By Barbara Gash
Fitting is my least favorite part of the sewing process (though ripping is a close second). But recently I took a class with sewing expert Judith Rasband of Utah, and she shed new light on the subject.
Rasband is a nationally acclaimed author, speaker, educator, and authority on personal image. She is the director of the Conselle Institute of Image Management, working with sewers and non-sewers alike. Understanding the frustration that sewers sometimes feel when their finished garments don’t fit properly, she is particularly anxious to share her expertise in that field.
Pattern alterations or changes become necessary whenever body measurements don’t coincide with the tissue pattern. Rasband presents an approach that not only achieves results but also seems sensible.
Her first book – a comprehensive textbook in collaboration with Elizabeth Liechty and Della Pottberg, two other authorities on pattern drafting and alterations –
is called “Fitting and Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach” (Now into its 3rd Edition as a Best-seller in the field).
This approach means that result s can be achieved by using any of several techniques. Most sewers are familiar with the slash and spread method (cutting the interior of the pattern,) and the pivot and slide method (working on the edge of the pattern.)
But the seam method is less well known. It involves cutting the seam allowance in the area where alteration is needed, so that distortion of the shape or silhouette is minimal.
Rasband’s new book, just off the presses, focuses just on the seam method. “Fabulous Fit” (Now its 2nd Edition for the beginner). It’s written and illustrated in a user-friendly format, geared to beginning sewers as well as the more experienced who are looking for a simple way to do pattern alterations.
The text begins with a discussion of fashion styles that flatter various figure types. “Fitting challenges are every bit as real for the slim or petite person as for the larger individual,” says Rasband. By camouflaging, and by creating illusions, you can help balance a particular figure variation.
Wise selection of patterns (or purchased garments, for that matter) will help reduce the need for alterations in the first place.
Get to know your figure, Rasband advises, and learn how best to flatter it. From the eight basic figure types illustrated in the book, you should be able to recognize your own. Then you will be on your way to smarter clothing choices.
In her book, Rasband explains how to alter for more than 80 common figure variations, and claims ‘it is possible to get a fabulous fit every time you sew.”
Among Judith Rasband’s other achievements are three videos on wardrobe strategies – “Look-Changers” and “Five Easy Pieces- Parts I and II.” These are excellent for learning how to build mix and match wardrobes, working around key pieces, and getting the most for your money. The videos are available in libraries and have recently been added to the Blockbuster Entertainment Corp. catalog of titles.
Through the Conselle Institute of Image Management, Free Press readers may order videos at a special price of $49 for a set of 3. Call (801) -224-1207 any time.