaller than the pants.
As with the Vogue pattern, I traced and cut a muslin of the pattern. To begin with, the pants needed to be shortened 3 inches and the pant legs needed to be redrawn. The crotch length on the front needed to be shortened 2 inches. The waist on the front and back needed to be decreased by 3/8 inch. I needed to slash and decrease the hips by 1/2 inch. The back darts were a bit too long, so the adjustment didn’t require me to redraft the darts. The jacket is one size smaller than the pants, and needs to be fitted. I have a feeling the jacket needs to be one size smaller and 2 inches shorter.
Of course, the patterns are two different styles and probably is not a fair comparison, but I’m definitely developing a deeper understanding of pattern fit and alterations. My bod is not in proportion. The top of my body is two sizes smaller than the lower portion of my body with one hip higher than the other, and my hips tilt forward.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to delve into the world of fashion design, and I believe now is the right time. Staring in August, I plan on exploring the Fashion Design and Merchandising Department at Canada College in Redwood City, CA.
3 thoughts on “One Size Does Not Fit Most”
It’s very interesting to really look at the flat piece of paper, and envision the outcome in three dimension. Thanks for your comment!
Altering patterns is a lot of work and is often more difficult than drafting from scratch to your measurements. I got so frustrated altering, I went to college and learned to draft. Don’t say that your body is not in proportion. The body is the original, and the pattern must fit it. It is rather that the patterns are made for mannequins instead of real people, and so the patterns are wrong, not your body (except may be for different hips 😉 ).
How fascinating it must be, to learn all this and know just how to sew to suit your own body! SO far beyond my understanding! And that’s an exciting plan you have for the future.