Is the perfect fit an illusion?
Have you ever gone shopping without finding a single garment that fits or feels right? Spending endless hours trying on tops or jeans, but they simply don’t fit no matter how deep the shop assistant looks in the storage? You’re not alone. Makes you wonder if it’s even possible to find perfectly fitting clothes?
There’s nothing wrong with you. Ready-To-Wear brands, the masters of fast fashion, produce clothes for an “ideal” body. However, their ideal is based on average measurements drawn from lists that aren’t necessarily very recent. Therefore, size tags aren’t relevant because there are no common standards in the fashion industry. Everybody has their own lists, so it’s difficult, if not impossible, to find perfect-fit clothing.
The truth is, Ready-To-Wear clothes only fit a fraction of the human population. Luckily, sewing and fitting your own clothes let you ignore the inconsistent laws of the fashion industry and decide the size and fit of your wardrobe yourself.
First thing’s first
Fitting isn’t only about tape measures and numbers. So, before you start modifying your pattern and cutting your fabric, it’s useful 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 do is invest a bit of time, a little patience, and some grit.
Here are some tips so you can start noticing what it looks and feels like, and decide what a good fit is for you.
The 4 foundations for a perfect fit
Firstly, 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.
Secondly, 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
Thirdly, 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.
Lastly, 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 to wear but don’t have the guts to? Write them down too.
Start a new habit
Begin observing other people’s fit. 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. You can get inspiration on the street, at work or, directly from the catwalk.
Practice noticing these things on yourself and people around you, keeping them in mind, or writing 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 an excellent fit.
In conclusion, 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 measure yourself, and a table to note them down. You can download the checklist here for free:
Get the Better-Fit checklist
How do you know when the fit is right? Do you find some parts of a garment more challenging to fit than the others?