Fit For a Real Person

I received my copy of Fit for Real People (FFRP) on Friday and after reading it almost cover to cover, felt ready to try out tissue fitting yesterday afternoon. I decided to start with something relatively simple - a fabric collage vest/waistcoat pattern from Sewjourner. I have made this pattern before and was intrigued to see that the previous time I traced the XXL pattern (!), because I used my full bust measurement. Consequently, the waistcoat is much too large and hangs away from my body at the back and front. This time, using my high bust measurement, I traced the L.

This is the waistcoat I made from the pattern before
The pattern is different from most by having everything in one piece, as you do a lot of embellishment and quilting, and then sew together the shoulder seams right at the end. So there are no seam allowances. To make it a bit easier to fit, I cut the pattern apart where a side seam would be, planning to stick it back together after doing the alterations.

Using the book, I could see that I have a forward shoulder - the shoulder seam lies behind my real shoulder. I also have a sway back and I took a tuck at the back above the waist, which brought the back much closer to my body. Not surprisingly, I also needed a full bust adjustment, as the CF did not come to my CF and the armhole gapped in front. I only needed a small alteration though - 3.5 cm. Despite this, there was still a big gap in the back of the shoulder - after finding this in a picture in the book, I now know that I also have a slightly rounded back, and fixed it by adding a dart to the back shoulder seam. I was amazed at how well it worked. I then rotated the bust dart created by the FBA to a vertical dart, and cut off a wedge equal to the dart from the side seam. Then I stuck the whole thing back together.

The adjusted pattern showing changes (click to enlarge)

I am happy with the fit considering that there are no darts, although I did mess the pattern up a bit by cutting away at the neckline and also doing a weird tuck at the front to eliminate neckline gaposis (should have taken a horizontal tuck). I think I might retrace that bit, because now it doesn't seem to fit so well there.

Tissue-fitting the adjusted pattern

I'm planning to alter a fairly simple jacket pattern next. I'm leaving princess and empire line adjustments for later - I first want to get to understand the basics.


  1. Heather said

    I really like this book too! I've found it to be really helpful!

    K.Line said

    Amazing alterations. Isn't it crazy how complex alterations can get? I thought you had this book already for some reason. I am totally impressed with it, though I do think they recommend excessive altering (which leads to oversize finished product). It's an aesthetic thing - and an 80s thing. No one's going to accuse those women of being fashionable!

    Peg in South Carolina said

    I have been using this book and have found it very helpful. The forward shoulder alteration and choosing a pattern by chest rather than bust I have found especially helpful

    Jos said

    Thanks for all the information!

    Tina said

    I found my old pattern in my interfacing drawer yesterday, and will take a photo comparing the two.

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