Technical Designers in the apparel industry spend years learning how to properly fit garments to their ideal body type. We are constantly learning new methods and techniques to manipulate fabrics and garments as we need. For some of us, garments almost “speak” to us, telling us what they need in order to look and feel better, and we develop a unique talent for fitting.
When I was a young Technical Design Assistant, the tool that I used most when just learning how to run my own fittings was a Fit Checklist. We made copies of the list in stacks and I would bring them into each fit session with me to make sure I wouldn’t miss anything. Sometimes, it felt tedious and annoying to go through the same list over and over again, but repetition truly does lead to mastery over time. Eventually, I didn’t need to bring the lists with me because I had them memorized, and the process became automatic.
My Fit Checklist starts at the top of each garment, and works its way down. So if you’re fitting a collared shirt, we start by reviewing the collar and neckline shape. Does it look the way the design team wanted? Is it a flattering shape? Is the neckline choking the fit model or is it too loose and baggy? From there, we look at the shoulder slope and the armhole. Does the shoulder lay nicely against the model’s body? Can the model move their arms up, down, to the front and back? Do they feel any tightness when they move their arms around? Do we see any excess wrinkles around the shoulders or armholes?
We proceed this way until we’ve covered every area of the garment. Nothing is forgotten and the team discusses each area, even if it’s only for a few seconds to say that it looks good!
In addition to a garment checklist, I have also been on some amazing teams who implement a Fit Protocol for everyone. It clearly spells out the workflow of each fitting, who is “in charge” at each stage of the fitting, and some ground rules for the meeting. For example, fittings can become loud and distracting when all teams are in the room. Helping to keep everyone focused with a clear outline of steps will keep you on track and on time to finish everything you need. When putting a Fit Protocol in place, I highly recommend working with all of the teams involved to ensure everyone is happy with the plan. When a Developer presents a set of rules or guidelines to Design, Product and management teams, it can come off as a little demanding. Involve them by asking them to help create the protocol, or to give feedback on your idea before rolling it out. The gesture will go a very long way.
If you’re looking for a Fit Protocol and Fit Checklist for Tops, Bottoms and Dresses, Unmarked Street offers a free download of exactly this on our website! It’s a great tool for small teams, or a fantastic place to start from if you’re looking to build out your own fit tools: