Hoppo Bumpo (n): A children's game. Played by folding one's arms and hopping on one leg. Aim is to bump opponents, so that they lose their balance. Last person standing wins.

April 14, 2009

Making the grade: trialling a customised pattern service (part 2)

A little while back, I mentioned seeing an ad for a new pattern service called Perfect Fit. Its the innovation of online store sewingpatterns.com and enables you to customise the fit of a commercial pattern. You simply provide a set of personal measurements, which is then used to adapt the pattern. The process takes about 7 days.

Now, doesn't the idea of buying a commercial pattern - where the sizing has already been tailored - sound attractive? I thought so ... and as promised, I purchased a pattern to see how well the service works.

Buying the pattern

There are currently 877 patterns from Butterick, McCalls and Neue Mode that are offered as part of the Perfect Fit pattern range. I decided that I would like to make a jacket and had the pick of 225 patterns. I settled on McCalls 5758, which is a semi-fitted, hip-length jacket with princess seams. I completed the order online, opting to receive the finished pattern as an electronic download (although paper patterns are also available).

Then I eagerly awaited information about how to input my measurements. The receipt said: Check your email for download instructions. If you do not receive your instructions via Email within 15 minutes, please check your SPAM folder. Hmmm .... nothing in my Inbox or Spam folder. There was in fact a bit of a delay (11 hours) between completing the transaction and receiving my next instruction by email. But, to be fair, this might simply have been a delay in the e-mail and not related to the pattern service.

Submitting the measurements

The e-mail that eventually arrived was friendly and simple:

Hello Liesl,
Thank you for purchasing a Perfect Pattern.McCalls 5758. Delivery: Download
Please use the link below to enter your measurements for this pattern.
Thank you,

The link took me to a well laid out form. After specifying whether I wished to use inches or centimeters, I was asked to select my posture type (straight, average or curved) from a set of three pictures.

Next I had to enter 26 separate body measurements. These included everything from height, bust, waist and hip through to neck, wrist and ankle circumference. The nature and positioning of each measurement was explained using both text and a diagram.

On the whole it was quite easy to follow, except for this gem which left me a bit bamboozled. And I quote:

Hip circumference (including belly projecting): The tape passes the mostly projecting buttocks points; it lies horizontally around the body; at the front it goes the flexible plate vertically put on the belly to account its projecting . You may use hard paper band on width to put around the body and mark matching points; and take measure on flat.

Whaaa? Luckily there was a diagram to help out. I suspect that something was lost in translation (except for the mostly projecting buttocks points, which I understood all too well). Another small gripe that I had relates to the little drop-down boxes displaying measurements. Whilst it was possible to enter fractions of a centimetre (e.g. 0.1 - 0.9cm), there was no provision for entering whole numbers. Odd that. I had to select a fraction of a centimetre for every measurement.

All up the 26 measurements took me about 30 minutes, as I took all my measurements on my own. If you think this sounds a little slow, then I have to ask: Have you ever tried to measure your own inseam? No? Well, I could highly recommend asking a friend to help if possible - that way you will be able to avoid the sort of bizarre contortions and tricks that I needed to perform. If that is not possible, then it would be helpful to at least have a long mirror, to at least make sure you are measuring the right bits, in the right places!

Finally, Perfect Fit suggest that you also upload some photos of yourself wearing close fitting clothes (I added a front and side view of myself). There is also a free format field where you can add any extra details that you think might be useful.

The pattern

I now await my customised pattern. I can't wait to see how well it has been altered. I shall be sure to tell you all about it, when it arrives in about 7 days. In the meantime I will be sitting patiently on my mostly projecting buttocks points ...


  1. 30 minutes isn't long for doing the measurements yourself. I am really interested at seeing what the final product looks like and if it fits properly in the end

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  3. Oh what a crack up!! The mostly projecting bits are hysterical!!!

  4. I feel like I'm reading an adventure story and the last chapter is missing... I eagerly await Part 3....

  5. Oh my gosh - I laughed so hard I woke the dog!

    Awaiting further developments :)

  6. Hmm, I think they'd ahve some trouble with my "belly projecting" at the moment. Can;t wait to see how it goes.

  7. This is hilarious - sounds like the instructions have been translated by someone! I look forward to hearing how things progress ....

  8. Oh dear, I have some mostly projecting bits at the back , and at the front...sometimes I think it is all projections.
    Can't wait to see how this works out...

  9. thanks for the mental image of you trying to measure various projections and protrusions alone! It sounds hilarious. Hope it all translates into the perfect fit.

  10. I still can't make head nor tail of that instruction (could be I'm laughing so hard)....hard to imagine what the picture was of!

    Looking forward to hearing how this goes....sounds like a brilliant idea (except the bit about posting pics of oneself in close fitting clothes)

  11. You must have the patience of a saint! I would have given up at the first body contortion.
    You did give me a chuckle though!

  12. I'm completely fascinated. I was losing interest just with the thought of measuring 26 different body measurements.

    Can't wait to see the end result. Hopefully you won't have to contort to fit into the garment!

  13. Can't wait until I get to use the phrase projecting buttocks!

  14. You lost me after 26 measurements! but u did well to it in 30 mins on yr own. will be very interesting to read part 3

  15. Wow you are so damn thorough - I love it. Cant wait for the next installment.

  16. Can't wait to hear how it all works out. Sadly, my projecting bits are at the back, the front and the side! Hope they allow for those too.

  17. thanks for tips, but do it, is so hard better than i see

  18. Hmm - well done for having a go at this - can't wait to see the finale!

  19. Hmm... I wonder how it all worked out? I would have cracked it at that ridiculous excuse for an instruction and left it at that, so kudos to you for your patience!

    Really looking forward to see how the final pattern arrives and if it's in any way close to what you're expecting.


Thanks for dropping by! I love hearing what people have to say. Leave a comment if you like.