Short Cuts to Fitting

No sewing today--I've been feeling sick this week. I do have some ephemera to share though!


Check out Alfred Bach: "The Pied Piper of Sewing." What does that mean?

My coworker passed this on to me from his mother. It is part of a series of sewing pamphlets that also includes "Short Cuts to Professional Dressmaking" and "Short Cuts to Professional Tailoring."

There's a funny article about him which you can read here, including such gems as "it doesn't take an academic genius to make a beautiful gown" and "they called me the Julia Child of the sewing set." As far as I can make out with my little bit of research, he was in the garment industry and eventually made his mark teaching home sewers industrial "short cuts."

Here's some snippets from the interior!


I thought this page might be of particular interest given conversations happening recently about sizing! The pertinent part reads: "Always choose pattern nearest to the bust. [...] It is not generally known that where a package containing pattern is marked in the following manner Size/12 Bust/32 Hips/30 that the actual measurement of the pattern across the bust from seam line to seam line usually measure 4" more than the measurement stated on the package. [...] The 4" extra allowance provided on the pattern is for ease and movement." He then says to pick your pattern based on your bust size (around fullest point) minus two, so that you end up with only 2" of ease.


His instructions are very sparse. None of his darts instructions mention a bust apex an inch away from the dart--I think it is possible this wasn't the case then because of the pointed undergarments?


Some look like techniques used today; that looks the same shoulder length adjustment I've seen elsewhere. Others are less familiar, like the one on the right for a sagging armhole.


I wasn't familiar with this adjustment but I may try it out for my next Victory Patterns Hazel dress as I feel like the back strains a bit (not one of my usual fitting issues). It looks easy enough.

Alright! I'm back to drinking tea and watching Hulu! I'm up to season four of The Only Way is Essex...


ps: want your own copy? there's one on etsy!

allie J.

this post may contain affiliate links.


  1. Thanks for mentioning the copy on etsy -- I'm in the mood to try to improve my fitting skills! :D

  2. Hey Allie thanks for posting this! I'm always looking to learn more about fit and the "choose the pattern nearest to the bust" advice is new to me. I was taught to choose the pattern for the widest part of you and alter everything else... Definitely interested in trying this method!

    1. Yeah, I had never heard that before. I have heard that the best way to choose is by your high bust because that determines shoulder fit, and that's hardest to alter. Then you can grade in or out for bust, waist, and hips :)



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