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What is Tissue Fitting?

Lesson 2 from: Tailored to Fit: The Palmer/Pletsch Tissue Fitting Method

Pati Palmer, Marta Alto

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Lesson Info

2. What is Tissue Fitting?

Lesson Info

What is Tissue Fitting?

I'd like to show you the slides, which is an overview of our tissue fitting method ok, wait use the title slide never have a fit disaster because that's what we really don't want youto have and with tissue fitting what you see is what you get so if you see everything, you should be good in your fit I will say though, that we all have disaster sometimes not necessarily fit, but with the end garment and I have to tell you, my daughter melissa who's in the industry now she was making something at our house in portland this summer and it just wasn't working out and, you know, it's either the fabric, the way the fabric handles for the pattern, whatever and she just looked at me and she said, mom, I'm not going to finish it, I'm going to cut my losses and I thought that was just great because you can admit if something's not going to work, you don't need to frustrate yourself it can happen things don't work and sewing, sewing so complex it takes a lot of skill fitting picking fabric for your...

pattern, picking the right pattern for yourself and you all know that that is the case because you're all sewers um so this is the book fit real people, which is a great reference we give you information in your downloads if you've purchased the class on on the book, we like to use it as a reference during our workshops our students just open it up when they want to do an alteration and it's safe that's a lot of time throughout the workshop because everybody has something to follow and they and they can take the book home they can't take me and marta home, so we I highly encourage it another thing that you need to consider when you are sowing and fitting yourself is you need to be you know we all want to be a little different than we are, right? But you got to fit the body you have and the bonus is if you fit the body you have, you're going to look fabulous and maybe even skinnier if that's what your goal is but just have that fabric fit you well and you look great pattern companies have a great challenge um they have many body types to fit and if I asked these three woman, what size are you? They would say a ten so the pattern companies have to fit all of these tents look how different they are we've got short waste long waisted full bust high bus low best full hips, skinny hips, it's a big challenge to the pattern companies in ready to where you just go try on the pattern or try on the garment, and if it doesn't fit, then you can just not buy it if it fits, you buy it and you've, you've voted but that's not true with patterns, so we've been very, uh, vocal with the pattern companies about standardized sizing so that once we find out what size we are that's the size we always buy, and then we alter from there because not only right now, if you just start sewing, you need to alter to fit your body, but when you're eighteen, you're going to be different than when you're sixty or fifty or forty. So you're going to have to learn to fit your body at this time and then make changes as you change if you change. And marta said, buying the right size is the most important thing, and that is true pattern cos designed for a size b bra cup size, and these two gals let's just say they're both a size ten, but if we measure the full best on the gallon yellow, she'd probably be in a size twenty pattern and what would happen it would drop off of her shoulders that would be too big through the chest, it would be fine for her to buy the ten and sew it up. It might be very close to fitting, so we eliminate the cup size and for years and years, martin, I have been using what we call the hy bust measurement and it's always worked, but we didn't know why, and but it works so you just take a measurement below the shoulder blades in the back and above, uh, full bust area in the front it's a snug body measurement, and then you use that measurement and you go to the best line on the measurement charts and if you're high bust measures thirty six you by a fourteen if you major thirty four, you buy a twelve if you made your thirty five years in between sizes, but the pattern companies allow enough ease to get you to the next are to get you to the next size so you would go to the smaller size so again, if you're between sizes go to the smaller size and this is a bit of an art, not just a science, because things like broad back can play a role, and you will see this on one of our students that we do actually change sizes, but when you're teaching, you've got to start somewhere and then the more you fit the person of the more you fight yourself, you might say, you know, I think I would rather do the bigger size and closer to that and my preferences for maury's because a lot of this is about personal preference when marty and I were researching for the first fit book in nineteen ninety five we just had to be questioned where did size and come from because we were still wondering why were we successful with a high best and other people taking the full best or full amount of body measurements we're having more trouble and one thing we found out is there's there was nothing written in any textbook about where pageant sizing began and so we were introduced to betty brown who had a she was a costume maker and designer in new york city and we were allowed to spend a day in her studio and pull out all of her bins of patterns from the eighteen hundreds too now and we looked at the sizing you know, the first patterns did have any printing on them and so if you wanted to do a dart they had holes punched where you so the dart and no instructions or anything so we've come a long way to today but the first patterns were sold by age if you were ten you were miss ten if you were fourteen years old you're miss fourteen but when you became eighteen you were a lady and you bought by your best size but this is what james mccall called best martin I could not believe it when we ran across this whole pamphlet by james mccall in eighteen seventy three and he is saying well, look where he's measuring the bust it's the high bus that were calling hi best anyway, he says pass the tape measure around the best just under the arms dry one inch tighter than the dresses to fit because they're modest in there of course measuring over the dress and the number of inches then ascertained is the size of the best so he's calling that a best measurement? Well few years later this australian was watching my seminar and she said, well, patty, see what they're saying about selecting shirt patterns for men and boys give the breast measurement only well, this was the breast measurement, so james knew that this was the breast measurement and called it that for the men but he called this the best measurement for women so martin are going, ah ha ha who could the word bust have come from sculpture? Because many sculptures that you see the bust ends just above the breast not all but a lot of them do so maybe that was the term in eighteen, seventy three for best and we looked at each other and said weaken right all along since the nineteen seventies, we've been doing this so the tissue fitting mouth that is really a two step method and when we were doing the book in nineteen ninety five and doing photography, marta tried on the tissue and what you see is what you get, so here she is, long waisted, and so we've added some tissue right there to bring the waste down to the waist mark, the waist marking on the pattern down