1. I’d never heard of Sure-Fit Designs™ before. What is it?
Sure-Fit Designs™/Ranita Corporation is a fitting and sewing pattern company. We have been in business since 1982. There are a number of different and alternative pattern companies – all offering their specialties. Sure-Fit Designs is one of these pattern alternatives and is not associated with any other company.
2. I’ve never had a pattern fit me without a lot of alterations and struggle. Is this going to be easier?
Yes. Unlike commercial patterns that require traditional alterations, with SFD you use your unique body measurements which are applied to a master pattern. The result is what I call your ‘Body Blueprint.’ See #4 for specific details. (Back to top)
3. What kind of products and patterns does SFD offer?
4. How does this fitting system work?
What is most important in getting a pattern to fit properly are your measurements – not size. You all know that you can be a size 12 in one company and a size 14 in the next. So your actual measurements are what count.
You take your measurements as directed in the accompanying instruction books or How-To DVD, then apply your unique measurements on the master patterns. The master pattern ‘size’ options are expressed in a series of measurement dots.
Next to each dot is a measurement number (in inches or metric). You simply choose the measurement dot that reflects your body dimensions and then connect the dots together – like in dot-to-dot coloring books – and the result is what I call your ‘body blueprint’. This is your sloper.
By using the Sure-Fit Designs™ drawing tool – the Designing Stylus - you connect your measurement dots together. The resulting fit is generally a good representation of your body shape without having to go through the lengthy sloper drafting process.
Because you have been using your personal circumferences and lengths, many of the traditional alterations you normally do with commercial patterns will be unnecessary. Yet, some of you may still need to do some refinements or minor tune-ups. There is a section in each instruction book giving directions for these minor tune-ups if necessary.
I always recommend sewing a test muslin for either the bodice or skirt, the pants and the shirt draft. Check the fit and make sure you like it. Refine if necessary. (Back to top)
5. I’m not a perfect body shape. Will this fit my body?
It really doesn’t matter what shape of body you have – pear, apple, hour-glass or straight. When you connect your personal measurement dots together, your pattern outline will begin to take shape/form. The measurements given on the master patterns range in circumference from 28”-62” (71 – 157.5cm) in the bust and hip areas and from 18” – 52” (46 – 132cm) in the waist. Whether for pants, dresses, blouses, skirts or shirts, you simply select the dots on the master pattern that correspond to your specific measurements, then connect these dots together with the Designing Stylus, which results in a pattern that customizes or ‘blueprints’ your unique body shape and size. (Back to top)
6. How easy is it to draw off my personal pattern?
This fitting system is truly versatile and as easy as dot-to-dot when connecting your personal measurement dots together. You mark in your personal measurement dots and then simply connect those dots together. The result is a pattern that reflects your personal shape. For height issues, you simply shift your tracing vellum up or down to establish your correct torso lengths. Plus, this website provides a totally free, educational Video Library with numerous short videos instructing you how to draw off your personal patterns and how to refine the fit if necessary. (Back to top)
7. Can beginner seamstresses use Sure-Fit Designs™ or do I need to be an advanced seamstress?
Yes, beginners through advanced can benefit from working with the Sure-Fit Designs™ fitting system. If you are a beginner seamstress and nothing you sew fits you, you can easily become discouraged. If you begin with a pattern that fits and build on your sewing skills as you go, your confidence and the positive results will grow as your experience grows. (Back to top)
8. Do you need any special tools?
All Sure-Fit Designs™ patterns use the unique Sure-Fit Designs™ Designing Stylus – which is the key to the system for connecting all your measurment dots This is a required tool, though it is sold separately since so many sewists already have this drawing too. It is kind of like many curved rulers all rolled into one and works with all the SFD patterns.
It has on it back and front crotch curves, hip curve, armhole curves, and neck line curves.
Sure-Fit Designs™ uses Master patterns. In order to keep these patterns in tack and re-usable as your body changes, you’ll draw your personal pattern off on Tracing Vellum.
9. What happens for large bust requirements?
10. What is the wide measurement range offered in each kit?
This fitting system really will work for petites to plus sizes, or anywhere in between.
Both the Dress and Pants Kit have measurement options from 28” to 62” (71-157.5cm) in circumference measurements in the bust and hip area. The Shirt Kit (for either men or women), is a dartless master pattern, and gives a measurement range from 28” to 62” (71-157.5cm)around in the bust/chest area. The Children’s Kit Master patterns range from toddler’s through teens – 16” to 36” (40.6-91.4cm) chest and hips.
11. Is ease allowed in each master pattern?
Wearing ease is always personal preference. Some like ‘em tight others like loose fitting clothing. The SFD master patterns provide a minimal amount of ease which you can increase or decrease as you personally want to. When you use your personal measurement dot, the resulting pattern will give you the following amounts of ease.
The Dress Kit bodice pattern (which is darted) offers 2 ½” in the bust and 1”in the waist. The Dress Kit skirt pattern has 3” of ease in the hip area. The Shirt Kit patterm provides approximately 5” – 6” in the chest/bust circumference. But your personal preference is going to be determined by your bone structure, body composition (the larger you are – the more ease you’ll likely need and want – within reason), muscle tone, and personal preference. There’s no hard and fast rule for final ease amounts. (Back to top)
12. What can you do with your personal sloper?
Use your sloper for changing designs. We all know the styles we like to wear. Many of you are very classic. Your clothes go from season to season. If they fit well and look good on you, then that’s what you should wear. Each Kit comes complete with ‘how-to’ instruction books that include designing ideas and fashion features.
Once you get a good fit, the rest is eye-candy. Changing neckline styles, adding different styles of collars, or moving the dart around to create different looks really is fun.
