An interest in costuming brought me into the world of sewing, and so the majority of my own projects include original and replica designs for renaissance faires, theatrical productions, comic conventions, and of course, Halloween. (Example on the right is me and some of my male friends as Nintendo Characters.)
Sometimes, I work from a sketch as a reference, and the artist is forming the garments in a way that are pretty on paper, but a bit of a challenge to fabricate. Especially since some of the shapes need to be made from altering existing patterns. There are times when the alterations to the in the finished products end up working well and looking good, but I don’t actually alter the size.
I alter the form, which gives me the shape that I need for what the garment needs to look like..but it’s still not 100% custom fitted to the person wearing it. Rather, it still falls into a fit that is made for a range of sizes.
The numbers we see for measurement ranges on a pattern may not be a perfect match for everyone, because we are all different sizes. It is part of being beautifully diverse as humans. Just going by bust, waist, and hip measurements might not always work the best for what we’re trying to accomplish.
Enter Fitting for Every Figure (A20783) from the editors of Threads magazine. This book passed my desk, as most of our new items do, and it had me as soon as I read the back description. I knew in an instant that this book was the cure to my pattern-drafting dilemma.
Paying close attention to all skill levels, this book takes you through the many different ways to make your stitched garments fit like a glove. True to its title, it also covers several different body types in a detailed way, showing how to custom fit nearly any shape. It moves from altering manufactured patterns to drafting your own patterns.
One of my absolute favorite tutorials in this book was where it shows you step-by-step how to make a custom dress form out of duct tape!
The fact that they also explain a few different ways of how to make patterns from existing garments without ruining them was the selling point for me. I didn’t know that you could make a pattern out of painter’s tape, either! I now know that I don’t have to take apart clothing that I still love and wear with a seam ripper because I want to make something similar.
This book is an amazing reference for any sew-er at any skill level. Hundreds of detailed, color photos and easy-to-read instructions really help avoid any misunderstanding.
With Halloween coming up fast, maybe this might help you make some custom-fit costumes!
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