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Topic: Plus-size or regular-size pattern??  (Read 1661 times)
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« on: September 21, 2006 08:24:11 PM »

I want to make the Kaliah Ali kimono inspired Simplicity dress for an upcoming wedding.  However, I'm unsure if I should use the actual Ali plus sized pattern (4050), or the regular sized version (4072).
The last time I bought clothes I was wearing a size 16 at Lane Bryant.  I'm 5'2" have about a 43" bust, 38" natural waist and 42" hips.  I usually buy a pattern corresponding to my store-bought dress size but I wasn't sure if the plus-size pattern might have better shapes or something to it.  Also, I am considered petite (yeah, try finding petite plus-sized clothes, right)
In general I'm unsure of whether or not to buy plus-size patterns or regular ones.  I don't think I can wear regular store bought clothes anymore - I think I have to buy in the plussizes - so should I be using the plus-size patterns too?  Cause some of the regular ones go up to 22, you know?

Well thanks in advance!

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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2006 12:46:35 PM »

This is a sticky question, because sewing pattern sizes mean next to nothing in the real world -- they don't correspond with ready to wear sizes at all (and ready to wear sizes aren't the same from brand to brand, either).  And the measurements they list on the envelope for each size seem to come from some nether world of oddly proportioned women who cannot bear clothing to touch their skin!  Every single time I've made something according to the "size" guide and my measurements, it was far too large for me.

But knowing your general size and height, I would say that you would likely SWIM in plus size patterns.  If you have really broad shoulders, though, this would be the way to go -- knowing that you would need to shorten the backwaist length and that sort of thing.

However, if you have a smaller frame, you could probably use the larger sizes of the misses' patterns -- although you might need to alter the waist a little larger, and use the "petitable" fold up markings if the pattern has those.

I would suggest that you check the finished garment dimensions on the pattern back against measurements of some similar clothes you already have that fit you well.

I really understand your dilemma, though.  I'm 5'3" and about a 16 ready to wear, too -- and I go back and forth between the two types of patterns.  I've found it depends on which set of alterations I want to do...but the "regular" patterns usually win because I'm too lazy to alter armholes!

Good luck!  I'm not familiar with this particular pattern, but I really like the kimono look -- it's very flattering, too.

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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2006 01:38:53 PM »


Here is the size chart.  The size chart puts your bust between size 20 and 22, waist between 22 and 24 (not really a problem), and hips size 18. 

The tag on the pattern doesn't really mean anything because the sizes just continue all the way up, they don't adjust to a different scale between "misses and women's sizes".  It is just that many of the women's sizes are not avail. in the misses sizes. 

My rule of thumb is to buy to fit the bust.  If the pattern is described on the back of the envelope as loose fitting or something like that, I'd buy the smaller size.  If it says something like fitted or semi fitted, I'd buy the larger size.  Since you are only dealing with 1 inch of excess either way you can easily fold that 1/4 in under on the pattern or add that 1/4 inch at the side seams.  Then, taper the pattern for a good fit at the waist.  I usually just figure the amount that I need and slope the pattern out to get the difference. 

In this particular case, the back pattern envelope says that the finished bust is 44 1/2 inches for size 20 and 46 1/2 for the size 22.  Given the way this particular pattern is made, I normally probably buy for the size 22 and make my bustline seams a little larger to accomidate.  The`waist meas should be 44 1/2 on size 22  or 42 1/2 on a 20 so they are allowing 7 inches of ease there.  Hips should be 54 1/2 or 52 1/2 on a size 20 so they are allowing 8 1/2 inches of ease there.  THe waist and hip measurments are not posted on the back of the pattern so I'm having to estimate those given the size I have (26-32). 

Given the amount of ease on this pattern, I think I would tend to go to the size 20 and add an inch to the bustline of the pattern.  Have someone else measure your bust for you though.  When you measure your own bust you flex those muscles across the bustline and can really change your own bust measurment, esp. in a full busted woman.  If it goes up 1 inch, I'd lean toward the size 22...a little tempted to lean that direction anyway except that you have so much ease in the lower body of the garment. 
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2006 09:19:20 AM »

ive always been told to ALWAYS go by your bust measurement.. and everything else to just adjust from there if necessary..

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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2006 02:35:08 PM »

thank god for big seam allowances.  go by yer bust measurements and then increase or shrink at the waist and hips as needed.
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2006 03:17:19 PM »

Here is another possible issue -- the regular size pattern seems to have gathering at the waist (I don't know about you, but that tends to make me look pregnant), whereas the plus size one is flat at the waist.  Also, I believe the plus size zips, but the regular size is pullover (meaning there will be lots of extra fabric).  Butterick has a version that zips and doesn't have the gathering, but the sleeves are different: 4849

Anyway, just more food for thought. Smiley

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