the quest for perfect fit...

Not everyone who sews ends up on the quest for perfect fit.  Some started sewing because they couldn't find clothing that fit, other stumbled on the perfect fit path somewhere else along the way.  I probably started sewing because machines and mechanical things intrigue me.  I love tinkering and constructing things, working out puzzles and sewing is full of all that kind of stuff.

Fundamentally I sew because I love to sew, not necessarily because I need things to wear.  Fit and fashion have always been low priorities to me.  Not that I wear clothes that don't fit, just that I never paid much attention to just how well clothing I wear does or doesn't fit.  Generally if it doesn't hurt (too much) and doesn't look like a potato sack then I'm good to go.  As fashion goes I've always shopped by price and color.

I'm proud to say that I'm fairly well accomplished with my skills and I can sew most items proficiently.  However lately I've been very disappointed with how my out of the envelope sewing projects have been fitting when I use commercial patterns.  This is totally do to my becoming more aware of how clothing fits and how custom sewn clothing should fit in best case scenarios. 

A BrianSews reader helpfully suggested I check out pattern drafting software.  There's a few different companies out there making this stuff and I chose to go with Wild Ginger's Pattern Master.  The men's version is called Tailor Made and can be downloaded for a very reasonable $90 with a 90 day money back guarantee.  This was exactly one month ago which is why you've heard very little from me in that time.  I've become so obsessed with perfect fit I dream about it!

I will say that pattern drafting software is no miracle.  There's a learning curve with the software and you still need to make just as many test garments.  The patterns don't print out with instructions so you need to have a good idea of what you're doing.  

The biggest selling points for me so far:
  • Printing fresh patterns for each fitting, no more funky tissue
  • Cataloging all changes to both measurements and garment style for easy reference 
  • High degree of control without having much skill in pattern drafting

Here's a video I put together talking about my first successful pattern using custom pattern drafting software:

10 comments :: the quest for perfect fit...

  1. OMG! As soon as I saw the still photo on the video, I knew what that pile was. I have had piles like that as well. :-) I wondered if I should start crocheting rag rugs from it.

    Thanks for a great video!

    (And no-o, I was by no means tired of hearing you talk about fit. I just figured it would be right up your alley. :-))

  2. Thanks for that review Brian. I've always wondered about this (tho I have a Mac, and I don't think WG works on Macs -- maybe with BootCamp).

    If you don't have a friend who can drape with you, this seems like a good option.

  3. Thanks for the video on the software. I have long suspected that it would take many iterations even with just "plugging" in your measurements.

  4. I wandered across your blog recently and have really enjoyed it. You tempt me with vintage sewing machines.

    I really enjoyed this video about the pattern drafting software. I have tried one of the click and sew womens patterns for pants and did not have your tenacity. I hate to admit that I made one baggy bottomed muslin and gave up. I might have to try again.

    Your shirt is just perfection!

  5. Also wondering if WG allows you to customize seam allowances. Like, will it let me allow 1/4" around the neck and pockets, 7/8" on the sleeve cap, etc.

  6. For years, I've been debating about whether to get pattern drafting software. I've done plenty of pencil-and-paper drafts of slopers, and some very simple variations, but when it comes to anything beyond the most basic shapes, I am not so enthusiastic about having to draw it all out. So I don't.

    Your video gave me a very clear idea of what kind of time I'll need to set aside for mastering this software if I decide to buy it. I think I will buy it, but not until I have the time to really work with it and make up plenty of samples.

  7. Wild Ginger allows custom seam allowances but as far as I can tell not more than one per pattern. Using the standard style editor you can't choose one seam allowance for the collar and one for the side seams. However... they say that you can do just about anything you want with the pattern editor section of the software which I haven't had the time to explore yet. I'll give more updates as I work through the discovery process...

  8. Thank you, Brian. I have so often wondered about this type of product. Even the articles in Threads were not as helpful as your review. You really demonstrate what exactly is involved in perfecting your fit. I thought the software - voila - created the perfect fit the right out of the printer. Thanks again.

  9. Wow you area PATIENT man. Great video. I have considered the WG software off and on but could never come up off of that dime.

    (Very cool music for the intro and outro, too!)

  10. Brian, great video. I really enjoyed it. I laughed out loud about the pile of slopers. My count was 26. :) That was about eleven years ago with Version 1 of the software. Just wait until you conquer Pattern Editor. This is my favourite part of the software. Have fun with it!

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