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Pattern Ease: What Is It And How Is It Used?

November 29, 2018Eve Tokens

Pattern Ease

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!)

Beige Balenciaga jacket with folds and pleats on sleeves with text overlay 'what is pattern ease on patterns?'

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.

Classic Items

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.

Fashion Items

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 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? You can buy lifetime access to my Pattern Making Basics course for just £40 +VAT registration fee.

Perfect Pattern Series

Part 1: Fit Issues

Part 2: Pattern Ease (this post!)

Part 3: Considerations for Woven Patterns

Part 4: Considerations for Knit patterns







Comments (2)

  • Gina

    March 11, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Hi, I am an busy sewer. Yet, fitting my narrow shoulder, dealing with extreme sway back and unusually long through the hips it is a challenge and a lot of work to fit anything well. I appreciate your free course and I am enjoying it very much.
    You have such a nice way of teaching and sharing. Thankyou. From Gina

    1. Eve Tokens

      March 15, 2018 at 5:55 pm

      Hi Gina! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment, and such lovely words too! I really hope you get the most from the course! Any questions please do hit reply on the emails – they come right through to my inbox! Best, Eve

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