Auxiliary Reference Information | Draft | Garment Ease

Ease is space that is placed into a garment and is added based on body size, for ease of movement, personal choice and design also in consideration of the fabric that the end garment is going to be made out of.

As a Base Template is contoured to some extent to the body and it has no ease as it is a very snug fit all over. Although it is not fully contoured i.e. it does not dip in between the breasts like an evening gown might. Because there is no ease you now have a good starting point to work from in which to control how much ease you would like to add to this.

There are two main types of ease, wearing ease and design ease.

Wearing Ease

Threadelicious generally adds wearing ease into a garment at the Working Template stage of the process and this allows wearing ease to be controlled for a set of drafts that are consequently inherited into Flexible Pattern designs.

Without any wearing ease a garment would be as tight as a Base Template.

Positive wearing ease gives the garment comfort to allow movement for living, sitting, striding, and raising arms etc. without making the garment too big. Less wearing ease creates a more tailored look showing off the body more but allowing less movement. More ease creates a more comfortable casual or relaxed silhouette for lounging in and can be gathered or very loose.

Layering clothing can also affect wearing ease for example you may need to ensure that a jacket will fit over a jumper for example so it will need a little extra wearing ease to ensure that all of the pieces work together. Test garments will help to check if there is the correct amount of wearing ease in a Working template and should be tested with movement for example sitting to ensure a skirt or trousers are not too tight or moving arms forward to ensure that there is not too much strain along the arms or back when wearing.

Wearing ease is usually added on the side of the draft and added to the Bust, Waist and Hips but also adding or removing from seam lengths can affect the ease for wearing a garment. Usually adding in fabric centrally to a draft is not wearing ease as you are changing the shape of the body of the garment, this would be design ease. However reducing Dart sizes or eliminating bows off darts on a Working Template can increase wearing ease.

The larger the body the more wearing ease you may need to add for both comfort and to skim over any excess bulky areas for a more complementary silhouette, however it is a fine line because you don’t want to hide the shape of the body as the silhouette could then look too big and weighty.

Negative wearing ease makes the garment smaller than the body which means that it will stretch to fit to hug the body as a top, dress, skirt or trouser or lingerie, swimwear, yoga wear etc.

Design Ease

Threadelicious adds Design ease at the Flexible Pattern stage and is added extra (or less than if working with negative ease for a particular fabric) during the design stage and when drafting the Flexible Pattern from the Working template. Therefore knowing what fabric you are going to sew the garment out of is a significant factor as some fabrics stretch and therefore less ease is needed. If the fabric is stiffer then you may add in more design ease or even wearing ease to allow the body a flow of movement. Obviously the design will help you decide what the garment is going to be worn for and will indicate an approximate amount of how much design ease is required.

Adding pleats and gathering on a Flexible Pattern will create design ease.

Sometimes a seam may have slightly more fabric added in on one side of the seam as part of the design which will consequently allow more movement in that area. This extra fabric will be eased into the fabric on the other side so that after sewing both sides are the same length. This is done very carefully and without any gathering or puckering showing, so it is very subtle. Therefore although on the whole wearing ease is being added at the Working Template stage, you may make decisions to add in wearing ease at the Flexible Pattern stage. For example you may decide to add in more fabric on the Back Shoulder to ease into the seam to give a fraction extra space for movement on a jacket.

Pattern companies usually have a recommendation for the amount of ease that is added for different garment types but sometimes don’t differentiate between wearing ease and design ease.

The advantage of drafting your own patterns is that you get to choose the amount of ease that you add in at every stage and for every type of garment that you wish to create. You are not going to feel limited with dress sizes that typically denote what ease you should be wearing for your Bust, Waist and Hips. This is where you can experiment to see what you like and what suits your body shape.

When you are working out how much ease you like look at the current clothes that you own and love, put them on and pinch the sides at the bust, waist and hips to see how much total ease is actually in the garment. You could even add this as a note in your Sewing List Table that you may have set up in Module 2 Capsule Design.

When drafting Working Templates and Flexible Patterns then I believe it is important during drafting to note on the draft the amount of wearing ease and design ease that was added for future reference, you don’t want to be adding extra ease by mistake if you have already added it previously.

So both wearing ease and design ease are truly a personal choice. Unless you already have a view of what ease you like to add it is a little tricky to decide how much you would like to add. By separating your wearing ease from your design ease you always have a baseline to go back to and by organising your wearing ease into various Working Templates you get to trial different ease amounts and then keep the Working Templates that you prefer.

The following table gives you a starting point for various Working Templates and wearing ease options but of course it is completely up to you to decide what is going to work for the client.

You could create your own Working Template table to determine your own list of preferred ease. As you create a Working Template and test them if you like the results you could list them in the Master Working Templates Table provided as an Auxiliary Reference Download document.

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