Confidently Create Garments that Fit

A Pattern Fundamentals Design Project: Ava Part 3


We are smack in the middle of the Ava pattern making project. I hope you’ve been following along and actually doing the pattern work with me. Working on an actual project from start to finish is the best way to learn how to make patterns so I encourage you to jump in and try it.

If you missed the previous tutorials, just follow these links to catch up:

A Pattern Fundamentals Design Project: Ava Part 1

A Pattern Fundamentals Design Project: Ava Part 2

This week we continue the pattern work for the Ava top. Today you’ll learn two ways to manipulate the back shoulder dart and how to mimic the styling we created on front bodice on the back. Watch the video to see exactly how it's done.

For those of you who already have a personal bodice block, I encourage you to try following along with me using your block. You'll gain the most experience and knowledge by doing so.

If you don't have a personal bodice block and want to create one, I have a very comprehensive online...

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A Pattern Fundamentals Design Project: Ava Part 2


Have you been following along with the Ava design project? If you missed the first video tutorial, you can watch it HERE, it will set you up perfectly to jump right in!

 This week you'll learn how to use the contour neckline dart, rotate and divide darts and change the silhouette of your block. By the end of this tutorial you'll have completed the front bodice pattern and be all set for next weeks lesson.

If you already have a personal bodice block, I encourage you to try following along with me using your block. You'll gain the most experience and knowledge by doing so.

If you don't have a personal bodice block and want to create one, I have a very comprehensive online course that will walk you through the entire process from drafting through fitting.

Here's what one student said about the Designed to Fit: The Bodice Block course:

"Hi Alexandra. I have finished the course, made my toile, tweaked it (only a little needed) and have just completed my second...

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A Pattern Fundamentals Design Project: Ava Part I


The start of a new decade always feels pivotal. It seemingly offers an opportunity to start on a new path, break old habits, and get clarity or new insight on the things we may have taken for granted.

And So We Begin Anew

January kicks off a new Pattern Fundamentals series that I hope you'll enjoy. If you follow along, I think you'll discover that you'll awake your inner designer and get your creative juices flowing. I'm offering you that new path and new insight starting today.

In the first tutorial series of 2020 we're going to tackle a little design project together.

While simple in nature, this little woven t-shirt that I've named Ava, is the perfect skill building pattern making project. You'll learn how to rotate and design with darts, use contour darts, alter silhouette, create a neckline facing and much more. Over the next few weeks I'm going to walk you through the pattern development of this very simple sewing pattern from sketch to completed...

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Fine Tuning Fit: Concave vs Convex Darts


You’re probably pretty familiar with darts. Darts are the most commonly found fitting elements in a pattern design so you’ve probably stitched many of them over the years. Whether you’ve noticed or not, the legs of the dart on most sewing patterns are straight, but have you ever wondered if you could improve the fit by making them curved? 

This was one of the first questions I got from a member of my new on-line course Fitting Essentials: How to Make Sewing Patterns Fit You.

Ruth asked:

"You’ve  talked about darts and the various ways they can be manipulated for fit and style. I’ve read in a few places that it’s helpful to put a bit of a curve in the stitch line so the dart fits better. Is this a good or bad idea? I keep thinking that it would be a longer seam and that it would throw off the rest of the fitting. And while it sounds plausible, how would you figure out what shape of curve to put in? My biggest issue with darts is that they...

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Here's What You Need to Know About Ease


This week I want to start a conversation about ease. It seems there is some confusion about where it goes and how much is needed so I thought I’d share some insight.

Let’s start with this:

There are three kinds of ease. Wearing ease, design ease and negative ease.

Wearing ease is the minimum amount ease over the body measurement needed in a pattern to live in your garment. It allows for just enough room to breath, sit, walk and do your normal daily activities. Each area of the body is assigned a standard amount but depends entirely on the garment and what activities you want to perform in it.

Design ease includes wearing ease and is the additional measurement added to the pattern that creates the style or silhouette of the garment. For example a boxy oversize top has wearing ease, for movement, and design ease to create the boxy look.

Negative ease is most often used for knit or stretch fabric garments that are intended to hug the body. This is the amount of measurement...

