Fair Cop?



Our Yesterdays

Have you noticed how quickly stuff migrates from the luxury camp to the necessity camp ?The legendary, record breaking Eileen Sheridan recalling sportswear as it once was said

“We used to ride in our baggy shorts, not padded of course, and a sweater with a pocket on the front where we kept our food. It opened like a sail as we cycled! I wore chamois leather shorts when I was racing, but that’s as smart as it got! There were no showers or anything. We used to finish, find out our time and ride home!”

Compare that to what even the weediest of us thinks we need to strut our stuff  down the gym now .

Last night’s GB Sewing Bee was 50s themed. Contestants were given electric Singer Featherweights to work on and some struggled with the lack of features.  How quaint it seems now that my sister and I learnt to sew on a hand crank Singer. We did get a new needle when sis sewed through her finger. That was the entire gizmo expenditure.

I wonder what its like learning to sew in today’s gadget rich environment. Do you think its empowering, or does it lead to expecting that its all going to be easy?

There’s been much criticism of independent pattern makers lately. Some of it might be justified. This post claims to have found plagiarism. It’s not the first time its been suggested that some newer pattern makers are drawing round old patterns. If true, its not exactly cricket is it? Calling out commercial copying is a fair cop.

Some criticism though, is along the lines of ‘this pattern was a bad fit on the half dozen  bloggers who made it’ . That may not be a fair complaint.  Have we started to expect fitting to be plain sailing because so much else is relatively easy? I spent this week on a couple of common fit issues.

 First, fabric related fit problems. 

Have you noticed how no matter how carefully you measure and compare, fabric can throw the fit of a pattern right off? Knits are the worst offenders – even when two fabrics have apparently have the same stretch they can behave differently.

Batting off the ease I used in last week’s sportswear top, (size14, zero ease) I made a simple tee shirt (size12,  4cms ease) in a knitted noil of about the same stretch. They should have had a similar fit if there were any measurement logic in the game.  Verdict -indifferent  fit,  baggy in places and at the same time having drag lines to the bust point and the dreaded front hem raise.

So then I made another (12, zero ease, but bust darts). Verdict – good fit.  Its not all in the measurements. The noil jersey and the cotton jersey I used last week have similar stretch, but fit differently.

Second, shooting in the dark fit 

This closely echoes the pattern maker’s dilemma. Fit a theoretical model (or in this case far distant actual person) with non standard measurements.  I got these steps done this week.

Pad out size 12 dressform to approximate extra 2 inches of front bodice measurement -a different cup size.

Drape pattern for garment support structure and transfer it to paper.

Make up test support pattern, pin out alterations.

Tentatively drape a piece of fabric over it to see if the finished lines will marry up with the support structure.

But will it fit?




About jay

I design and draft patterns
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11 Responses to Fair Cop?

  1. Zoe Clark says:

    Fit is complicated. I don’t think people really understand the complexity of it. I always laugh out loud when there are reviews on pattern site with a fit rating. What the heck does that mean anyway?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. prttynpnk says:

    I really fought against buying a fancy machine- I thought all the fancies would distract me from perfecting basics.


  3. mrsmole says:

    It is all about the body under the garment and the reaction of the fabric…if you need drape…BUY drape, if the pattern has darts and can handle stiffer fabric…well lucky you. Most days are a battle to marry the fabric to the pattern and then pull it on over a real body…lumpy as we can be or as flat as we can be…one has to be a magician! Thank you for showing 2 sides!


  4. fabrickated says:

    Firstly I love the reflections on sportswear. And the remarks about different cloth – I made two pairs of trousers in different wools – one turns out one size too big, the other one size too small. I just don’t get it. Both were crepes but there was at least two inches difference in the finished waist and an inch in the leg. Fit is the best bit of sewing I think – it requires patience and some trial and error – as well as knowledge and experience. But when you crack it is so rewarding. And it looks like your busty model will be happy with the draped bodice – impossible to buy fit like that off the peg.


  5. Just following the pattern always leaves me with a problem here or there, no matter who made the pattern. I love leaving lots of extra seam allowance to fit myself with. Thank you for the interesting post!


  6. jay says:

    That’s the classic approach to fitting – large seam allowances to permit adjustments.


  7. Omgee the plagiarism issue! Yea I saw those posts and pretty much concluded everything was stolen. =P Also pretty over the whole ‘copy off a vintage pattern and sell it as an indie one’ thing. Not that I was ever under it…but meh. People will be separated from their money so at least this way they’re doing something they enjoy (sewing, ranting about it online etc) and someone’s getting paid for their efforts (even if those ‘efforts’ are limited to stealing other people’s ideas). Good on those who pointed it out so that others wouldn’t contribute to the coffers of the plagiarizer XD
    I also went through the GOMI thread about some idiot that stole Salme pattern’s stuff and claimed she’d drafted it off the same block. That truly does deserve a punch to the head. For underestimating everyone’s intelligence if nothing else. Having said that, it was good for a couple of lols. XD


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