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What's my correct pattern size? (full-busted, between sizes)
I can't seem to figure out if I'm a 12 or 14
m1khaela
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m1khaela  Friend of PR
Intermediate
New York USA
Member since 8/19/05
Posts: 133
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Date: 8/24/05 12:42 PM


I think I own every single possible fitting book (Fast Fit, Fit For Real People, etc) and I've tried to figure this out but I'm still terribly confused as to what pattern size I should be using since I'm between sizes and I'm nervous about attempting a flat-pattern FBA (until this point I've just made skirts, and even with those I'm having trouble with proper fitting!).

My measurements are:

High bust: 34 1/2 (or possibly 34, I'm not sure exactly as I don't know if I have the tape in the exact right place)
Full bust: 37 (I wear a 34D bra)
Waist: 27"
High hip: 33"
Hip: 37"

I recently made a skirt in a size 14 (I'll try to post a pattern review, it was a basic Simplicity 6-gore skirt) that I decided to sew up without alterations as a wearable muslin, and it was definitely too big on me (I think the recommended hip is 38", but for size 12 it was 36", which would have been too small... in general RTW skirts that fit in the waist tend to be a bit tight across the tummy and ride up, so I thought bigger would be better but maybe I'm totally wrong here... ack.).

I guess my basic question is--is it better to buy the size 14 and try to adjust down, or the size 12 and adjust up if I need to? I'm very confused... I don't know if it's relevant, but I wear anything from size 4 to size 8 in RTW (but usually a 6).

thanks so much! I was so excited to discover this wonderful site, I felt like I was totally sewing in the dark before...
Mikhaela

P.S. The one thing I think I have managed to do right fitting-wise is to adjust my My Double dress form for my large bust by taking one of my full coverage bras and stuffing the cups with shoulder pads until it looks like me, and I was able to use it to modify some beloved ready to wear T-shirts to be fitted tank tops.


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Muria
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Muria
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Michigan USA
Member since 2/13/05
Posts: 1340
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Date: 8/24/05 1:37 PM

I don't know if you've tried the Palmer Pletsch patterns by McCall's, but they have nice cutting lines on the tissue for alterations, so it's a little less scary to do the FBA.

A lot of which size to pick for skirts can depend on the skirt pattern itself. If you're talking about an elastic waist skirt, it's easier to buy the skirt to fit the hips since the waist isn't going to be very fitted. If the waist is fitted, it tends to be easier to add room along the side seams and start with the waist fitting right.

On an interesting side note, there are directions online on how to make a six gore skirt from your measurements:
http://patternsthatfityou.com/frskirtcl.htm

I haven't personally tried it (and I'm not affiliated), but it might be worth playing around with, and seems pretty straightforward.

As far as which pattern size to go with for the FBA, it's definitely easier to add room in the bust than to size the shoulders down, so you really want to fit your shoulders. Probably the easiest way to figure out which pattern size is to wait for a sale and pick up both sizes to see what fits your shoulders, although based on what FFRP says, it tends to be the smaller size (or a smaller size yet).

Hope this helps!

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Muria

Where did all this fabric come from? I CAN'T have bought THAT much!

Everyday Sewist
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Everyday Sewist
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USA
Member since 9/14/02
Posts: 2707
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In reply to m1khaela


Date: 8/24/05 2:04 PM

There are two common approaches to FBA:

1. One method is to slash vertically and horizontally, sometimes also diagonally, depending on the fitting book you're using-- but basically you are doing the length and width adjustments at the same time. For example, FFRP or the dartless FBA described in Fast Fit.

If you are using this method, start with a size 12 and slash & spread to add necessary width for your bust, using the instructions in the fitting book.

2. The other method is to first use the multisizing to add width, and then in a second step, add or increase the bust dart.

If you are using this method, use a size 12 above the armholes, tapering to a size 14 below the armholes. Then increase the dart 3/4" for your D cup. The book Fast Fit has instructions for increasing a dart. (It's not as scary-looking as the multi-slashed FBA.)

The reason I suggest a size 14 bust (36") instead of a size 16 (38") is because I've found that most patterns have more than enough ease built in. When I'm between sizes, I can often get a better fit by using the smaller size.

The same is true for skirts; based on your measurements, it looks like you may be one of the lucky few who can actually fit into a size 12 without adjustments.

For either tops or bottoms, if you're worried about not having enough room in the bust, waist or hips, just cut 1" side seams instead of the usual 5/8". I often do this with skirts or pants. Then pin-fit the side seams before sewing them permanently.

KimB

KimB
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California USA
Member since 3/8/04
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Date: 8/24/05 2:49 PM

With a 34" high bust, you should be a size 12 for tops with an FBA. You should round down, so consider 34.5" to be 34".

