It’s all about the fit, baby.

When I first learned to sew and knit, I’d throw stuff together with impunity and happily wear it, regardless of whether the fit was a bit off or not.

Heaven only knows what I looked like.  Ah, the folly of youth. Although I do remember a spectacular success with some black and white polka dots, a halter neck and a lot of buttons…my, that dress was a showstopper!  Pity I’ve no pics.

These days, however, whether it’s due to more experience of knitting and sewing, or just encroaching middle age, I’m much less tolerant of poor fit. That goes for RTW and stuff I’ve sewn.

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Needs a bigger FBA and darts lowering.

So what I really need to do is buckle down and improve my fitting skills so that time after time I can turn out well fitted clothes that flatter my shape and feel and look great.

It’s a pretty tall order, but achievable, if I take the time to do the groundwork. I have a library of the best fitting books money can buy.  I need to read them instead of just dipping in and out to find a solution to something that gets thrown up on a particular garment.

To date, time has always been the issue that stops me completely getting to grips with this.  Demands of life in general plus the fact that my wardrobe is invariably very, very empty because I a) don’t like clothes shopping and b) don’t have the time to sew what I need.

So I rush to make something, anything, so I’ve something to wear.  And don’t take the time to do it properly and ensure the fit.

It’s a vicious circle.

But the-rod-for-my-own-back shirt has shown me what I can achieve if I slow it down, take the time to do it all properly, and make sure the fit is spot on before I start.

So, it’s time.  Time to go back to basics and work out my fitting issues.  Get a great set of measurements and work each step of the fitting process methodically.

Actually get a methodology for my fitting…a check-list of specifics that I know I need to change and by how much.

To facilitate this I sucked it up and on Tuesday went clothes shopping.  I need to add a couple of pairs of leggings (M&S – £7.50!) to the mix but then I’m good to go for a while.  This takes the pressure off.

I’m currently working my way through the Knit to Flatter Craftsy course.

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I am loving it.  I’ll do a review so far next week if you’re interested.  But I’ll be casting on and swatching over the weekend and doing some serious measurements for my next cardigan project, Bud by Kim Hargreaves.

bud

image from Ravelry.com

I’m also about to start another Craftsy course, Sew the Perfect Fit…

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..which hopefully does exactly what it says on the tin! I know that Sewing Princess is working through this too and her toile is looking great so far.

The upside of this course is that once you’ve fitted the pattern you effectively have a fitting block for tops and skirts.  Add to this the basic trouser pattern that I’ve already made twice and I’ve got my basic blocks for drafting my own clothes.  Eeek!    That’s pretty exciting, no?

But of course I really want to make some things whilst all this learning is going on…so I’ve got a couple of, hopefully, quick wins lined up that I can complete in the next week or so.

First up is Washi.  I’ve tweaked the fit since I made my last top (which has since been donated, because I wasn’t happy with the fit…not a large enough FBA!  Although I did wear it a lot out of necessity before this weeks little spree.)

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This time I have the dress version on the table in crinkly black poly-cotton. The fabric’s a bit thin so I’m interlining it with a mystery poly-cotton from Abakhan.  Doing this means that I won’t need a slip under it in the summer, but can wear it with tights until then…it’s snowing outside today, peeps.

I’ve also been working on the first toile for the Amelia dress. I now know what adjustments I need to make for the second toile and then, fingers crossed, I’ll be ready to sew that too, although I’ve no idea which fabric I’m going to go with for this dress!

This should keep me busy…but it’s lovely to be able to take my time and take it step by step.  I will, of course, let you  know how I get on!


34 Responses to It’s all about the fit, baby.

  1. K-Line says:

    Can’t wait to read more about your journey Evie. I know you are going to have so much fun. From my perspective, I find fitting hand-knitted garments to be quite enjoyable, if time consuming. But more knowable in many ways because you are creating the fabric rather than simply shaping it.

    • I’m thinking of it as fun rather than “oh-my-god-this-is-such-a huge-topic-and-I’ll-never-know-it-all-so-why-bother-starting?!?!?!” 😉
      You have to know that you’ve really inspired me to get to grips with this stuff because your clothes always fit so beautifully and your knits are spectacular. So thank you, because you’ve made it seem achievable rather than too big to tackle.

      • K-Line says:

        Oooh, what a terrific compliment! Thank you so much! It’s much more fun than hard, trust me. And every new skill you learn is taken forward to the next project. That’s what I remind myself of when I consider the fitting I haven’t yet figured out (i.e. bras).

        • You’re welcome. I’m really looking forward to upskilling. It’s well overdue and I’m very inspired. And I’ve every confidence in your ability to crack bra making!

  2. Rachel says:

    This is one of my sewing goals for myself too, better fitting garments. I do mostly kids sewing, I keep looking at the FBA stuff and losing motivation! Those look like great courses.

    • FBA’s make my head ache. The “how” in sewing is nice and straightforward…the “how much” less so…as you’ll see from the picture of that top in this post.
      FBA’s in knitting, however, are a whole different kettle of fish. However, this course is addressing darts and short row shaping so I’m optimistic. I’ll let you know 😉

  3. Gail says:

    I think this is a natural progression – at least, it’s the way it happened for me. It took me a while to get comfortable with all the ins and outs of the construction of garments. Once I did, it was easier for me to concentrate on fit. It’s a long process – which for me keeps it interesting! So much to learn!

    Looking forward to following your progress!

  4. Susan says:

    I hear you. Seriously, I feel like all I’ve focused on for the last three years has been fitting, and I’m just starting to get it sorted. But I did it very haphazardly, and with little to no consistency. I’m really looking forward to reading what you learn along the way! And I loooove that cardigan pattern!

