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130 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The New Gold Standard on Fit
Sarah Veblen has written an extraordinary book that's light year's beyond any of the other fitting books in your bookcase. I just finished reading The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting yesterday, and it's excellent in every respect -- clearly written, comprehensive and systematic with hundred of detailed photos that show every step of the way for a variety of basic...
Published on February 9, 2012 by Nancy Robertson

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140 of 155 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Narrow focus with redundant examples
This book covers a narrow selection of fitting concepts using slopers, focusing almost exclusively on muslin draping, with only some passing mention of flat pattern work. The bulk of the pages are taken up with large photos illustrating repetitive applications of the same few techniques. The book boasts of "More than 650 large format color photos" but, to be honest, all...
Published on September 3, 2012 by IreneDAdler


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130 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The New Gold Standard on Fit, February 9, 2012
By 
Nancy Robertson (Alabama, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting (Paperback)
Sarah Veblen has written an extraordinary book that's light year's beyond any of the other fitting books in your bookcase. I just finished reading The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting yesterday, and it's excellent in every respect -- clearly written, comprehensive and systematic with hundred of detailed photos that show every step of the way for a variety of basic pattern styles and figures.

In my five years of sewing clothes, I've picked up a fair number of fitting techniques. But like many people, I use an improvised, hit and miss approach that kind of, sort of works but doesn't give the best possible fit.

In contrast, Perfect Fitting outlines the steps we need to take in an orderly way. The process relies on sewing a series of test muslins which are revised on the body by: establishing the all-important Horizontal Balance Line (a new term for me); releasing tight seams by opening them; clipping tight necklines and armholes; remarking shoulder seams and waistlines; and pinning tucks, darts, and open and close wedges. Then in pattern work, the muslin changes are transferred back to the pattern, the revised pattern is walked and trued, and if necessary a second muslin is sewn for further fitting improvements.

Perfect Fitting concentrates on the bodice and includes all four basic styles: shoulder princess, armhole princess, side panel and darted. All the common bodice adjustments are explained and illustrated: full and small bust adjustments, forward shoulders, rounded back, sway back, etc. Armholes, set in and raglan sleeves, and skirts are also covered, again in a high level of detail. The book does include a section on basic pants fitting, though it is relatively brief.

It's quite obvious that Sarah Veblen's ability to teach rivals her ability to sew because this book conveys not just how to do something but why it needs to be done, and that leads to a deeper understanding. Sarah also stresses the importance of aesthetics in pattern fitting so the fitting changes will enhance the garment's style and the appearance of the figure.

Before Perfect Fitting was published, I read the sample pages that are posted here on amazon, and I urge you to read them, too. I was so impressed with the book, I not only bought it, I also signed up for Sarah's online Bodice/Sleeve Fitting class that starts on the patternreview.com website next week.

If you'd like to improve the fit of your garments and have the Tried and True patterns we all strive for -- the ones that skim our bodies and flatter our figures as only custom made garments can do -- I highly recommend The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fit.
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69 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful resource, so many photos!, February 10, 2012
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This review is from: The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting (Paperback)
This is a fantastic book. I just ordered it last week and it has already helped me advance by leaps and bounds. Within five minutes Sarah's photos and tips had answered three nagging questions. I am a beginning garment sewer, but I have taken a few draping and patternmaking classes so I have an okay grasp of those fundamentals. I think if I were a rank beginner and not experienced at working with patterns this book would be too advanced. But it has already proven very, very helpful for me. I'm starting to work on a lot of projects where I need to create custom slopers by draping directly on duct tape dummies for out of town clients, so having these troubleshooting photos is a lifesaver. Fitting on a person is the best approach, but when your fit model can't move and tell you how things feel, a visual guide explaining so many fit issues is incredibly helpful!

