Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Partial Review of The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting

Definition of PARTIAL
: of or relating to a part rather than the whole : not general or total <a partial solution>
: inclined to favor one party more than the other : biased
: markedly fond of someone or something —used with to <partial to pizza>

I just can't do it.  No, I just can't say a critical word about Sarah Veblen's new fitting book because I cannot be impartial about almost anything Sarah does.  You see, Sarah's fitting class six years ago turned on the lightbulb beacon in my dim sewing brain.  I previously blamed my lack of sewing and fitting success on a not thin enough body or the wrong pattern.  What Sarah taught me was to take a slow, meticulous, detailed process to make a fitted garment specifically for my body.  She didn't start with the traditional sloper with no ease.  Instead she encouraged us to bring a fitted pattern, shirt, dress or jacket, and make our pattern adjustments carefully to end up with a TNT pattern whose style lines we can then adjust as we please for years to come.  
This book is exactly like taking Sarah's class.  It has the same practical but careful process to marking fitting adjustments on your sample garment, transferring those adjustments to the pattern and then making your next sample.  Tedious for an ADD person like me?  Absolutely!  Happy results?  Positively.  So when you're really ready to take the time to pursue good fit, I think this book is a wonderful addition to a sewing library.  No magic fixes, no miraculous three measurements to a perfect garment, just the custom way of putting together a garment which highlights your assets and minimizes your problem zones.  

You can look at it in more detail on Amazon  Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting but here are some of my book shots as well.  Sarah does a wonderful job of continuing where some books leave off....for example, look at the careful way she encourages you to pin changes.  
Do I always do this with the same attention to detail?  No, but I would be this careful if I were creating a fine, special occasion garment now that I see the difference small details make on the finished garment.

I'm also impressed with her instructions on making pattern changes on the actual pattern pieces.  

Finally, she asks that we be kind to ourselves and realistic about fitting results.  As Sarah points out, not only are we not models who represent 1% of the female body type but we also have grown used to photo shopped garments in catalogs and ads.  Our garments won't look like that....because the real ones don't either:-)  Thanks to Sarah's fitting and design help I have a number of tried and true patterns in my repertoire, I know the five or so standard alterations that I'm likely to need with a new pattern and I am willing to tackle new patterns with more confidence and toss those that don't work for me.  So yes, it's a partial review because I'm "markedly fond" of Sarah and her work to help women find the joy in sewing garments again.  I'll let others make a critique.  I just know that after years of classes with various instructors around the US, Sarah's the one of a small minority whose methods worked for me.  I hope you have someone as challenging and inspiring in your sewing life.


  1. It's a really good point that not even the clothes are "real" in pictures. They are often clothes pinned in the back etc. Sounds like a fantastic book, thanks for the review!

  2. I have never taken a class with Sarah but I was equally impressed with the book. I loved all of the pictures and the explanations are easy to follow. I wholeheartedly agree that this is a wonderful fitting book to have in your sewing library.

  3. I'm so glad to hear you speak well of this book, because mine is on order. I'm anxious to get it and read it, page for page. I too, like to use a TNT pattern. I need a new jacket TNT, and intend to make one, following the advice I expect to get in this book.

  4. I will definitely have to check this one out! Every bit of information helps in helping me to help my students. (Are there too many "helps" in there?)


Love your comments, opinions, advice and questions. I just ask that we all "play nice."