Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Confession


And today's topic is (can you guess from the picture?) ... EASE! Gwen of All My Seams proposed this question - how much ease do you like in your garments and where? (Exciting news - she's working on ease tables for her blog!)

And I can match this topic with a confession of my own - I know the official definition of ease, but that's about it. I have no idea how much ease I like in my garments, nor do I use ease measurements in any way when I sew.

So, how about you? Do you know your ease preferences? If so, please share! Also, how do you use your ease preferences in your sewing? You have TWO Gwens eagerly awaiting your answers! :)

Photo credit: VictoriaPeckham

6 comments:

sewducky said...

I have 2 styles depending on the garment and what I want it for. Generally, it's public and private, which loosely translates to nicer clothing and casual clothing.

Publicly, I prefer close fitted and fitted garments. Privately, it ranges from fitted to loose, with an exception being for coats in which I prefer them to be loose or very loose. Butterick's website has the ease and definitions in inches on what they consider ease and styles, and different garments since you want different ease on different types of clothing. In numerical terms, it ranges from about 2" to 6" in different types of garments, since I don't make anything over 6" in ease.

This is kind of misleading as well, since cut, style, fabric considerations, etc. are all part of the discussion on ease. Generally, I have generous armscyes, and a slightly fuller sleeve head (which allows more room for movement)and sounds counter productive to the ease I wear, as does moving the side seam on pants slightly forward. Since fit is part of ease, it brings it from hoochie tight to a more tailored look.

I do look at the ease in a garment, and occasionally I will alter it. Typically, I sew from vintage patterns in a large part on account of the ease in them: it is the fit I prefer. When I do sew from modern patterns, I paper fit the pattern to me if it has a lot of ease to determine if I can simply go down a size or several, or if I need to adjust it. Most of the time on modern patterns, I can simply sew a smaller size and have the ease I prefer (since it's often too big all over, and I have a narrow shoulder depth, although they're broad). Sometimes I just add darts (usually to the back when they don't call for it), sew a smaller side seam (when the shoulders/bust fits with the ease I want) or add a back seam and/or back yoke and remove some of the excess at the side seams/back seam to adjust. Since the method largely depends on the "cut" of the garment, I can't tell you I do one thing or the other.

SunnyQ said...

Wow, SewDucky! Thanks for all that input. I'm going to checkout the ease information at Butterick next! I too know nothing about ease and suspect it's probably a key thing for me to learn to become more proficient at making my own garments that I actually want to wear. Thanks for bringing up this topic Gwen! And I look forward to checking out the ease tables, other-Gwen! :)

gwensews said...

Love the photo! Talk about extremes! I like "going out clothes" to skim my body. Not tight. No huge either. 3" overall in a fitted jacket. 5" in a looser fit. Shirts, I like 4-5" of ease. Pants--2" overall.

I measure EVERYTHING on a pattern. I spend as much time measuring and altering as I do sewing the garment. Then, regardless of how the designer intended the garment to fit, I alter it to my liking.

My body type is pear. Small busted, large hips. There is no pattern--none of the big 4, no Burda--that is going to fit me without some extensive alterations. Same with RTW. That's why I sew. I'd rather make something made for me than to alter RTW.

Anonymous said...

I like close fitting garments, and have learned the hard way that too much ease on my mature hour-glass figure is deadly. I find that most patterns include way too much ease, but because I dealing with a large bust in front and prominent hips in back I can't just go down a size. I still need to make lots of fit alterations. For a fitted shirt I like about 1 1/2" to 2" of ease at the bust and 3" to 6" at the hip. For pants or skirts I like the waistband to measure my waist measurement; any ease there allows the garment to slide down while I'm wearing it which feels uncomfortable.

I find that it is important to select styles with design ease compatible with my body type. Since too much extra fabric only adds bulk to my appearance, I stay away from designs that include too much fullness such as elastic waistlines and tops with gathers. Darts or fitting seams are what work for me.

I also measure everything about a pattern and tissue fit, then muslin fit it before committing to the good fabric. When I was younger I would have seen this as too much effort, but I find at this point that it reduces the number of wadders.

I use a lot of tried-and-true patterns, especially as a guide for comparing the amount of ease in a new pattern to something I know.

Lois K

Becky said...

I generally like things to be more fitted--also more of an hourglass shape, and too much ease makes me look pregnant! (With skirts, since I like flared and flowy ones, this translates to fitted in the waist and hips.) So it's quite usual for me to end up taking things in as I sew, at least in the waist, to fit. I've also become much more aware of finished garment sizes over the last couple of years, and for things with a lot of ease, have started making them in smaller pattern sizes than my norm, though I'll make adjustments for things like making sure the sleeves are long enough. My most recent sewing project (which I haven't really posted yet due to lack of pictures) was an example of that.

Summerset said...

It depends on the garment style and fabric. Mostly I like more fitted styles. If and rarely if I sew a big 4 pattern, I check the finished garment measurements at bust, waist, hip. Knowing my own measurements, I decide based on the style how much ease I want and cut the size accordingly. Example: If the pattern finished measurements for a jacket at the bust are 34", 36", 38" and the jacket is fitted, I'd probably want 2" of ease. Therefore, I'd cut the size that would give me that, the one with the finished measurement of 36" at the bust, and adjust everything else (lengths, shoulders, etc.) to fit. I have found that American patterns vary widely on the amount ease, even within the same type of garment. The European patterns are far more consistent and I always look at the model photos to get an idea of how much ease the garment has. I never have to jump around in sizes to get the ease I want with BWOF.