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Pattern sizes are crazy!
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UNITED KINGDOM
Member since 7/19/13
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Date: 10/30/13 3:58 PM

This is a real bugbear with me.

I make a shirt from a Butterick pattern and it fits really well. Next I make a shirt from a McCalls pattern and it is too small.

I make a waistcoat from a New Look pattern and it fits perfectly. Next I make a waistcoat from a Burda pattern and it is too small.

I always examine their measurement charts, and every single time, no matter what brand, the pattern says I should always cut the same size, so I do.

I've even measured myself between projects - not that I've put on or lost weight, but just to check and re-check and make sure that my body is the size they say I should cut. It always comes out the same - no surprise there. But pattern brand sizing is clearly NOT all the same!

GRRRR!!!!!

To anyone kind enough to reply, please don't try to send me down the toile route. I do tissue fitting for a new garment if I've never made one of those before. I can only sew 1-2 hours a day as my life is so full with other imperatives. I just think somewhere there ought to be something like "these come up small" or "this brand is stingy on sizing" or something like that.

rant over.

HanPanda
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HanPanda
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Date: 10/30/13 4:01 PM

Have you checked out the measurements for the final garment? I have found those MUCH more helpful than the "pattern sizing chart."

But yes, it is frustrating when their info is so unhelpful that it totally wastes your timeI do partial mockups for something if it is really different than anticipated.

------
2014 resolution: keep track of sewn yardage!! I'm subtracting fabric given away from my yardage in. Yeah!
In: 99.75 yards
Sewn: 77.5 yards

I'll try anything once :)

Please excuse my typos...sometimes it is harder to go back and edit on mobile than it is worth!

JeanM

JeanM
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Date: 10/30/13 5:56 PM

Do you flat measure the pattern pieces before cutting out?

I usually do that at bust, waist and hips (subtract the seam allowances then add) on new patterns as it helps me decide what size(s) to use and how much for alterations (FBA, extra for front waist and hip fluff). I think it's worth the time it takes if I can start with a size that is closer to what I want/need.

CM_Sews
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Date: 10/30/13 6:11 PM

Quote: JeanM
Do you flat measure the pattern pieces before cutting out?

I usually do that at bust, waist and hips (subtract the seam allowances then add) on new patterns as it helps me decide what size(s) to use and how much for alterations (FBA, extra for front waist and hip fluff). I think it's worth the time it takes if I can start with a size that is closer to what I want/need.

Another vote here for measuring the pattern.

The amount of ease for each garment can vary in the same pattern company. Not all styles have the same amount of ease; a semi-fitted garment will have less ease than a very loose fitting garment. The best way to determine is to measure the pattern. I will often take a garment out of my closet and measure the garment, then compare to the pattern measurements. This isn't an exact science, but you can at least determine that your pattern will have 4-inches more ease than your favorite black blouse, for example.

Butterick Ease Chart; years ago, you would always find one of these phrases in the pattern description on the back of the envelope, which at least provided a clue as to how much ease that particular style had: close fitting, fitted, semi-fitted, loose fitting, very loose fitting.

Now I find ease measurement printed on the pattern piece, for example, on the bodice it will say that there is 3-inches of ease at the bust, meaning the bust measurement for that size, plus 3-inches. But don't take their word for it; measure the pattern yourself.

Also, the pattern envelope photos or illustrations are often deceptive. I've purchased similar styles from different pattern companies, and the garments on the front of the envelope look nearly identical, but the measurements of the same patter pieces can vary by up to 8-inches!

CMC
Edited because I clicked the Post button too soon.


-- Edited on 10/30/13 6:15 PM --
simplystitches
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Date: 10/30/13 8:03 PM

Another vote for flat pattern measuring.

There's one other thing I will recommend that comes from watching webcasts with Peggy Sagers. Measure key points of garments that you like the fit of and compare those to the final measurements after flat pattern measuring. That way if you get a pattern that is designed to be closer fitting than you want you can adjust accordingly.

I hate to say it but tissue fitting can only get you so far.

Debbie

AnneM
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Date: 10/30/13 9:28 PM

1) flat pattern measuring
2) check the reviews for that pattern, if any. They sometimes say if the pattern runs large or not.
3) The pattern companies do tend to follow certain trends (but of course there are exceptions!). Burda is more fitted, Butterick tends to be looser. Vogue more fitted, Simplicity looser.

------
With a great wardrobe that's still in the flat-fabric stage.

NhiHuynh
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Date: 10/30/13 10:36 PM

I don't make muslins/toiles. I usually use a combo of finished measurement, tissue fitting and laying a pattern I've already altered for fit on top of a new pattern. This way at least I can tell how far off the pattern will be from something that I know fits and I can decide if I want it loose, longer etc.

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I finally have a blog. www.detectivehoundstooth.com :)

GwenH
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Date: 10/30/13 11:09 PM

I think a lot of the difference can be accounted for by design ease. I often see reviews where someone says a pattern runs large and then I see that they've taken out all the design ease. All patterns will (or should) have wearing ease built in, but design ease can vary greatly depending on whether it's a tailored, draped, or loose fitting design.

Another factor is the fabric. Fit can vary greatly if the pattern calls for one type of fabric and you choose something with a different amount of stretch or give.

I like people's idea of measuring the pattern itself. That way at least you can be sure what amount of wearing ease and design ease are built in - and modify if it's not to your taste. Looking at pictures in pattern reviews can be helpful too, just be sure and read the review to determine what sorts of size modifications the person may have done. I've seen people turn loose styles into fitted styles.
-- Edited on 10/31/13 0:01 AM --

BrendaR
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Date: 10/31/13 1:28 AM

Still another vote for measuring the flat pattern and taking into account the way the pattern is intended to fit. You'll see on Vogue and Butterick patterns "Fitted, semi-fitted, loose fitting" and terms like that. I find Vogue, Butterick, and Burda to be most accurate and most consistent. McCalls has always been a mystery to me. The necklines and armholes always seem huge and they seem to be cut for longer waisted people. Burdas are for those who average 5'8 but they are easy to shorten. Vogue and Butterck are for average height of 5'6. So, getting acquainted with a few pattern co's will help you pick and perfect your fit, but it takes practice. There's lots of good advice among the replies here.

bluefly
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Date: 10/31/13 9:12 AM

I agree with the others here. Using your body measurements will only get you in the ball park. The finished garment measurements are the ones to look at then compare those by measuring the actual pattern minus the seam allowances. My sewing got so much easier once I learned to do this. Good luck with it!

------
"Let's make the most of this day"
bluefly

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