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Fitting with the Big Four
Looking for help finding a fitting system for patterns
mindyandbelle
mindyandbelle
Member since 2/13/12
Posts: 4
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Date: 3/11/12 12:09 PM

Hi! I recently made a dress (my first one) and realized that using a pattern as written does not fit my body (big surprise - ha ha).

I have NO interest in making my own patterns, so I don't think Sure Fit, etc. will help me. I just want to know how to alter patterns to fit me. I really like the commercial patterns. I have a stash, and am excited about making dress, shirts, and even a pair of shorts.

Does anyone know of a system that could help me with fitting for the Big Four patterns?

Thank you!

Mindy

marjoriekh
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marjoriekh
Intermediate
Virginia USA
Member since 8/28/10
Posts: 550
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In reply to mindyandbelle


Date: 3/11/12 1:40 PM

Hi Mindy,

Welcome! You've come to a great place to get help with your fitting questions. There are a lot of people around here like you -- who want to use commercial patterns, but also to have them fit properly. If you spend some time looking around at past threads on these boards you will start to get some perspective about where to start.

As for a 'system,' there are a number of different approaches to fit that seem to work differently for different people. Some of them are associated with particular fit teachers, many of whom have written books about fit. (I believe the Lutterloh system is a fitting system, also, but I know nothing about it; there's a ton of info about it here, though. I'm not sure if it's something that would work with the Big 4, or if it uses its own patterns.)

My suggestion is that you begin by investing in a basic pattern fitting book. Two of the most popular, particularly for those beginning to work on fit, are Fit For Real People by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto (often abbreviated here as FFRP), and Fast Fit by Sandra Betzina. Either one of these will help you achieve a much better fit pretty quickly, I think.

There are many, many others, and as you progress you will begin to learn what direction you might want to go in. (I don't want to scare you, but you may find that, after some experience, a little basic pattern drafting will appeal! I never thought I'd be doing it.)

Here's a thread from last year discussing members' favorite fitting books. You might also try plugging terms for your basic fit issues into the message board search and see what you come up with. If you don't know what terms to look for, post a message and ask.

Or, you can just browse through the Fitting Woes and Pattern Modifications, Design Changes and Pattern Drafting boards for threads that might apply to your fit challenges.

Good luck! I am by no means a fitting expert -- just someone who was in your shoes about 18 months ago. I am sure others will have more to add.

------
marjoriekh

JTink
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JTink
Intermediate
Member since 4/20/08
Posts: 6169
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In reply to mindyandbelle


Date: 3/11/12 1:54 PM

You have come to the right place

Marjoriekh, gave you a lot of great advice. If you are working on something and just can't seem to "get it right", post a picture on one of the threads, along with your question. Pictures help a lot.

PattiAnnJ
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PattiAnnJ
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USA
Member since 12/3/06
Posts: 7572
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In reply to mindyandbelle


Date: 3/11/12 1:59 PM

Here is one for pants.

And this book uses the pivot and slide method for pattern alterations.

------
"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

Marilly
Marilly
Advanced Beginner
Oregon USA
Member since 7/9/06
Posts: 773
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Date: 3/11/12 2:12 PM

Which dress pattern was this?
If you could post pics of front, side, and back of yourself in the dress ( hopefully it's not in black) then others here can see and help you with it. The folks here are friendly and can often identify issues that you may not have noticed yourself.
If you're lucky, there'll be someone who has almost the same shape as you and/or who has sewn that same pattern so they could give even more specific info.
I don't know if you have any books like Fit For Real People, Fast Fit, or The Perfect Fit, but those are also helpful. Most libraries have these books so maybe you can take a look to see any of those make sense to you.
Like what others above had said. < : )
Shel

JTink
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JTink
Intermediate
Member since 4/20/08
Posts: 6169
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In reply to PattiAnnJ


Date: 3/11/12 2:31 PM

PattiAnn, thanks for posting the Threads "seam" method. I'm going to try that on my next pants pattern.

marjoriekh
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marjoriekh
Intermediate
Virginia USA
Member since 8/28/10
Posts: 550
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Date: 3/11/12 2:48 PM

I just wanted to add that, after looking more thoroughly through the thread I linked to about members' favorite fitting books, I noticed that a lot of posters there were critical of Fit For Real People.

They do make valid criticisms, but for the most part these are experienced sewists who have come to understand fit problems pretty well and are looking for something more advanced and comprehensive.

If you look through the two other threads linked to by LauraTS at the beginning of that thread, you will find many positive recommendations of FFRP, as well as other basic fit books. Then, if you go to Amazon and use the 'Look Inside' feature of the books you are considering, you will likely get a sense of which author's style you are more drawn to. (I don't have Fast Fit, but I'm thinking now that might have been the best first book for me.)

Fit For Real People
Pattern Fitting With Confidence
Fast Fit
The Perfect Fit

You really want to begin with something simple and geared toward the fit novice, in my opinion, and get some basic fitting success under your belt quickly.

(I am now gearing up to get Sarah Veblen's new book, The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting, which is the right next step for me, I think, but would have intimidated me when I first got back into garment sewing a year-and-a-half ago.)

Also, don't forget that PR has online sewing courses that feature fit! I just signed up for Sarah Veblen's Bust Adjustments class later this month, and I'm seriously thinking about her bodice fitting class in May. She gets rave reviews here for her classes.

------
marjoriekh

NhiHuynh
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NhiHuynh
Intermediate
California USA
Member since 1/4/11
Posts: 797
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In reply to mindyandbelle


Date: 3/11/12 3:24 PM

Welcome mindyandbelle! Fitting the Big Four is the same for fitting any pattern. Some are well drafted, some are not. Some just happen to fit some without too many modifications, some need a ton of rework.

Here's a question for you, how do you like to learn? If you like reading, there are a lot of tutorials on PR, sewing blogs, fitting books and other places on the web. If you are visual, craftsy.com has video classes, Peggy Sager does live webcasts www.silhouettepatterns.com, there's tutorials on YouTube. If you like hands on learning maybe a duct tape dummy will help or finding a local PRer who can help you fit.

Whatever method you choose, I agree with others that you should start with a simple design maybe a tank top. Then maybe a top with a sleeve. Then maybe a top with a collar. Just a step at a time and you'll be a pro in no time.

------
I finally have a blog. www.detectivehoundstooth.com :)

mindyandbelle
mindyandbelle
Member since 2/13/12
Posts: 4
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In reply to Marilly


Date: 3/11/12 10:06 PM

It was a hybrid. I used Butterick 5032 for the top (and sash) and Butterick 6582 for the skirt. The skirt was fine. I had to do a quick fix because I needed to wear the dress last night, so I don't have pictures of one of the original problems - the straps were about an inch too long. I will see if I can get my husband to take a picture of the rest of the fit problems - the neckline is too wide for me, so the straps were on the edge of my shoulders, the neckline was gaping, and the back of the straps were gaping. It worked fine for the party, but I had been hoping to wear it again.

mindyandbelle
mindyandbelle
Member since 2/13/12
Posts: 4
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In reply to marjoriekh


Date: 3/11/12 10:12 PM

I have a chance to take a class with Sarah Veblen through the ASG. It is called "Achieve a Custom Fit." I would love to take it, but it would cost $350 and it only covers a blouse or dress (no pants!) Do you think it is worth the cost? I learn very well by doing, so it might be a good thing.

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