Understanding Ease

What is “ease” and how to adjust ease amounts
to customize your fit in the MyFit Joggers pattern

"Ease" is a very common term to hear in reference to sewing. So, what is it and can it be adjusted to obtain a desired fit with Apostrophe Patterns?

“Ease” is the difference between body measurements and fabric measurements once sewn up (also called finished measurements). It describes how the garment will fit on the body.

Ease can be a positive number, which means the fabric is bigger than the body, and more ease means a looser fit. This is often referred to as "Positive Ease."

Ease can also be a negative number. “Negative ease” is when the fabric is smaller than the body and the fabric has to stretch to fit over the body. Socks all have negative ease, as do leggings, swimsuits, and many other types of garments made from knit fabrics or stretch woven fabrics.

In the Apostrophe Patterns’ MyFit Joggers and MyFit Underwear, ease amounts are included in the downloaded pattern at the bottom of the measurement summary.

See this blog post to learn how to preview your pattern on screen, before printing or projecting. Previewing a pattern is a good step for reviewing your pattern, the amounts of ease, and understand how it will fit before cutting fabric.

This is an example of the ease listed on a MyFit Joggers pattern:


To change the ease amounts, and customize the fit further than the Slim, Regular, Lounge fit options included in the pattern (along with Tapered, Straight and Flared leg options), we can use two methods:

  • Change the stretch percentage entry in the pattern. Adding 10% to the stretch entry is a good amount to make the pattern slimmer. This can even be done with wovens. If you choose this method for your woven garment, be sure to check the pattern preview to make sure ease is still positive, so it can be pulled over the body.
  • Change body measurements entered to “trick” the pattern into reducing the ease. Reduce measurements in small amounts, around 1.5cm/0.5” until pattern preview shows amount of ease that “balances” this formula:

Actual measurement + amount of ease you want Modified measurement + ease amount stated on pattern

For example:

  •  If actual knee measurement is 15” and pattern says 2” of ease at knee, that is 17” that fabric will measure around knee.
  • If you reduce knee measurement to 14” in the program and modified pattern still says 2” of ease at knee, then fabric will measure 16”, a 1” reduction in actual ease. 
  • In this case, if you want 1” of ease at knee then the formula balances as follows:

Actual measurement 15” + amount of ease you want 1”= 16”

Modified measurement 14” + ease amount stated on pattern 2”= 16”

For other patterns that don’t have ease amounts listed, we can use measuring tools in PDF Reader software to measure the pattern pieces on screen and understand how much positive, or negative ease is included in the pattern, to help check how pattern will fit in advance of cutting fabric. See this blog post to learn the ways we can do that.


If you have any other ease related questions, we'd be happy to answer them in our Facebook Group. ~Cynthia and the Apostrophe Team

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