Patterns Books & Videos Fabrics Instruction Notions Features

Fitting Yourself By Yourself
Reviewed by Michele Brakewood

DVDs are great. They often conceptualize facts that are known intellectually, but are more difficult to grasp on a practical level. Kenneth King has told us, via Threads magazine, that if there is too much fabric, take it away. If there is too little fabric, add to it. If it's in the wrong place, move it. Okay, that sounds simple enough. Sort of. But seeing how to do it is much better than just reading about it.

Peggy Sagers show, on an easy-to-understand level, how to do this. She begins with Skirts, the simplest item of clothing to make and to alter. The bottom line (no pun intended): keep the hem level and alter from the waist. Peggy demonstrates this, both for a full tummy and for a sway back.

Next comes Blouses - not quite as simple. Obviously, Peggy can't answer all questions known to man (or woman) about blouse fit, but she does tack the basics. She first shows a blouse made without darts or any other fitting details. It's just a basic camp shirt. Then she shows how to adjust for shoulder slope. I've seen this done many ways by many people, but Peggy just took the mystery out of it, and showed the difference it makes in fit. Then she moves on to the front and shows how to add a dart and level off the hemline. She also discusses changing the level of the armscye. Who knew what a difference all this could make? Now I do!

Silhouette Patterns gives finished garment measurements, rather than body measurements, for its patterns. Peggy recommends taking a blouse (or jacket) that fits you and measuring the circumference. This can be a challenge in and of itself for full-busted women with narrow shoulders. The second challenge is what she calls "the bust circle." According to her, the dart can end anywhere within the bust circle. Fortunately, she shows a picture of the bust circle, because this will be a new concept to many of us.

The DVD then moves on to Jackets. For the most part, fitting a jacket is very similar to fitting a blouse. What was surprising was the idea that a jacket should have less ease than a blouse. The premise is that a jacket with less ease is more slimming, and looks better than one with more ease. Seeing Peggy model the more fitted jackets certainly does show that less ease is more slimming. She does admit, however, that movement is restricted, and suggests that if you want movement, take the jacket off. Fit, in this instance, seems to be a matter of personal preference. Look chic and skinny and don't move around much, or look shorter and heavier and move around a lot. Big decision!

Finally, Peggy brings us to Pants and Jeans. The main fitting issues addressed are sway backs and the extra fabric that frequently seems to flop around under the rear end.

Since the title of this DVD is "Fitting Yourself...," Peggy shows how to do that with the help of a three-way mirror (and she tells us how to make one), a muslin (yes, you need one of those), and some pins. In addition to new-found fitting knowledge, thanks to Peggy I now have a three-way mirror - which I have always wanted.

ASG Notions • Winter 2012