Why Your Clothes Don’t Fit


Since the launch of Project Runway sewing machine sales are up, and interest in fabric and design has increased. This could possibly be coming from a real need to have our clothes fit better.

It is rare that a garment my client tries on fits at the moment we are in the dressing room. 

Generally it’s been an extended time since he/she has owned a piece of clothing that fits well.

Often they remark:  “well, this works”, when it really doesn’t.  And what if “this works” is really settling for less?

The key is finding clothing brands that fit us well or nearly well that we can tweak to perfect.  It’s time to stop “just working” and get to “wow, this looks great”.  It’s time to stop settling and start owning clothes that fit.

One reason fit is troublesome is that our clothing is made from a one-size-fits-all method.  Even though sizing ranges from 0 to 16 to 3X and a few sizes in between, our bodies have so many amazing variations, that is is odd when a garment does fit us perfectly.  For two reasons:

One is that there is no standard sizing!

Our clothing is made from standard patterns with one set of measurements… In other words our pant or top could be made from a Butterick or a Vogue or a Simplicity pattern, but the particulars of each brand are different.
So the same shape top could be made three different ways even if it is the same size.

Second, we require so many variations from our body to the pattern piece.

That taking any ready-to-wear garment and making it fit our particular shape is not going to happen without some sort of tailoring.
From the diagram below you will see that a standard pattern piece would need to be altered in several place to have it fit a real person.


While having all of our wardrobe hand-crafted is not a reality for most of us, we can pay attention to the garments we do buy.  

When we narrow to just three key areas of fit, we can save lots of time and money.  

The idea is to make the garment fit our body, not try to adjust our body to the clothing.  And adjusting is the key. Sometimes the adjusting is simple.  A seam here, a hem there, and we are done! Other times, the garment needs to be taken apart, and that can get costly.

Here are the top three places your clothing needs to fit exactly in order to save you time and money.

1.The armhole

The point where the sleeve meets the armhole is called the armscye (pron:  “arm sigh”).  This is by far the most important part of any garment.  The line of any set-in sleeve should hit at the very edge of our shoulder bone. Also, Take a good look at the fit of the armhole and make sure that it is set into the bodice of the garment well, meaning the seams are clean and very even.  If not, as you move in the garment, it will tear easily or bunch up in odd places.  And paying a tailor or attempting to fix a badly set armhole is just throwing good money after bad.


2. It’s too small

If you love a piece and its slightly too small, there is the chance that you can get a tailor to let it out, but there must be at least one-half to one inch of material left at the seam.  Even the best tailor cannot let out a garment if the fabric isn’t there.  Remember — there is no standard sizing — so buy one size up and have it altered to fit you well.



3. Jacket with a long body

There are three points on a jacket to consider when altering:  the sleeves, the lining and the length.  Shortening the sleeves on a jacket means removing the buttons at the wrist and sometimes a vent, which can add to the cost.  The lining is one more layer of fabric for the tailor to work with which can add to the cost as well and  the overall length involves the pocket arrangement.  If you are buying a jacket that is long and needs to be taken up to have better visual harmony, then simply notice what parts of the garment are going to be affected.  If it’s too many, it might not be worth it.



The good thing about fit and your clothing is that you really can find clothing that fits your body and makes you look and feel beautiful.  Much of the time it’s about seeing yourself accurately so that you know what good fit looks like.  

If you have spent a few years comparing yourself to unrealistic fashion standards, it may take some time to see yourself accurately in a well-fitted piece.  Making time to consider your clothing and desiring exciting pieces that you love to put on is the secret to getting dressed with ease on a daily basis.  If this is something you long for, please email me and we will set up a time to chat and explore the possibility of more personalized support.

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