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