to the bottom of the elastic, and marta doesn't like bateau necklines, which is what the pattern is, and so she just folded it down to create a veena klein. Well, remember, the pattern is only a manuscript. You are the editor, you can do anything you want to it. If you want to give it an a line skirt, you can if you've had pattern drafting it's probably even easier to make those big decisions, but, um, what you see is what you get that's, what I want you to remember, but notice we're only feeding half the body, and you're going to be wearing the design all the way around the body. Hopefully it'll look a lot better what your sides are not always the same, you might have a lower shoulder on one side higher on the other, you might be fuller here and slimmer on this hip have a higher hip on one side and laura in the other, so if you pin your fabric wrong sites together and you have all the same sticking out, but you are trying it on with the fabric right side out because that's how you're gonna wear it, you don't want to fit with the fabric wrong side out or you'll be fitting the left side of the body and then you're gonna wear it on the right side so you khun tweak the fit for example if you I have a full tummy but you have essence of waistline here or in the back, you can take the pins in a little bit sort of give you a more waistlines look even though maybe you don't have one right in the front you can just see how it looks doesn't need shoulder pads or not how is the length you could make a lot of decisions and if you like what you see and you like it on you, you'll be successful in the finished garment and we usually say even with tissue, if you like the way the tissue looks you like the finish garment as long as the fabric performs the way you want it to and if you don't like it, you know you might do it, melissa says. And cut your losses and throw the tissue way you'd spend a little time and many on it that not nearly as much time as if you're going to cut out the fabric and make the finished garment so you do how do you get the pattern to fit try it on without tearing well, there's a lot of issues there's also the issue of multi sizing have you ever seen a multi size pattern that had like ten sizes and ten dark markings? Have you guys used anything like that? It's very confusing so we started out initially just saying first press the tissue with a dry iron to get rid of all the wrinkles hot, dry iron and then once you've picked the size from the size chart, find your size in all those multiple lines and with a different color pan just mark you're cutting line and you'll just be more accurate in the long run and then because multi size patterns don't have stitching lines you really need to if you want to be really accurate, mark the stitching line and here we're using a five eighths inch wide tape major just to mark the stitching line around the arm hole, shoulders the neck and the sides and mark the darts too. If there's several darts stitching lines and we're using a heavy red pen but you could just use a pencil if he want now you will be more accurate and believe me, people say, oh, I can eyeball five eights some can but some do this for five eighths or this for five eight so we insist in our workshops that you actually marked the five eights in stitching line and then to keep areas they're very fitted like the crotch of pants the neckline the arm hole on a fitted arm hole garment I mean it's the necklines low it's not goingto be tight fitting this is not necessary, but otherwise you need to tape and we use half inch scotch tape and we don't use three quarter although three quarters often what you confined don't look for half inch tape and cut small pieces anchored the pattern to the board cut small pieces and lapd um as you go around the curves and then to make sure that when you snip the curves that you don't sniff the tape, just pull a little bit and make sure that the pattern isn't gonna tear I do this, especially when I'm fitting pants because the crotch you don't want that to terror when you're trying on the tissue. Um okay, so here is maryland with a full bust alteration she's tried on the tissue, she couldn't get it to the center front, so we did a full bust. We used the flash and spread method which we first learned from the muslin and when you have a full bust you have a bigger body bump, right? So just remember the soul saying the bigger the body bump, the more length you need to go over it, the more with you need to go around it and you need a deeper dart to give shape so the bigger the bump the deep of the dart will be that's ok, you'll get a better arm all fit and everything if you have a really well fitted alteration there and marty's gonna be demonstrating how to do all of these on several people. One thing I put this slide in because maryland not only has a very straight back erect back but she's a very flat derriere and for erect back flat dear ear or sway back often times your garment will swing to the side because you don't need as much length at the center back and trust us if you do not do that, tuck it the center back you will not be able to correct it in the finished garment, so you want to pay good attention to looking at everything and so maryland's just pinching, attacking the center back until the center back is straight and him is even and then she takes it off and she tapes a tuck she's taking out about an inch at the center back over to nothing at the side scene but that's evens up to him and makes this back straight now the back and a dresser jacket will hang straight him will not hang longer, but you cannot correct it if you don't do it in tissue so another advantage of tissue fitting and you know, we were going to tell you if you buy coordinates to buy thie pattern by your high best size, but what if you're a twelve appear in an eighteen down here like I am? Do you buy an eighteen for appear now because you know it's going to fall off his shoulders be too wide and skirts are really easy. I can turn my twelve dress into an eighteen hip just by adding tissue to the side. Seams also skirts a really easy because it's all about leveling from the waist. How many of you've ever had a skirt marker before I have one too it's in my mystery notions box, I have a collection of mystery notions, but on skirts you do the levelling from where they hang on the body unless it's bias, that would be an exception, but so on this cal, if the skirt is hanging longer in the back, on the side seams swinging forward and there's wrinkles right here using a skirt, marker and hemming, it is only going to make it level to the floor. But it's not going to get rid of this or this so with skirts, you simply pull it up at the center back until the skirt side samos straight and all those wrinkles will go away and the skirt him will be parallel to the floor. So skirts air really basically easy we're only going to do a couple skirts on people on our students who we found had the extra issues but most of it is just done by pulling it up or down all the way around and getting the side stream st seem perpendicular to the floor and him parallel to the floor then your skirt will fit very well marta often just takes the length of fabric and so's a seam in it for like a pull on skirt puts it under elastic just even settle up oliver brown marks it under the elastic and that's her scene for her casing and that's very easy you could do a skirt without a pattern if you wanted to and you will have need alteration supplies martyr will be using a lot of things and she will talk about them as she uses them but collect the right supplies and um it will make your life a lot easier. I am quite excited right now because in nineteen seventy