On Friday, I made a lovely blouse from McCalls 6604, Version C, from the vintage Liberty of London fabric a friend recently gave me. And I was disappointed in the fit. And Sunday I sort of corrected it.

I always measure patterns before I cut anything out. I took pattern alterations and fit classes back in the early 1990s, when I first started seriously sewing (long after my Girl Scouts sewing badge), and I know vaguely remember how my measurements need to be adjusted for in commercial patterns. Always add some length to the back seat curve, lengthen pants, rise and waist, etc. But lately I’ve found that when I try to adjust properly, it doesn’t go the way I expect it to. Case in point – when I made my reflective bomber jacket, I carefully measured the sleeve pieces for length, and they should have been fine, and yet, the sleeves are about an inch too short. Not that anyone buy me will know, but still. This is especially annoying because the gray velour reflective sweatshirt i made prior ended up with really long sleeves!

McCalls 6604, Version C

McCalls 6604, Version C – seems easy enough… and the neckline didn’t really turn out like that either….

At least this weekend’s project wasn’t awful, just not what i expected. Sure the pattern sketch makes it look shorter than the other garment, and when I looked at the provided finished garment measurements, and looked at me, I thought it would be fine. And when I was done, I was not happy with how short it truly was. Liberty Top 7Not terrible, not not ideal. Okay, honestly, I’m feeling self-conscious about my out-of-shape, not-eating-as-healthy-as-I-should tummy, so that’s part of the issue. It was disappointing, because I love the fabric, and worked hard to make it a nice garment. I did not even put in an inch of reflective trim!

By comparison, here’s the top next to one I made a while back:

About 3" shorter

About 3″ shorter

I decided that I needed to fix this because I wanted to really love this top – it’s drool-worthy, luxurious fabric, after all, and feels so lovely. So I gritted my teeth and added a band at the bottom. Hopefully the print is busy enough that anyone else will not notice the seam (French, of course).

The pattern fit problems I’ve been having lately make me a bit anxious and frustrated, because part of the reason for sewing one’s own clothes is to get them to fit better than store-bought garments. If I can’t get the fit right, ugh, what’s the point?! I’m having a hard time finding pants I like lately (see also aforementioned out-of-shape and not-eating-healthy comment), and I’d love to make some, but I’m not sure I can. Or I’m not sure I have the patience to work and rework, and redo and try again to get a pair that fits the way I want. And I don’t have anyone to help me, either, which adds to my frustration. So if anyone knows a good source to help with pants pattern alterations, *please* direct me to it! I’ve got a jumpsuit pattern calling my name, and at last the fabric I’ve been lusting after was in stock at Fabric.com, so that is near the top of the project pile. But because I’m long-waisted, I know it will need a lot of work. That’s partially why I’m opting to make my own.

Again, if anyone has any experience with Craftsy, or some other tutorial, please share! I see many of you make your own pants and jeans, so I should be able to as well. I just need some good refresher materials and advice!  Thank you!



11 thoughts on “Singing the Pattern Fit Blues

  1. I, too, am diligent about measuring arm length and torso length and always have to add inches, but then find the finished shirt too long, but when I don’t, too short.

  2. I, too, am long waisted. Nothing like having a dress with a waistline that comes somewhere between your natural waist and your boobs – super flattering! Creativebug also has some great classes, like the ones with Cal Patch. I’m not so good at online courses. My ambitions are high, but my time management is low. I have an old copy of the Vogue Sewing, which I’ve found helpful in a number of situations. I’d check the library to see if they have a copy. Good luck!

    • Haha! I totally know what you mean! I’m sort of the same with online classes but maybe it’s time to buckle down and try one. I’ll look into Creativebug, thanks for the suggestion! I probably have sewing books somewhere, come to think of it. Unless I only kept the historical clothing books, which is possible.

  3. I first tackled pants with the Craftsy Jeanius course and would highly recommend it. Craftsy have regular sales and sometime you can pick up the courses at discount. Full price seems quite expensive to me. The biggest plus about this course is that you copy a pair of pants you already own that fit you really well.
    The band at the bottom works fine, you can’t really see it with the busy pattern. If you don’t mind me asking what do you think went wrong with the neckline? Were you hoping for it to sit flat against your chest rather than it standing away like it does? Were there any tips in the pattern construction?

    • I’ll check out that Jeanius course, thanks! I assumed the neckline would be more scooped, to begin with, and the bias would be narrower, and yes, not stick out so much. That I’ll try pressing after I wash it. I tripled checked the instructions and didn’t see anything but then again, they also said to baste the pleats but never unbaste them. For newbies, wouldn’t that be something to mention? Every bias neckline I’ve done lately had not laid flat, not sure what I’m doing wrong.

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