In Fitting Fashion

  • Garment Ease

    Do you remember my Guest Post at A Good Wardrobe?  Well, it was all about "The First Fitting".  If you haven't had an opportunity to read it, swing over there for a bit and take a look because I will be doing a series of posts on the pattern corrections needed to make Vogue 8664 a better fitting garment.  Hopefully as the series progresses you will see how the fitting process works, what to look for, and how to correct the problems we see.

    To start off the series I want to talk about ease.  There are two types of ease, design ease and wearing ease.  Wearing ease is the amount of excess volume in a garment needed for regular body movement.  Wearing ease is very important because this added volume allows you to breathe, move your arms forward, bend your elbows, sit, walk, and do all your normal daily activities in comfort and without restriction.

    Design ease is the excess volume added to a garment over and above the wearing ease to create a certain silhouette or style.  Design ease is very important because it can transform your natural silhouette by obscuring figure flaws, balancing the figure, or highlighting your best features.

    For a contemporary fit, I use this as a guide for ease in woven garments:


    As you may notice, this chart is for non-stretch fabrics.  Stretch fabrics do not require as much ease for movement since you can use the stretch as a replacement to ease.  In fabrics with a large amount of stretch you may use zero or even negative ease and still have a good fitting garment.  

    I want to point out that ease can be highly dependent on one's personal comfort level.  Some of us don't mind a little restriction to get a desired appearance, others prefer comfort over appearance.  I use this chart as a guideline, you may need more or less depending on how you carry your weight and what you feel most comfortable in.  The type of garment and how you plan to wear it will also come into play.  An outerwear coat will need a little more ease than a jacket since you may want to wear the coat over the jacket some day. 

    Getting Back to Vogue 8664, you should know that I cut the pattern in a size 12 using the "D Cup" bodice pattern.  Now, if I were to have followed the body measurement chart on the back of the envelope, I would have cut a size 16 and had a lot of extra work to do.  Vogue tends to have a large amount of ease worked into their patterns.  I expect this is to allow for mass market appeal, meaning more bodies can fit into a size 8 for instance, or, it may just be an outdated rule that they continue to follow.  In any case, to save yourself some work, it is best to use the actual pattern measurements and ease guideline to aid in choosing the best size to cut.  

    Use the following formula to choose your size: body measurement + ease = garment measurement.
    Choose your size according to your desired garment measurement by comparing it to the actual pattern measurement.

    Just a word of warning:  Don't forget about Design Ease!  The chart above is a guideline for Wearing Ease so keep in mind more measurement may be needed to accommodate the styling of the garment.  If in doubt choose to cut a larger size-it is always easier to figure out how much to remove from a garment than it is to figure out how much to add.  Pinning out is easier than letting out!

    In the next post I will talk about the first fitting issue and pattern correction on Vogue 8664-A Gaping Back Neckline.








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