If want to learn how to make your own clothes, Then you’ll need to learn how to fit!
As with most aspects of sewing, there are many schools of thought and methods of fitting. It’s up to you to decide which is for you, and how much time you’re prepared to invest at the fitting stage. Whatever your process, the best trick for fitting is to “Fit as you sew”. Fitting your clothes at several points in the construction process will save you needless unpicking, and is the single best advantage of sewing your clothes rather than buying them. Always fit before adding a waistband or hemming, as it’s easier to fine tune side seams without them.
This is a process whereby you pin the paper pattern pieces together and try it on like a garment. This method is pretty quick, and you can quickly see the outline of a garment straight away. If you realise that the style is not for you, you’ve wasted no money on cloth. Another advantage of tissue fitting is that you can correct fit issues that would be impossible to fix once the cloth had been cut. Tissue fitting can replace the need to make a test garment. The disadvantage of this type of fitting is that the paper doesn’t sit around the body in the same way as cloth. It can also be fiddly to do on your own.
Making a toile or muslin-
This involves making up a test garment in an inexpensive fabric that is similar in weight to the fabric you plan to use. Traditionally calico or muslin is used in couture to make these mock ups or Toiles. Many home sewers choose to make a wearable muslin, in a much cheaper fabric so they aren’t wasting time sewing up a test version. If you’re making a new garment in fabric that’s extremely costly, then a toile is an excellent idea! Bridal wear, or complicated garments are also worth making up as a toile. Simple clothes that aren’t very complicated may not require the use of a toile. Once you’ve fitted a toile, the alterations can be transferred over on to your paper pattern.
This technique is somewhere between the two previous methods, and is a great time saver. Once you have cut out your pieces in the cloth, you pin the seams together as if you were going to sew, and then try it on with the pins in. You can do this inside out, or with the right sides facing out. I often pin fit inside out to save time as the alterations can be marked directly onto the wrong side of the fabric.
NB- Whilst it does help to have a fitting buddy it’s still possible to fit on your own. Try using a full length mirror and a hand held mirror, so you can see what the back looks like. I’ve padded out my mannequin so she can be my fit buddy!
Have you got any fitting tips?