What is Ease in Pattern Making?

by | Dec 7, 2023 | All Documentation, Basic Pattern Making | 0 comments

So, what is the difference between Negative ease, Zero ease, Wearing Ease and Design ease in pattern making? Simply put, ease is a fundamental concept in basic pattern making. Ease refers to the extra fabric added to a garment to allow for comfort and ease of movement. It’s the difference between the body measurements and the finished garment measurements. In other words, it’s the additional space built into the garment to allow for ease of movement, comfort, and proper fit. Different ease can be added to a basic block depending on the type of garment and the desired fit.

Pattern maker adjusting a basic block on a mannequin to demonstrate ease in pattern making, in a design studio.

What are the Four Different Types of Ease Used in Pattern Making?

There are four common types of ease: Negative ease, Zero ease, Wearing ease and Design ease. Also, the ease used to draft a basic block or adapt a basic block into a finished pattern is often referred to as the fit. In this guide, we explore how each type of ease shapes garment construction, helping you to ensure your creations are both stylish and fit well. All our bespoke basic blocks and standardised basic blocks are drafted with wearing ease. This is the minimum amount of ease required to move, sit, and breathe. When adapting basic blocks into finished patterns, a combination of wearing ease and design ease is added.

What is a Basic Block?

Draft a Bespoke Basic Block

Download a Library of Basic Blocks

Close-up of a pattern making illustration showing different types of ease: negative, zero, wearing, and design ease, on a bodice pattern.
Negative Ease. What is ease in pattern making? Pattern making basics.

Understanding Negative Ease in Pattern Making?

Negative ease is used to create garments that are designed to be smaller than body measurements, creating a very snug or tight fit. Negative ease is achieved by subtracting measurements or ease from the body measurements, resulting in a garment that is smaller than the body.

Negative ease is often used in stretchy or form-fitting garments such as spandex leggings, swimwear, or bodysuits, as the fabric can stretch and expand to the body. Negative ease can also be used to create garments with a visually slimming effect (Corsetry). However, it’s important to note that non-stretch garments with negative ease can be uncomfortable and restrictive and may not be suitable for all body types.

Draft a Bespoke Stretch Basic Block:
Stretch Dress Basic Block

Leggings Basic Block

Unitard Basic Block

Zero Ease. What is ease in pattern making? Pattern making basics.

The Role of Zero Ease in Pattern Making

Zero ease creates garments that are designed to exactly fit body measurements and with no additional ease built in. A garment with zero ease is often called a Moulage and is meant to fit snugly and closely to the body, with no extra fabric to allow for movement or comfort. This type of fit is not often used unless to test the draft accuracy of a basic block.

Zero ease is not recommended for all garment types and body types, as it can be highly uncomfortable and restrict movement. However, it is often used in combination with other eases to create specific garments that are meant to highlight the body’s shape at certain points. Corsetry uses a combination of Zero ease and negative ease to create a body sculpting garment.

Wearing Ease. What is ease in pattern making? Pattern making basics. Used to draft basic blocks with the minimum amount of room needed to breath, sit and move.

When is Wearing Ease Used in Pattern Making?

Wearing ease is the most used fit when drafting both bespoke basic blocks and standardised basic blocks. This fit gives the minimum amount of extra room needed to allow for comfortable, non-restricted movement, allowing you to sit, move, raise your arms and breath easily.

The purpose of wearing ease is to ensure that the garment is comfortable to wear whilst allowing for natural movement, without being too tight or too loose. It is the bare minimum ease added when drafting basic blocks. Any additional ease is called design ease.

Draft a Bespoke Basic Block

Download a Library of Standardised Basic Blocks

Design Ease. What is ease in pattern making? Pattern making basics.

Designing Garments with Design Ease

Design ease refers to the extra space intentionally added to a finished pattern for style reasons. It allows for specific design features such as gathers, pleats, or a relaxed silhouette. Design ease is added on top of wearing ease to achieve the desired aesthetic and style of the finished pattern or garment. The amount of design ease can be influenced by fashion trends, personal preference, or the specific design details of the finished pattern or garment.

Learn How to Adapt Your Basic Blocks into Finished Patterns

Draft and adapt basic blocks in adobe illustrator. Digital pattern making
Draft and adapt basic blocks in adobe illustrator. Digital pattern making

Conclusion – Mastering Ease in Pattern Making

By understanding these different types of ease—negative ease for stretch basic blocks, zero ease for moulage, wearing ease for basic blocks, and design ease for finished patterns—you can create basic blocks for several different uses that result in well-fitting and comfortable garments, tailored to different fabrics, styles, and body shapes.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This