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Fitting a sloper for a scoliosis body.

LauraL's picture

Help. I Have poured over every alteration book and Threads magazine on fitting and still am confused. I have scoliosis, but do not have a large protrusion on the upper shoulder area. The right side of me is larger than the left and also scrunched down, like someone but a hand on my shoulder and pushed down a bit. I also have a high right hip. I will stop here, but I could go on. I am trying to make a sloper so that dresses and blouses fit since off the rack fits poorly. My muslins are too tight across the back pull across the armscye or something. Should I go to a tailor? I have no significant other or sewing buddy to help. Does anyone in the Arlington, TX area know anyone who can help me fit a sloper? :-)

GinnaS's picture

(post #28736, reply #1 of 10)

Laurel -

I just checked the Dallas/FT. Worth American Sewing Guild web site ( and there is a neighborhood group that meets in Arlington.  They might be able to help you.

Leader: Linda Buck, 817-461-6968

Meets second Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m.
Arlington Sewing Machine, Arlington, TX


kayl's picture

(post #28736, reply #2 of 10)

Laura, I also have scoliosis... complete with a "wing". Isn't it fun?

In my experience, learning some basic pattern drafting and draping is the easy way out, once you've got your sloper fitted. I find that I do much better using a complete pattern -- both sides, out flat -- rather than "cut on fold". In fact, for fairly fitted garments, I've even got a right sleeve pattern and a left sleeve pattern. Once you've got the sloper and landmarks established, you can also use your sloper to adjust commercial patterns.

The suggestion of an ASG group is a good one; so is your idea of finding a tailor or another fitting specialist to make your basic sloper(s). (My guess is that you've got one shoulder that's rounder

than the other, causing the pulling. If you can get someone to

pin for you, try on the muslin, pin the CF and CB lines to your

undies (make sure they're perpendicular to the floor!), and then

fit the two sides separately.)

FWIW, I learned most of my draping and patternmaking from one of Connie Crawford's week-long patternmaking for home sewing classes--

the next one appears to be in February:

Another possibility to consider researching: if you've got a basic sloper fixed for the asymmetrical you, is it possible to go backwards from the sloper measurements (CF or CB to right and left edges and generate two sets of numbers that would work in a computerized pattern program? Then you could just print a pattern for the right and one

for the left, and tape them together at midline.

A custom form, duct tape double or otherwise, is also going to be

quite helpful to you.


Edited 10/1/2004 2:31 pm ET by kay

LauraL's picture

(post #28736, reply #3 of 10)

Such great ideas! I joined ASG about 2 weeks ago and noticed in the welcome packet that there are regional meetings in TX, I hadn't yet found a local one. I will definitely look into this now that I know the local meeting time.  

I made a duct tape dress dummy, (yes, a fun experience, lots of laughs) with my sisters in phx. I found that the technique/tape/tapers did not accurately address the concavities and "lumpy" areas in my back, so it is not very accurate. I need to redo "her".

I took an online class from Heather Clauss, which helped draft a sloper after wrapping yourself in saran wrap, marking all important points and seams, and then cutting it off. After opening the darts, adding seam allowances, and ease, voila! a starting point for a sloper. I need a buddy to help, cause I cannot take it any further than this.  I liked this approachidea though. There was a similar approach for skirts using duct tape in Threads.

I will check into your other class ideas as well. I have read everything I get my hands on, and have learned alot! Thank you again for your time. I feel better already knowing I am not so alone with this frustration! Laura

kayl's picture

(post #28736, reply #4 of 10)

I've thought about using the new press-n-stick gladwrap (whatever it's called) for zero-ease slopers from oddball bodies. You might also see if you can pull in some of the concavities you need with a button and a long needle and thread on your duct tape double. Or just an adjustment with the "calibrated knockometer" -- aka a hammer.

If you've got a sort of sloper generated already from your saran

wrap class, you might look at Kathy Illian's Bodymapping, as that's

pretty step by step on basic pattern generation. My recollection,

though, is that she doesn't address balancing the pattern (which

has to do with expected armhole shapes and ratios of front to back,

not side-to-side symmetry!)... and a balanced sloper works so much

better for pattern generation, ime.

I realized my thoughts about computer pattern generation weren't

very clear. I have no idea whether you can reverse engineer from sloper to data for the program, but it might be worth inquiring about to some of the companies, should that interest you. I have more

fun just doing a pencil and paper or draped derivative.

Ok, so now I have to ask... some folks swear that those of us with

very uneven shoulders look best with a wad of shoulder pad on the

low shoulder to even us out. My preference is for making the garment

fit without excess padding, so that it hangs correctly. Do you

have a preference?

Ah yes... I should also mention that Connie Crawford works with all

sizes and shapes of people; her pattern line was a "retired from teaching" project because she didn't like the fit she was seeing

from weird grading distortions in the standard patternmaking schema. So her classes are not geared just to plus sizes.


Edited 10/2/2004 4:44 am ET by kay

LauraL's picture

(post #28736, reply #5 of 10)

Hi Kay. I tend to wear things that hang from shoulders cause it has been easier than fitting the high hip/uneven waist problem with scoliosis. Dresses off the rack do look better with small shoulder pads. I have not successfully fit one myself (yet!) so I will see if I prefer the shoulder pad for the one shoulder or not.

I like your ideas!  Laura

kayl's picture

(post #28736, reply #6 of 10)

I was really lucky growing up... mom's best friend had been trained

in tailoring, so she taught me basic pattern alterations and often

fit a new pattern for me as I was growing. High hip isn't a

big deal, but you might want to fit it as bodice + skirt or pants, then put the two together to generate your most basic sloper to work

your other patterns from.

FWIW, I find just about anything below the waistline much easier to

fit than shoulders/neckline/bust issues in a bodice. Especially

for those of us who have unexpected curves!


CarolFresia's picture

(post #28736, reply #7 of 10)

Laurel, you might also look into having a consultation with a PACC member. This is the Professional Association of Custom Clothiers (, and its members usually specialize in alterations and/or sewing custom clothing. You might find someone nearby willing to spend a couple of hours helping you fit a muslin, from which you can alter or fit subsequent patterns.


LauraL's picture

(post #28736, reply #8 of 10)

Great Idea! I found a local chapter in Arlington about 7 miles from me! Between this and the local ASG meeting I will surely find someone who can help me fit my sloper! Thanks to you all. :-)

sblb60's picture

Fitting Scoliosis Figure (post #28736, reply #9 of 10)

Please see what I have attached.

I've been at this long before there was an Internet.  The book I found most helpful was Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph Armstrong.  In 1987 it was a textbook used at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

Fitting_Scoliosis_Figure.pdf238.68 KB
sblb60's picture

Fitting Scoliosis Figure 2 (post #28736, reply #10 of 10)

This post is in addition to the one above - also from sblb60.

Fitting_Scoliosis_Figure_2.pdf119.11 KB