Are you choosing your sewing pattern size based on your ready to wear size?
Unlike buying clothes in the shops, we can’t try on our dressmaking projects before we make them, so it’s crucial to take our body measurements to decide what size we’ll need.
Ready to wear sizes and sewing pattern sizes are not the same systems, so never assume your sewing pattern size is the same as the ready to wear size you’re used to buying. Measure your self with the tape measure sitting firmly around your body at the Bust, Waist and Hips.
- For skirts and trousers you always choose your size by the hip measurement, and then adjust the pattern to your waist.
- For dresses choose the size by your bust measurement, and then adjust the waist and hips.
Most of us will span several sizes between these 3 areas so don’t worry if you’re not the same size at the waist as you are at the hips! Make a note of the size closest to each of your measurements, so if you’re a pattern size 14 at the hip, but an 8 at the waist, you will blend between those 2 sizes to create a custom fit. This is the beauty of sewing your own clothes, you can tailor the paper pattern to your own unique size and shape.I dream of being able to buy dresses in the high street that were blended between sizes!
There are different sizing systems used across all of the pattern company brands, so It’s a good idea to make a little chart of your own body measurements, and use it to compare with the size chart on your pattern each time you make a new project. I’ve made you a little downloadable measuring cheat sheet to record your personal measurements.
The best way to really fine tune your pattern sizing is to start understanding “Finished Garment Measures” and “Design Ease” If you’d like to read about how to do that, I’ve written a more in-depth post here
I've just got back into sewing and I find your newsletter tips really useful so do please keep them coming.