In Fitting Fashion

  • Fitting - Bust, Waist, and Hip Position

    I expect you've all had an opportunity to check out my Introduction to Fitting over at A Good Wardrobe.  If not, take a quick peak over there and come on back because this is a continuation of the fitting of Vogue 8664 which was used as an example in that post.  

    OK, first of all, I was a little premature with announcing the "back neckline adjustment" in my last post.  I often do this when I see a glaring fitting problems which I am anxious to correct.  But if you did your homework, and I follow my own rules, you already know that we need to make length adjustments first.  Length adjustments serve to put the garment in alignment with the body at the key fitting points which are the contours of the bust, waist, and hip.

    Where are these fitting lines located?

    *The bust line position is a line that is level with the floor and crosses over the bust points.  The bust point indicates the fullest part of the bust which is what needs to be addressed for a good fit. The bust position can be different on everyone.  Younger and smaller busts tend to be higher on the body; while more mature and fuller busts tend to sit lower on the body, but this is not always the case since we are all unique.  A general rule of thumb is a bust position of about 10 1/2" from the "high shoulder point" for a size 8 and 1/4" difference for each size above and below.

    *The waist line position is a line that is level with the floor and crosses the narrowest part of the torso.  This position greatly varies as well.  A waist position from the CB neck bone of 16 1/4" is quite standard in the fashion industry for a size 8 with about 3/8" difference for each size above and below.

    *The hip line position is a line that is level with the floor and crosses over the fullest and widest part of the buttock.  The position of this line also varies for everyone but 8" down from the waist line is quite standard.  There is normally a variance of 1/4" from waist to hip for each size above and below a size 8.  

    *Not to be over looked is the "high hip" position which is a line level with the floor and divides the distance between the waist line and the hip line.  The high hip line position can then be said to be at 4" down from the waist line with a 1/8" difference for each size above and below a size 8.  This position is important because this is an area which varies greatly on each body and indicates the shape or silhouette of the area between the waist and the hip.  To understand how variable this point can be just do a google search on personal croquis and you will know what I mean.



     How do we know if these positions are correct on the garment?

    The bust, waist, and hip position may or may not be indicated on the pattern but in any case, you can often tell if the position is correct just by looking at the fit of the garment.  First, let's consider the bust line position using Vogue 8664.  This style has a horizontal and a vertical bust dart  and we can easily see there is a problem in the bust area which I've indicated by the pink arrows.  At first glance, and by referring to the bust markings transferred from the pattern, there doesn't seem to be an issue with the bust line position but we do see puckering and drag lines indicating some kind of problem.


     After some manipulating of my fitting muslin and taking a 1/4" tuck (1/2" total length) just above the bust line, all the way around the body, it is clear that this corrects the issue seen in the photo above.  You can see how much smoother the bodice is fitting around the bust line and the darts seem to be addressing the fullest part of the bust correctly.

    You can also see that the dart ends are now sitting closer to the bust point which allows for better fit.  However, I would like to point out that darts are not the best choice for a larger cup size because often the bust dart volume is very large which creates a very pointy dart end.  Princess seams would fit more smoothly and be far less conspicuous.

    You will also notice that by raising the bust line position, the waist line and hip line are also adjusted so check these positions next starting with the waist line.  As it turns out, I am happy with the new waist line position.  The seam line of the waist band is now sitting exactly at the waist so I won't be making any adjustment there, but I can see that the hip line position is still off so I will take a 3/8" tuck (3/4" total length) all the way around just above the hip line.





    I think you can see now how important the high hip area is in fitting.  Those vertical folds and wrinkles are there because the high hip area is too large for the body I am fitting yet the hip girth looks just about perfect.  We will address that in our circumference adjustments later. Hopefully you can see from the photos below that just these three length adjustments change the proportion of the garment to make it more flattering and better fitting, of course we still have a lot of work to do.

    Perhaps this is enough information to absorb today.  I will show you the pattern corrections in my next post.  In the mean time ponder and peruse all those personal croquis; you will find an awe inspiring variation in body shapes which will perhaps propel you to take the time to analyze your own shapely form.

  • ← Next Post Previous Post →