Have you ever gone shopping without finding a single garment that fits or feels right? Spending hour after hour trying an endless number of tops or jeans but they simply don’t fit no matter how deep the shop assistant looks in the storage?
You’re not alone.
Sometimes it almost feels like the perfect fit is an illusion.
Don’t worry, it’s not you
It’s not you, it’s them.
Ready-To-Wear brands, the masters of fast fashion, produce clothes for an “ideal” body. That ideal is based on average measurements drawn from lists which aren’t necessarily very recent. Size tags aren’t relevant when they’re based on ad hoc sizing due to lack of common standards in the fashion industry. And everybody has their own lists.
This makes it difficult, if not impossible, finding perfect fit clothing. Truth is, Ready-To-Wear clothes fit (and I mean really fit) only a fraction of the human population. So there’s nothing wrong with your body. Your body just deviates from their average charts.
Luckily, sewing and fitting your own clothes let you ignore all inconsistent laws of the fashion industry and decide the size and fit of your wardrobe for yourself.
First thing’s first
Fitting isn’t only about tape measures and numbers. And before you start modifying your pattern and cutting your fabric, it’s good to know what a good fit is and how you can make your clothes work for you.
It is possible to find your perfect fit, the only thing you have to invest is time, patience and some grit.
Here are some tips so you can start noticing good fit, what it looks and feels like and decide what a good fit is for you.
The 4 foundations for a perfect fit
Take a good look in the mirror it’s time for technical analysis. What shape do you see? A square? Triangle? Gauge your waist, is it high or low on your body? What’s your silhouette? Round, straight? Maybe angular? Note it in your list.
Stand relaxed and check your posture specifically your shoulders, and back. Do you have a curved upper or lower back? Do you usually stand a little slouching or is your back very straight? Are your shoulders slightly forward? Maybe narrow or sloping
Measure yourself. Your measurement list is a living document. Follow the guides of a pattern or a sewing book to know where to measure, write them down and use them the next time you sew. Check them regularly so you won’t waste your time or fabric.
Be real. Contrary to the vanity sizing you find in shops, keep your measurement honest. It doesn’t matter if it’s a high or low number on the tape measure, the point is making your clothes fit you, no matter what the numbers are.
Analyze the characteristics of your favorite clothes. How do they feel when you wear them? Compared to something you hate wearing? Are they tight or loose, long or short, flowy or structured? What more can you see and feel when describing it? How about clothes you would like wearing but don’t have the guts to? Write them down too.
Start a new habit
Begin observing other peoples fit, don’t stare, a discrete peek is fine. 😉 What is it with their clothes that make them look fantastic? Do they seem comfortable with what they’re wearing? Can you tell why?
If you see a style or specific item that you’d really like seeing in your own wardrobe or you just wonder how that would fit on you, jot it down as an idea to try for later.
Practice noticing these things on yourself and people around you and keep them in mind, or write them down on the same paper as your measurements.
Being aware of what you love and what feels good wearing as well as what you don’t like at all takes you well on the way to making a more conscious decision next time you’re sewing a garment, and it’s easier getting a more perfect fit.
While these tips are a good start when you’re learning the art of fitting, you still need information beyond the typical advice you get on a pattern envelope.
To help you, I’ve created a checklist for the most important measurements you need when learning how to fit your clothes, it includes instructions on how to take your measurements and a table for your personal measurements too.
Get the FREE checklist here
This is the first of a 4-part series about fit that covers the basics about fitting the clothes you sew:
- Where to start when you’re just learning how to fit (this post)
- How you recognize the characteristics of a good fit
- Quick tips on 10 of the most visible places to spot fit issues to focus on if you want a perfect fit
- Why you should even care about making your garment fit in the first place
How do you know when the fit is right? Is there a specific area that is more difficult to fit than the others?