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.



2 thoughts on “Trial and Error- Making Multiple Fits

  1. Yes, yes, yes. Admittedly I started with a Burda pattern, but I completely redrafted it and have made 4 muslins. It still needs more tweaking but I think I’ve hit my limit.

  2. Hello, I just found your blog through Gorgeous Fabrics’ Blog. I am a longtime seamstress, but have only recently been playing with altering patterns. Full bust adjustments in particular are a problem for me. If you have the time and would like to give me some tips, I’ve blogged about a specific project I’m about to try.

    If you have the time, then I’m sending huge thanks your way. If not, I totally understand. Thanks either way. I wish you luck with your blog. Looks very interesting and I will be adding to my blog list.

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