Sunday, July 6, 2014

How I Fit a Commercial Pattern (The Fitting of New Look 6808)

Fitting a Commercial Pattern......

Does it make you break out in a sweat to think of fitting a pattern?

I think I am getting better and not so fearful.  Let me share a few tips I have stumbled across.  

I love to use my sloper to start the fitting process.  While making your first sloper is a task, it will pay off big when you realize it is "you" in two dimensions.  Since patterns come in two dimensions, comparing a commercial pattern to your sloper can let you see huge problems without even sewing a stitch.  Let me show you an example:

New Look 6808
A fitted top with many different sleeve and collar options.  Side zipper. 
A top that reflects my sloper darts.

New Look 6808 in white embroidered cotton

Back New Look 6808

Love the sleeves on this top.

New Look 6808

A few notes on slopers:

I started about a year ago with the Vogue 1004 sloper.  I was very happy with my success.  

Kenneth King was in Houston in the spring and I asked a ton of questions about sleeves (my nemesis.)  He suggested his sleeve sloper CD.  I already had his Moulage CD, but hadn't used it yet.
At about the same time, I was asked to share a few of my fitting tips with a neighborhood group of the Houston ASG.  So, I decided to whip up that Kenneth King Moulage for comparison.  


To make the sloper using Kenneth King's Moulage CD, you must take accurate body measurements and then draw your moulage.  He gives great step by step directions on the CD.  The Vogue 1004 sloper was fitted using basic fitting methods.  

My Moulage front from Kenneth King Moulage CD (red=moulage, black=sloper, blue=5/8" SA)

My Moulage back from Kenneth King  Moulage CD (red=moulage, black=sloper, blue=5/8" SA)

A few notes on Kenneth King's Moulage CD

*Helped me solve uneven shoulder issues for me.
*Can be mess up with bad measurements
*Assumes you have a perfectly dividable by four figure (I redid my measurements and separated out  each quadrant to solve some deep fitting issues.)
*I also used his sleeve fitting CD and on the first try made a sleeve that fit and hung straight!!!!!

Comparison of my Vogue 1004 sloper and KK Moulage

Comparison of my Vogue 1004 sloper and KK moulage

You can see I wasn't too far off track with the Vogue 1004 sloper.  I have lost 15 pounds since the Vogue sloper was done, which is about a full dress size.  

Below is one of the first fitting challenges I face:  uneven and sloping shoulders.  

The camera doesn't lie, you can see it!  

Most fitting experts say to pad up the low shoulder to make them match.  I am sure these people don't live in Houston, Texas or spend most of the year in the heat.  Most of my clothing is lightweight cotton and I choose not to pad it up by over an inch.

Yes, this is a real picture of my shoulders.  No optical illusion.
 Following are a few pictures of my slopers.  
*Warning: pictures taken by my 12 year old*

Wrinkled Vogue 1004 sloper.  You can see where I lost the 15 pounds.

Back of Vogue 1004.

Kenneth King sloper.  Small wrinkles on the right side due to the way I was standing and the cami sticking underneath.

Kenneth King sloper back.

On to fitting New Look 6808

New Look 6808 as is (without sleeves).  Notice the neckline issues, front fisheye darts skewed, bust darts in the wrong place, gaps in the arm holes.

New Look 6808 as is.  Notice the wrinkles in the arms eye area, lower back fabric pooling and uneven hemlines.
New Look 6808 on top of my sloper.  Bust points don't match.  Shoulders too high.  Not enough width.  Armholes too high on one side.  

Original New Look 6808 on my sloper back.  Shoulders too high.  Arm hole too high.  Green lines from notes at my fitting class.  Blue line is the original pattern.

Redrawn New Look 6808 pattern on my sloper.

New Look 6808 redrawn on my sloper.
A very wrinkled muslin of New Look 6808.  Wrinkles on right are where I removed pins to put on the muslin.  I wanted the zipper to be "needed," so I made the final version more fitted.

Back of muslin of New Look 6808.

A fitted New Look 6808 top. 

Fabric notes:  Embroidered cotton tends to grow and stretch.  I haven't figured out a bullet proof method for predetermining fabric behavior.

Highly recommend Lynda Maynard's CD, Demystifying Fit.

More fitting notes to come..............


  1. Wow, your fitting skills are amazing. I'd love to be able to do something like that.

  2. Great job with sloper and getting a great fit.

  3. Isn't it satisfying when you achieve a good fit. You look lovely.

  4. Love your blouse. Great fit - its worth all the effort when it comes out like yours did!