Fit and Form

In this post, we will examine some misconceptions regarding bespoke garments. In order to produce a truly bespoke garment, a couturier must take a number of measurements on a client. The measurements are of two types: circumference-type measurements (such as, bust, waist, hips, and so on), and linear-type measurements (such as, inseam, distance from shoulder to fullest part of the bust, and so on). Typically, a single bespoke garment, like a bra or pants, requires a significant number of measurements—all of which are unique to each person. And all of these measurements must be taken carefully and accurately.

However, these measurements are not enough to generate a properly fitted garment. An experienced couturier also considers silhouette, posture, body proportion, body movement, among other personal details that will affect the fit. These extra details are what will determine the unique shape of each pattern piece that will eventually make up the garment.

It is important to understand that even though a pattern piece may measure the same dimensions as yourself, it does not necessarily mean that such a pattern will actually follow your natural contours.

Perhaps the best way to demonstrate this is to examine two skirt fronts where the waist, hip (including hip location relative to the waist), and hem measurements are the same.

curvy and straight skirt fronts

Skirt fronts: one is curvy (left) and the other is more straight (right)

Although both skirt fronts have the same measurements, each skirt has a different contour for the side seam and each has a different fit at the waist. In other words, each pattern fits a different figure shape even though certain measurements are the same.

curvy and straight silhouettes

Two silhouettes: one is curvy (left) and the other is straight, more angular (right)

One pattern is for a more curvy figure, while the other is for a more straight, angular figure.

These differences in pattern shape are even more critical when you examine a closely fitted garment such as a bra. A bespoke bra will have cups that feel like a “second skin”, and the garment as a whole will feel and move naturally with you rather than feel like it is tugging or squeezing you, restricting your movement.

In fact, whenever a bespoke garment is made, a couturier will always examine how the garment behaves when you move. This is the time where some adjustments may be made to allow for a more natural flow of the garment on your body.