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Characteristics of well finished garments

Standards for making good fit garments

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A good fitting is achieved by doing the work with care, patience, and practice. A well-fitted garment feels comfortable, adjusts naturally to the activities of the wearer, is becoming in line and amount of ease and consistent with current fashions.

Good fit in relation to ease, line, grain, set and balance

Techniques of good dressmaking are essential to good fitting and good designing. Some of the skills are to be mastered are placing patterns, true with the grain, cutting accurately along lines, stitching and pressing darts, basting by hand and by machine accurately, stay-stitching with the grain, ease in fullness, shrinking out fullness, tailor pressing, machine stitching exactly on the proposed line and corner, invisible hemming, making, piped buttonholes and slide fastener plackets, applying to face and interfacing, and setting a sleeve smoothly in the armhole. These construction skills are certainly fundamental.

Five basic factors which determine a good garment fit

Five basic factors present in every fitting decides whether a garment fits well or not. There are ease, line, grain, set, and balance. These five factors are interrelated.

The straight material should be folded into darts or cut into seams to allow enough ease over the curves. Wide darts are stitched to control the excess material to give good.

A well-fitted garment is a source of satisfaction and looks nice. A well-fitted garment has the optimum amount of ease and its seam lines follow the general silhouette of the body. Any fitted garment is judged by its appearance on the wearer and its success depends a great deal on its fitting. Fitted garments are comfortable and allow the wearer to perform normal activities. They also fit snugly on the body of the wearer.

It drapes neatly and sets without any wrinkles without sagging or projecting out and will also be well balanced. To get a well-fitted garment the patterns which are selected should be checked properly and they should possess a good shape and proportion. While cutting the garments, it is necessary to follow certain accurate steps. Most of the human figures might not be perfect or proportionate and therefore alterations and corrections are to be made.

It is essential that after drafting a particular garment it should be tried on a body so that the necessary alterations of the patterns are done. Apart from the major defects of the body, there may also be certain minor defects, which should be taken care of while drafting the garment. To get a good fit, the planning of patterns along the side of the grain, cutting accurately, stitching and pressing of darts and ease in fullness and machine stitching should be done exactly on the proposed line. The sleeves should be fixed smoothly and evenly in the armhole.

The factors, which determine whether a garment has a good fit or not are ease, line, grain, set and balance. They are referred to as the standards for a good fit and they are also interrelated to one another.

  1. Ease

    The garment, which seems to be right size is neither too loose not too tight. Ease is also the difference between the actual body measurements and garment measurements. This amount varies with the fashion, type of garment and personal taste. A garment constructed with optimum ease would be the right size. Pulling and drawing across the bust, shoulders or hiplines show that the ease is insufficient. Excess ease causes folds across the loose areas giving a baggy appearance to the garment. Too much ease will be seen in too long shoulder seams, many folds across the neck and chest and waistline being too loose. If a garment is of a good fit then it should fit without any wrinkles or strain.

    • Back shoulder seam eased on to front about 1/2″.
    • Ease around bustline about 4″.
    • Ease across back 1/2 ” to 3/4″
    • Ease across chest 1/4″ to – 3/8″.
    • Ease through hips, standing 11/2″
    • Ease of skirt at waistline to fit on to belt – 1″ or 1/4″ on each quarter.
    • The ease at the back of sleeve cap 2″ to 3″ (1″ to 11/2 inch)
    • Ease at elbow 1″ (1/2″ inch) to be able to bend elbow comfortably
  2. Line

    The basic silhouette shows the lines in a garment. The circumference lines include neckline, armhole, waistline and wrist line. Lines should be smooth without folds and neat. There should be smoothly graded curves in back and front. Armhole should be oval, but not pointed or round in shape. It follows natural creases made where the arm joins the body. The curve lines should not be too low which will hinder the movements of the hand.

    Inset in sleeves, the side seam line should be straight from armhole to the hem or lengthwise line. Front darts should end at the top of the bust and darts at the side to hands, bust should be in the line with the top. Round waistline should be as far as possible parallel with the floor but slightly lower at the back and slightly lower and round in the front to fit at front waistline. Waistlines and hemlines should be parallel to the floor.

    The lines obtained by darts, pleats, and yokes are within the garment and they should be grateful and smooth. Design lines within the silhouette such as pleats, darts and seams should be graceful, direct and smooth. Lines to observe in fitting are the basic silhouette seams, the circumference seams, then style or design lines. The circumference lines include neckline, armholes, waistline, waistline, and hemline. They should be smoothly graded curves following the natural body curves. Such design lines within the silhouette as pleats, darts, gores should appear to hang perpendicular to the floor generally at right angles to the circumstance lines they enter, or to radiate from the circumference they enter. Curved lines like yokes, should be direct, smooth, graceful and exactly alike in symmetrical effects.

  3. Grain

    The placement of warp and weft yarns form grain. It denotes the direction of the threads. Usually, the lengthwise or warp threads are heavier than crosswise or filling threads. Heavier threads tend to drape well on the figure with graceful folds when gathers, pleats, and ruffles occur on the straight grain. Lengthwise grain should be perpendicular to the floor, at the centre front and centre back, unless, off grain seams are present. The crosswise yarns are parallel to the floor at the centre front and centre back. On the bust and hiplines, the grain on the right half of the garment should match that on the left half except in the case of asymmetric draping. If the crosswise grain covers up or down where it should be parallel with the floor it is because of some bulge or hollow in the body directly above the curve. If the grain line is not corrected, wrinkles or sagging occur. Sometimes the grain line is off when the material is not cut carefully.

