SP 195: Fitting

For someone who says they hate fitting, I do an awful lot of it. I want to explore my creativity, however limited that may be. BUT, I seem to be constantly wrestling with converting a flat 2-D shape into 3 dimensions.

I had hope for more comments that would say no don’t do that or do this instead. I’m afraid I confused some people when I show comparisons with my sloper.  I wanted my sloper to tell me I had enough width and length. The other things I pointed out were curiosities.  I’m sorry to have confused the issue because my post on selecting my size, which I thought critical, was largely ignored. That being the case, I proceeded along the lines of my previous thoughts and traced size 5W across the shoulders swinging out to the 7W at the underarm.

As instructed I increased my side seam allowances to 1″.  I tried to estimate where the bust point should land. No way of guess for waist and hip.  I’m a very analytical person. I want to know these things. I guessed that it was 2″ beyond the dot just above the dart and drew and X.  Next I marked  the 3/8″ shoulder seam allowance, drew a line from shoulder to bust and measured it at 11.5″

My shoulder to BP is 10.5.   What I’m seeing above happens to validate what I was seeing when comparing my sloper:

and dove-tails what I saw today with the first fitting:

To take this pic, I started with both arms down at my sides. Snuck the right hand over and under my left arm and nailed the left underarm in place. Then I lifted my left arm for the photo. Yes, the armscye really is this low.

Yes I did get to a first fitting (and beyond).  I cut the back and front. Stay stitched armscyes and necklines. and basted shoulders and side seams before taking my first fitting and pics. I  put water-soluble thread in the bobbin and I decided to try her recommended knit stitch settings (straight stitch 3.5 mm long).

I would have sworn I had place the print upward. But clearly I have it pointing downward. Thank heaven, this is a muslin

I see several issues but I’m ignoring them. I only wish to petite 1″ across the upper bodice. Which did marvelous things for the underarm position

Although I might still come back and petite the upper bodice again, I figured it was time to start working on the shoulder slope and my asymmetrical shoulders.

I’ve increased the shoulder slope to 5/8″ on the left side. The right was increased to 5/8 and then the entire slope redrawn 1/4″ lower — because, that’s usually what I need to do. While not totally ignoring those wrinkles waist and below, I’m giving greater attention to the wrinkles around the armscye. One of my concerns has been is the bust point properly located? With the last fitting, I think I can say definitely yes …

First Fitting ………………………………. 3rd Fitting

…and wish I could be so positive around the waist and hip.  My analytical side wants to be able to say “see there’s the waist mark and I’m really close.”

I know I seem to have passed over checking circumference but I really didn’t.  Once the upper bodice was petited, the circumferences at the waist and hip seem to be OK.  I’m didn’t see vertical, up and down wrinkles that would say I have too much ease, or horizontal pulls that say give me more.  What I saw are all diagonal lines; some more diagonal than others.

After the 3rd fitting, I really wished for a horizontal bust dart for cleaning up all the diagonal lines from underarm to waist. Not having that, I proceeded to take in under the arm. In some broadcasts, Peggy will tell you that vertical darts are circumference. In other broadcasts (to which I don’t have the links) she says this dart is a depth issue.  Personally, I’m confused as to whether it should be made before the shoulder slope or afterwards. If it is circumference, I should have done it first. But if this is depth, darting, I did it exactly when I should have. Well, that’s moot really. What is important is how the dart improves the fit.


I had to pinch and stitch that dart twice. Once at 3/4″ deep and 2nd time at 1.25″ deep.  There are still issues. I can’t remove the gaping at my arm. Pinching at the shoulder (increasing the shoulder slope) could only do so much. I don’t think the underarm dart helped at all (with the armhole gaping). I think I may need to pinch out an actual front armscye dart for a sleeveless top. I dont think the gaping would be apparent if a sleeve were inserted.  If I make an armscye dart, I don’t see how to put the armscye dart into the french dart. It may be possible to increase the front  shoulder slope more (the back is not gaping) except I dislike making the front shoulder slope different from the back. Another possibility is during finishing with either facing, FOE or a ribbing, cut them a little short and ease the armscye in that area only.

