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Message Board > Miscellaneous > RTW and fit ( Moderated by Deepika, EleanorSews, CynthiaSue)

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RTW and fit
My personal pet peeve
GorgeousFabrics
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GorgeousFabrics
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Date: 6/23/05 6:44 PM

A random thought has been occuring to me lately. Maybe that makes it non random, but I figured I'd share it and invite everyone's input. PhyllisC and I are going to teach a sewing class this fall on fit, specifically blouse/bodice fit. Add to that, I've been working part time in a friend's boutique lately, where the average sale is in the $250 range.

Now here's my observation/thought. Most Jane-on-the-street types have not a clue about what constitutes good fit! It's really discomfiting to me to see people believe that something that has wrinkles in the crotch, armhole gaposis, wrinkles above the bust, etc. fits them well! These are women who don't hesitate to drop several hundred dollars on an outfit. They simply have no clue.

I'm not condemning my friend. She stocks her store with styles that will flatter all sorts of body types, and she has a good sense of fit and flattering styles for those types, and she offers alterations services. I would never say anything to cost her any sales. But I don't hesitate to tell customers that I think they would do better in another size, or in a different manufacturer's product, or even a different style. I often say things like "I take a Large in that manufacturer's line, so don't feel bad if you need to go up a size." And there are certain situations (Mu jeans, for one) where I'll say they and I need to go down a size. My goal is to get them in something that they will be comfortable wearing for a long time.

But back to my soapbox - people are so used to ill-fitting clothing that they will believe that a potato sack looks good if the size number on the tag is the one they like.

Well, that's my observation. I'd love to hear what other people think about this. Tying it back to my class, it makes my life more difficult to explain the RTW sizing vs pattern sizing. But ultimately it is gratifying when I help a student or client get a well-fitting garment that they will wear for a long time to come.

Thoughts?
Ann

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Gorgeous Fabrics - the name says it all!
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Stitchology

Stitchology
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Date: 6/23/05 6:55 PM

Alterations used to be assumed to be necessary, but have mostly disappeared. Very few stores offer them. As RTW prices have dropped alterations have seemed more expensive in comparison. Also, things are now thrown away rather than repaired most of the time.

Do you encourage them to go for the alteration? Pinch out some excess or lift something from behind to show how it changes the fit? Point out the drag lines as something that can be remedied?

Maybe it's because so few people sew and nobody is even aware of fitting issues any more.

When I buy RTW I consider how easily it can be altered. One of my most frequent changes is taking in the side seam on a top that fits my hips. If it's sleeveless it has to have an armhole that will cooperate, no elaborate binding or facings. I won't buy a top with sleeves if it bags and the shoulder hangs too low. For pants I have to take in the waist, same examination for feasibility.

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Buy the best and you only cry once.

drsue
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Date: 6/23/05 7:09 PM

I didn't think people wore bad fitting clothes on purpose. I always felt they just couldn't find anything that fit. Given that most people don't sew and have limited funds (for alterations), they are pretty much stuck with whats out there. Do people really think there bad fitting clothes look good?

Vonnevo
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In reply to GorgeousFabrics


Date: 6/23/05 7:16 PM

Ann, you are not alone in these thoughts..here in Australia too, so many people wear RTW that fits so badly. I think you are correct..they feel happy with a label size number and many RTW manufacturers label with false sizing. eg. an actual size 14 is labelled as a 12.

Another thing I notice is the stretch tops literally stretched around bodies, for the sake of choosing a larger size.

This week while sewing, I was watching an Oprah show, screened last October in the US. It was a fabulous take on what styles suit older women. The transformations were incredible.

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Vonne šOš Brisbane Australia
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Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age and dreams are forever.
We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.

NancyDaQ
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Date: 6/23/05 8:33 PM

I dunno, my alterationist seems really busy all of the time. So somebody out there has to have a clue.

However, there are others who think that if it's "their" size, it fits. Even if it doesn't look right, they'll buy the skinny size even if it looks like cr*p, rather that go up a size. May be reasonable if you're a teenager, but who else is gonna see your size tag if you're over the age of 15?

I have a co-worker who's buying new clothes due to weight loss. She knows that size is just a number and has found she can wear anything from a 14 to a 20. What does that suggest to you?

