Plus Size Sewing: How to Identify a Flawed Fit

Here, Barbara Deckert discusses the many ways a garment can be ill-fitting, no matter how closely – or especially how closely – you follow a pattern. Fortunately, Barbara (who instructs the online sewing class, Plus-Sized Pattern Fitting and Design) some great ways to spot the problems!

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Hi, I’m Barbara Deckert and I’m a sewing geek, and I’m also an instructor for

Let’s take a look at what happens when we pull a pattern out of the envelope and we sew it up. We think we’ve chosen the right size for our bust waist and hip measurements, and let’s see what happens when we put it on somebody who’s really very averaging. And that’s why we have our well-padded friend over here.

Fortunately, when we look at a garment and we’re trying to fit it, we can look at the lines that are on the garment, and they’ll tell us what’s wrong with the fit. And as we look at this, I can see there are some horizontal stress lines across here, across the bust apexes. And that tells me that the garment is too tight in that area, and we need to let it out at the darts and the side seam. I also see that the darts are not pointing to the apexes. This one is. This one can’t even get close. It should be over here somewhere. So I can tell that these darts are not in the right place. They ought to point to the apexes. So this one needs to slide over a little bit, or rather they both need to be spread from the center front. And I think that’s why we’re seeing these diagonal lines here. Diagonal lines tell us something is wrong in both length and width. And this is forming because these darts are not in the right place.

The other problem with this garment is that I’m also getting some pull lines up here. So probably this shoulder seam needs to be let out a little bit. And when I spin it around in the back, I can see that it’s really, really, way too tight all over because the zipper is straining. I’ve got some more horizontal stress lines here, and here, and here. Again this tell us there’s not enough width in the area. And there’s some weird puckering going on up here. She’s got a round upper back, and fitting that doesn’t just happen by magic. But there are ways to fit all these figure variations, and all these ways that make our figures completely unique as compared to standardized figure that a pattern is drafted for.

So if you like this kind of information and you think it might help you with your next sewing project, check out titled Plus-Sized Pattern Fitting and Design on

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