    Threads or yarns, the units that make cloth, are called, “the grain”. Be careful to say “crosswise grain” or “lengthwise grain” for clearness. Graceful folds in gathers, pleats, ruffles, and skirts occur if they follow the heavy threads.

    In the standard basic pattern at centre front and back at both bust and hip, the lengthwise grain is perpendicular to the floor (unless bias seams are in the design) and the crosswise grain is horizontal or parallel with the floor from the grain on the right half of the garment should match that on the left half, except in asymmetrical designs as in a side draped skirt. In a plain sleeve, the lengthwise threads should lie vertically from top of shoulder to the elbow and crosswise threads in the upper sleeve should be parallel with the floor. If the crosswise grain curves up or down where it should be parallel to the floor, it is because of somebody bulge or hollow directly above the curve.

  4. Set

    A well-fitted garment has a smooth set without any wrinkles. The slanting wrinkles are caused by the garment being strained over some curves or bulges of the body. Slanting wrinkles in sleeves and near the shoulder are unbecoming and uncomfortable. Crosswise wrinkles occur because the circumference below them is fitted too tight.

    The wrinkles point towards the shoulder blade is caused by protruding shoulders. To remove them, extra length and width should be provided for the garment.

    A smoothness of “set” or freedom from wrinkles is required for a good-looking fit. Graceful folds created by gathers or unpressed pleats or draped features are style lines not to be confused with wrinkles, those slanting triangles straining from some curve or bulge of the body.

  5. Balance

    The garment should look balanced from left to right and front to back. The skirt should hang so that it extends the same distance from the centre to the right and left sides. The necklines should fit neck snugly at all points. If the shoulder seam stands away from shoulder at neck point and fits tightly at armhole point, the garment will look out of balance.

    The standard skirt should hang so that it extends the same distance from the legs from right to left and from front to back. The shoulder seam should rest evenly on the shoulder. Diagonal wrinkles point away from the bulge.

Reasons for poor fitting

When the garments are carelessly cut and if stitching is not done properly then the garment will have a poor fitting. Badly fitted undergarments such as knicker, saree petticoats, and petticoats ofter give the impression of a poor fit.

If the basic patterns are not of the right size or if they are not altered according to the body measurement then poor fitting occurs. Poor posture might be the reason for differences in the bodice blocks. Such a style of the garment is not suitable for the wearer. The human body has numerous curves of which the basic ones are bust, end of the shoulder, shoulder blade, elbow, abdomen, side, and hip. The garment should be cut and stitched accurately to fit on the curves of the body.

The straight material should be folded into darts are cut into the seam to allow enough ease over the curves. Wide parts are stitch to control the excess material to give good fitting.

Solving fitting problems

Each garment should be checked for ease, comfort, line, grain, set, and balance. If wrinkles or diagonal folds are observed then the stitching should be released at the bulge areas. It is easier to correct the neckline than to correct the sleeve and the armhole. The material from the seam allowances can be used to increase or decrease the fullness at the bust line. While cutting, the patterns should be placed parallel to the selvedge so that the length of the garment will be along the selvedge side.

While stitching the armhole and neckline should be taken care of. To get a good fitting in the garment it is better to keep 2.5 cms to 2 cms extra material at the back, shoulder seam, underarm and side seam. While stitching the armhole & neckline should be taken care of while stitching for a good fit accurate pinning, marking, tacking and stitching should be done. The bust lines darts should not have pouches or creases at the end.

Fullness should be evenly distributed without irregular or be puckering pleats Facings and hems should be finished smoothly. To neaten the seam edges ironing should be done after every shape. The garments should not be too tight as the figure defects will be more noticeable.

To get the good fitting in a garment accurate measurement should be taken and patterns are drafted on brown papers.

To see the fitting of a garment

The garment should be tacked without sleeves, collars or facings and tried on. The openings are pinned together accurately, properly and securely. The basting line that marks centre front, and back helps in giving a good fitting.

The garment should be worn right side out to check the fitting on the body. The garment is thoroughly inspected and carefully analyzed for fitting. It should be comfortable while walking or working. If any alterations or corrections are to be made on the garment then it is done either by cutting, tacking, pinning or marking on the garment.

Mark the correct line with tailors chalk and tack the corrected seam line or dart line from the inside of the garment. Fitting should take care of the major alterations in the bodice. The left and right side patterns should be the same. The paper patterns should also be altered on the basis of changes made in the garment.

Until a satisfactory fitting is achieved, repinning and alterations for fitting is done. In the second round of checking the fitting, the concentration must be on the sleeves and armscye. Necklines, waistlines should be curved to fit comfortably and naturally.

The patterns which are altered for good fitting should be preserved. Constantly compare the drafted pattern with the body measurement for accurate fitting before cutting any garment, as there may be changes in the body measurement. A dress should look nice from the back as it is from the front. The back should be more carefully fitted since there is a strain. A dress with a back too wide, too narrow or too short can be uncomfortable and it is unbecoming.

1 Comment
  1. Claire Masters says

    I do agree that poorly fitted clothes don’t feel good since they are carelessly made from the basic pattern down to the stitching. Personally, since I’d always like clothes that looked tailored to my body, so I’d like to try going thrift shopping and having my vintage finds altered. I wonder how much basic alternations cost these days. https://luxtailor .com/services/

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