Getting a great fit from a Commercial Pattern

Update: Due to popular demand, I have scheduled a follow-up class to this lecture. For more details, follow this link.

While the fabulous Leimomi teaches our dressmaking classes, I do like to keep my hand in too. And so when I was asked to do a lecture at this year’s HandMade Symposium over QBW, I opted for the topic of getting a great fit out of a commercial pattern.

This topic is dear to my heart, as one who has never been remotely the shape of whatever model they draft patterns for. Also, for every garment I have made myself, I have made at least 100 for other people, and so I’ve had to get patterns to fit every conceivable body shape. It’s a challenge I have always enjoyed rather than endured, but I realise it is a source of frustration for many sewists.

When you are sewing for yourself, once you know your body’s shape and how to translate that into pattern adjustments, sewing becomes easier. What I aim to do in this lecture is help you to understand what matters and what doesn’t – and how to find out.

The internet is a fantastic resource for sewists of all levels, with so many great blogs and resources like pattern review. However, I feel there is a downside. A lot of highly technical information about pattern making and adjustments is out there and sewists are using it to try and improve their pattern drafting. Personally I feel this is counter intuitive – the best way to learn how to adjust a flat pattern is to work on a 3D body, and translate those changes into the pattern, not the other way around. This is how our minds work, and there’s nothing like getting hands on to increase understanding.

So, in our lecture I’ll be demonstrating on two fabulous models, Sarah and Johanna, the cause and effect nature of common fitting issues. My ultimate goal, the one that makes all the hard work worthwhile for me, is if sewists can get to know the contours of their bodies really well so that they can fit their clothes, not so they can sit in judgement of those contours.

I’m going to demonstrate on our two models how I have got a great fit on hundreds of women and men in the past 30 years. Concentrating on upper body fit and sleeves, where most people’s frustrations come from, but many of the principles apply to lower body fitting also and I’ll touch on that.

So, at $10 a ticket it is an inexpensive investment in upskilling yourself. AND, for anyone reading this blog who registers, leave a comment below or a message on our facebook page, and I will have a 20% off your next purchase voucher waiting for you behind the counter next time you visit. 🙂 It’s my way of saying thank you for engaging with us online and following up, I appreciate that.

The Patterns

I am using two patterns from two different companies, chosen because they are generic enough to use as a sloper for adjusting other patterns.


This pattern Simplicity 2648 is an Amazing Fit style which means it has different pattern pieces for different cup sizes, and different skirt shapes. Personally, one glance at it told me it was no amazing at all, but that’s to be expected and we’ll look at what you can do to make it amazing after all.

B4443Butterick B4443 is a great basic dress pattern. Unfortunately without a sleeve option. I chose it because I know the model will love it and she can use the adjustments to make herself a scrummy one afterwards 🙂

 So, if your curiosity is piqued, we’d love to see you there. June 1 and 2, 10.05am-11am, Icon Room at Te Papa. Bookings are on HandMade’s website


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Kathi

    Darnit! I’m very very interested, but I have so much on that weekend with Armageddon and Dr Who at the movies… Though its only 55 mins each day isnt it…. hmmm might be able to swing it! If its ok if I come in costume that is…

  2. Made Marion

    HI Kathi! It’s the same lecture but with two time options, so even less of a hassle, and I TOTALLY love the idea of anyone coming in costume, how fab!!
    I do wish HandMade wasn’t up against Armageddon though, as I think they are both amazing events that need their very own weekend!

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