    • I’ve been so hit and miss over the years, and am very much looking forward to being more methodical about it. I like a good process. The cardigan looks like a great basic that will stand being made in different colours with variations to the stitch patterns for interest. And it’s Aran…so won’t take years to knit! 😉

  5. Andrea says:

    I so hear you about the need to slow down and actually study what works for you in terms of fit. I’m doing the same right now and enjoying the “Pant Fitting Techniques” class on Craftsy (isn’t it a great platform?) at my own pace and learning a ton. There is no sense in sewing stuff that will end up at a charity shop so probably a good idea for us to figure out the fit thing. I would love a review of the “Knit to Flatter” course if you get a chance. And that Kim Hargreaves sweater you’re making? Awesome!

    • I think the Craftsy platform is amazing. I love that you can go at your own pace and repeat bits that don’t make sense the first time. The interaction with classmates and the tutor is pretty cool too. I’m finding that as I’m slowing down in general, for the first time in forever, I’m finding the path my creativity wants to take. It’s so encouraging. And I rather hoping that the Bud cardi turns out half as nice as your Clarity!

  6. Sensible approach and I love that cardigan!

    • Oooooh I’m not normally accused of being sensible (cue happy dance)! I’m so thrilled with this cardigan pattern…I’m hoping it will become a good basic pattern that I can play with in future iterations and add different stitch combinations. We shall see how I get on with that….;-)

  7. sewbusylizzy says:

    Can’t wait to see how you go. I’m amazed & jealous of people that can alter patterns for a successful fit.

  8. Gjeometry says:

    Good luck with your fitting journey! I think fitting is one of the hardest parts of sewing. That’s why sometimes, I get so excited to sew a totebag or pillow!! No fitting required. 🙂

  9. Oh man I’m with you on fit. I am so thoroughly enjoying finding out about how to fit myself but am doing it piecemeal really. I started off reading my books and my sieve like brain has lost most of that information so I’m going to keep going learning the basics about wrinkles and such, then go back and re-read. Or not. Plans change right?

    Great idea to get good well fitting blocks down so you can alter them as you like. What fun. All of it.

    • You are not alone with sieve brain…I’m sure the bairns eat mine whilst I’m sleeping. With the knitting course I’ve started a notebook and I’m thinking of doing the same with sewing…pasting in relevant articles, lists of measurements, whatever I find useful. At least then it will be in one place. And even Albert Einstein pointed out that he didn’t need to remember stuff, he just needed to remember where to find the information. If it’s a good enough theory for him…..;-)

  10. Gabrielle says:

    Hear hear! I too am at that point with my sewing now where good fit is becoming important… and I am really aware of the very poor fit of some of my early efforts, to the point where I can’t bring myself to wear them. I may have to sign up for that Craftsy course; so far I’m relying on a couple of books but I’m sure an interactive course would be easier!

    • I love the Craftsy platform and will happily post some reviews of this course which may help you decide. I’ve done some “in real life” courses which have been super useful, but with Craftsy its really easy to go back and check something that you’ve forgotten, or ask a question that you didn’t even think of first time round.
      I’m looking forward to getting to grips with the sewing fit course, and am really enjoying the knitting course so far.

  11. Vicki Kate says:

    Ooh, I’m interested to se how you get on with the sewing fit class as I’m on the fence about that one at the moment!

  12. prttynpnk says:

    I totally appreciate this post. I feel like I’m stuck in a wearable, but not altogether right spot. I need to slow down.

    • I have to say that slowing down, which I’m doing in all areas of my life (to which my kitchen floor will readily, and stickily, attest), is actually enabling me to get more of the important stuff done, and to focus on what’s important. It’s really liberating and is giving my creativity room to breath. I highly recommend it!

  13. Liara says:

    It’s like you read my mind and then wrote it all down! I have so much beautiful fabric and patterns and I’m terrified to start something in case it doesn’t come out nicely. And my time is so limited that when I do get to sew, I want to jump right in and not bother doing a muslin first. After all, that would mean I’d finish less projects, even though they’d fit nicer. I too have the Sew the Perfect Fit course in my Craftsy line up. I keep saying I’ll wait until summer when school is out and I have more time, but maybe I’ll try to start squeezing in some time to at least watch the videos. Thanks for the inspiration and best of luck!

  14. I’d highly recommend starting watching the videos now…the ideas then can sit in your head and work their magic ready for the school holidays.
    I’m with you…it’s so tempting to try and squeeze a quick make in when time is so limited, but I find these are the things that I end up not loving. The stuff that I wear time and time and time again are the things that I’ve put the hours into and it shows.

  15. sophie o. says:

    I’m also all about fit at the moment, it helps me slow down on my sewing. I’ve bought the Lynda Maynard Craftsy class on fitting and so far it’s really interesting and I’m learning a lot, as I can see from the number of video notes I took. And I’m only onto lesson 4 🙂 I hope you’re looking forward to your journey into fitting

    • I’m really encouraged by this as I’m hoping to make a start on the Lynda Maynard course after the Easter holidays. I may even get time to start watching the videos during the break even if I don’t get to sew. I AM looking forward to this. I think cracking fit will take me more than halfway to making beautiful clothes.

  16. I’ve been thinking about fit too. I seem to have chosen over-the-head style garment for my first few makes – because they appear easy to construct. But now I’m realising that my figure suits fitted rather than loose items (my shop-bought wardrobe is a fine example)… I’m gonna have to brush up my skills (zips anyone?).

    • It’s so very easy when sewing for yourself to be limited by what you think you can do, or distracted by pretty fabrics, that ultimately you’ll never wear. Ask my how I know? 😉 I’m trying now to look at the things I’m drawn to in RTW and replicate them for myself with my sewing. It’s an interesting journey, for sure.

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