five I did a dress fit pattern for vogue in nineteen eighty three I did address fit pattern from the calls they were all they were both single sized and they taught you how to fit by making up a muslim but it happened to be made out of quarter inch gingham check fabric and that sort of showed you grain line and you could sort of see things better but that pattern has been around a long time, the one from the calls, and it has nothing in it that we do today and finally, martin, I said, wouldn't it be nice to have a pattern that actually is like what we do today, like multi size, for example, and with all the alterations there, all the instructions for altering in the guide sheet? So this is the pattern we're going to use on all four of our students during the class, and some of them will one of them, kenna, we will fit the whole dress in and take it all the way to fabric. Kenna has a nice hourglass figure it's a dress that she could wear fashion wise if you're more of an au shape or you don't want something the waistline seem then instead of using it as a fitting tool and the fashion pattern, what you'll do instead is use it as a road map to how your body differs from the most fitted pattern. And once you do that, if you're gonna make something less fitted, some of the alterations won't be needed. But if it's going to be fitted top with maybe a fuller bottom or something, the top alterations if it's a fit atop will be the same as on this, so for some of you it will be a tool for some of you. It would be something that you could make up and where and the other thing that we added to this pattern, our alteration lines that are printed on the tissue and this is our favorite thing because we've been doing all traces alteration lines and palmer pledge because patterns for quite a well, but it just has not been on her fit pattern, so this gave us a chance to be really through and used marta and my latest discoveries in everything that should be on the pattern as we're doing it today and then the other thing we did, the calls we wrote two pages thes air, the two pages for the back of the catalogue and what we've had a discussion with mccall's before they totally believe that we're right, but they said we can't tell people to buy the pattern by their high best and there's a reason? What if they just said, okay, this is how you buy a pattern and somebody didn't know about fit didn't have a teacher to help them just didn't know and they were a triple d so they would buy a blast pattern and make it up and it would fit in great here, but they wouldn't be able to button it and they'd be really mad at mccall's and so that's why the other chart remains in the back, the paddle catalogue where you take all these measurements to find your right size but they have now had us go ahead and write it out and educate people but what we wanted to do is say buy it by the high bust and how to buy it and then you will probably have to alter for full bust if you are not a b bra cup size and just try tissue fitting maybe use this pattern to give you an idea so this is pretty new we're very excited about it because it's actually now teaching what we feel works the best there's many methods of fitting believe me martin I've tried all of them that we do really believe in tissue fitting being one of the easiest in your if you purchase the class in your downloads there are several newly designed of tools that will help you one of them is the body map pattern alteration work sheet and I would print that out and have it beside you when you're working on your on your pattern and make notes and I'm going to be filling this out while martin fits our students so that they will have a road that sort of documented so that you can refer to this as well and there are other handouts I'll show you those little bit later and then we're going to fit some fashion on the ones that aren't going on all but cannot we're going to get another fashion and we've chosen a blouse that has a shoulder princess, same and an arm hole prints of scene because princess bust is totally is quite different than a regular darted front alteration for a bust. But what sort of confusing the pattern cut and we didn't realize until probably just a few years ago, but the pattern cos when they do a side panel, they call it a princess's. Well, so we had one of our students by a side panel pattern and alter it like a princess, and it was really funny the way it fitted, and then we found out that's because it was the side panel, not a princess, and what that did is we caused us to do this pattern and so it's called princess, but this is the side panel because it has a dart. The seam is off of the center of the best in martin's going to show that maura nancy when she fits her, but we're also fitting jeanette, I think in this view, that is the side panel, so you can sort of see the difference in the alterations between side panel and a princess, and then we wanted to fit in it. This is the pattern that I'm wearing, but we're going to fit view a on rhonda, and we'll talk about how you sort of judge how much full best you add. How much cheese you need because it depends a lot of stretching this of the net and style like a rap style is different, so we'll cover that with rhonda and a lot of people say, well, nets stretch to fit so you don't need to alter but on a simple garment, not a rap style, we fit almost like we do a woven so here's with a lot of little wrinkles and here's the altered pattern and it's nice and smooth and isn't it more flattering? So you want to take the time on its too if you want to really nice fit, you don't want drag lines from the arm hole because you're full bested and on one of the handouts that you can download. We talked about some of the other references of course the fifth book but if somebody's relief full bested marta does some contortionists fashions in this and it's very good for people full bested so I don't know I think all I can say right now is let's get started well, thank you, paddy actually before and penny and marta before we do that wanted to see if there were any questions from our studio audience here before we get started, I do have a couple of questions myself for you, for folks who are sort of beginning your talking about the sheath pattern as well as the fashion pattern what? What is the difference between those two? The basic premise of the sheaf is it's an hourglass typical very, very traditional sheath dress that not everyone can wear. I couldn't wear it because I'm square, so if you're square, you don't have the shape you look like a box, so I wouldn't be me, but I can wear other patterns so the she stress is more fitted than some other patterns so it's a good base it's probably more it has less ease than a lot of patterns, so it's a good base if you have to do an alteration in that pattern, chances are you're gonna have to do it on alteration in another pattern. Does that make sense? Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. And is this something? Or we're gonna learn how we can do this for ourselves as well. So because I can imagine that's very challenging people trying teo so these patterns and fit them. So we're going to make the audience guess until we're done with the whole class, and then they're going to give them some tips on how you do it yourself. Fantastic, fantastic. Well, thank you so much. We're so excited, tio, have you both here? Thank you for that overview about how you actually developed the palmer pledge method and how that tissue fitting method is going, teo helps so much people out there for our next lesson, where we are, like, said, going to get our first model and go over the entire sheet pattern. So we'll see after that.

