Trial and Error- Making Multiple Fits

Making a pattern may bring you closer to achieving your design, but more likely than not, your pattern will require alteration either to improve the fit or tweak the design. If I make a pattern for a client and it is fit approved on the first sample, well let’s put it this way: I should go out and play the lottery that day. I like to treat the first draft as the experimental muslin, or the first step in a process. Sometimes I will sew up a muslin knowing full well that this is not going to be a good fit. But this brings me closer to where I need to be and I have a clearer direction on what to do next.

Case study:(warning do not try this at home unless you know your way around a pants pattern.) I often read about turning a pair of pants into shorts or vice versa. I started this process as an exercise to determine exactly what was required to do so. I had a pair of shorts that I liked the fit of and I wanted to copy the saddle and waist shape onto a pair of pants. I took the shorts pattern and made it into a pair of pants, applying familiar shapes and morphing the shorts pattern. I knew the first draft would need further improvement. These pants needed a lot of work (these are the worst of the worse) :

1) The back rise ended up too short making my butt look really flat

2) The back saddle was too narrow

3) Too much fullness in the thighs

4) Legs twisting

I fixed the first draft using what I like to call my Kamikaze method- chop, slash, patch, close… basically throwing everything I have at it. Here is what the

fixed pattern looked like on the back (front was not so bad)


This is still a work in progress, but I anticipate probably at least 2 more muslins.

My point is this: This is just the way it is. It’s a way of life in the industry where we don’t even think twice about making a revised sample to get it right. I’m working on a line of home sewing patterns and each style is sewn at least 3 times to get the fit right. It’s better to spend the time slowly perfecting the fit and re-sewing samples. C’mon, we all have extra fabric that has been laying around. Why not use up some of the extra stuff? Added bonus:  it does make you a faster and better sewer by repeating the process.



Industry Insider: How the clothing gets to you pt 2

Sealing the deal.

Traditionally buyers representing stores of targeted market set up appointments to visit the designer/manufacturers showroom. The samples that were constructed in pt 1 are now brought into a showroom where everything is hung up neatly or spread across the wall for a picture perfect presentation. The salespeople and sometimes designers explain their concepts and try to sell the products to buyers. Buyers place orders based on their customer needs, forecasting and financial expectations. Depending on the success of the collection and /or the buyers budget orders may be placed for many styles or only one.

When the orders are confirmed the fitting process begins. Sometimes the designing company has the right to approve the fit of the garment. Another common scenario, especially in the case of large retailers, they will require the designing company (vendor) to submit samples to be fit by technicians at their location for standardization and quality control purposes. For the discussion purposes I will only detail the vendor fit process.

A professional fit model is called in to try on a number or garments which orders have been placed for.  Persons present at the fitting can vary, but mostly it is the designer, the patternmaker, the technical designer, and production manager.  Each style is evaluated for fit, functionality and styling. Detailed notes are taken and afterwards passed to the patternmaker.

The patternmaker applies the necessary changes to the pattern and the garment is re-cut and re-sewn. The fit model is once again called in and the same evaluation takes place. Depending on the level of perfection involved this process can repeat numerous times. I would estimate that on average a garment is fit 2-3 times before getting the final fit approval, but this can vary widely.