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Hello all,

Longtime lurker, first time poster, but I’m having this sizing problem and I was wondering if anyone else was having the same.

Okay, I am an average sewer, but improving. According to my measurements, most commercial patterns tell me to buy between a size 12 and 14. I know patterns do not run RTW sizes (and I have no body image issues), so I was fine with this. Unfortunately, every time I made something it was hugemongous. I wasn’t swimming in it like I would a RTW 14, but it certainly did NOT fit properly. I finally got a clue and tried a size 8, and ta-dah it fits. So I have started buy size 8-10s for myself. I have redone my measurements several times, and always get the same number, so unless it’s my measuring tape… Has anyone else run into this problem?

The reason why this is a big issue for me, is I am considering have some bridesmaid dresses made. I have picked the pattern, but I don’t know how to size my girls. Any advice would be appreciated.


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  • Missing

    Feb 19, 2013, 05.43 PMby fiefje

    I had this problem too when I still bought patterns. The problem is that sometimes there is an enormous amount of ease in the patterns. Especially the big 4 pattern companies are known for that. I read somewhere that it can be more useful to look at the sizes of the finished product, they usually give those on the back of the package the pattern comes in. This can help you estimate how much ease they put in that pattern.

  • 20596winter_20fairy_large

    Feb 19, 2013, 06.24 PMby sewingfan1

    I’ve had the same problem too. I’ve started measuring the actual pattern pieces and matching them up to my key measurements to avoid the too much ease problem and i think in the past it was sometimes to do with my measuring the seam allowances and matching the seam stitches incorrectly ie was adding the 1.5cm allowance when cutting out but actually stitching nearer to 1cm from the edge.

    Oooh, and, just checking, you know that some patterns already include a seam allowance and others don’t? It wouldn’t be a case of your adding extra to a pattern that already has them? Or when you’re cutting out, even a few mms on the cutting edge would make a big difference when multiplied by all the pieces if it has more than just a front and a back piece for example.

  • Missing

    Feb 19, 2013, 08.24 PMby ajpcv

    Thanks guys. I did know about checking for the seam allowances inclusion (I learned that the hard way several years back). I checked out some of the ‘garment sizes’ on the patterns in my collection, and sure enough, they were much more true to my measurements (relating to the ease of the finished garment). Some of these pattern companies can be very vague when it comes to those measurements or clearly printed but on the patterns themselves (meaning I had to own it to check it). Do they not want us to have clothes that fit? Anyway thanks for the help. Very much appreciated.

    PS- for anyone reading, when it comes to sizing, I’ve found that the patterns off of this website have been truest to my measurements and generally fit right on target. The Burda patterns I buy from the shop though, same problem.

  • The_mermaid_large

    Feb 20, 2013, 02.10 AMby blueartisan

    Yeah the whole ease issue is something that baffles me, but that said, our sizing in Australia is ‘smaller’ (we go down to a size 4 at most, none of this size 0 stuff and that’s only been a recent vanity thing for teenagers clothes, a couple of years ago you couldn’t get anything below a size 8, and some shops still don’t go below that!) so we have the other problem of the patterns being too small sometimes. Vogue are always small in the bust (you need to go up sometimes 2 sizes if your are over a C cup) Butterick are pretty average all over, you might have to go up one size though if you are curvy and McCall’s are about right on the money. I do always measure the pattern pieces though because more often than not I just have to use the pattern as a rough guide and draft something with multiple allowances so that it fits properly. I guess if you just view them as a guide rather than an absolute, you end up learning far more about sewing and drafting and how your body is shaped :)

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