Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Confession

So, I suspect that I am not alone here, but my body measurements do not align perfectly with any single size on the pattern sizing charts. (I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to guess which measurements tend to be larger and which tend to be smaller!) ;)

My confession is that I'm not sure how to pick which size I should make. I have a tendency to try to minimize the total discrepancy across the 3 main measurements (bust, waist and hips) - but I suspect that this is not the best strategy and I probably should put more emphasis on one measurement over the other - is that right?

How about you? Are you one of the lucky ones who falls perfectly into one size? If not, how do you decide which size to make?

13 comments:

mamafitz said...

i don't fit into one size. so, i choose my pattern size depending on the garment. for a shirt or dress, i go by my chest measurement (i think some people call this the high bust). for skirts/pants, i go by my hip measurement. in real numbers, that means i usually take a 10 or 12 in tops/dresses, and a 14 or 16 in skirts/pants.

Uta said...

I'm one size larger on the bottom. Depending on how form-fitting the garment is, I may go by one of them, like mamafitz. Since I mainly sew BWOF and Ottobre though, I usually alter right when tracing. I mark the different sizes at the bust/waist/hip point, and then grade the lines in between.

meredithp said...

Once I figured out (I think it was Nancy Zieman who first pointed it out) that regardless of size (or weight gain, the neck and shoulders change in size very little. Therefore, even in my current state of...ahem...excess, I'm still making 12ish on top (or BWOF equivalent) doing a FBA if necessary, and letting it out (way out) from there. It's easier for me to get a better fit in the neck an shoulders that way. Going by full bust measurement, I've always been "overwhelmed" in the neckline. Of course none of this is necessary when doing a pattern for just the bottom half. When I had a much smaller waist, I used the waist measurement and let out. Now, I don't think there's much of a size difference. But I am working on it. I want to be slim again. I've got it all figured out. It will take a year. :-(

SewDucky said...

Mamafitz has the method of choosing patterns correctly listed.

I'd go into sizing, but looking at vintage and modern ones, I find that I wear anywhere from a 14 (dated 2003, 1974 and 1983) to a 20 (1961 and 1943) and 24 (1993). Depending on the style, ease, year it was made, measurements, age I typically have to shorten sleeves 3" (all long sleeves and 3/4 ones), the waist 2-6" (modern) and lengthen (modern).

Most of the time on patterns pre-90s I can sew them straight out of the envelope, save for the sleeves. But I have tiny little T-Rex arms, so that's normal.

Cindy said...

I have worked with many different patterns and different body shapes. Never have the sizes fit any body. And sometimes you have to go with the finish garment measurements to get a better fit.

This is what I tell my students: First of all the first time you sew a pattern it never comes out right. It takes a couple of times to sew it to get a good fit. This is why many people do a muslin first.

To pick a pattern size I take the biggest out of the three (B,W,H). Say you're a B40 W30 H40. The W30 and H40 usually is a size 16 with the B40 being the size 18. Always go for the bigger number. You can always sew it smaller but you can't add fabric if it isn't big enough. I hope that makes sense :) Cut big sew smaller until you get a good fit and alter your pattern for the better fit for the next time. Also take notes on your instructions of any changes made.

Summerset said...

I'm agreeing with mamafitz, too. I've got the same problem, being a size or two larger on the bottom. Add to that being petite and an hourglass and you've got a nightmare trying to choose a size for something like a sheath dress. Don't even talk to me about shopping for RTW. I always cut a size or so smaller for the shoulder than the bust, at least two sizes smaller than the bust for the waist, and two sizes larger than the bust for the hips. Yes, I do have a big waist/hip differential. Sometimes I make the major changes when tracing/cutting out tissue, things like the waist get fine tune fitting during construction.

linda said...

When I attended a Sandra Betzina seminar she taught to use the bust measurement for tops as you can easily add what is needed to the side (I think her rule was up to an inch on each seam) I use my upper bust measurement to determine the size i use for a top and do a full bust adjustment unless it is a knit. Then I just go out to the next size at the bust (and usually the waist too!) at the sides. using the upper bust (high bust) measurement keeps from having too much fabric in the shoulders or from just looking too big overall. For bottoms I use the hip measurements and always have to add at the waist ..... 5 kids and 40+ gives me a thicker middle ! LOL! Blessings- linda

CarlaF-in Atlanta said...

If I'm sewing a shirt, I use my high bust measurement and do a FBA for my DD cup size. If I'm sewing a dress, skirt or pants, I use my hip measurement.

I don't remember any of my early sewing instructors ever telling me that sewing a garment from the pattern will never fit perfectly. I wish they had. It would have saved me a lot of grief.

gwensews said...

Fitting---yikes! Clothes hang from either the shoulders or the hips. Tops and dresses must fit the shoulder area and adjustments made from there. In pants a skirts, fit the hip and make adjustments to the waist.

I have a chart with the finished garment measurements that I like. I measure the pattern and add (seldom have to subtract!) to get the amount of ease that I prefer. I can sew with any pattern that way, and am not limited to one brand.

Webfrau said...

The Lutterloh system (which I have purchased and confess to not having actually used yet)suggests bust measurement for tops & hip measurement for bottoms. Which is what I've always done with other patterns anyway.
When using Burda patterns I just change from one size line to the next when tracing.

Becky said...

Haha, I've actually been dealing with this all week with the Pattern Review class I'm taking! I also don't fit into one size, but size 14 seems to be a good compromise for me in general. Sometimes for tops I'll go with a 12 if there's a lot of ease involved. For dresses, I usually need to take it in a bit on the side seams (a little at the top, and a lot in the middle!)

Also, finding it ironic that I did't get to comment on last week's Confession, since I was the example!! But I enjoyed reading the results.

Sew-Ann said...

I go for the size that's fits my largest measurement depending on if it's a bottom or top item. I don't use commercial patterns so I am talking about shopping and buying in general.

Alison said...

Looking at the chart, my measurements almost fit exactly into the size 22. Eek! However, I never use that size. My high bust is a size 14 so that's what I use for tops etc and do an FBA. If I used a 22 it would be a huge disaster. Pants I haven't made for ages so couldn't say what size I'd use!