Fit Quest

Fit: the tiny word that causes untold frustration. It’s the Holy Grail of garment sewers. It’s probably the number one reason home sewers give up garment sewing. My personal sewing library includes an entire section devoted exclusively to fit. Then there are the “systems” and products promising the perfect fit that so many of us have purchased, only to be disappointed. Peggy Sagers of Silhouette Patterns likens these products to diet pills. Everyone is so desperate for a “magic bullet”, they fall for the hype that gets them to buy yet another diet book or click on an ad promising to reveal the “secret” to painless weight loss.

So, let’s get real here. As much as we don’t want to hear it, Patti Palmer is right when she says fit is a process. That why Palmer/Pletsch has students attending its fit seminars more than once. That’s why we take multiple fit classes with different instructors. And that’s why  Sew Chicago has devoted meetings to fit in the past and no doubt will do it again in the future.

My own fit odyssey has included a number of false starts, the collection of books I mentioned before and workshops with various teachers. In the beginning, I attempted to make a sloper out of a standard fitting pattern. Actually, I made several versions of the bodice, first on my own and then with the help of fellow Sew Chicago members. Each time I thought I would have just a few tweaks and I would be there, but each correction I made seemed to create new problems.

Fast forward to this year. There is a long, sad story behind my attempt to make a sheath dress that ended with some very pretty silk shantung sewn into a dress that will never be finished. I now know what I did wrong, and it actually might have been possible to correct that last tweak that made the shoulder princess line veer off instead of going straight, but when I tried on the dress I discovered that sheath is not my best look.

For my most recent fit project, I made the mistake of thinking, how hard can it be to fit a skirt? The fact that I still haven’t worked out the last of the issues with my skirt muslin answers that question. So I have a decision to make. Giving up sewing and taking up photography is not a viable option for me. And, having nothing but muslins to show for all my time and effort is way too frustrating. That means something has to give. What if that something were my obsession with achieving an absolutely perfect fit? Now, there’s an idea. After all, I settle for something far less than perfection every time I put on a ready-to-wear garment.

Maybe I could give myself a break from trying for perfection and start sewing “wearable muslins.” After all, it’s only after wearing a garment that you can tell what fine-tuning is needed to get the pattern just right. Does this sound like a viable plan? I think it might. How about you? Is perfectionism keeping you from finishing anything? Let’s try giving ourselves permission to finish some garments that fit well, if not perfectly. Let’s try getting stuff finished and see how it feels.

2 thoughts on “Fit Quest

  1. Wendy, when I read your story I realized how much company I must have with the “perfect fit” question! I’m beginning to recognize that rather than perfect fit, I should concern myself with flattering looks. I’m learning that I can wear a princess line (very flattering), but my body shape rules out a lot of other looks. Same with color. Even if I achieve “perfect fit” with a pattern designed for the “inverted triangle” shape, it will never look good on me. I think my goal is to find the styles that work best for me, so that fitting well = looking good.

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