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Tips & Techniques > Grading up or down one size - quick and dirty

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Posted by: Irene Q
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Member since: 3/19/04
Reviews written: 123
Sewing skills:Intermediate
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tips added: 12
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Posted on: 12/27/05 2:58 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 13 people   Very Helpful by 66 people   
If you have a multi-size pattern, here's an easy way to grade it up to the next larger size, or down to the next smaller size. (I'll describe it for grading up, since that's what I'm most familiar with!) I won't guarantee that this will be perfect, but it's a good place to start when your frustrated with patterns that aren't quite your size.

First, trace the largest size, let's say size 20. Then, place the traced line on the next smaller size (size 18), and trace the larger size again. This will give you a size (22) that is the same amount larger all around as the difference between the existing sizes (18 and 20). This also works with darts and other markings.

You'll need to move the tracing around as you go from side to side and bottom to top, and there may be some places where you just have to use your intuition to fill in the boundaries.

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Akann said...
Awesome idea! Thanks.
11/17/14 1:27 PM
EleanorSews said...
Muffet is right! This is fantastic! After reading this tip and thinking about it, you wonder how you never realized this is the way it works. Duh..... Thank you, Irene Q!
11/8/14 6:23 PM
Mufffet said...
FANTASTIC!! Love this - why didn't I think of it?! who knows....makes good sense. Thanks!
11/8/14 5:30 PM
juniev said...
Tip - Grading Up or Down One Size
5/12/14 1:52 AM
marymary86 said...
5/11/14 5:36 PM
KarlaB said...
this is very smart. wish I'd thought of it, but since I didn't...I'm glad you did, and I could read it here.
8/12/12 5:40 PM
Mollymax said...
I just tried this method on a blouse for my daughter. Works great! Thanks for sharing.
4/19/12 12:23 PM
Grammy Gin said...
I wish I had found this before I spent "lotsa" time measuring the distance between the last two sizes, marking that distance & then drawing in the next size. This would have saved me hours on all of those 6 or 7 pieces. Thanks Irene.
7/22/09 4:17 PM
FreyaStark said...
Sounds like a great tip. I must give it a go. Many thanks!
4/2/09 6:48 AM
Teeavilnor said...
Fantastic Idea, and so simple to understand.
2/15/09 5:01 PM
ryansmumAria said...
Brilliant. We call this grading in the industry.
10/2/08 0:43 AM
Vicky C said...
Great tip Irene! And I've not seen another method that is so easy!
9/20/08 1:30 PM
Karendee said...
This is a wonderful tip; why didn't I think of that? It sounds so simple.
3/14/08 12:36 PM
MarijaSLO said...
Great tip, very helpful!!! Tnx!
1/16/08 3:50 PM
So So said...
So simple and so logical! Once you have pointed it out. I would never ahve thought of that. Will give it a go. Thanks for the clear and staright forward instruction Irene.
12/12/07 4:01 PM
Dmd4106 said...
Interesting tip. Maybe this will give me the motivation I need to get started sewing again. Great Review.
12/6/07 7:25 PM
OP Gal said...
What a great tip. It makes sense, but I've never heard anyone propose it. Thanks for providing an easy way to grade up. I'll be using this tip!
10/2/07 6:28 AM
Sanibelle said...
I can't wait to give this a try! Thanks so much for writing this up for us.
6/1/07 7:24 AM
Neefer said...
You are brilliant!
1/2/07 10:42 AM
clareyg said...
Read this after you replied to my message and this is exactly what I did to my pattern and so far it has worked!!! Great review thanks very much x x
10/5/06 7:26 AM
clareyg said...
Read this after you replied to my message and this is exactly what I did to my pattern and so far it has worked!!! Great review thanks very much!!!!!!!!!!!!
10/5/06 7:24 AM
hongkongshopper said...
Just found this tip - great idea - never thought of that!!!
8/24/06 2:10 AM
Irene Q said...
WJean, this method should take care of the changes to all areas automatically, including the neckline and sleeves. But remember, it's quick and dirty so you may very well need to do your own tweaks afterwards.
5/10/06 9:21 AM
WJean said...
Hi Irene, I was glad to find this discussion, as I just tried your method yesterday evening on a dressy-dress for my granddaughter. I have a few questions about areas of the pattern after grading up. First, what happens to the neckline size? Does it need to be more or less, or the same amount as the graded up size? Next, what do I do, if anything, to the armhole, in order to make it a size up? The same question applies to the sleeve? I am looking forward to your response. Thanks in advance for helping out on this issue.
5/9/06 2:05 PM
sue falcone said...
I am going to try this method of grading. I have studied various ways of grading patterns to fit. The most laborious is making a muslin,altering to fit, transferring those findings to the pattern, finding the coordinates in the pattern and the traced pattern and then grading to find the differences between each area around the pattern pieces. I understand that there is no guarantee of a perfect fit but I hope it will be close. I can tweak it from there.Thank You Irene
2/13/06 9:04 PM
belle said...
good idea-I tape the pattern and paper I trace on to a door window works well
12/31/05 7:19 AM
lilhoney57 said...
Smart idea!
12/28/05 8:44 AM
Stitchology said...
Ab fab, just what we weight changing types need.
12/28/05 7:13 AM
Gloria Allender said...
Thanks, Irene. Great tip I can use.
12/28/05 6:45 AM
Danvillegirl said...
Great tip. This will aid me very much.
12/28/05 6:00 AM
SewVeryTall said...
Great tip, Irene...I wouldn't call it "quick and dirty", lol, I'd call it "quick and smart"! Even quicker...just eyeball it.
12/28/05 4:30 AM
kathi s said...
Exactly what I need- thank you!
12/27/05 11:24 PM
Tov said...
Thanks, Irene. I was given a few patterns that are one size too small, and this tip will really help. Viv
12/27/05 10:55 PM
Kim Winson said...
Irene, that's a great "quick and dirty" method...I'll have to use it to grade down a pattern.
12/27/05 5:20 PM
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