Recommended book on fitting

I picked up a copy of The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting at the library, and almost instantly ordered my own copy to keep. It’s that impressive. My favorite thing is that the book is chock-full of photographs – not just of the alterations done to a pattern on a table, but of the fitting issues, and then the resulting adjustments done on a person wearing a muslin. I think this is a big improvement over most of the popular fitting books in sewing-land, all of which are a few years old now and use illustrations or black and white photos a lot (to keep the production cost of the book low?).

I’ve just posted a review of the book on Examiner, and while I was at it mentioned some of the other fitting books I’ve tried out.

So far in my sewing career, I’ve had sort of a Goldilocks experience with fitting books. Several of them have been useful and I’ve learned something from reading all of them, but none of them has completely satisfied me. If you go on Pattern Review the first book usually recommended is Fit for Real People (FFRP) which I agree is a decent overview of fitting but I think it has some flaws. I’ve actually used Sandra Betzina’s Fast Fit the most, because I like Betzina’s approach and I find it easier to navigate than FFRP, but it doesn’t have any model photos, just illustrations of the ‘figure faults’ and photos of the flat pattern alterations. FFRP is fine, but they’re obsessed with tissue fitting (which I find doesn’t really work well for fine details – if I’m making something complicated a muslin is definitely required), and the ease and styling are definitely a bit old-fashioned now. I own Pattern Fitting with Confidence and it’s fine, but Nancy Zieman uses the pivot and slide approach, and for some reason my brain works better visualizing changes with slash and spread.

Both the Reader’s Digest guide and the Vogue sewing book I own have basic alteration info in them, and to be honest I’d recommend starting with one of these if you are new, and then asking for help online for your specific issues. I’ve heard good things about the FFRP/Palmer-Pletsch fitting DVDs, and given how awesome Sarah Veblen’s book is, I’m very tempted to take one of her fitting courses on Pattern Review now.

Do you have a favorite fitting book or approach, or do you avoid alterations like the plague?

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