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067: Expert Fitting Tips with Pamela Leggett (Part 2)

with special guest Pamela Leggett of Pamela's Patterns

Hello again - Pamela Leggett of Pamela's Patterns!

When I recently chatted with Pamela Leggett for the Sew Mindful podcast, she had so much great advice I split it into two parts so I could share it all with you.

Gift - special offer
Read on for your special offer!

If you haven't read the part 1 blog post or listened to episode 66 then I'd highly recommend doing that as she shares lots of great information.

If you haven't already seen it, she has a special offer just for you valid until the 1st November so read on to find out more about that too.

Pamela Leggett is the founder of Pamela's Patterns, and a renowned sewing teacher. As we discussed in part 1 of our chat, Pamela's preferred method for fitting is the Palmer Pletsch Method for tissue fitting.

I have tried that method and found it challenging to use when trying to fit on my own as it can be difficult to try to pin and fit the back of the pattern when you are working with just half of the garment. So I asked Pamela about her expert fitting tips for how to help with that.

Fitting Solo

Pamela shares, "It is a challenge. So I do teach a class, both virtually and in person where I teach people how to make a dress form fit them exactly.

Adjustable dress form
Adjustable dress form

I just use a basic dress form that's adjustable, nothing expensive. And then I teach people how to use, a bra that they own and a pair of underwear and some batting and some fluff and some bandaging tape and all of that and we actually sculpt a dress form to fit that person.

When they go home and they know that they can fit their pattern on the back of the dress form which then I would always still try it on myself after I adjust it, just to confirm that I've done it all correctly, but it really makes a difference."

Pamela also has an special offer of a secret resource just for you if you want to try the Palmer Pletsch Method for yourself.

"I have done a YouTube video on fitting yourself, using the Palmer Pletch Tissue Fit Method. It's an unpublished YouTube video because what I'm doing is showing how to do the tissue fitting on yourself (not the details of the adjustments).

If your readers want a link to that they can send me an email and I will be happy to give it to them."

It's worth mentioning here that the Palmer Pletsch Method is not the only method. In our chat Pamela and I both agreed that the best method for fitting is the one that you understand and feel that you can most easily apply.

Fit for Real People, Palmer Pletsch publication
Fit For Real People

There may not be just one method you use. You might combine elements of a number of methods.

I don't personally use the tissue fit method, but I do refer to the book, Fit For Real People by Pati Palmer, Marta Alto and Barbara Weiland regularly as it has a wealth of explanations about how to make fitting adjustments on your patterns even if you decide that you do want to use a toile or mock up garment.

Pamela agrees, "Even with me teaching Palmer Pletsch tissue fitting methods, I found my own little things that might be a little bit different than the book that I'll say, Hey, why don't we try this?"

Expert Fitting Tips for different fabrics

Getting your pattern to fit if the first stage. Depending on what fabric you use for your first version to test it out, you may experience differences in fit if you then make it in another fabric.

Fabrics affect fit - rolls of fabric
Fabrics affect fit

Fabrics like linen with a looser weave have an element of give. Fabrics like cotton lawn have a tighter weave and, therefore, less give. If you make your first garment in linen and your second one in cotton lawn then you might find that it's a bit tighter particularly around the body.

So you might want to add some extra fabric or seam allowance to the side seams to give you a little bit more room and movement.

Similarly with knit fabrics. It can be helpful to compare the amount of stretch between your first and second fabric and make similar adjustments if it is tighter or looser.

Pamela doesn't indicate a recommended amount of stretch on her knit patterns. "My patterns are not negative ease. In other words they are not smaller than your body. They are menat to skim your body so that you can change it, take it in a bit for stretchier fabric and use all the width for less stretchy fabric."

She does tend to pick fabrics personally that have between 25 and 30% stretch.

I have definitely made the same pattern with different types of fabric e.g. viscose jersey and cotton jersey. The cotton jersey version felt significantly tighter than the viscose version even though I made exactly the same size. So do pay attention to that when you remake a pattern.

Quick fire questions

At the end of our chat I had the chance to ask Pamela some quick fire questions.

Quick fire questions with Pamela Leggett
Quick fire questions with Pamela Leggett

What's your favourite item that you've made this year?

"I have to say it's my jeans. So I spent two years developing a jeans pattern and, , It took a long time to decide how I wanted the jeans pattern to be and to get it developed and to do a bazillion prototypes on people to get the fit just right. And I'm having so much fun making jeans because, again, it's that detail.

So some are high waisted and some are to the waist and some are slim fit and some are relaxed and some have wide legs and some are cropped and some are flared and I've just been having so much fun making jeans. So it's not just one thing but one idea."

What's coming up on your sewing project list? What's your next make for you?

"I'm working on a denim skirt pattern. I'm always thinking as far as my business goes, what I'm making next.

And I actually just got a vintage pattern it's a really, really cute, like short swing jacket. And it was a remake in simplicity and I was just teaching a couple weeks ago in St. Louis, Missouri.

And the woman that was hosting me showed me this jacket that she made and it was this remake of a 1940 swing jacket that was done by simplicity and it was out of print, but I was able to find it on Etsy. "

If you had to pick one part of the sewing or dressmaking process that's your least favourite, what would you say?

"I don't know. I'm such a sewing nerd. I like it all.

The hardest part for me is I have this huge fabric stash, right? Just like every other sewer. I think the hardest part, or maybe this would be then the least liked part, is I'll know something that I want to make, let's say I want to make a new t shirt, I'll agonize. agonize over which fabric I'm going to choose to make that t shirt.

I've spent so much time trying to figure out which fabric I'm going to use when I've got, you know, dozens of choices. But by the time I've picked it out, it's time to move on and I'm busy.

And I say to myself as I'm doing it, like this voice in my head is going, Oh, for god's sake, Pamela, just choose one. It'll be fine."

So even the wonderful Pamela struggles to choose her fabric for her makes!

Pamela's Special Offer!

As we mentioned in part 1, all of Pamela's patterns are available in digital format and all bar three are available as paper patterns as well.

Just for you, Pamela is giving 25% off her patterns valid until 1st November 2023. Just use the code below at checkout to get your discount:

Offer code: SEWMINDFUL25

Don't miss out!

If you'd like to listen to my full chat on this topic with the lovely Pamela, click the button below or look for Sew Mindful on your favourite podcast app:

In this episode you'll hear:

  • 00:02:11: Tips on fitting solo

  • 00:03:37: SECRET RESOURCE - fitting yourself video

  • 00:05:50: Choosing the right fitting method for you

  • 00:08:36: Tips and wisdom on fitting different fabrics

  • 00:11:31: Quick Fire Questions

  • 00:16:07: SPECIAL OFFER

If you do try the Pamela's Patterns then please do get in touch and let me know what you think. And if you would like more help with any of the aspects mentioned in this article or this podcast episode then I would love to hear from you so do please email me at Thanks for taking the time to read this article and I hope you find some useful tips that you can apply.

Connect with Pamela Leggett

If you'd like to connect with Pamela, she would love to hear your feedback or thoughts too. Website: Instagram - @pamelaspatterns:

Sharing is caring - reviews

If you found this article helpful then please click the heart icon below to let me know and I'll create more content like this. And you can also use the icons in the footer if you want to share this with other sewing friends. If you enjoy this podcast episode please be sure to share it and to leave a review in your favourite podcast app to help others find us.

Get in touch

I always love to hear about you trying out what you pick up from these articles and episodes so do let me know:

Thank you so much for listening and for all your support. x

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