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For me, its neck and bust alterations... (Small neck and DD) and of course body lengthen (as I'm only 6 foot) and leg length (1,18cm to be exact from waist to floor)

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for everyday I use FIT for real people and the bust alteration DVD ...

Oooh! I have the fit for real people and love it - it really does help!
I have this coming in the mail. Now I can't wait for it to arrive.
wondefull !
Rachel this is really interesting. What measurement do you base your pattern purchase on? You say not to go by hip size. I usually go by bust and/or waist.

I will check out your recommended books. I'm to the point where "sort of" fits isn't good enough.

This is a really good topic, thanks for putting it up!

 Cathe, Fitting is so tricky to get it right and makes so much difference in a garment.

Using Patti’s Palmer method I have manage to improve all patterns I purchased. Its tricky to not make everything big on the back and waist and the book give lovely simple explanations on adding bust and reducing too. And all other challenging on fitting. My top half gives me the most problems . I measure just above the breast (high breast) and now trying to get patterns that are already DD or making my own patterns.

 let me know if what you think of the books! xx


I ordered Pati's book from the library this morning, I should have it this week. Thank you so much for your insight.

I'll let you how it goes!

Cathe, I been spending the weekend with my in laws here in Dorset and my mother in law have a very good book too.  The Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing . I give some good examples too but focus on teaching different sewing skills like diverse colars and types of finishes.

Rachel, Thank you so much, I will check this one out too. I now have "Fit for real People" which I'm just starting to dig into. I think it's going to be really helpful especially the "fitting" aspect! Beware, I may have more questions for you!

Thanks for the book recommendations Rachel, I just put it on hold at my library! I decided this week to challenge myself to learn about re-sizing patterns and discovered a new difficulty... while the waist and hip measurements were fine, I had to lose 3" from the bust. All other re-sizing methods I tried resulted in the bust fitting fine but the loss of 3" from the waist made it too small! I think I have lamp post syndrome - too "straight up and down" - if only my bust measurement matched the waist measurements on patterns!


With vintage patterns though, sometimes I find my greatest challenge being trying to follow the instructions! The very early patterns have very minimal instructions and some of the ones from the 70s with multi-dress views to the one instruction sheet can get very confusing.

Challenges are great way to learn and hopefully share it here.

You said you had tried all methods-  did you  tried cutting into the tissue by altering where it needed or moving seams allowances …? And when u said loss3” did meant you add a dart and move the dart around? You may be able to move to a princess seam adding the waist.


About the vintage patterns, I normally ignore it and follow a basic step:


-          Cut pattern

-          Fit

-          Adjust paper pattern

-          Cut fabric with seams

-          Mark notches and nicks

-          Pin and fit

-          Adjust


Dress order of sewing:


-          sew darts

-          -centre back seam

-          If waist darts- waist seam- centre back seam



-          waist seam

-          shoulders

-          Side seams

-          Neck finishes

-          Sleeves

-          Zip

-          Hem

-          Hand finishing touches

I have narrow shoulders, which I don't know how to properly fit. I usually just snip some off the end where the arm hole is. It works.

I also have a super curvy figure! (39/31/45) which usually means a range of four sizes! At least with modern multi-size patterns I can cut one size at the bust, another at the waist and yet another for the hips. That's usually a good start. I always measure the pattern pieces to figure out which size to cut were.


And my arms are a bit chubby, so I usually have to cut one size larger on sleeve pieces.


Mostly I just fiddle around until it works. I have heard good things about the Fit for Real People book and have been thinking about getting it.


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