Part two of the Perfect Pattern Series is Pattern Ease… It’s a term that is thrown around quite a lot. Go to any Facebook sewing group and mention that the pattern you bought, cut out and made up fits nothing like it should, and people will shout back at you ‘because of pattern ease’.
(If you missed Part 1: Fit Issues you may want to read that first!)
So What Is Pattern Ease?
Pattern ease is the amount of ‘ease’ added to a pattern for a variety of reasons.
When fashion brands or sewing pattern companies set up their brands, they have their target customer in mind. They use this customer’s measurements in order to create something like a moulage – a second skin if you like – of their target customer.
When this moulage is made up, it fits very close to the body it was based upon, and the person wearing it is mostly unable to move.
There is no wearing ease nor is there any design ease.
And when you take that moulage and lay it flat upon a table, you can see all the different angles, and lines of that human body. It really is a body blueprint!
What Is Wearing Ease?
Now, ‘wearing ease’ is the difference between being unable to move in the moulage to now being just comfortable enough to move. The adding in of pattern ease known as ‘wearing ease’ changes the name from moulage to block / sloper and means that the person wearing it can not wear this basic garment.
We all know now what a block / sloper is right? Check this post on creating a block for yourself from a commercial sewing pattern if you’ve yet to create a personal block.
So, what is the difference between a block / sloper and a pattern? Design ease!
What Is Design Ease?
The pattern ease added to the block or sloper is known as ‘design ease’! Think of flared trousers. The starting point would be a moulage of your lower waist to your ankles.
This of course would not be in any way wearable. But you add a pre-determine amount to this to be wearing ease which allows the lower body to move. It doesn’t necessarily look like anything you and I would wear at this point though. There is then pattern ease added to this in the form of design ease – which works to create a simple design from the basic block or sloper.
This pattern will then be developed further with design ease to create a pair of flared trousers.
Classic vs Fashion
Another way to think of the effects of pattern ease is in looking at garments.
Those classic items such as tee’s, fitted trousers and jackets are considered classic or basic, and typically they would have wearing ease added. This makes them easier to create as patterns, reproduce in fabric and sell as basics.
The shapes are simple and the only way to create something more unique would be to use an interesting fabric.
Then there are the fashion items. With added design ease, style-lines and details. Items that won’t necessarily stand the test of time, appearing dated within a few seasons.
Biker jackets, onesies and shirts with ruffled fronts are great examples.
Fashion Becomes Classic
Finally there are those occasions when fashion items – using lots of design ‘pattern ease’ – have been created so often over the seasons that they slip over to becoming a classic.
For instance, the bomber jacket, trench-coat and Dior’s New Look skirt silhouette.
These three examples all utilise design ease to achieve the shape and silhouette, but have been reiterated so many times over the years that they could now be considered as classics.
Pattern Making Basics
It’s quite clear then that understanding pattern ease is a very important aspect of learning pattern making skills. Thank goodness I created a free email course on Pattern Making Basics right? 😉 It covers pattern ease in more detail in lesson 3, Design Principles in lesson 5 and Breaking Down Design (ease) in lesson 8.
What are you waiting for? The sign up form is just below! 😉
Pattern Making Basics
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Perfect Pattern Series
Part 2: Pattern Ease (this post!)
Part 4: Considerations for Knit patterns