Mar 19, 2013

Fitting Commercial Patterns

Many of you often ask if your Sure-Fit Designs body blueprint can be used to help you fit commercial patterns.  The answer is a resounding 'YES'!  When you have your personal pattern blueprinted to your unique body shape, then you definitely can use it as a guide when working with your stash of commercial patterns.

Keep in mind, that generally speaking, no two commercial patterns are identical, so the steps and guidelines to do this process will vary from design to design.  But there are some general guidelines that will make this process easier.

Here you go...
1. Size: Choose a size that is the closest to your size – e.g. bust to bust circumference, hip to hip circumference.
2. Seam allowances: Since most commercial patterns already have a seam allowance of (5/8”) (1.6cm) wide, make sure your Sure-Fit Designs body blueprint also has the seam allowance in place.  Or if working with a sloper without seam allowances, make sure you mark and remove allowances from commercial pattern.
3. Darts:  Does the commercial pattern have darts – in any location?  If it has darts, you will use your SFD Dress Kit bodice; if it has no darts, you will likely use your SFD Shirt Kit for comparison.
4. Dart location: Where are the darts?  Have they been moved into a design feature like a princess line, gathers or tucks?
5. Neckline:  Is it with or without a collar?  What type of collar? What is the shape of the neckline – ‘V’, u-shaped, heart etc?
6. CF detail: What’s happening at CF?  Does it button up the front thereby requiring button extensions and a facing, is it a pullover with CF on the fold, does it have a zipper? How does it finish?  Whatever the commercial pattern detail, can it be copied directly onto your SFD bodice?
7. Armhole shape:  SFD v.s. the commercial pattern armscye will no doubt be different shapes.  The SFD armhole is likely higher and a closer fit to your body.  Listen to the General Guidelines video explaining the reason for this.  The commercial pattern armhole, depending on its intended design and ease, will likely be lower, deeper.  This can give more ease, but not necessarily the better fit.
8. Sleeve:  If you use the commercial pattern armhole, you should/must use the corresponding sleeve.  If you prefer your SFD armhole, you should/must use your SFD sleeve.
9. Garment Ease: Analyze the look and feel of the commercial pattern.  Is it intended to be loose with lots of ease, or more fitted and shaped to the body?  Read the pattern back details for intended ease and fit.
10. Design Details:  Read the pattern back information.  Is the pattern supposed to have shoulder pads etc?
11. Differences: No two patterns will be alike.  Working with and fitting your commercial patterns will always be a process of individual evaluation based on that specific pattern.
12. General Steps: Lay the commercial pattern over top of your SFD body blueprint, then line up the CF with the SFD CF (or CB with the SFD CB) and shoulder line to shoulder line.  Where are the differences?  What’s wider or narrower, longer or shorter?  Can you copy a special commercial pattern design detail directly onto your SFD body blueprint?  Then lay a piece of tracing vellum over top and create a 3rd layer, incorporating your good fit from SFD and the special design feature from the commercial pattern.

Next week, I'll start showing you 4 videos on this topic.  Until then...


  1. Thank you very much!

  2. You will find the next 4 videos really helpful too. Kindly, Glenda

  3. I have had very good success using my Sure-Fit pants block to cut out commercial pants patterns for myself. I generally have to cut a larger back piece than front piece and reduce everything at the waist. I'm not sure how common it is for people to be a different size in front than in back for their pants, but it was because I used my personal block as a reference point that I now understand that about myself.

  4. Yes, definitely women can be larger in the back than the front. The SFD pants pattern already is larger across the back, but depending on your body shape, some women still need more. I'm glad that you've found your SFD pants blueprint so useful in helping you to fit a commercial pattern. If you feel so inclined, please send me know I'd love to post them. Everyone always likes to see what other women have sewn. Kindly, Glenda