Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Book Review: Fitting & Pattern Alteration

I waited a long time for this book.  I viewed it as the answer to my many alteration woes.  I purchased several other books until I got my hands on this one.

All in all, I'm pleased with it.  It's not perfect, but it is the most complete resource I've found.  It's pricey, but I think it's worth it. Others have suggested buying an older edition. The nerd in me won't allow that :-) 

The book is organized into three sections.  Things don't get good until Part Two. This is where the book goes into body types, ways to fit and a discussion of the various ways to alter a pattern.

Part Three is what you pay for -- figure variations and how to alter patterns for them.  This covers 88 figure variations. For each, you are shown how to do the alteration via the seam method, pivot/slide method and slash method. I love that the book provided all three methods for each variation!  I'm a little sad because it doesn't give info on how to adjust wrap skirts or tops. 

Let me back up and give you the full picture:  for each variation, the book explains what the issue is (figure evaluation); the problems it causes (fitting problems); how to alter for the problem in RTW and the muslin; gives body measurement positions and pattern measurement comparison. Then it gives you the correction for flat pattern alteration using three methods.  This book is fantastic.

It's fantastic, but not perfect. While you get more detailed instructions regarding using the three methods to alter a basic pattern piece (like a darted bodice), the book gives you smaller reference pictures showing how the seam method would be used on other styles, like an empire-waist bodice. These are pictures only. I wish there were written isntructions too. My other criticism is that the for most of the alterations, it does not tell you the maximum adjustment amount you can make using any of the methods. 

I also hate the circa 80s apparel drawings.  These are a direct lift from the first edition of Fabulous Fit. What irks me to no end is the use of "ideal" when referring to a figure variation.  "There is more weight deposit an/or muscle development than average/ideal."  How dare you. Make the comparison to "conventional standards" or something, but please don't say "ideal." It's absolutely offensive.

Now that I have this book, the Palmer/Pletsch books (Fit for Real People and Pants for Real People) and Pattern Fitting With Confidence (pivot and slide method) I'm glad I have them all.  This book covers more figure variations, but you get more detailed alteration information in the other books. They all work well together.  Now what you don't need is Fabulous Fit, all of its info is contained this book (at least the first edition; I haven't seen the second).   This is a textbook, so I imagine students are getting hands-on practice with each alteration, so they don't need the additional detail in the other books.

So the question is can this be your only fit and alterations book? The answer isn't a simple yes or no.  If you are familiar with the three alterations methods and are looking for a single resource for all three, then the answer is yes.  Now for beginners, it really depends.  I needed the other books for the detail; I just couldn't grasp how to do some of the alterations.  This book is still a must-have for me; you may not need the level of detail I did.


Elaray said...

I'm considering buying this book. I looked at a sample chapter at the Fairchild Publishers site. I use the 'pivot and slide' method to alter my patterns and this is the only book I've found that features that method, although the authors seem to prefer the 'seam method'. One thing is preventing me from pulling out my debit card! I noticed the pattern alterations are shown on a basic fitting pattern rather than a fashion pattern. Fashion patterns were shown at the end of each section, but no text was included and the illustrations were primarily for the seam method. Was is easy to apply the pivot and slide techniques to fashion patterns? Please respond at my email: Elaray2003 at gmail dot com.

NuJoi said...

I think that for every figure variation, they illustrate all three methods. I struggle with the pivot and slide instructions in this book. I purchased Pattern Fitting with Confidence to help me understand better. Pattern Fitting with Confidence has only the most basic patterns, but you get more explanation of the technique. I am such a novice that I need all three books Fitting & Pattern alteration (all three methods, but pivot and slide is difficult to follow), Fit For Real People (slash method) and Pattern Fitting with Confidence (pivot and slide method).

Hope this helps!