Finding the right size in a pattern

calliopeJanuary 16, 2009

This should be elementary, but it whizzed right over my head. I haven't sewn clothing in quite a few years for myself. Not knowing my size......I bought some new blouses last month at some better department stores, and was pleased to find the sizing pretty consistent across the board from two different stores. A size fourteen top fit perfectly with just enough ease.

I decided to make more blouses in the same style, and figured I'd just buy the appropriate blouse patterns in the same size. Being unsure of the fit, I actually used the pattern for the next size up, figuring I could tailor down, if necessary. When I did the initial fitting was blown away by the fact that the blouse wasn't too large, but at least a size too small! It's hard to believe that there would be a two size discrepancy between ready-to-wear clothing and a pattern.

I'm an experienced sewer, and the cutting and seaming was exact.

Was this a fluke?

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I find that I wear about 2 sizes larger in a pattern than ready to wear.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 6:46PM
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Thanks, I thought I was losing it. Also glad I only bought two patterns. The second one I haven't cut on yet, and it's like four sizes in one envelope. You may have saved me from another two days of sewing, only to give the finished product away.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 8:49PM
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Try looking at the "finished" measurements located on the tissue of the pattern pieces and go by those measurements.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 9:28AM
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I find the sizing of women's clothing to be totally crazy in general. I tried going by the "finished" measurements on the pattern for a fitted vest and ended up having to go down two sizes!!! I got so frustrated, I ended up tracing the pattern pieces and making a muslin version first.

I would love to see a more standardized method of sizing for both patterns and ready to wear. Heck, I wear anywhere from a two to a twelve in ready to wear, depending on the make and style.

Can anyone tell me if the major pattern companies, at least, tend to run the same size-wise?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 11:24AM
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Back when I was making a lot of clothing, I found with Vogue, you could drop down a pattern size, but that's typical of better ready to wear too, isn't it?

Of course the style of clothing is a large factor im what size you can wear, especially if you have a small waist coupled with a large bust or hips. You could get by wearing a tiny full skirt, because the only crucial measurement would be the waist.

I altered my blouse last night, and it fits well now, and I'm going to make alterations directly on the pattern so I won't have the same problem next time. I know that one should make a muslin dummy each time they sew off a new pattern, but many people actually do?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 1:12PM
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Did you use a McCalls pattern? I have had bad luck with their sizing a few times.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 5:37PM
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This was a simple Butterick, but I noticed on the envelope, that it has a McCall's trademark now, so I guess they must own Butterick?

This particular blouse was sort of a devil to alter, as there were numerous seams and the top bodice fit to the bottom of the bodice after the side seams were sewn. So, it was a matter of picking out the seams not only in the side seams, but the top from the bottom of the bodice, and then easing out some gathers to accomodate the larger bodice. I'm gun-shy now to start the next pattern, I believe is a Simplicity, because it may or may not be sized the same! LOL

I'm cool with buying larger sizes in patterns than I wear off the rack, but it would be nice to know before I purchase, and especially before I cut on the pattern, and super especially before I cut on the material!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 9:18PM
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I find this to be true with children's patterns as well. I love to sew for my grandchildren but it is so frustrating to make something to find it is ususally too big. Even if I check their measurements against the pattern envelope, they are never just one size. The kids are usually a combination of two sizes. And they are not nearby to keep trying them on as I go as I did when my kids were small. Getting a good fit even when they do try them on is difficult because they can't stand still long enough to see where any adustment needs to be made!!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 3:54PM
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