As I have mentioned several times now, I work for a well known Fabric Store in Glasgow. I’ve worked there for ten months now and most of what I have learned about sewing I have gathered from colleagues and customers.
When i first started I was terrified about answering people’s questions about how much fabric they need etc in case I got it wrong but I’m a bit more confident now. There’s still one question though which fills me with dread…”which pattern size should I get?”
So I decided to take matters into my own hands and did some research. The following is information in my own words which I have gleaned from information provided on Butterick/Vogue/McCalls websites…
- A dress pattern Size 10 is not necessarily the same as a size 10 you might buy from a High Street shop. Shops set their sizes however they please to help them sell clothes whereas patterns conform to a standard set of sizes.
Standard Figure / Height
- Misses’ Patterns are designed with ‘average height’ in mind which is approx. 5’5” to 5’6” (1.65m to 1.68m).
- They are also designed with a B Cup figure in mind.
Choosing a Pattern
- It is important to measure carefully and select a pattern size by comparing actual body measurements to those printed on the body measurements charts provided by pattern companies.
- You should know your Bust, Waist and Hip measurements before choosing a pattern.
- Your cup size is the difference between bust + chest. Your chest measurement is taken above your bust, not below.
- Up to 1” difference = A Cup, Up to 2” = B Cup, Up to 3” = C Cup, Up to 4” = D Cup
- If you are an A or B cup then use your bust size to select a pattern, if you are C+ then use your chest measurement instead which will give better fit across the shoulders, chest and upper back.
Choose size by Garment Type
Dresses, Blouses, Tops, Jackets, Coats and Vests: Bust or Chest. Adjust waist and hips as required.
Skirts, Pants, Shorts: Waist. However, if hips larger than waist by 13” or more select by hip measurement as it is better to adjust waist than add to hips.
Coordinates: Bust or Chest
- If you are small boned select a smaller size, if you are large boned select a larger size.
- Today’s fashions are tighter to the body so fitted patterns have less design ease than they used to.
- If body measurements vary much from those on the envelope and pattern is described as ‘closely fitted,’ ‘fitted’ or ‘semi fitted’ it may be necessary to adjust pattern or choose a larger size by actual measurements.
- Some customers prefer to choose styles described as ‘loose fitting’ in a smaller size.