Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ease -- What is it? Do I need it? How much do I need?

Ease.  It can mean the difference between sausage casing and drowning in your clothes.  Ease is theEase.  It can fluctuate between sausage casing and drowning in your clothes.  Ease is the difference between your measurements and the finished size of the garment you are making.  When you look at a pattern in a magazine, you will almost always see a sizing chart and a finished size of the garment.  Usually a small is a 30 – 32 inch bust in commercial patterns.  If you see the finished measurement of the garment for small is 36 inches, you know there is 4 inches of ease.  What does this ease do for you?  1.  It aids you in putting on the garment by giving you room to maneuver in putting it on.  2.  It causes the garment to fit in a pleasing manner.  3.  Positive ease as used in the example allows the garment to skim over your supposed trouble spots. 
What happens if your ease is 0?  Zero ease amounts to sausage casing for most garments.   In a couple of examples it is still too much room.  Zero ease in sweaters and skirts will make them difficult to put on, difficult to wear and difficult to remove.  No ease will show every bump, every bulge, every hollow.  It’s never pretty.  Zero ease in garments like socks and swim suits have the opposite effect.  These are too big still.  Socks will puddle around your ankles and sag into your shoes.   Swim suits.  For those of you who have worn the old wool swim suits or cotton swim suits that someone made you, you know how they sag when they get wet.  Droopy suits when leaving the water is an unsightly problem that can lead to embarrassment.
Hats, socks and swimsuits have negative ease.  Negative ease means that the finished measurements of the garment are less than your measurements.  You want your hat to hug your head.  If it doesn’t hug the head at some point, it will fall off or sag into your eyes.  Too small though and the hat will slide up the head to perch on top.  You want a sock to hug your foot.  If it doesn’t it will pool in your shoe and be uncomfortable.  You want a sock to be 10% smaller than your foot to fit well.  Swim suits need even more difference, 15 – 20% are numbers I have heard.  I don’t know if this is accurate or not.
Cardigans can have up to 10 inches of ease.  It really depends on the design, what the designer intended for each size, and the wearer’s preference.  If 10 inches of ease were used in a pullover, the wearer would look like a child wearing his or her parent’s clothes or the stereotype of the boyfriend sweater.  Comfy as this might be, it probably won’t be the most attractive item to be worn.  Of course, if the clothes are this big, it might not be so comfy if you have to keep pulling it back on your body.