I really have learned so much about fitting in just a few days. The only thing I wish was that the pants section was more comprehensive, but what is there is still very helpful. The book still gets five stars, and frankly just the tips on improving reach in the armscye are worth the price of five of these books! Not only is this helping with my work, but it makes me so excited to design some clothes for myself. Thank you, Sarah!
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102 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!!, December 30, 2011
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This review is from: The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting (Paperback)
I have never written a review EVER!!! I ordered this book before it was published. Now, mine you, my interest does lie in fitting, alterations, and garment sewing, but I don't believe I'm biased when I say this is the most comprehensive and wonderful fitting book to date. It has beautiful photo examples on almost every page. It breaks it down to layman's terms. It has 224 pages containing directions for the different types of clothing including pants. It shows the needed alterations and then shows you how to transfer the alteration back to the pattern. I just can't figure out how Sarah could have amassed so much knowledge in such a short time because she looks like a baby in her picture! Congratulations Sarah on your new book. It is a masterpiece. Deborah
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140 of 155 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Narrow focus with redundant examples, September 3, 2012
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This review is from: The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting (Paperback)
This book covers a narrow selection of fitting concepts using slopers, focusing almost exclusively on muslin draping, with only some passing mention of flat pattern work. The bulk of the pages are taken up with large photos illustrating repetitive applications of the same few techniques. The book boasts of "More than 650 large format color photos" but, to be honest, all that reflects is how bloated this book is with redundancy. It is missing a lot of information that I consider very valuable for home sewers and thus not worth the price. Ms. Veblen clearly has enormous experience and great expertise with individualized fitting, but this narrow focus on her viewpoint means that the book could turn out to be not helpful at all, depending on your personal situation.

The book starts by discussing the foundational techniques for muslin-fitting, such as proper clipping and pinning methods, and how to detect and interpret basic indicators of fitting problems, such as drag lines and fold lines. This section also includes a few pages on basic pattern manipulation as a way to record muslin alterations, such as how to use a curved ruler to blend seams, and how to walk a pattern. The second section takes up the bulk of the book and applies the basic techniques from the first section towards fitting slopers (basic garments used as the foundation on which other garments are designed) and every step is illustrated with a large photo. This section first covers the overarching procedure for fitting 6 different garments, and then focuses on the exact manipulations for different areas of the body for a couple different pattern types (e.g. bust adjustments for garments with darts, princess seams, and raglan sleeves). This section is more or less repeated exercises in the concept of "add fabric where it's tight, remove fabric where it's loose." There is a final short section (4 pages) on detail adjustments such as collars and cuffs. The book does not provide any instruction on common flat pattern manipulations because the author disapproves of using them outside the context of copying muslin changes. Lastly, this book assumes that you are always starting from a pattern with a reasonably-close bust measurement and provides no info on pattern-grading. This is unfortunate, as pattern-grading is an important skill to have, especially for people who enjoy working with vintage patterns, which are not always available in the ideal size.

My biggest critique of this book is that most of it is very redundant, and spends most of its pages repeating itself rather than teaching other techniques. It's like a book that tries to teach you math by showing you 300 different addition problems: Chapter 1 - How to solve 2+2; Chapter 2 - How to solve 2+3. Because this book dwells too much on specific examples, it leaves out too much that should be covered in a book marketed towards a general audience. If the step-by-step photo illustrations had been limited to a few examples, it still would have been enough to demonstrate and reinforce the draping concepts covered in this book, while freeing up pages that could be used to teach other things like pattern grading and flat pattern alterations.

As this book stands, it is fully useful only if you are trying to fit basic slopers. If the pattern you are trying to fit does not fall under one of the specific instances illustrated in this book, or you do not have the same figure features as the models, then the only part of the book that you will find useful is the 50 pages on the basic techniques. Those basic techniques are covered in other books that also include a large quantity of useful information that this book doesn't have, and so I don't really feel like this book brings anything new to the existing reference library. Vogue Sewing, Revised and Updated and Reader's Digest's New Complete Guide to Sewing both have fitting tutorials that cover the same basic principles, though addressed through flat pattern manipulation instead of draping. Another book that is often recommended though I have not yet read is Fit for Real People.

