The Art of Fitting – Before

A post from Carrie in California-

I confess, I have a secret dream to take my love of sewing from a hobby to a business, so I can get paid to do what I love. However, one of the glitches to this idea is that I don’t have a fashion degree, no time spent apprenticing under a professional, or well known design school name on my college degree. I’m a home sewer who loves to take classes and enjoys learning from a community of experienced sewers. So, in order to bridge what I see as a gap, I’ve been looking around for ways to quickly become educated to a level that I can sew for myself and others with RTW like results. As we all know – the holy grail of fine quality sewing is correct fit. Just search Amazon “sewing fitting books” and you will find at least 243 results. I’m sure we all have some of these in our home libraries- I have at least 6. I’ve also looked for seminars, which suits me because I’m more of a hands on kind of learner. There are several well known names who offer fitting classes. However, most classes focus on learning how to fit yourself. But my fitting issues are not the same as someone else; so learning how to fit the most common adjustments will be important in order to sew for others. In my search I found there are a few options for fitting instructor training. Palmer Pletsch offers training in their pattern based fitting method. But I was more attracted to what Silhouette Patterns offers – which is muslin based fitting. The Silhouettes seminar is 3 1/2 days including instruction and hands on experience fitting others. I signed up for this class in Dec, and have been looking forward to it since! The preparation for this seminar includes making at least 9 muslins, covering the basic silhouettes: top, jacket, pant, dress and skirt. It’s a lot of work to make 9 muslins, but each one takes only a few hours. It takes a little extra time to extend each length wise seam to 1 inch, but the actual sewing using a long stitch length goes pretty fast. I paced the prework out over a month -and have now completed all of the muslins. Here is a picture of my completed work bagged up and ready to take to Dallas, TX! I’ve now worked with at least 9 Silhouette patterns and haven’t run into any issues of pieces not fitting together or major construction issues. However, from past experience, I know that sometimes the instructions are written for an experienced sewer, in that some details are left off – for example how to finish the hem on the wrap skirt. The instructions for making the muslins were much the same – the exact instructions could be confusing to a beginner, but if you have some experience sewing – it’s easy to get the gist of the message and work from there.
At this point, just a few days away, I’m not sure if I’m more excited to have a new wardrobe of 9 patterns that have been specifically fit to me, or developing the skill of being able to fit others 😉
More to come, I promise to wrap up with a note during the training itself, and one after the training.
Also, if you have any comments or experience sewing for others, or helpful learning regarding fitting others- please add a comment below.

8 thoughts on “The Art of Fitting – Before

  1. Good luck in the fitting class.
    I just returned from the New York fabric shopping trip with Peggy Sagers. I really like her patterns. If you just listen to what she says about fit, it works!


  2. The world needs more people with fitting skills, I read your post with a smile and an expanded heart. This topic has been a life-long learning process for me, and is entirely do-able with passion and commitment. I learned all the theories in college, bought the books, taught classes…but where I really cut my teeth was in 2 ways. One, I acted as Sandra Betzina’s go-to assistant when she taught her fitting classes in the earliest days after I started the Sewing Workshop in SF. She was clear she did not want to teach fitting classes in the evening. Then I took over the fitting classes. Scary at first. I still wince and have pity when I think about the first 100 or so people in my fitting classes. But I got better at it, and the fun part is that I keep getting better all these years later. Realize that the books are often flat out wrong, and that it is a good idea to blend knowledge with experience and intuition…and a good sense of design is essential. There is nothing like a good teacher, and Peggy is really great at all of this. I did not realize she was teaching this kind of class, sounds wonderful!!! Wishing you a fun and satisfying experience. Are you going to blog about this? I’d love to hear more! Inquiring minds….


  3. What a lot of work you’ve done Carrie. I’ve always thought sewing was the “easy part”, it’s when you get to fitting that you separate the women from the girls, so to speak. I can’t wait to hear all about it, it’s a course I’ve thought about myself. Looking forward to your next post.


  4. I admire that you are following through on your dream with actual training. I too, think it’d be great to have some sort of sewing business, I’ll follow your activities with interest!



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