--Kim
-- Edited on 8/24/05 3:51 PM --

m1khaela
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m1khaela  Friend of PR
Intermediate
New York USA
Member since 8/19/05
Posts: 133
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Date: 8/24/05 5:25 PM

Thanks so much, these are all very helpful! I think it sounds like I should start with the 12 and then just make the seam allowances a little bigger so I can add a little extra width if I need to. Are the FBA suggestions in both Fast Fit and FFRP about the same method? I was looking at them last night and they appeared similar, but Fast Fit seems to use more diagonal slashes.

Unfortunately I bought a few patterns that START at size 14 thinking I was a 14, but I'm guessing I can salvage them with careful adjustment and pinfitting based on FFRP (which at the moment just seems very daunting, but hopefully it'll become clear once I attempt it).

When using pinfitting as in FFRP, is it possible to pin on yourself or do you need a helper? I don't really have anyone around who can assist me, but I'm afraid if I pinfit on my My Double Dress Form I won't get my body's quirks accounted for.

Regardless, your comments are very encouraging, and hopefully I can now attempt to make something fitted on the bust with a little more confidence. My real goal is to at one point make myself some nice, fitted, button-down shirts. It's so frustrating--I don't own a SINGLE button-down shirt because I'm a D-cup bust with a small waist and shoulders and I've never found one that fits, but I work at a Wall Street job where I'd look much more professional if I didn't just wear knit tops.

I'll try to post reviews of my efforts...

thanks so much for the advice! this is very helpful and encouraging!
Mikhaela

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Leora
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Leora
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Oregon USA
Member since 2/7/04
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Date: 8/24/05 5:26 PM

I read recently that if you measure from the crease where your arm meets your body and straight across to the other arm crease, you will find your size like this: 13.5" = 12, 14" = size 14, 14.5" = 16, etc.

I need to find the reference to make sure of what I'm saying, but I did read that on the PR boards and it brought me down to size 12.

edited to say that I found the tip by SewVeryTall on this thread. thanks
-- Edited on 8/24/05 6:35 PM --

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Leah

My blog:
http://www.journeytocouture.com

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

m1khaela
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m1khaela  Friend of PR
Intermediate
New York USA
Member since 8/19/05
Posts: 133
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Subject: Oh, and what size would I be in Burda? Date: 8/24/05 5:53 PM

I subscribe to Burda WOF though I have yet to make anything, and I'd like to try some of those patterns soon as well. Would I be a size 38, which seems to correspond closest to the 12?

thanks again
Mikhaela

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KimB

KimB
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In reply to Leora


Date: 8/24/05 5:58 PM

I believe this method originates from Nancy Zieman's book Fitting Finesse. I thought I'd mention that in case anyone wanted to refer to her full description of the method. The book is often available at JoAnn's



--Kim

Everyday Sewist
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Everyday Sewist
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Posts: 2707
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In reply to m1khaela


Date: 8/24/05 6:23 PM

Quote:
Thanks so much, these are all very helpful! I think it sounds like I should start with the 12 and then just make the seam allowances a little bigger so I can add a little extra width if I need to.


If you do this, you will still need to increase the dart. There is no way you are going to make a pattern fit a D cup unless you make an allowance to increase the length over the bust, i.e., add or increase the dart. Since you have the Fast Fit book, see p. 166.

Quote:
Are the FBA suggestions in both Fast Fit and FFRP about the same method? I was looking at them last night and they appeared similar, but Fast Fit seems to use more diagonal slashes.


No, they are not the same. They are similar in that they both increase length & width at the same time. The difference is that FFRP adds (or increases) the bust dart, while Fast Fit does not require any changes to the dart. The latter method is one of my favorites to use on dartless t-shirts.

Quote:
Unfortunately I bought a few patterns that START at size 14 thinking I was a 14, but I'm guessing I can salvage them with careful adjustment and pinfitting based on FFRP (which at the moment just seems very daunting, but hopefully it'll become clear once I attempt it).


I've dealt with this situation before too. What I did (assuming it's a simple pattern), was to measure a favorite RTW shirt from center to shoulder, and center to mid-armhole (front & back). Then compare that to your pattern and adjust accordingly. You can use the "narrow shoulder" or "narrow chest" adjustments in Fast Fit to make any adjustments. You might also need to take a small tuck (3/8") to shorten the armholes and sleeve cap to size 12 height. (See Fast Fit p. 80)

Quote:
When using pinfitting as in FFRP, is it possible to pin on yourself or do you need a helper?


I find it very difficult to pin-fit tops on myself, but side seams are not as difficult as the rest of the top. Be sure the pins are pointing downward, so they don't fall out when you try on the top. I usually pin it up, then put it on and adjust the pins.

I don't usually pin-fit knits, though. They stretch too much during fitting. I just make them up in not-too-expensive fabric the first couple of times.
CarrieA
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CarrieA
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Member since 4/8/02
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Date: 8/24/05 9:22 PM

Hi Mikhaela,
Yes, Burda WOF's size 38 is closest to a size 12.

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