I also take issue with the almost complete absence of information on flat pattern manipulation. It is helpful that the book teaches you how to identify fitting issues by looking at the muslin, but after that, not everyone will be able to make the alterations purely through draping, nor is it always necessary. Firstly, notice that all the pictures in the book are of one person making the changes on another. Slashing and draping is a great skill to have as a professional dressmaker working on someone else, but can be difficult to do by yourself. Setting aside the author's stated disapproval of dressforms for a moment, not all home sewers even have access to a good dressform they can use for draping muslins. Sometimes, it is much easier to address a fit issue through flat pattern manipulation. Secondly, a person sewing for herself will likely have identified her figure requirements and honed in on the particular set of alterations needed, at which point those alterations can be applied to other patterns with similar sizing and styling. For both these reasons, understanding and being able to correctly apply flat pattern alterations is a very important skill for all home sewers to have and should not be dismissed outright.

One aspect of this book that is interesting (though your mileage may vary) is that it is written in the tone of one person fitting a second person, and the word "client" is used throughout. This tone might be a bit odd for a home sewer fitting herself, but it could be argued that injecting a bit of professional detachment and viewing yourself as your own client could help the sewer be more objective about her figure needs and thus achieve a better fit.

To sum up, I don't feel this book contains enough information to justify its cost for most home sewers. The range of information covered might be useful for someone who wants to be a professional dressmaker since draping is much more useful in that context, the extensive photos could help build confidence for working with a variety of different figures, and fitting slopers to a client from which to create a various garments makes more sense than fitting a bunch of different patterns. However, I would think that Helen Armstrong's Patternmaking for Fashion Design would be a better value for someone in that position because it not only covers making slopers, it covers pattern alterations for design as well. If you are interested in buying this book, I strongly recommend you try to borrow a copy from the library or a friend first, to see how much of it you can actually use. I fully appreciate the author's point that fit is a very complex problem and it would be impossible to give step-by-step instruction on every instance of garment fitting people might come across, but the fact that the book then devotes the majority of its pages to excruciating detail about a handful of fitting scenarios instead of trying to concisely teach you how to tackle a wider variety of scenarios severely devalues the instructional value of this book. If you have the specific fit issues that this book addresses, then this could be a great follow-along guide, but if you do not, this book is mostly repetitive photos of a handful of concepts covered in 50 pages.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The fitting process can be a challenge for a beginner, but worth the time and effort, June 4, 2012
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This review is from: The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting (Paperback)
I'm not a beginner sewer, but I am new to alterations that go beyond the basics. I have at least 3 figure flaws I'd like to fix to finally achieve a pair of pants that flatters. I started with this book, and when it became too complicated for my understanding (because of my inexperience- the writing and illustrations are very thorough), I referred to Sandra Betzina's Fast Fit for a briefer, simpler introduction. I got the overview for fixing swayback, square waist, a bit of a tummy bulge, and discovered I might also have a flat butt (pelvic tilt from swayback). Sandra's provides one or two illustrations for each issue. Back I went to Sarah Veblen for the step-by-step photos breaking down the process in more detail. Veblen's book has 3 times or more the depth. For example, flat butt requires redrawing a crotch line into more of a horse-shoe shape: less in front, more in back, with the back curve being more steep. Sarah pointed out a few more tips I wouldn't have thought of: the importance of adding equivalent changes to the center seam across the crotch. Her illustration was repeated with an alternate view rotated 45 degrees to better visualize the adjustment. Great!

Also included were several text-only pages describing in detail why the crotch alterations are often a multi-step process: differences from sitting to standing, different body shapes in the crotch, different types of crotch lines for the type of pants (trousers versus slacks versus jeans), etc. 4 to 10 mock-ups are typical before she gets a "great" pants fit for one of her clients. Really? So ending up on my third muslin wasn't a sign that I was a slow learner, eh? Despite the laborious process, I was very happy with the results. For me, it will take a bit more practice and skill to translate the changes made in my 3 dimensional fabric mock-up back to the paper or tissue, but I'm confident this book has everything I need. I'll just have to reread and retry. The only thing missing? A video! :-)
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for muslin fitting but it doesn't cover everything., April 12, 2012
By 
Imaginate Seamly (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting (Paperback)
I like this book, its got some great features and all the photo's really help. However, I think it falls short in the area of sway back adjustments, there is no specific section on this very common fitting issue (and why I purchased a fitting book in the first place).