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Four Pattern Alteration Mistakes You May Be Making [That Are Affecting the Fit of Your Garment]


If you’re on my email list, you’ll already know I sent you something special last week. It was so special in fact, that I got over 40 thank you emails for sending it out. So if you haven’t opened an email from me in a while, you’ll want to check the latest one for sure. I’ve been giving away some of my best stuff lately.

Wondering what it was? Well, let me tell you.

It was my recently updated Perfect Fit Guide. It’s an 8-page guide that outlines the six steps to getting the right fit on your sewing projects and even includes the Pattern Measurement Worksheet which just happens to be the perfect companion to the guide.


Today I want to talk about the 4 pattern alteration mistakes you may be making that are affecting the way your garment ultimately fits. This is covered in step six of the guide, but I’ve got a feeling most of you are glossing over this section, so here we go:

Mistake #1: You make your pattern...

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The Curated Closet Update


Two years ago I purchased the book The Curated Closet by Anushka Rees.

I started out in earnest and managed to do a closet clean out, an inspiration board and a two-week wardrobe analysis, then promptly moved on to more urgent things. But completing this small portion of the project did provide some insight which I share rather openly HERE.

Last week I shared my musings and discovered that I wasn't alone in how I felt about my aging, weight gain and lifestyle change. So many people responded and shared very similar stories. [feels so good to be validated!]

This week I share the garments I've made in the last two years and what I've discovered about my style preferences along the way. I show you the wardrobe wins, the fabric choice fails, and two things I did for myself that have changed how I feel about growing older.

I confess, the video isn't short, so it's a good idea to settle in with a beverage, then hit play. There just wasn't anything I felt could be...

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How to Raise the Neckline of a Cowl Neck


This week I'm putting the spotlight on the Cool Cowl tank.  It's a quick and satisfying project designed specifically for knit fabrics and a D bust cup size. This top features a front cowl neckline and sleeveless styling; perfect for warm summer days or under a jacket for Fall. 

I've made a couple of versions of this top and in some fabrics the neckline hangs pretty low (see the orange rayon jersey version above). This is called "drop" and happens with drapey knit fabrics without a lot of stretch recovery. Basically it means gravity and the weight of the fabric take its toll on the garment and make it longer over time. This week, I'm going to help you pre-empt this issue by giving you the pattern alteration to raise the front neck drop on this style and eliminate the need to wear a cami underneath.

In the video I show you how to establish the balance lines on this pattern and share the secret to knowing how much you can reduce the neck drop on this style...

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How to Adjust Shoulder Width on a Garment with Straps


This week I wanted to revive a video I did a while back on how to adjust the shoulder width on a garment with straps [featuring the In-House Patterns Sophie dress].

I often see and hear comments on how making shoulder adjustments is hard, but it's actually very easy and definitely nothing to be afraid of. I am sure that after you've watched, you won't be intimidated by it any longer.

I made the Sophie dress for myself a while back and thought I'd share a photo. I made view A for it's sophisticated "little black dress" appeal. This pattern is 25% off until July 31, 2019 so if you like what you see, it's a great time to get your copy of the pattern

If you're wondering what the "other" shoulder width adjustment is, you can see it here: How to Adjust Shoulder Width on a Garment with Sleeves.

Just a reminder, if you are making a shoulder width alteration on a style with separate lining patterns (like the Sophie dress), be sure to make the same...

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How to Adjust Shoulder Width on a Garment with Sleeves


Here's another revival of a past video that contains some valuable information about adjusting for shoulder width on a garment with sleeves.

The method I share in this video requires no change to the sleeve but be sure to watch the whole video because I have a short segment on how this alteration can change the garment's shoulder slope fit which may be problematic if you are making a very large shoulder width adjustment [1" (2.5 cm) or more]. 

Large shoulder width adjustments are best done using an alternate method which include an alteration to the sleeve (a future video perhaps).

The book I am referencing in the video is Fabulous Fit: Speed Fitting and Alterations by Elizabeth Liechty and Judith Rasband.

If you're interested in how to adjust the shoulder width on a garment with straps, you'll find a helpful video HERE.


All My Best,

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