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retail sizing compared to patterns

andsewon | Posted in General Discussion on

I have a sewing business out of my home and I want to expand it by designing cute tops to wear with jeans and/or slacks for a fun night out. My question is how do I size the garments when we all know that retail sizes are not the same as the patterns.


  1. sewslow67 | | #1

    I think it might depend on where you plan to price your tops compared to retail; i.e. if you plan to design high end tops, then size accordingly.  This means:  The more you charge, the smaller the size on the label.  As you probably have already noticed, a high end designer top will be a size 2, whereas the same size top in Target will be a sized 6/8.

    Also, if you are going to make the "art-to-wear" type of designs, I would definitely charge more and size/label them smaller.

    When I used to buy t-shirts in Target, I normally bought a med-large. A similar size shirt in Nordstrom would be sized a small.  In other words, small price/large-size on label;  high price/small-size on label.  Now I just make all my own, as they fit better, and I can make them uniquely mine.

    And ...good luck with your new business.  It sounds like you might have a great niche' going for your!

    Edited 5/31/2009 1:46 pm by sewslow67

    Edited 5/31/2009 1:48 pm by sewslow67

  2. jjgg | | #2

    People who do not sew know nothing about the difference in sizing of commercial patterns to RTW. My concern with your question is are you using commercial patterns to make these tops to sell? I'm not sure that is legal.But back to your question, size them any old way you want. size A, B, C or small / medium / large, that way no numbers are being used. Unless you use actual bust/waist measurements, really the size number is a meaningless issue.

    1. sewslow67 | | #4

      I agree totally with checking all the legal ramifications too.  Good point.  As to using commercial patterns to sell your product:  I was told (albeit years ago) that it was legal but ...and here's the catch ...you need to buy a new (read that separate) pattern for every item you make.  That means if you use pattern #1234 for a shirt, and want to make ten of them, then you need to buy 10 patterns of that shirt - even if each and every one is a size "x".

      As as another poster mentioned, there are literally dozens of other sneaking little laws that must be strictly followed.

  3. KharminJ | | #3

    Welcome! Welcome! You will find this to be an amazingly supportive group. First: Definitely!!! read *a lot* at member kathleen_f's blog and forums (http://fashion-incubator.com) about commercial garment sewing, before you get too far into your new venture. There are soooo many legal and regulatory gotchya's and counter-intuitive production aspects to sewing-for-retail, it'll make your head spin if they catch you unawares. And seriously consider investing in her book! ~ As for sizing, I like the suggestion to use A-B-C etc. If you're selling at a distance, put up a size chart, with corresponding body measurements; if you're selling local/in person, customers can try them on. (Edit: You need to make up a size chart for yourself, anyway - might as well make it available for your customers, even if they *are* in-person only.) Bright Blessings and Good Luck to you!Kharmin

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