As you know, I've had a couple of meet-ups with other sewists recently. At all of these meet-ups, conversations always end up being about what we sew and how we fit.
When Opal & Eugenia and I were in Metro (sorry Elizabeth but your dental appointment was over and you had headed back to work!) we were discussing alterations we make to our patterns to get a better fit. That's when I told them that I cheat...because I don't believe that I "alter" patterns the way "the fitting experts" do. I am forever folding tucks into my patterns necklines and taping them down to decrease the size of the neckline.
Or using the fabric's natural tendencies to give/add room to a garment...i.e. linen and it's relaxing fibers or the extra drapiness of silk...I also intuitively make some pattern changes now since I've been sewing so long (OMG just realized that it's 40 years this year!) that I actually have to take a minute to think about the "hows" and "whys" of what I did.
So Opal here is the "correct" way to do a "high round back" pattern alteration, courtesy of Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer and Maria Alto...which should be in every sewist's library, btw!
This alteration is found on page 122 of the book:
a. about 1" below the neckline seam, draw a line across the back of the pattern from center back to the armhole or shoulder seamline.
(all of these samples are from a fitting class I took with Colleen Jones)
b. cut to the seamline from the center back to the seamline, forming a hinge.
c. raise the upper section at the center back about 1/4" - 3/8". Insert tissue and tape down.
d. the center back is now slightly curved at the top.
Then FFRP goes on to tell you how to handle the now curved pattern piece.
1. If placing the back piece on the fold, ignore the curve, the neckline will be slightly larger (usually 1/16" to 1/8")...ease the extra fullness into the collar or facing.
2. OR add a center back seam so that you can maintain the curve
(this is what I usually do!)
3. OR add a neck dart...see FFRP for further instructions on this.
On the fitting front, I also regularly raise side seam darts...omit fisheye darts (that's more fabric for my past childbearing-into early menopause belly). I will pivot and slide a pattern piece in a heartbeat, oh and my personal favorite slicing a pattern to add a seam to achieve the fit that I want.
Now for my disclaimer...I work to achieve a fit that I like. I don't like close-fitting clothes. I don't believe they flatter me and they are difficult for me to work and move around in. But you may like a different type of fit and you as the sewist/designer should fit garments and make them for your lifestyle.
I'm sure that I'm not always using the proper techniques but my goal is to get garments that work within my fit parameters, out of flat fold fabric and onto my body as quickly as possible...because you know I love having a new outfit to wear on Monday mornings!
So what fitting shortcuts do you take? What alterations to you make to your patterns instinctively? Or do you make any? Or are you scared to fit? And do you have an idea of how you like garments to fit or are you just winging it? Talk back to me because this is the Question of the Day!