Another co-worker showed me pictures from her son's graduation. He looked so nice, but I really wish he'd had someone to suggest alterations. The pants were at least 6" too long and the sleeves at least 2" too long. I'm sure he has no clue.
-- Edited on 6/23/05 9:35 PM --
-- Edited on 6/23/05 9:35 PM --

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Vicky C

Vicky C  Friend of PR
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AZ USA
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Date: 6/23/05 8:38 PM

I wonder if some people see gaps and wrinkles and don't really know that it indicates a bad fit. Maybe they think it's their bodies that are wrong -- not the clothes. Many women have a remarkably poor self image and often buy clothes to "cover up" some feature of their figure they're not happy with. Besides, other than things like hem/sleeve length and other simple things, I don't think most people learn about fit unless they sew. Where would they learn? Just a thought or two....

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Vicky

Gigi Louis
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Date: 6/23/05 9:41 PM

Well, this is always an interesting subject, isn't it? I think that alot of people just don't give a hoot about proper fit - especially in casual clothing. For instance, my DMIL and DSIL are both right around 5' tall (I am the Amazon in my family, lol). Do they ever have their skirts or dresses shortened? NO! My DMIL, bless her heart, is large busted. She buys whatever fits at the shoulder. Sometimes I feel like I may get hit in the eye by a projectile button when she takes a breath. The odd thing is that she used to be a sewer! She used to make all of her own clothing, even suits, so it's not like she doesn't know what good fit is. I think part of it is that she doesn't like the number of a larger size that could be altered to fit better.

Why don't I sew for her, you ask? I gave up because we just didn't agree about what flattered or fit her!

NancyDaQ
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In reply to Gigi Louis


Date: 6/23/05 10:12 PM

Quote: Gigi Louis
Sometimes I feel like I may get hit in the eye by a projectile button when she takes a breath.

Oh no, this is just tooo funny. ROFL!!

But of course, it's also true! As a large busted person myself, I can't stand the straining-at-the-bust deal, either by how it looks or for the fear injuring someone with a flying button.

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Now blogging at http://sewwest.blogspot.com

Lorna C. Newman
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Lorna C. Newman
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Date: 6/23/05 10:32 PM

Oh this is so timely! And those popping buttons are not uniqueo to your friend, Gigi! My DM spent a week with us as we were house hunting. We then went shopping and I had to make an excuse to leave her as she browsed the racks. My Mom refuses to believe that she is NOT a size 16 anymore. I actually think she is a plus sized petite. Her pants fit in the leg, not being baggy, but she has to really "exhale" to button the waist. THe funny thing is, she helps me out when I am trying things on, so I know she knows!

The couple of times I had fit her for patterns, I managed to start with a 16 and alter it up, but I don't know is she ever actually sewed them up. I suspect not as she would have told me if it fit or not. I think she is really in denial about her body shape. I definitely think it is a self image problem combined with a lack of education about options. A lot of the chain stores don't offer alterations and why alter when there is just another size waiting? Instant gratification. And when the size range of the customer rises, change the sizing system.

I hardly ever buy RTW now, but actually found a bias cut dress that fit for a wedding coming up. Granted, I have to take in the shoulder seam as it needs adjusting, but the twins fit nicely and the draping is lovely and the final fit is flattering (are there any tricks to taking a pattern tracing from a bias garment).

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Like Miss Frizzle says "Take chances, make mistakes ..." isn't that what fitting is all about? I am happily taking chances and making mistakes as I fit muslin after muslin ...
newmansneedle.blogspot.com

Jackie V

Jackie V
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In reply to Gigi Louis


Date: 6/23/05 11:02 PM

My Daughter in law is very short. She is tiny from the waist up, but is very bottom heavy and has very short legs. She insists on wearing tops and Jackets skin tight. Her jacket armscyes are way to tight and she brags about her tiny size 4 tops, but her bottom looks much bigger because she insists on having her tops too tight. I think she has hips in a size 10 or 12 and they look huge. I think she would look better if she wore something softer and more flowing and a little less tight on top. She looks so uncomfortable. My husband says it looks like she wears rubber bands on top and it pushes all her fat to her hips and thighs. Its funny how people see themselves and the size tag in a garment is so important to them.

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