From the Sartorial Gazette - June 1922

The First Try-On

If the lady is nervous, or stands like a Dutch doll, afraid to move, and thus fails to get the coat well on to the shoulders -- well, I am sorry for you, for she will prove one of the most difficult of all of your customers.  To get that coat on properly, which is very necessary, perhaps a suggestion that she need not be afraid of breaking the stitches will induce her to pull herself well into it, but, if she cannot be induced to pull it on properly herself, and I have known some that won't, you must do it for her in the following manner.

Put your left hand on her left shoulder, under the coat you are trying on, and, while pressing the sleeve-head of her blouse into the coat sleeve, pull that left shoulder well on with the right hand.  Then do the same with the other shoulder, thus -- put your right hand on her right shoulder, under the coat you are fitting, and, while pulling the sleeve of her blouse into the sleeve of the coat, pull that right shoulder well on with the left hand.  

Having it well on, by some such means, proceed to pin the fronts across to where they will fasten without straining.  Next see that the sleeves are right for the length and for  the size, and pitched right;  chalk any alterations that are necessary and then remove them.  

Now see that the balance of the garment is right; if it is too long or too short in the balance of back or fronts, rip it up the side seams and see if you can adjust it there.  

If it is a tight fitting  garment, a broad piece of tape tied not too tightly round the waist will hold the garment in position while you adjust it with pinning, after having ripped the side seams through.  Next see that your shoulders are sitting quite cleanly, if not, rip them through and adjust with pins.  

Then, if for tight fitting garments, see that all the seams are right and pin away any looseness, or let out anything that is too tight.  Don't be afraid of pinning where necessary in the first try-on.  You will find that the ladies like it and pleasing their heads is "half the battle".  

There are still several things left to look at.  See that the collar is right, and mark for the seam round the neck.  Carefully mark round the scye, and, also, make a fresh mark through the waist, if it is necessary.  Mark round the bottom of the garment, for for the length required, or where it wants readjusting.  If much alteration has been made in the balance of the coat, it is just as well to slip the sleeve up over the arm again, to test the pitch marks and remark them if needed.

If all this has been done with care, and the lady has worn the crucial undergarments over which she intends wearing the garment she is being fitted for, there should be little trouble in the next fitting, if the following instructions are carried out.  If to be lined with silk, practically very little allowance will be made, except for the reversing of the seams, and the shrinking back of fronts.  

These two things will require half-an-inch down the side seam and three-quarters of an inch down each front, for an ordinary material; for thicker cloth a little more and for thin elastic material a trifle less.  

If a tight fitting garment, it is very necessary to find out if the lady is wearing the undergarments over which she purposes wearing this coat, or else, at the next fit, it may be too tight or too loose, or even thrown off altogether.  For some undergarments not only affect the circumference but also the balance.  If you keep a lady assistant, such a matter can be easily managed, through her. 

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