Have you wondered why we make such a fuss about the grainlines and horizontal balance lines on Fit for Art’s patterns? Maybe you saw our Instagram post a few weeks ago featuring the new fitting shells made for the Tabula Rasa Jacket pattern and wondered why the conspicuous lines are drawn on them. Maybe you are working with one of our core patterns for the first time and wondered if you really need to bother with tracing all those lines onto your mock-up. Or maybe you downloaded one of our digital patterns onto copy paper and are tempted not to bother tracing all the horizontal balance lines (HBLs) onto a tissue pattern. Read on to understand just how useful and important they are to your sewing and fitting experience!
Garment sewists are accustomed to seeing grainlines on patterns and understand that they are important for making sure the pattern is laid out and cut correctly to ensure that the fabric will hang as desired in the finished garment. Drawing this grainline onto the mock-up fabric also helps to assess whether the garment hangs correctly on an individual. Add horizontal balance lines, and you’ve got a great tool for assessing the fit of any garment.
The Fitting Grid
Fit for Art provides a grid of grainlines and horizonal balance lines (we refer to them as HBLs) on its patterns to assist with fitting the garment. When a garment is fitting the body and hanging correctly, the grid of HBLs and grainlines run, respectively, parallel and perpendicular to the floor. This is why the lines are drawn conspicuously on the outside of our jacket and pant mock-ups, and why we encourage you to do so too. They are reference points for achieving a balanced fit on any shape body.
When the lines are pulled or skewed out of place, it indicates a need to adjust the fit of the garment to bring the grid back to parallel and perpendicular. The direction of the skew also points to where the adjustment needs to be made. In our online fitting resources, we rely on this grid to direct a sewer’s fitting adjustments. The fit adjustments are tested first on the mock-up so you can assess the effect of the changes on the fitting grid. After fitting is complete, use the grid to help record the adjustments on your patterns for future garments. For example, illustrations in our free download Common Fitting Adjustments for the Tabula Rasa Jacket help the sewer interpret what the skewed lines are indicating; the accompanying text explains how to make a corresponding adjustment to restore the grid and then how to record the adjustment on the paper pattern. The instruction book that accompanies Eureka! Pants that Fit pattern contains a similar series of illustrations and fitting directions based on the grid. You can see these principles in action in several of our Video Tutorials. Read more in these previous posts about making and fitting with a Jacket mock-up and Pants mock-up.
Use it for Future Adjustments
After the initial fitting of a pattern, keep your mock-up as well as the adjusted pattern for future uses. When your body changes shape or size, you can put the mock-up back on to help assess what fitting changes are needed and revise the pattern accordingly.
If you want to shape a pattern for a particular fabric or occasion, for example using our free download Guidelines for a Trimmer Fitting Tabula Rasa Jacket, you can baste the proposed adjustments into the mock-up and try it on to test the fit and look before cutting out the new garment. This would also work to test alterations to the shape and fit of a sleeve or pant leg.
Use it to Design
We find the grid of grainlines and HBLs useful for design as well as fitting. The HBLs on the jacket pattern can be used as reference points to create facings at the neckline and to divide the front or back pattern horizontally, such as creating a yoke. The grainlines can be used as a reference point to divide the front or back vertically to mix fabrics or frame a special motif. The mock-up is a super tool for planning and assessing the placement of elements in a new garment by pinning or hanging motifs and fabrics onto your mock-up.
Essential for Variation and Detail Patterns
Fit for Art also relies on the grid of grainlines and HBLs when designing our style variation patterns for each of the core patterns. The grid lines are used as a reference point for aligning templates to the core patterns to create new pattern styles that you can be confident will still fit. A few examples:
- The Tabula Rasa Jacket’s V-shaped front is turned into an overlapping shirt front (Shirt Variations), center front zipper coat or hoodie (Rain or Shine Variations), or self-facing placket (Jean Jacket Variations).
- The Tabula Rasa Knit Tee’s u-shaped neckline is converted to ballet and boat neck (Wide Neckline Variations), scoop neck top, and center front or waterfall cardigan (Twin Set Variations).
- The Eureka! Pants Details series refers to the grid to help with conversion to a fly-front zipper, placement of pockets, and altering the silhouette of the pant legs.
See the Fitting Grid in Action
We are busy packing for our first post-pandemic live Expo next week – the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Cleveland/Akron, OH July 15-17. Come by Fit for Art’s Booth 624 for a complimentary sizing in our new Tabula Rasa Jacket fitting shells and witness the benefits of fitting with the grid. Or schedule a Eureka! Pants fitting in our pant fitting shells to launch your pant fitting journey. These fittings take about 30 minutes and you take home detailed directions for adjusting the pants pattern before constructing your first pair of pants. Pant fitting appointments will be limited due our teaching and trunk show schedules, so come by the booth early in the Expo to reserve your appointment time!
Other opportunities to experience the fitting grid in action this fall include the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Fredericksburg VA (Sept.30 – Oct. 2) and our own Sew Successfully Retreat in Baltimore (Nov. 11-14). We hope to see you soon!
Happy Sewing, Carrie