As sewists, our superpower is making clothes that fit our bodies amazingly. It can be intimidating to start, but it's actually pretty easy to learn the basics of fitting, and we're here to help. We've gathered up lots of fitting advice and tutorials right here, so if you want to learn how to fit clothes to your body, you've come to the right place!
How do I know if I need to make an adjustment?
The best way to know whether you need to make fit adjustments on a given pattern is to make a muslin (test garment, also known as a toile in some countries). Use the same type of fabric (weight, drape, and stretch) to your final fabric because the type of fabric you choose can make a big difference on fit. Confusingly, sometimes the fabric type referred to as muslin is right to make your test garment muslin, but often it isn't!
Once you try on your muslin, look in the mirror or have a friend take photos of you from different angles. Does it look like you want it to, and does it allow you to move and sit comfortably? If so, you can carry on about your business and not bother with any adjustments.
However, if you notice any undesired tightness or excess fabric, drag lines, extra or inadequate length, uneven hem, or gaping, you'll want to identify the cause of the issue to determine what adjustment you need to make.
I need to make several adjustments—where do I begin?
The common wisdom for pattern adjustments is to take it one at a time, and work from the shoulders down. This is because fit adjustments that happen up top can impact fit down below, and may save you from having to make further adjustments. Test each adjustment on a muslin before cutting into your final fabric.
The one exception is a full bust adjustment. If you know you need more room in the bust, do the FBA first, as it can dramatically impact the overall fit of the garment.
Should I be worried about overfitting?
When you're just getting into fitting, there's a tendency to want to fix every little thing you notice. Resist the urge! It can drive you crazy, and may cause you to get frustrated and give up on a project. And it's important to keep in mind that our clothes aren't molded to fit our bodies like a second skin—getting a garment to fit perfectly when you're standing at your mirror may mean that you don't have room to move around in it during your day.
Where can I learn more about fitting?
Below you can find tutorials for some of the most common fit adjustments that sewists make, as well as resources to learn more.
- Why doesn't it fit?! A Sewing Checklist
- Grading between sizes
- Full bust adjustment
- Small bust adjustment
- Changing the height of a dart
- Raising or lowering princess seam curve
- Narrow shoulder adjustment
- Gaping neckline
- Full bicep adjustment
Watch curvy sewing expert Jenny Rushmore identify and fix a variety of upper body fit challenges in 21 clear and easy-to-follow video lessons.
If you're busty, Jenny's Craftsy course is a one-stop shop for all things FBA! Learn how to do an FBA on many different pattern types.
The Curvy Sewing Collective is a community of curvy sewists who share their knowledge and experience sewing for their bodies.