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Forum > Sewing for Petite Sizes > What do you consider petite? ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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What do you consider petite?
Sizes and stuff.
Virginia Hazel
Virginia Hazel
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Date: 7/16/13 5:34 PM

Do you count petite as just a height thing or is it the measurements around as well, and when do you start being petite?

Does it differ from place to place?

The reason I ask is because I'm 5 foot 3 so I'm not tiny by any means but I still end up standing on my trousers.

PattiAnnJ
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Date: 7/16/13 5:48 PM

Many of us are this height and we adjust the pattern length for the leg and skirt.

If you look at the pattern measurements you will see the bodice (for one) is shorter. For pants, the rise may be shorter as well.

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"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

dbsewer
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dbsewer
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In reply to Virginia Hazel <<
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Date: 7/16/13 5:49 PM

It starts with height, mainly because most everything is cut for tall people, so those who are vertically challenged have to cut inches off our pants and skirts. You can be petite plus, petite medium, or petite thin, but if you're 5'3" or less, you're considered petite.

I'm barely 5' and am probably more medium to medium plus because I have a fairly large bust measurement. But at 5' I'm sure not average.

CM_Sews
CM_Sews
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Date: 7/16/13 6:06 PM

I am reminded of a passage in Fantastic Fit for Every Body where Gale Hazen states: "Petite does not mean small and it does not necessarily mean someone who is thin and tiny. Petite actually refers to the height of a person."

You are 5' 3", and the Big 4 commercial Misses patterns are designed for women who are 5' 5" to 5' 6" (Butterick Misses Measurement Chart). Petite patterns are designed for 5' 2" to 5' 4" (again, according to this Butterick chart).

(Rhetorical Question: Aren't all the Big 4 Petite patterns really just Misses patterns with instructions to shorten as needed at the shorten/lengthen line?)

The Back Waist Length (BWL) measurement will tell you whether you are a Petite according to Butterick (and others). If you take a look at the Sizing Charts for Petite Plus patterns, you can see that the BWL measurements are shorter than the Butterick Misses BWL measurements for comparable sizes.

Note that it is possible to have a Back Waist Length that puts you into the Misses-But-Not-Petite size range, but you may have short(er) legs, such that your height is below 5' 4", and you'll need to make your pattern adjustments below the waist. Depending on your particular body, you may need to make adjustments both above the waist and below the waist.

CMC

Canadian Jane
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Canadian Jane
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In reply to CM_Sews <<
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Date: 7/16/13 7:06 PM

Agree with CM_Sews. It starts with height but parts of you may not be petite.

I am 5'2 and always need shorter arms and legs. But in my pants - depending on the cut - petite are often not long enough on the rise. There, I am normal size.

For some reason, if I am making pants, again depending on the style of pant, I found I got a better fit if I did the shortening required just around/above the knee and re drew the side seams to the hem. Maybe it's because I usually add extra for my thighs as well? Not sure why but my pants hung better when I did this and were more comfy.

SandiMacD
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Date: 7/17/13 5:46 AM

I am 5'5 but wear a petite pants- or always have to hem a good 2 inches. But not in tops- the petite sleeves and length are way too short.

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bluefly
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In reply to Virginia Hazel <<
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Date: 7/17/13 6:40 AM

It is more a question of what works for you. I am slim and 5'8". I use the tops of. Petites because they fit far better through the shoulders and neck. For a pattern, I lengthen the sleeves and bodice if long sleeved. If it is short sleeved, I leave it alone. In RTW, I can purchase short sleeved or sleeveless with no problem. I have even gotten a rain coat and a pencil skirt that fit much better in petites. For those, I went up a size.

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bluefly

Molliefran
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Date: 7/17/13 8:22 AM

Just made a t shirt from SkinnyBitchesCurvyChicks. This new independent line (downloadable) is for short women. It is perfectly per portioned for my 5'2.5" frame.

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"This is the day that The Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!"
Building my stable one machine at a time: Viking circa 1975, Viking Sapphire 870, Bernina 1130, Huskylock 905, Babylock: Sophia2, Evolve, Embellisher & Sashiko
Most prized possession: Grandmother's Singer treadle machine with the drawers filled with her things, just like she left them.

nancy2001
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Date: 7/17/13 9:18 AM

The word "petite" has two somewhat different meanings in RTW garment sizing -- one refers to height and the other refers to overall dress size. That's why RTW garments in department store Petite Departments include sizes such as Petite/Petite, Petite/Small, and Petite/X-Large. Outside the Petite Department, RTW garments labeled "Petite" are usually the smallest size - (unless there are XP and XXP sizes).

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No sewing project is ever a complete success nor a total failure.

dresscode

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Date: 7/17/13 10:07 AM

I am 5'2" but mostly find petite sizing too short in my torso (waist curves too high on blouses for instance). Pants are usually just a hem issue, I don't need much of a crotch length adjustment.

But, I almost always remove 1/2" horizontal tuck between lower armscye and bust. But muslin is necessary as sometimes that is too much.

If I adjust chest, I add back to waist below so that doesn't pull up waist fit line.

So, long answer....but it depends on where you are truly petite. To me, they are adjustments that everyone has to check, whether lengthening or shortening.

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