Use an Easy Industry Fitting Technique When Sewing Clothes

I have been taking a fitting analysis class at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, and I have learned so much about best fashion industry practices. Because the production cycle for sewing clothes is so short and overseas communication is challenging, industry pros have developed some super-slick and efficient shortcuts for making pattern adjustments.




I will be sharing some of these in the coming weeks (I've been taking careful notes!), but today I want to pass on a really great basic tip that was hit solidly home for me when I did a tech pack project: Do your own fitting.

As part of the sewing project, we had a fitting with a model, and each of us had eight minutes to fit a sample. For every tech pack (which are the directions to the factory on how to make the garment), we took detailed photos. These photos varied according to the alterations, but every tech pack always had three basic photos: a front, side, and back view of the garment on the model.

Now we all have had it hammered home to us the importance of making a muslin (and I admit I have often tried to short-cut this step), but do as I say, not as I do.  Then try taking it a step further and put the garment on to take these three basic shots.

As you can see from my shots here, a picture tells a thousand stories, or in this case, at least a couple. It's easy to see right off the bat that the crotch is too low and needs to be adjusted (more on how to do that soon!), and that the pants are too short. While there are some other tweaks that could help for a better fit, just those two can make a huge difference in the fit and look when sewing pants.

So next time you make a garment, grab a buddy and stand up against a white wall and shoot the garment on you from the front, side, and back. Stand naturally, but don't slouch, shift your hips, or cross your arms. You will quickly see any fitting issues.  For more sewing tips for beginners, check out our Sewing for Beginners free eBook.

These fitting techniques work as well for men as for women. If you'd like to stock up on resources for your sewing library, check out Nancy Zieman"s Sewing A to Z eBook in the Sew Daily Shop.

Do you have any tips for fitting? I would love to know!

Happy stitching!

Other sewing topics you may enjoy:


Fitting & Alterations, Sewing Tools & Resources

About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

5 thoughts on “Use an Easy Industry Fitting Technique When Sewing Clothes

  1. Instead of a muslin, make your test garment in a gingham check. You’ll easily be able to see how much to take it in or let it out, and if the lines which are supposed to be straight really are straight.

  2. When sewing for others, I will ask about some regular tasks in their daily routine. Thus, for a person who works with young children, there may be much “crouching” that requires some give in the leg area. A person who cares for elderly may change beds, roll patients over, etc. That requires adjustments across the back of tops.

  3. I have lost weight and need to take in several pair of pants. I really need help with this so they don’t get ruined. I’m not sure where to start, turn inside out and ??? Can you help, maybe an idea for a future article??? Thanks Alison