Why you should never make fit samples in the color black

If you’ve been around here a while, you’ve probably heard me say not to make your fit samples in black. Also, other dark colors and fabrics with a print or colorful pattern can be equally bad choices for fit samples. The purpose of a fit sample is to test the pattern and catch any fit issues before the style goes to production. To do this successfully, you need to be able to see fit issues clearly in the sample.

Black and other dark colors hide fit issues. You can’t see the shadows created by seam lines, darts, wrinkles, and drag lines on a dark fabric. (This is part of why black is a popular color for clothing, but save the black for production.)

Dark colors also don’t show up well on video or camera. Dark colored garments can look like a dark blob when photographed which isn’t helpful in documenting the development of a new style. Taking clear photos at each fitting is so important and dark photos make this difficult. It can be even harder if someone on your team (like your patternmaker) is attending the fitting via video call.

Prints can be similarly deceiving to dark colors. Not only can bold prints hide fit issues, but a print can distract from the overall proportions and design of a garment. If something is feeling off in the garment, it can be hard to tell if it is the print, the garment design, or the fit.

White and other light, solid colors on the other hand show everything. Even the slightest wrinkle or pull line is visible in a white garment. White photographs well and details are easily visible on a video camera. White garments aren’t always as fun to look at, but do a wonderful job at revealing fit issues during a fitting – which is what you want at this stage of development.

If you can get the garment to look good in white, it will look good in any other color as well. You can rest assured that when you see the top of production samples, there won’t be any fit surprises.

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