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Topic: SEAMSTRESSES? Pattern Sizing Questions  (Read 774 times)
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miss brianne
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« on: February 09, 2006 03:31:34 PM »

Now I have been sewing for a very long time (since I was about eight) And My question is this:

Everytime I measure myself, pick a size and turn out the pattern it is too big.
I am wondering what the heck I am doing wrong. This just happened today. I made the vogue pattern in a size 16 (which claimed it would be about 2 inches to small, but I am working with stretch so I figured I was alright) and it ends up being HUMUNGOUS on me. What is wrong with me?!?!

I feel really lame!
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2006 05:20:12 PM »

From my experience, "Plus" sizes tend to run bigger than you measure and "Misses" sizes run a little small and junior's sizes run even smaller than your measured size. Go figure.

The brand and date/decade of the pattern makes a BIG difference too. My mom always told me cut a size up and then take it in, you'll be safe and get the best fit.

I'd like to know a better way to go about it too!

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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2006 05:24:07 PM »

Don't worry, I've been sewing since I was 9 and I just NOW figured out how to do sizing!  Here are some ideas:

First of all, are you measuring the correct waist?  Most people measure around the area where they normally wear their pants/skirts.  No, no -- you're supposed to measure around the area where you normally BEND in half.  This is usually around the navel or slightly above for me (but I'm long-waisted).

Your bust measurement is supposed to be taken in a straight line through your armpits, ABOVE your bustline.  I'm trying to figure out how to describe that -- the tape measure should go around your upper body, just under the pits and over the high breast area.  This will give you a smaller measurement than using your bra band size, which is the mistake I used to make.  If you are larger than a B/C cup, most patterns are not cut to fit you and you might have to alter for more fabric in the bosom area.  

Hips are pretty obvious, but for straight skirts, use the area where you are widest.  I personally measure the tops of my thighs.  

NOW, if you've done all that and it still doesn't fit, time to check your seams.  I sew with 3/8 inch seams, most patterns are designed to be sewn with 5/8 inch seams, so I usually have to size down.  

Also, check wearing ease!  Patterns will have numbers printed on them which indicate the finished garment's measurements when it is done.  Home sewn clothes are designed with tons of wearing ease, so if you prefer a fitted look you'll have to sew smaller.  Flat pattern measurement helps a lot -- I take a similar garment, lay it out on the floor, measure the areas where it fits and then measure the pattern piece (allowing for seams).  That way I can get a more accurate idea of how something fits.

Hope this helps....I know it's confusing but don't give up!  
Good luck! 
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2006 07:14:05 AM »

If you go to kate diceys page she has an awesome learning zone, and inside that there is a diagram as to where to measure, and a list explaining how to measure.  you will have to go to the homepage, then click on learning zone, bottom of the page on the right. 


I have been using her technique since I learned to sew clothes, and I never have any problems.


Michelle Giordano

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« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2006 08:38:52 AM »

my name is brianne too- neat!

make sure you look at the actual pattern pices for the "finished" size measurements thats usually printed on the tissue.

i screwed up all my bridesmaids dresses by reading the envelope and not the tissue.

« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2006 01:48:41 PM »

It will help if you flat measure before you lay out a pattern.  Here's how:

Find a garment you already have that is similar fit and similar amount of stretch.  Lay the RTW garment flat and measure some places (bust and hips are usually the most critical, but I like to check shoulder width and back and front length too.) 

Now measure the pattern and compare.  Since you're a sewer, you already know to double the half patterns, and subtract seam allowance.  Or you can mark the seam allowance on the pattern and measure from seam to seam. 

Most of us find we need a combination of sizes, often larger on the bottom. 


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