The Sloper Is Your Secret Weapon to Making Any Sewing Pattern Fit

You love browsing, buying and using sewing patterns. And while making patterns may seem like a job for the pros, there’s actually one pattern any home sewer can — and definitely should —make. It’s called a sloper, and it’s basically a generic pattern based on your measurements without any wiggle room, seam allowances or style. It’s the building block of all patterns, helping you to not only sew clothes, but design them.

Significance of the Sloper

Like all patterns, a sloper is a 2D version of a 3D form. It represents the basic measurements of your body, almost like a second skin. A bodice sloper, for example, shows the length, width and shape of your torso, as well as the bust points and length of darts. It’s not meant to be a garment, so movement or seams aren’t factored in.

You can use a bodice sloper as the basis for creating a pattern for a top or jacket, or you can combine it with a skirt sloper (a fabric form of your waist, hips and thighs) to make a dress. A pants sloper is — you guessed it — the basis for any kind of pants pattern.

Good to Know: Commercial pattern producers use slopers that fit the “average” body shape, which explains why there’s always work needed to make a store-bought pattern fit just right.

How to Make Your Own Sloper

You can buy a sloper kit from major pattern companies or draft your own from scratch. Once you try on your sloper and perfect the fit, you’ll have a tangible record of what works on your body. You can then use the sloper to customize any pattern without needing to get out your tape measure. That’s right: barring any major weight changes, you only to have to make a sloper once.

You can also play around with your sloper to create simple clothing designs. Once you have a skirt sloper, for example, you can make a sewing pattern for a skirt, adding room for movement, flare, pockets and seam allowances. No more searching for just the right pattern, and no fussing with fit. Next stop: Project Runway!

Good to Know: You can draft your own sloper from scratch with help from patternmaker Suzy Furrer in our class, Patternmaking Basics: The Bodice Sloper.

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

Make a comment:
characters remaining

8 Responses to “The Sloper Is Your Secret Weapon to Making Any Sewing Pattern Fit”

  1. Glenda Elphinstone

    As a Premium Member should I be able to access all classes for free?

  2. Kim Gaul

    I have a premium membership. Do I have to pay for this class?

  3. Sophie

    What material will be required to take this course?

  4. Amelia Lyle

    Would love to do this

  5. Irene Kerr

    This is new to me but can see how helpful a sloper would be.

  6. Chris Galloway

    Will this work for menswear?

  7. Dr. Leblanc

    Suzy Furrer is a great instructor and moves through the steps of creating a sloper at a pace that is easy to follow. She explains how and why each step is done and what to expect, first from the moulage and then from the sloper. I was so amazed at how the moulage fit so perfectly. I am excited to try designing with the sloper and using it to modify patterns for a perfect fit.

  8. Ember

    This was an amazing class. It is a lot of work, and worth every second.