Class Materials

Free Downloads

Class Resources
How to Buy the Right Size Pattern
Sheath Dress Press Release

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Body Map Pattern Alteration Worksheet
Fitting Order For Tops
Size Education
Tailored to Fit Y Bust Tips

Ratings and Reviews


This is one of the best courses I have taken online; I just wish you had the ability to make notes or tabs so you could refer back to certain sections more easily. I have met and followed Pati Palmer for many years but this was my first experience listening to Marta Alto and I see why they work so well together. Thank you both for sharing your many years of experience. It was interesting to hear Pati's history on many things and I really loved Marta's sense of humour it makes watching so much more fun!

Leslie coduti

I sew very well, imagine the disappointment when what I have sewn just does not fit well. Everyone who sews and wants what they have sewn to really be a joy to wear should take this course. It is like being there in the actual workshop. I am only half way through in the viewing and am anxious to apply what I have seen to my own sewing. It has been presented so well and in such detail that one comes away with confidence that they too can do this. I am also impatient, making a muslin takes time. Time is so precious and time to sew is really hard to come by. I have tissue fit pants in a workshop in Michigan and used a Palmer-Pletch pattern for a princess line dress I made in silk on my own. Both items fit my mature figure beautifully, and I did not have to make a muslin first for either one! When you hear, "What you see is what you get" believe it. Take this class, it will improve your fitting ability immensely and you won't believe how easy it is.

Rose Mellor

Love this program! Being able to watch the lessons multiple times is like taking the class over and over. For those of us who have a hard time learning something new this is sensational. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Rose Mellor

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