How much ease do you need in your sewn garments for comfort? It’s taken a while, but I’m finally starting to get the wearing ease right in the garments that I make.
For the non sewing types who might be reading this, ease is the amount of “space” in a garment beyond your body measurements. All of that extra fabric which makes moving in a garment possible. This extra space is especially important when sewing fitted garments with non stretch fabrics. Often pattern companies put far more wearing ease or “space” into a pattern than is actually necessary for movement. It’s quite irritating when you finish sewing a garment only to find it’s ridiculously large on you, even though the size you picked is for your body measurements. While I’m talking about ease, there is also style ease or design ease, which as the name suggests, is included in the pattern for over all design or style purposes. Today this rant is about wearing ease, specifically on fitted patterns.
Anyway, when sewing fitted garments, once you figure out how much wearing ease you need, it becomes easier to pick the size to cut by either referring to the finished garment size or by measuring the pattern pieces at the bust, waist or hip.
Unfortunately for me, determining how much ease I need has been a process of trial and error. Earlier on in my sewing life, many of the garments I made were over fitted and didn’t have enough wearing ease, so I couldn’t eat, drink or sometimes sit down comfortably in them. Most of my fitting issues are at the waist or lack of waist 🙂
On Christmas day, I realised my much loved Simplicity 2180 was just a little too snug around the waist and I struggled to comfortably fit in all of the lovely food I wanted to eat. I had mistakenly thought that as the waist band sat above my actual waist, that I wouldn’t require as much wearing ease. I have also put on a little weight these past months, so I won’t entirely blame my sewing efforts in this fitting mishap.
Anyway, like most finished garments this dress didn’t easily allow for modifications to the waist and I just couldn’t bear the thought of not being able to wear this dress. It has been on high rotation in my wardrobe since it’s completion.
In order to build in the extra 2 inchs of ease that I wanted, just in case I put on more weight (not that I’m hoping or trying to), I un picked the entire back waist band. I released the back darts, sewed the side seams as scant as possible, then tackled rebuilding the waist band. I created more piping then added a new section to the band with fabric scraps. The skirt gathers were reduced slightly to increase the width at the waist.
Now, after all of this fiddly work, my dress is wearable again. I adore this dress. I love the fabric, the style, the piping and I LOVE wearing it. Now I can do so very, very comfortably even if my waist expands a little further.
Also, just in case you are interested my wearing ease needs for comfort, depending on style, are:
Bust: 2 inches minimum
Waist: 3.5 inchs minimum
Have you had similar experiences with sewing your own garments? Do you know the amount of ease you need for comfort?