Fashions come and go. With SFD (Sure-Fit Designs™) you can design and sew whatever you want knowing it will always fit you properly. Don’t be dictated to by current fashion. Wear what looks best on your frame. (Back to top)
13. Can you use the personal body blueprint to help fit commercial patterns?
Once you have your body blueprint, your sloper completed, you can use it to help fit your stash of commercial patterns.
Lay your commercial pattern over the SFD personal pattern – line up CB and neck point and CF and neck points. Then check for appropriate widths and lengths. Lay tracing vellum over top as a 3rd layer and draw on the good fit from Sure-Fit Designs™ and the special design feature from the commercial pattern.
There are general instructions for combining your SFD sloper with commercial patterns in the Dress Instruction Book and at the end of the instructional How-To DVD.
14. Are there videos to help get you started with understanding the Sure-Fit Designs™ fitting system?
Yes. In this site, there is an extensive Video Library where each video has been catalogued for easy reference. These videos offer short and pin-pointed content to help you understand this fitting system and get started. They’re all free and educational. If you’d like more in-depth instruction in the convenience of your sewing room, then there is also a 2-hour How-To DVD that shows the exact steps of drawing off the Dress, Pant and Shirt Kit master patterns and has a visual demonstration of working with commercial patterns. See: SFD How-To DVD
This fitting system is easy to draw, versatile and flexible for your fitting and sewing needs.
15. How do I get in touch with you if I need help with pattern drawing or refining the fit?
I want you to be happy with the resulting fit. You are always welcome to call, email or skype me. Then over our computers, I can actually see what it is you’re talking about. Isn’t technology wonderful? Go to: Contact Us
16. Do you offer pricing discounts on various kit combinations?
Yes, you’ll find different combinations of kits, tools and supplies for drawing your patterns. For those who want everything – the best value is the discounted combination called – the Works. See: the SFD Works Combo For those who only want the Dress, Pant and Shirt kits, there is also a 3-Kit Combo discounted package as well. See: the SFD 3-Kit Combo
17. Do you offer fitting classes in Oregon?
Yes. My fitting classes are offered in Springfield (Eugene, OR) – in a fabulous sewing studio, called ‘Our Sewing Room’. They are offered in a 6-day intensive format making them more conducive for out-of-towners.
If you’ve got your Feb/March 2011 issue of Vogue pattern magazine, where they feature an article on sewing studios across the USA, when they show photos of Our Sewing Room in Springfield OR – that’s me teaching a pants fitting class. (Back to top)
17a. Do you offer fitting classes in other states?
No, typically I don't, but if you have a group that wants to sponsor a class, please contact me directly for information regarding travel, fee structure etc. [email protected]
18. Do you have a Newsletter?
Yes. This is an invitation to everyone – make sure you sign up for the Sure-Fit Designs™ monthly Newsletter. I cover all types of topics from what’s new on Sure-Fit Designs™, current events, fitting, designing and sewing topics. You can sign up for it. Just scroll to the bottom of this page.
19. Are there new Sure-Fit Designs™ designing books and leaflets?
Many have asked for more finished garment designs with SFD. As a result there are now three new designing books.
20 How do I preserve my body blueprint (pattern)?
Once you’re satisfied with the fit, copy the sloper onto something more stable, like heavy weight Pellon. Make sure you label the date and all your measurements on it. If you gain or loose more than 10lb., you’ll likely need to redraw it. (Back to top)
21. How do I use my personal pattern blueprint to create new designs?
If you’ve traced your sloper on something more stable, like Pellon, then simply copy this outline on tracing vellum. In other words, always make a ‘working copy’ leaving the body blueprint in tact. Then begin making your design changes. No need to draw a new body blueprint for each new pattern. (Back to top)
22. I generally need to alter my patterns before I can sew them. Will I need to do this with Sure-Fit Designs™?
When you’ve drawn your personal body blueprint, it will fit many of you straight ‘out-of-the-box’. Depending on your body contours, you may need to do some refinements or minor tune-ups. Each kit has its own instruction book and each book offers a section on refining the pattern – if you need to. Additionally, all educational videos are catalogued and their name will indicate if it’s showing you a refinement or tune-up. See: Video Library
23. When drawing off my personal patterns (my body blueprint), if I happen to be in between the whole numbered measurement dots, do I round up to the next largest dot?
No. As an example your bust might be 42 ½” in circumference. You’d mark the space in between the 42” and 43” dots. Visually divide the space into its respective segments. (Back to top)
24. What is the difference between the SFD pattern kits from the ‘80’s & ’90’s compared to the current pattern kits?
If you own the original pattern kits (in the brightly colored boxes), they are still totally useable. The current pattern kits have been digitized and are now presented in different packaging, however, very few modifications have been made to them. As for the patterns, the Dress, Shirt and Children's patterns have remained the same. The Pants Kit patterns have been modified slightly. There is now a high hip line of measuring dots to choose your high hip measurement from and there's been some 'internal' tweaking. Nothing that is visual to the user's eye, but I believe what has been done has enhanced the fit. That's not to say that what you have is not useable. If you liked the fit then, you'll likely be happy with the fit now even though your body may have changed over the years.
All of the kit’s instruction books have the same info in them, but they have been updated in terms of how the information is presented - I think there is a better flow of info and there is some new fashion art as well as a few new designs.
25. Can I sew with knit fabrics as well as with wovens when using the Sure-Fit Designs kits?
Yes you can sew with knits and stretchy fabric. Each kit's accompanying instruction book offers information on how to test the stretchiness of the knit fabric and then tells you how to 'size down' your body blueprint. Depending on how stretchy the knit is, ease needs to be removed because the knit provides built in ease by way of its stretchiness. I've provided an article on sewing with Knits vs. Wovens. Just click here. (Back to top)