The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

Why is fit so important?

I know you sewists are told over and over to fit, fit, fit and everything will be glorious, you will be thinner, richer and smarter.  OK, part of that is true – the thinner part, but the rest I’m not sure about.  But you may feel richer and smarter, which is a long way towards getting there.

But really why is this so important?  It’s a whole lotta work, and sometimes you’re having to read the mind of fabric and such that doesn’t even have a mind!  Now, how are you supposed to do that?

I was rummaging through some old class and student photos and found this of Shawn.

Shawn was wearing this blouse in class one day, and I put her in front of the mirror and with two pins showed her how to make this blouse a beautifully fitting garment.

The first thing you’ll notice is that there is a wrinkle from the neck to the armhole, and there’s another wrinkle under the arm on the side.  Both of these are here because her shoulder is too wide.  She has to wear a blouse with shoulders like this to accommodate her bust, but she actually doesn’t need extra fabric through her shoulders.  It’s through her bust she needs the extra space.

Notice that on her left side, I’ve taken up the shoulder.  IOW, I’ve made the shoulder width smaller to reflect her true shoulder width.  What this does immediately is this makes a delineation on where her shoulder is.  Why is this so important?  This is the point from which the whole garment hangs – if this is wrong (too short or too wide), then the whole garment is messed up from the beginning.  As an artist, this is one of the starting places for the eye to travel through the garment.  Designers mess with this a lot and they do it professionally and with proportion and a great deal of effort (sometimes trial and error) before they get it right.  We sewist can learn a lot from these professionals, and one of the basic things that you must get right when you’re fitting is that shoulder.

You’ll also notice, I’ve put in a side dart.  That’s to take that extra fabric under the arm that the extended shoulder caused.  This is to clean up (remember that my word for fit neatly) that area cause it’s also important for the eye when it’s traveling down the side of the garment.

Here’s what I’m talking about

These lines make it really clear how your eye travels down the side of the garment/body.  See on Shawn’s right how clean and straight it looks….look how much thinner Shawn looks on that side.  On the left side, she looks sloppy and wrinkled and much larger than she actually is.  Her shoulders are sloping, and there’s not delineation about where the top of her body starts, and Shawn really doesn’t have that badly sloping shoulders;  it’s the blouse that makes her look like this.

Here’s one last picture.  I took the right side and put it on her left side











Maybe this will make it a little easier.  On the left is Shawn with her two left sides, and on the right is Shaw in her two right sides – which one looks better?…which one does Shawn look thinner (and she hasn’t lost or gained a pound).  Which one looks more fitted?  Which one looks cleaner.

This is why I say that side bust dart, front bust dart, front bust alteration – whatever you want to call it – looks so good, and why it’s magical.  It allows you to keep your shoulder the measurement that it actually is and creates the room where you need it – in your bust area – not in the shoulder.  AND it does all this without having to get into any armscye or armhole or shoulder head/shoulder sleeve alterations.  And that is a nightmare.

So practice it, use it, and love it!!!  It’s worth the effort!


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