Friday, 29 October 2010

The Importance of Being Fitted!

People have lost the art of having things made for them!

I'm frequently baffled by the number of people who seem to think that having fittings is optional.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about the long-distance thing here.  I have customers all over the world, from the Americas to Australia - I can do long-distance.  For the majority of the garments and other things I make, I can post slopers and toiles to be fitted at a client's end.  It works very well, and is the ideal way to deal with international clients who can't visit me, and whom I can't visit.

No, I mean things where it's arranged that fitting should be done in person.

I sometimes get the feeling that (some) people think I'm just being extremely difficult if I say that something will need to be fitted two or three times as a minimum.  I'm really not.

Obviously, due to the sheer range of things I make, there are things that I can do without fitting.  But some things simply have to be fitted.  It's not that hard a concept really, is it?  Clothes that fit tightly (eg arming doublets, hosen, dresses, corsets, etc), or that need to hang correctly to look good (eg gowns, other dresses, jackets, uniforms, etc), really do have to be fitted, one way or another.

I can cut things carefully and accurately, yes.  I can hang things from dummies to check the lines, yes. 
But here's a startling piece of information: cutting accurately cannot possibly hope to allow for all the vagaries of the human figure, even with all the measurements and notes on posture that I take.  And another stunning fact: no dummy, even one padded to match a client's size and posture, will ever replace the fitting of a garment to a real human being. 
For a start, dummies don't move.  They don't have to sit down when their feet are tired, or to bend over and pick up the thing they just dropped, or to stretch to reach a high shelf.  And they can't tell you if a tightly cut armhole pinches.  you get the gist, I trust...

When you order something from me (or any clothes maker, be they on a street market in Thailand, or a designer dressmaker, or a tailor on Saville Row), what you're asking me to do is to translate your 3D form into flat shapes on a flat piece of cloth.  And then back into 3D.  It isn't remotely easy, it takes years to learn, and it can't be done instantly.

Without fitting, there will be errors.  It's unavoidable.

If a garment needs two or three fittings, and somebody doesn't show up for one, or more, then only one of two things can result: 1 the order will take longer, because the appointment will have to be rescheduled; 2 the garment (or garments) simply won't fit.

I'm good at what I do, but I'm not a miracle worker!  neither is anybody else who cuts or sews.

So the whole point of this post - if you order clothing or costume from anybody, and they tell you it needs to be fitted, show up. 
On time. 
And if they say you need a particular pair of shoes, or particular underwear, do as asked.

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