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Hi Everyone,

I’ve been having trouble with something since I began sewing, and thought maybe you all might be able to help.

Even though I measure myself over and over again, and use the size indicated on my pattern for my measurements, everything I make is still WAY too big. I took a class at the local junior college and learned how to measure there, but I’ve also checked, rechecked, googled how to do it (ie where to measure waist vs where pants fit, etc.)

I use a meticulous 5/8 inch seam allowance unless otherwise indicated. Yesterday I made a beautiful skirt from Simplicity 2451, but it was huge. I’m about a size 4/6 in American ready to wear.

Anyone have any advice?



12 Posts Sign in to add a post

  • Pink_sweater_large

    Nov 24, 2014, 06.21 PMby allygally

    Oh, also, wanted to add that I’d really like to purchase a dress form— I don’t have one yet, and I think it would really help me with fitting. Does anyone have a recommendation for an adjustable one that they like?

    Thanks!! Ally

  • 20596winter_20fairy_large

    Nov 24, 2014, 07.17 PMby sewingfan1

    Patterns often add a LOT of ease, burda ones especially I’ve found. Have you tried checking your actual body measurements against the cut out pattern pieces to see how they match up? Dress forms definitely help, not sure what make mine is but you can alter it just about all over. Or, for my wedding dress I actually altered it while wearing it (while it was still at the pinned together stage)

  • Pink_sweater_large

    Nov 25, 2014, 02.31 AMby allygally

    You know, that’s a really good idea. I was thinking earlier today that I might see how well the waistband fit before cutting the whole thing over again. One thing I can say, I’m really glad I traced the pattern instead of cutting right into it. So now I still have a workable pattern. Thanks for the advice!

  • 20596winter_20fairy_large

    Nov 25, 2014, 11.55 AMby sewingfan1

    Ah yes, I reckon tracing patterns is worth the extra time and effort as you can reuse them should you want to make the same item in the future and your body shape has changed at all ;-) If you find that your body measurements aren’t matching the pieces you’ve already cut out you could just alter them (ie cut them a bit smaller) rather than tracing and cutting them all out again from scratch. At least it’s that way round and not having to make them bigger. (Don’t forget to allow a couple of centimetres ease though – check online for how much should be allowed, it will depend on how tight you want the piece and whether there is any stretch to the fabric among other things). Have fun, it all gets easier the more you do.

  • Missing

    Nov 26, 2014, 12.25 AMby arisaid

    I trace my patterns off onto Vilene and use those. I can then baste them together and get the fit right before cutting into the fabric.

  • Purplefan_large

    Nov 26, 2014, 03.15 PMby purplefan

    Which areas are too big when you make the Burda garments? All areas, or is it specific to bust or waist or hips? Or across the back shoulder area? The latter is going to be an area I need to adjust as I notice my back is curving there.

    Unless otherwise indicated, pattern companies size for B-cup bustlines. If you are larger or smaller, then there will be cup adjustments to make. I suspect I am now a C-cup due to a B-cup jacket pulling across me when I attempt buttoning it (I released the side seams as much as I could and it helped)-it can only button it if I have a bra on, not a camisole with shelf bra. A recent bra purchase does not seem to fit well in the cup nor band area, hence the cup sizing looms as a current issue to identify.

    The only time I find there is too much ease in Burda patterns would be shirt bodies (flat fronts) and maybe the top of the sleeves. When there are darts / princess seams, you really have to be certain your measurements align with the size(s) you traced out because there is not too much ease left to spare to cover you if youi have got the sizing wrong. I can be one size for bust & different one for waist so I trace the appropriate size lines and merge them between the sizes as best as possible.

  • Pink_sweater_large

    Nov 30, 2014, 05.24 AMby allygally

    Actually, I’m about to make the Franzi pattern. The only other one I’ve tried was the Anda a lot of years ago— like maybe 2008 or so. I have been hesitant because of the seam allowances. I’ve used other commercial patterns until now, and took 3 fashion design classes at the junior college.

    I just finished Simplicity 2451, just a simple skirt. It was about 3 sizes too big, but according to my measurements, I used the right size. I made another and dropped 3 sizes, then took it in about an inch. I should have left a little more ease in the waist, but it is wearable (I’ll post pics when I can.)

    I’ve been away from garment sewing for a while— we moved and I didn’t have anywhere to set up a sewing machine, but I recently was able to create a space for myself. So I’m just getting back into it.

    I have a dress form on its way— should be here Wednesday. Looking forward to having that!

  • Missing

    Nov 30, 2014, 05.54 PMby pepperspickled

    Thank you for asking this question. I was just about to post a similar problem. I haven’t even started sewing my garment yet and already I noticed my measurements from reality to the burda-style chart on the back of my pattern are waaaaay off. They say I’m a size 16 US but I am definitely not a size 16. My wedding dress was a size 10 and that was a bit too snug and had to be taken out a bit so I suspect I’m a 12. (B36 W32 H42)—double measured.

    Ah well, keep this post updated? I’d like to see how things turn out for you. Any tips you have would be great too. I’m still new to this whole sewing thing…and to Burda (this is my first post!).

  • Missing

    Nov 30, 2014, 08.06 PMby aago

    Please do not think the store bought sizes are the same as the sewing sizes. They are quite different and you have to sew by the sewing size measurements. I am a store bought size 24 (plus size) but a 54 in Burda. so do not let the numbers make you feel large or small. When you are done sewing, you can put whatever size you feel on a tag and sew it in.

    Look at the photo to get an idea of the ease in the garment. Vogue used to include on their patterns and amount of ease in different areas oft he garment, but I don’t know if they still do that.

    Try your garment on while sewing it, to get an idea of how it is fitting, and you can make adjustments before you get too far. Like before the waistband is on. Baste up areas you have questons on and see what it is like.

    When you get your dress form, make a cover and try it on. It should be broadcloth and feel snug but not too tight or loose anywhere. then pad out your form to fit so it is really you.

    1 Reply
    • 20596winter_20fairy_large

      Dec 2, 2014, 10.45 AMby sewingfan1

      Oooh, liking the advice re the dress form. Might try that on mine

  • Pink_sweater_large

    Dec 3, 2014, 03.41 AMby allygally

    I like that advice as well, about making a cover for the dress form. I think part of my problem is that I can’t always visualize how the pattern pieces go together, so it makes it hard to see the fit while I’m working on a project. Dress form should be here tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to working with it this weekend.

    I think it’s important to note that pattern sizes do not conform at all to ready-to-wear sizes. When I first started sewing, I really enjoyed deconstructing my size down to measurements, instead of just the number. I’m a 4/6 in ready to wear, and about a 38 in Burda sizes.

    I’m almost finished with the Franzi vest. It seems to be fitting pretty well— I wanted to try something small just to see if I could make the measurements work. Didn’t have time to work on it today but I should finish it this weekend.

  • Wrenallencorriewaterlogue_large

    Dec 4, 2014, 08.35 PMby BotanicalBird

    If it makes you feel any better, Simplicity was notorious for running way too big, back when I was first learning to sew in the early ‘70s. Sorry to hear they haven’t resolved that issue.

  • Pink_sweater_large

    Dec 4, 2014, 08.39 PMby allygally

    That does make me feel better! I really think it was a problem with the pattern.

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