Book Review: Fitting and Pattern Alteration (A Multi-Method Approach)

Fitting & Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach Fitting & Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach by Elizabeth L. Liechty

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

‘A swayed back will be evident by the forward tilt of the pelvis; a prominent abdomen and protruding buttocks. … Other probable figure variations include shortened upper back length in between waist and hip, and an increased length of the buttocks to crotch’ — pg. 38

So, I read this standing in Christina’s computer room when visiting her in Seattle and was sold immediately. Right there in front of me for the first time, in one place, was a description of the. very. pattern. alteration. I needed to make. Remember my final project dress and how I shortened the back by about three inches out of the back? Every pants that dipped at the back waist because my crotch line wasn’t long enough? It’s because of my swayback! I put an alert on and the book was mine for under $20 in less than one month.

I am figure 3-8 and getting the shoulders of figure 3-7!

All I can tell you is that this is the most thorough book on fitting I have ever come across. I like that they acknowledge there is more than one way to solve a problem and give you at least three different methods to do so.

In addition to the multi-method approach, they show an alteration on several garments. So, if you have a swayback, they show you on pants, they show you on a blouse and they show you on a skirt the ways to fix it.  I also like that there is a discussion on what your body is doing to make the garment hang or fall the way that you don’t want.

*All* my pants do this

Oh, and I also so clearly have large thighs on the inside. Kind of excited about trying this alteration!

Excellent resource. It’s possibly too complicated for those who haven’t tried simpler adjustments first.


  1. A great big sloppy wet kiss to you, Cidell, for finding me the thigh description and alteration! I’ve only found “developed front thigh” and generally larger thighs, neither of which quite cut it, and I’ve nearly given up on RTW pants entirely. I’m SUCH a bizarre combination of shapes (small hips, not much waist, voluptuous thighs…). THIS is what I need. I WILL find the book.

  2. I have got to get that book! Pants are still the bain of my existence. I clearly have full thighs too and my pants do that! Even when I have on shorts, they tend to ride up right there. Yep, I have to have that book.

  3. This looks like a really good book. You got a great deal. it is on now for $45. I will shop around first before I pay this much. Thanks for the info!!!

  4. On second thought I need to do something nice for myself. It is on its way!!! See how impatient I am sometimes. Cant wait I will be checkin the mail everyday now!!! Thanks Again!! Did I fail to mention I have all of these issues. I will make a great fitting pair of pants. One day!!!

  5. Because you mentioned this book, I tracked it down on ABE books and I am working my way through it. It truly is a unique approach and so very thorough.

  6. I’ve got the sway back and my “inner thigh areas are more developed than average.” Ha – that’s a nice way to put it. I’ll be looking for this book, too. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  7. Thanks for the review. I have been looking for a really good fitting book for some time. I love the review because it clues me in immediately if it will be a good buy for me.

    Keep up the great work and blogging and I will keep reading. I’m so glad I found your blog

  8. Thank you for reviewing this book. I’ve been beginning to suspect that I need a swayback adjustment recently. I’ve also found I need to lengthen my bodices, but I think now that this may be affected more by a swayback than I first thought. I am going to order this book, because it sounds so user friendly and intuitive. I’m also keen to get pants fitting right as my home made ones are always too big! Maybe this will help me with that, too!

  9. I think one of the most annoying things about altering is the non-specific terms used to describe figure variations. Is the forward tilting pelvis and prominent abdomen of the written description of sway back (can’t see figure 8 on my monitor) really part of your “sway back”? .I make a “sway back” alteration that is actually IMO a big bootie alteration. It is entirely possible to require this alteration with a straight back, flattish tummy, and a neutrally positioned pelvis. Sorry, off my soapbox now :).The book sounds very helpful. I will look out for it.

  10. This is a great book, but it may well be information overload for a beginner. I do find some of the illustrations a little difficult to decipher. A few years ago I made a raglan sleeve coat and I used FFRP for the narrow, forward, sloping shoulder adjustment that I need. I was never quite happy with the results. I just finished a raglan sleeve jacket using Multi mehtod… to make the adjustments and the fit is perfect. They show a totally different way to make these adjustments.

  11. Would you mind letting us know how the pattern alterations turn out when you try it? I also have the problem where “the *muscles* and soft tissue forming the contours of the inner thigh area are more developed than average” 🙂 What a beautiful turn of phrase!

  12. I have this book and it’s definitive in terms of subject matter. This is really a textbook for fashion students and as Nancy notes there is a ton of information here. New it’s pricey – $45 for a paperback but worth every penny.

  13. I see a lot of women with forward, rounded shoulders…and while I’m all for altering clothes to fit, I think a regular routine of water aerobics and strength training working your upper half could correct this condition and improve posture; otherwise, you could be setting yourself up for chronic back, shoulder and neck pain.

  14. I have this book – thankfully it was a gift, so I didn’t pay full price for it. I do think it is an excellent fitting resource as it shows the problems with the garment while wearing and how to fix the pattern itself.

  15. I just got this book from the library a few weeks ago. I wish I would have bought it a week ago before you posted this, since now the supply and demand is all out of wack and I won’t be able to get it for cheap anymore! lol

  16. I have this book and I love it I bought it a few years ago when it was recommend in Threads. I do not buy books now unless I can look at it in the library first as I have some duds. That being said do do you have Professional Sewing Techniques for designers by Julie Cole on your list to review? Thanks

  17. I’ve had that book for years, but have never used it. I don’t know if I’ve ever looked in it. Think I’ll give it glance now.Thanks Cidell!

  18. This looks like the book I’ve been waiting for!
    Thanks for the review.

  19. Thanks for reviewing this book – sounds very informative. Must look out for it.

  20. I just ordered mine from Amazon. I paid more than what you got yours for, but it will be worth it. My figure sounds alot like yours 🙂

    Thanks so much!!!

    Plus….between you and a couple other blog sewers, I broke down and got a subscription fo BWOF. You enablers Hee hee hee

  21. This sounds like an awesome book, but does it cover fitting men’s garments? Or are the techniques easily applied in the same manner?

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