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newbie – what pattern size?

cloetzu | Posted in Fitting on

Hello!  I’m new here and first want to start by thanking all the folks that post responses to questions!

I’m hoping one of you can help me with my question around what size pattern to buy? 

First pants: I was taking a pant making class and making the Sandra Betzina Jeans (Vogue 7608).  The instructor measured me and said that I was between a size C and a D (on Sandra’s chart), thus she recommended I make size C as the crotch would fit better and it would be easier to change the rest then the crotch.  I took me SEVERAL hrs of alterations to make the muslin even come close to fitting.  Then I happened along a size D pattern and made that one and to my surprise it was a very good fit as is (just a little extra at center back which can easily be removed… so my question around pants sizing is, how can I now what size pattern to buy?  Yes most are multi sized but it seems I’m on the border of 2 size catagories.  I’d hate to have to buy 2 patterns for every style.  Any advice? Which is better, go up a size or down a size? Which measurement is the most important in pant consturction?

Second blouses: my high bust measurement corresponds to a size 16 on most patterns,  my actually bust (DD) correspondes to a size 18,  waist is almost a size 12.   Which meausrement is the most important in blouse consturction?

Third source for cotton stretch fabric – I’ve been wanting to make a dress shirt for some time now… I have made a good fitting muslin for the pattern but can’t find fabric.  I’m looking for a cotton with some stretch (lycra) in it but can’t find any in a shirting weight locally.  Any suggestions for a Canadian fabric supplier/store?

Thanks in advance for any responses!


  1. Teaf5 | | #1

    Wow, you have about a dozen different questions here, many of which have been answered in previous threads, which you can search through fairly easily from the forum main page. You can try "pattern size" to start, then try "pants fitting" and "blouse fitting."

    You'll find that there isn't a single, simple answer to your question about pattern size; the style of a blouse or pant, the pattern company, and the fabric you're using will result in different size garments, even if the body measurements are all the same.

    In general, it's better to use a slightly smaller pattern size and adjust in areas rather than use a bigger one and try to scale down. For tops and jackets, it's better to use a size that fits your shoulders and increase for full bust or whatever. For pants, it may take some time to find a particular brand that tends to fit your crotch/hip area; then you try to stick to that brand and size or at least use the successful pattern to modify other patterns.

    You'll notice on the previous threads on Fitting that even very experienced sewers are vexed by sizing; eveyone's body is unique, and the patterns are an idealized average that probably doesn't fit any real person perfectly! Join the crowd and ask away.

    1. cloetzu | | #2

      Thanks Teaf%.  I've done several searches and gotten many hits - too many actually and many are too broad.. but I'll keep looking!

  2. sewingkmulkey | | #3

    Teaf5 is right on about the mystery of pattern sizing.  In all my many years of dressmaking I have never found a client that fits a pattern size perfectly.  Everyone requires at least one adjustment and most require numerous.  Even my slender and tall daughters require pattern adjustments so don't get stressed.  For tops my advise is to follow Teaf5's suggestion and purchase a pattern using your high bust measurement which will fit your shoulders and neck area then make a full bust adjustment.  I also recommend taking your best fitting pants then lay and pin a tissue pattern  directly on them.  I think you will be surprised at the difference in the crotch curve.  Of course I always recommend making a trial muslin (or any cheap, similar fabric) before you cut into your fashion fabric. 

    I, too, have difficulty finding fabrics with a touch of lycra as you see in rtw.  It seems that the fabric industry is a bit behind.  I've purchased some fabric online and perhaps others here can send in their favorite sites.

    Best of luck!


    Edited 3/21/2007 3:59 pm ET by sewingkmulkey

  3. Marionc032 | | #4

    Hi from a fellow Canadian!

    I don't know if you have one near you, but try Fabricland. I've bought a couple of cotton/lycra blends in shirt weights from them--very comfortable to wear and it handles more like a cotton than a knit. I'm always on the lookout for cotton/lycra and have found some in other local/non-chain stores near me on Vancouver Island too.


    1. cloetzu | | #5

      Hello! We don't have a Fabricland but their equivalent out on the east cost is Fabricville.  I've been there several times in the last month - their selection isn't great.  I'm looking for a cotting with lycra but can't find any.  I just ran into the only other fabric store in our area (Atlantic Fabrics) and fell upon a red cotton lycra knit that will do... even with the two main stores there is very little to choose from.  I need to now serge the edges and wash the fabric tonight so I can dry it tomorrow and take it to class on Saturday - making a shirt using the serger - I was told we could finish it in one class - i'm not sure I believe it yet! 

      Happy Sewing!

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