I couldn't decide what my first blog should be or even where to start, so I decided, to cover the basics and first up, CUSTOM FITTINGS!
I used to be intimidated to do fittings. You're working next to a model or some A-lister, face to face with them while its usually an awkward radio silence in the background and now you see them up close, and personal (literally!ugh).
I've never known how to do a fitting when I first started out. You learn how to sew, how to make alterations and you're just thrown into a fitting, no one walks you through it, trust me, I have pintrested this before.
First, before we even discuss the actual fitting on the design, you need to have few things in order.
If meeting at a clients location, show up few minutes earlier but not an entire 30 minutes sitting outside of their house like a creeper, it's overkill. Have a sewing kit with you, smell good and rule number one, don't forget your pins. If you're meeting at your own studio/location, air out your studio for fresh air, have a few candles with a light scent and an entirely clean place. Nothing worse than your work place smelling like a basement that's never seen the light of day when someone walks in but even worse to come into a place filled with a strong smell of spray or candles, that makes your stomach turn. I've discovered this French songs station on Pandora, that all of my clients love and always compliment the ambiance but most importantly, it sets the mood and makes them happy.
Be prepared with your safety pin, measuring tape, notebook, scissors and chalk, set it close by the mirror so it’s easy to access during fittings.I prefer safety pins during my fittings.
Always wipe down your mirror before client arrives and dust off any vanity table/mirror light bulbs, and have a clean small rug where you can do your fittings on.
During a change, some clients will need to take off their jewelry or undergarments to fit the design, it’s a nice touch to lay out a small towel preferably white, where they can place all of their jewelry. Also, if a fitting will require that your client wears certain undergarments, make them aware of all they have to wear under the design, prior to the fitting.
Suggest nude undergarments, and spandex if necessary for all fittings.
Always make your first draft of the design out of muslin fabric, leave about 1” on the side seams, the extra room will allow you to take in, as you never want this to fit tight & the first fitting is going to create the blueprint of your entire design. Leave hems unfinished to adjust length and fit during 2nd fitting. If you're working with stretchy/mesh fabrics, always use the single needle machine, than overlock after the 2nd fitting when you're certain of the fit. For sequins, baste stitch the seams with a single needle. Start from the shoulders, waist, hips to bottom, as you do this work both on front and back as you fit the garment from top to bottom. Mark with safety pins, allowing seam allowance and also note with chalk if it's not silk. Use regular pins if silk or fine fabrics, and note in chalk only on the inside of the fabric.
If you have darts on a high end dress, never cut the dart, just sew it closed and stitch if necessary. Also for regular fittings, don't cut dart, in case of dart adjustment during fittings, you're able to open dart and place accordingly. If you have a deep neckline, backless design or low armhole that needs to fit well on the body, always baste stitch by hand to not stretch out during fittings, and remove on your second fitting or the third.
Any corrections you're making from the first fitting on your muslin fabric, now trasnfer the corrections to your pattern, and use that pattern to cut and sew your fabric (the fabric you are making the design, never lining). Adjustments should be very minimal, but if you're starting out it's okay to have more adjustments to make. Your zipper should be in now, sleeves and any parts of the design. If you need to take in more, leave seam allowance. Mark hems of all lengths.
Hems should be finished, design should fit like a glove, all hooks and eyes placed, label along with care labels placed. a ready to wear finished product. 🤩 Sometimes it can take more than 3 fittings for bridal/couture/special designs.
The MOST important tip would be to always be confident during a fitting. It can be nerve wracking as the client will over analyze every piece of the design and more than likely not be happy to be in a sack as they expect a finished perfect garment during the first fitting. To avoid that, communicate the steps and expectations of fittings prior and during the fitting stay focused in the steps you need to take during this processes and assure them of all their worries. You made a custom dress, small adjustments are an easy fix! Good luck!
Please feel free to share your fitting tips or stories.