The section on fitting problems for the back area does cover a number of back fitting issues but there is no heading called sway back, you really have to look hard to find that adjustment and then there is not specific section on how to transfer that adjustment onto the paper pattern.

The pant fitting section also does not cover the "gaping at the back" fitting problem, it covers rounded stomach, flat or very full buttocks and tilted waist, as well as some other general pants fitting issues.

I think this book is best for a sewer who has a sewing buddy who can make all the adjustments to the muslin. There is a big section in the front of the book "Fundamentals of Altering Patterns" so make sure you read that in conjunction with the section on "Fitting Solutions for Body Types" to get the complete picture on what to do (transferring muslin adjustments onto the paper pattern).

There are decent instructions for making a small bust and large bust adjustment, lots of info about fitting princess seams, which I am sure I will find very useful if I ever sew that type of garment.

In the section on neckline adjustments the adjustments are for a high round neck and there is no info (that I found...if anyone knows that it is there please tell me!!) on adjusting for a gaping lower cut neckline for us smaller busted ladies.

I'm still glad I have it in my library. It does a good job of showing what the wrinkles on the muslin mean, and how to pin adjustments correctly.

The examples shown would be helpful for fitting a more mature body and also for those who are fuller figured, so this book will be helpful if I ever sew for my mother for example or a more curvy friend. In fact, as I read the book I was often going "oh my goodness, that is exactly my mum, thats why her skirts don't sit properly" etc etc and I rather excitedly took it over to her house to show her the pictures going "see!!!! seee!!!" so I think this book would be perfect for some.

For me personally it was slightly disappointing that it missed out sway back and gaping neckline. I realise that the whole area of pattern fitting is so huge as there are so many body types and one book can't cover everything. Its all good though, I do intend to purchase another of the top rated fitting books and I am sure between the two books (or three) I'll be satisfied.

**Please note after a couple of comments I have edited this review to reflect a more accurate view of the book as I felt I commented unfairly about its lack of information about transferring muslin adjustments to the paper pattern and I realised I had just skimmed over that section of the book**
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful for beginner, February 3, 2012
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This review is from: The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting (Paperback)
I'm a complete newbie to pattern alteration (and pretty new to sewing in general). This book is very helpful with all of the photos. It details the process of transferring patterns to muslin and then altering the muslin. It also explains how to transfer these alterations back to the paper pattern. I've already learned much!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Over my head, April 21, 2013
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This review is from: The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting (Paperback)
I simply bought the wrong book. I've been a once-in-a-while sewer and I think this book is for at least intermediate sewers. In fact through most of the book she's talking to the sewer who is fitting clothes for someone else, so it was simply the wrong book for me. I did pick up a few useful details, like walking a pattern, which were of immediate help, but mostly I felt lost. First, the terminology threw me, but even after I got used to that, I just couldn't follow her thought processes. Also, I didn't care for how the book explained how to fit a muslin in one section but didn't explain how to transfer that to the pattern until 20 pages later. She starts out saying that fitting is a complicated process and that's exactly how she writes about it. It's probably a good book for more advanced sewers, but not for hackers like me.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on an little-understood topic, March 6, 2012
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This review is from: The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting (Paperback)
I'm an industry professional, and this book teaches the difficult-to-explain process of fitting a garment. I wish I had this book in fashion school.

The best part of this book are the photographs showing what fit issues look like. Most textbooks use line illustrations that don't really show you what they look like in real life.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect!!, February 13, 2012
This review is from: The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting (Paperback)
I am COMPLETELY impressed with this book. If ever there was one book that a person learning fitting needed, THIS IS THE ONE~! Photographs clearly illustrate the steps the author is taking and probably hundreds of examples of any kind of fitting issue you could possibly have. This book shows you the steps to fitting a garment clearly, from A-Z. I found it by accident and am totally satisfied with it....would highly recommend it to beginning and advanced seamstresses. Truly EXCELLENT!!
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The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting
The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting by Sarah Veblen (Paperback - January 1, 2012)
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