So I’ve been sewing for a while. A quick glance through the archives will tell you that my style has been predominantly muu muu meets prenatal wear when sewing for myself: comfortable, easy, fairly shapeless, ideal for all-you-can-eat-buffets. I absolutely love my potato sacks, and one of the things I’ve discovered about myself through sewing is that I am not the perfectionist that I thought I was. Thread not matching exactly? Eh. Pocket placement out of alignment? Whatever. Skirt waist doesn’t fit all that well? That’s what belts are for!
But over the years I’ve been quietly collecting books and resources for understanding fit — it’s something that feels daunting and complicated for my spatially challenged mind that barely passed geometry and trig. I’m not planning on whipping up a corset anytime soon (or ever), but my recent toe-dipping into drafting my own patterns made me want to truly understand how to alter patterns to better mold to my body. I’m not looking to create body-skimming outfits; rather, I want to have the know-how to deal with the weird gape that happens between my shoulder and armpit, to once and for all get a handle on doing a proper FBA, etc.
My collection of books on fit is far from complete, and I’m always on the lookout for good ones. The internet is a treasure trove, of course, and I’ve heard that there are some good classes offered through Craftsy and Creative Bug. I have a lot of resources at my fingertips, but I still haven’t plunged into the learning part of the equation, and I think it’s high time.
Below, I’ve listed the resources that I know of by books and online classes – I’m guessing that there are amazing youtube videos out there too. I’m very much a visual learner and love picture-heavy books and videos. And of course, there’s the actual doing and practicing. That’s probably how I learn best, by diving in and through trial and error. If you have any suggestions for gaining mastery of fit, I’d love to hear them and will add them here to make it my go-to resource page for all things fit-related!
Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer & Marta Alto – The cover is quite unfortunate, but this is touted as a classic and is highly rated.
Dress Making for Real Women by Lorna Knight – The illustrations look very clear and understandable in this one.
Perfectly Fitted by Lynne Garner – I’m quite intimidated by the draping method in this book, but I’m eager to learn more. I like that variations to basic patterns are offered (e.g. different sleeve options to add to a top).
Pattern Cutting Made Easy by Gillian Homan – This book isn’t actually specifically about fit, but more about drafting pattern pieces. You do, however, glean some insights into adjusting the patterns in different ways.
The Pattern Making Primer by Jo Barnsfield and Andrew Richards – Claiming to be the “ultimate resource for pattern making”, this book appeals the most visually to me. The clean, simple illustrations with lots of white space and clothing samples that don’t look too dated, I’m excited to devour this one.
The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction by Christine Haynes – This is more of a basic how-to, but the instructions appear to be excellent and the contributor list is impressive (Sarai of Colette Patterns is one of them). It’s a new book that just came out.
Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified by Cal Patch – (Not shown) This is a good introduction to pattern drafting, and I used it for the first time last week. I love it!
The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting by Sarah Veblen – (Not shown) I don’t own this book (yet) but it looks right up my alley with lots of visual instructions!
How to Make Clothes that Fit and Flatter – (Not shown) This was recommended on Coletterie, and might have to become part of my library too!
Pattern Fitting with Confidence by Nancy Zimmerman – (Not shown) This one looks promising too!
Craftsy – This is the general link to fitting classes, and listed below are the ones I’m interested in. The classes are on the pricey side ($40 – $50 per class), but you can do a free trial for a limited time.
Creative Bug – The offerings are less for sewing on Creative Bug it seems, but the inimitable Liesl has a couple of courses that look good. They have a subscription-based model and also offer an a la carte option. Some free classes too!
Dart Manipulation with Liesl Gibson
Bust Adjustment with Liesl Gibson
Skillshare – There are a couple of garment fitting classes offered through Skillshare at this time and both are taught by former Project Runway contestants. Like the others, a free trial membership lures you in, and the subscription is about $10/month.
Let me know if you know of other (preferably free) excellent resources!