Online Patternmaking Classes
by Don McCunn

Fitting and Creating the Final Pattern


Fitting gingham fabric to the body is when you establish the exact shape of the darts and the side seams. When you fit you should work from center front to the side and center back to the side. It will take at least two or three fittings to get these shapes correct. The resulting shapes should then be transfered to the paper patterns.

Initial Fitting

The purpose of the initial fitting is to determine the position and size of the darts. I suggest you look at page 31 of my book (either edition) before proceeding. During this fitting find the vertical and horizontal position of the point of the dart and the width of the dart at the waist. You will be fine tuning the lines of the darts when you transfer them back to paper. So don't over work the darts during this initial fitting.

Fit only one side of the body. If your body is asymmetrical, fit the larger or higher side first. Adjust for your asymmetrical shape during a later fitting so that you do not over accent the difference in the two sides of your body.

I have separated the videos for this initial fitting depending on whether you are fitting yourself or working with a fitting buddy. If you are doing it yourself (DIY), I suggest you fit then sew the darts before you proceed to the side seam. If you are fitting someone else, you may fit both the darts and side seams. But keep in mind that the fabric from a pinned dart is not as stable as a sewn dart. If you are not careful, you may distort one dart while you are pinning another or determining the side seam.

There is an alternate technique to pinning darts and seams in the second video for fitting a man. This video shows how you can fit these sloper patterns by slashing the fabric, over lapping the dart and side seam, then tapping them in place. If you have a fitting buddy who is not use to working with fabric, this technique does not require the same manual dexterity as pinning.

Fitting a Woman -- Two People

Fitting the Back Darts

Fitting the Front Darts and the Side Seam

Fitting a Man -- Two People

Fitting Using Pins

Fitting Using Tape

Fitting a Woman -- Do-It-Yourself

Fitting the Hip

Fitting the High Hip

Fitting the Front Darts

Recording the Dart Shapes

After the darts have been pinned during the initial fitting, transfer the marks back to the paper pattern. During this stage you will draw the center line of the darts so they are parallel to either the center front or center back lines. The width of the dart at the waist is then centered on the dart center line. This process is explained in How to Make Sewing Patterns on pages 37 & 38, 2nd ed. (page 32, 1st ed.).

After you have trued the darts, you will transfer them to the side that was not fitted and sew them for a second fitting. During the second fitting you will verify that the grain on each side of the dart is vertical.

Record the Front Darts

Record the Back Darts, Two Person Fitting

Record the Back Darts, DIY Fitting)

Sewing Darts for people new to sewing

Check the Dart Fit, DIY Fitting

The Side Seam and Finalizing the Pattern

The Side Seam is the last thing to check on the pattern. During the fitting process it is easy to remove the ease added when the initial pattern is created. It is very important to make sure that you adjust the pattern based on your waist (#9) and Hip (#13) measurements. Instructions for doing this are shown in the "Redo the Side Seams" video, illustrated in the Adjust for Ease pdf file, and included on pages 39 & 40 of How to Make Sewing Patterns, Second Edition.

After you have corrected the pattern, do another fitting to verify that the grain of the fitting shell is correct around the entire circumference of your body.

Fit the Side Seam, DIY Fitting

Record the Side Seam

Redo the Side Seams for Ease

Verify the Fit

Copyright © 2007, & 2020 by Donald H. McCunn