I’ve had Wild Ginger’s PatternMaster Boutique for a few months now but I hadn’t got around to making my fitting garments until recently. For those of you who haven’t heard of Wild Ginger, they make a range of programs which draft patterns to your own personal measurements. I have a bit of experience with pattern-making already but I wanted a
lazier simpler option for home sewing. And for those of you wondering what a fitting garment is, it’s a very basic, bare bones pattern, used to correct any fitting issues, which you then use as a base for further fashion patterns. The stylized patterns created from a properly fitted sloper (fit garment) shouldn’t need much adjustment so it’s worth investing the time and energy at the very beginning to avoid tears and tantrums later on.
I put off making the fitting garments for a while because I knew I’d be up for a lot of fine tuning due to my size and shape. If you’ve ever tried to gift wrap a basketball you can understand the type of frustration I expected. In the end I kicked my own butt and set out making the sheath sloper. I was feeling motivated after reading some articles on couture techniques and all those lovely finishes reminded me that I wouldn’t be able to make anything nice unless I did the hard yards first.
I got my mum to measure me the first time and plugged all those details in to the program.
The shape of the pattern pieces seemed a little odd but at the same time I’m not a “perfect industry size 10” so of course they looked strange. The bust dart and the armhole shape are just plain weird when you look at the pattern. I left the settings at their defaults and printed it off on our lovely A3 printer and stuck them on the glass sliding door to tape them all together.
Moving along, I cut it out in calico (muslin for our American friends) and set to sewing it up. One of the things I like about fitting garments is the slap-dash-sewing satisfaction you get (says the woman who only a couple of paragraphs earlier mentioned a lust of couture finishes- lol). You don’t have to hem it if you don’t want, you don’t need to overlock the seams because it won’t be worn as a real garment, you can skip on facings and interfacings and all the time-consuming stuff and you get to focus on the most important issue which is how it fits!
So, how did it fit? Well… it wasn’t a complete failure but it definitely needs some work! Thankfully, Wild Ginger has a wonderful support woman named Karen and Karen is my new best friend while we fine tune the pattern.
This is a fantastic after sale service if you can be patient and it’s worth waiting for her expert advice. I sent her a copy of the pattern summary and photos of the front, back and sides and left the following observations.
It feels a bit too big all over, I can get it on without using the back zip.
The bust point seems too high and I’m at the maximum horizontal position.
The waistline isn’t even, it’s higher at the front.
I can pinch out heaps of fabric at the waistline on the side seams, easily 15cm (6 inches?).
The darts at the front waist are leaving huge pleats, should I use two instead of one.
The sleeve and underarm don’t feel tight but the head is twisting to the front.
The reply I got back asked me to check my measurements and sure enough they were out by a fair whack at the waist. She also mentioned where to find the bust dart vertical position setting and how to measure for that. She told me how to correct the sleeve head twisting and changed some of the waist height measurements as well. And yes, I should be using two waist darts, not one!
I’ve made the suggested changes and will write about them in the next installment!