Choose the Correct Pattern Size
by Susan Andriks
from Threads #86, pp. 14, 16
The first step to making a garment that fits well is to choose the correct pattern size. This may seem obvious, but it's surprising how many sewers start with the wrong size, then end up making a lot of adjustments to get a good fit.
Measurements are key
When choosing a pattern size, you need to know some basic body measurements (see Personal measurement chart). I'll tell you how to use these measurements in a moment, but first let me explain why you can't simply rely on your ready-to-wear size when it comes to choosing patterns.
|Compare your measurements to those on the back of the pattern envelope. Each pattern company bases sizing on a standard set of body measurements.|
As I'm sure you're aware, sizing in the ready-to-wear industry is not consistent and most of us fit into a wide range of sizes, depending on the designer or manufacturer. Designers frequently use what's called vanity sizing, which adds inches to each size. What might have been a size 16 a few years ago, for example, is labeled a size 10 or 12 today.
Among the major pattern companies (see Pattern companies online), however, sizing is based on a standard set of body measurements, which are provided on each pattern envelope and at the back of the pattern catalogs. Once you've determined your pattern size by comparing your measurements with these standards, you can purchase that size for any of the company's patterns. But because very few figures will match a pattern company's standard measurements exactly, below are some guidelines for choosing a pattern size.
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