Fitting Book Review

I’ve had this book for years, much consulted, as you can see from the state of the cover.

bra1My review was all planned and then I stumbled on an excellent one here. No need to reinvent the wheel then!

‘Dress Fitting’ follows through from the author’s pattern drafting books, uses the same terms, and expands the information in them to the problems of individual fit. Chapter eight deals with altering her blocks to fit individual measurements, a shortcut for a bespoke designer/dressmaker to making a personal block for a client. Whilst you could follow the method with any drafting system and table of measurements, its obviously easier if you’re using the same one as the book.

There are modelling exercises ( draping exercises) designed to develop an understanding of the basic blocks, ease and grain,  the distribution of fullness and darting.  Then the book moves to  fitting for specific figure individualities, in the order which the alterations would normally be tackled.

I  found her notes on sleeve fitting problems to be very comprehensive and logical. What is especially helpful about this book is its undogmatic approach, there is a lot of hands on wisdom in suggesting alternative ways of arriving at a reasonable fit where there are several problems impinging on the same garment part, or where the dressmaker finds herself with insufficient seam allowances to make the ideal adjustment. Unlike modern fitting books which use lots of photographs of individuals, this book relies on diagrams. I find this no disadvantage. Photographs can sometimes muddy the waters, in that it isn’t as easy to focus on the problem in hand when you look at a real life figure presenting several ‘problems’ at once.

As you would expect, an excellent book. The ‘Classic Edition’ is still available.



About jay

I design and draft patterns
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4 Responses to Fitting Book Review

  1. seweverythingblog says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this book. I am particularly intrigued by the last paragraph where you mention the non-dogma approach, such as suggestions for the designer/seamstress who finds herself confronting an insufficient seam allowance. I will be looking for this book!


  2. Pella says:

    To expand – for example, to get a good fit in the top bodice it may be necessary to use the s.a. in the shoulder, and commercial patterns only give you 5/8th. So, alongside recommendations in passing to allow more s.a. she often gives workarounds.


  3. VeraVenus says:

    I have the set of 3 … in use since 1980, covers now quite tatty! I’ve worked with learner-drafters who complain the Bray books are “too dry” but I also think they are excellent books. I’m glad you are spreading the word!


  4. Pella says:

    Too dry? And I’ve heard complaints that it is too wordy. I guess you can’t please everyone, but the information in them still holds up.


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