BTW the side seam dart is curved to fit me.

As you saw from previous pics, I don’t need the ease at the underarm but a short distance below (about 4″) I do need all that fabric to cover the girls.

I’m quite sure there are several of you screaming “Sway Back. Sway Back. Sway Back.”. I hear your chanting all the way in South Dakota, but I opted to make the Round Back Alteration first.  Why:

Because I’ve seen many of my fitting drag lines disappear with a simple RBA.

Still chanting “Sway Back”?

I opted for a little more ease across my tummy and prominent seat. Only 1/8″ which is 1/4″ at each side, total 1/2″ ease.  I like my clothes with just a little more ease; and I like my clothes to skim not hug my curves.

I’m at the point now of saying I really need to go back and work on the right shoulder.  It’s especially evident when looking at the two sides that I still need to make a correction.

The right side is filled with diagonal lines. The left? None that I notice.

There’s still the sleeve.  It will need to adjusted across the cap (I shortened the armscye. I have to shorten the cap.) I think the sleeve has enough ease, but you never know until try on. And while I’m at it, I’m going to want to consider differences I will want for the cardigan. I just don’t see making it exactly the same especially if I want to wear it as a 3rd layer.


to be continued …


3 thoughts on “SP 195: Fitting

  1. Hi, Bev,
    First let me say I’ve thrown out all my non-Silhouette patterns except for a couple of Jalie and old Kwik-Sew’s (and those are athletic wear.) Her patterns work for me really well, but you and I are built differently. I carry my extra weight um, high. So I start with the D-cup, and alter when it’s not enough bust room.

    When I started with Peggy’s line, I also started with 195. I started with a 7W, and sewed up a muslin that actually was wearable. To my shock, because tee-shirts never fit without a ton of full bust alterations, and usually not then.

    I subsequently did a lot of fussing and refining on 195, and 600 (the classic blouse). Since then, I figured out that my problem was that I always started with too large a size. I had got in the habit of making too-large garments (and buying too-large garments) to compensate for the fact that everything pulled across the bust because of poor fit.

    When I start a new Peggy pattern now, I trace the tissue with a Sharpie, and copy size 5W neck, shoulders, and armhole, and 6W bust, waist and hips. I just blend the lines an inch or so under the armholes. Sometimes, I need to take the French dart deeper to get rid of some wrinkles, and on some of the jackets, I need to give myself a little extra room at the hips.

    As far as bust point placement, Peggy talks about the bust circle, which is a 6 inch diameter area. The dart point needs to fall inside there, but not necessarily at the bust point. Peggy says the dart point shouldn’t fall right on the bust point, which kind of makes sense–who needs an arrow pointing at her nipple? (I don’t want to know.)

    I think you’re right about the armhole wrinkles going away if a sleeve is inserted–I never fit a new pattern without inserting a sleeve or two for that reason. One good thing about a Peggy pattern is that once you get it fitted, you can use that modified pattern to make others of her patterns fit.

    I also have good luck with her yoga pants and jeans–here again, I had trouble at first because I picked too large sizes to start.

    I hope this helps a little. You have helped me a lot in my decision to buy an embroidery machine–what did I need in machine, software, etc. You’ve been a life-saver!


    1. Thanks Rebecca. Your post was very reassuring.

      I have a lot of alterations because my body has changed as it has aged. I know there isn’t a pattern out there that will not at least require a little tweaking, unless I want to wear a pillowcase. I was surprised at how long the shoulder to bust measurement was. It requires one extra alteration to petite. But then with Peggy’s drafting, I don’t have to petite below the bust/above the waist which is one less alteration. A wash for me really. Once I know all the needed alterations, I may indeed follow your example and get rid of many of my patterns. What I want is current styling in easy-to-fit printed-patterns.


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