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Pattern size
High bust measurement
Rita2
Rita2
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Date: 3/25/03 11:34 AM

Hi...I  haven't seen my problem addressed in any of  my somewhat limited collection of sewing books. I'm wondering whether buying patterns by the high bust measurement would help.  My high bust measurement is 37" with a bust measurement of 40".

Everything I've made (I'm a beginner) with  set-in sleeves seems to have excess material in the bodice/armscye  area beginning at about 4 inches down on the bodice (measuring from the shoulder seam).  About 11 - 1/4 inches down from the shoulder  seam the bust line  seems to fit  fine.  I've tried "scooping out" the bodice pattern in the problem area, but how I do it is purely guesswork on my part (although  I do use a French curve to redraw the line), and this seems to help.  I might add that I have to  measure the shoulder  seam on every pattern; most of the time I have to make it a little more narrow to  fit me properly in that area.

Thanks for any help you can give me!  RitaCarol

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Rita

NancyDaQ
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Date: 3/25/03 12:13 PM

Rita, you are definitely on the right track with your question. If you purchase by your high bust measurement you will need to adjust for your larger "full" bustline. However, I think you'll be happier with the way your tops fit. I have this same issue. Most patterns are drafted for a B cup. Although you didn't mention your cup size, my guess is that it's at least a C.

I usually use the Singer book, "The Perfect Fit," whenever I need to enlarge the bust but there are other good fitting books out there. A couple more that people at PR mention a lot are "Fitting Finesse" by Nancy Zieman and "Fit for Real People."

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Now blogging at http://sewwest.blogspot.com

Rita2
Rita2
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Date: 3/25/03 12:49 PM

Nan, thanks so much!  I  won Singer's "The Perfect Fit" on ebay and am waiting  impatiently for it to arrive  in the mail.   I really hadn't  known  much  about the book when I bid on it,  but  your thoughts on it make me feel it was a very good  decision!  

I'm a D cup--does that make it even more important to choose patterns by the high bust measurement?

I still  regard  myself as a beginner in sewing; do you think I would benefit from "Fit for Real People," or would it  be too advanced for  me at this stage?

RitaCarol

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Rita

Gigi Louis
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Date: 3/25/03 1:50 PM

Rita, Nanflan is correct - I think everyone can get a better fit through the shoulders/armscye/neckline by using the high bust measurement to select patterns.  It's easy enough to adjust the bust area.  I very highly recommend Fit For Real People from Palmer/Pletsch - my fit bible.  Good for you for addressing this problem early on in your sewing career!

KarenP
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KarenP  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/25/03 2:05 PM

RitaCarol,

I have very similar measurments as you - high bust 38", bust 40" and a D cup - and I have been consistently choosing patterns by my high bust measurement with very good results.  I get a nice fit through the neck and shoulders and also do a full bust adjustment.

I think you'll be happier with your results!

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~Karen
http://thingsfromscratch.wordpress.com

NancyDaQ
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Date: 3/25/03 2:17 PM

Quote (RitaCarol @ Mar. 25 2003,13:49)
I'm a D cup--does that make it even more important to choose patterns by the high bust measurement?

I still  regard  myself as a beginner in sewing; do you think I would benefit from "Fit for Real People," or would it  be too advanced for  me at this stage?

RitaCarol

I think you will like "The Perfect Fit." Sometimes the other books provide better written instructions but I really like having the photos to look at. I am waiting on "Fit for Real People," having finally broken down after all the rave reviews on PR. Of course, I bought it on Amazon through our link on the home page.  ;)

The larger your cup size is, the more important it is to use the high bust measurement. Think about it--your bones stay the same, regardless of bust cup size.

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Now blogging at http://sewwest.blogspot.com

Rita2
Rita2
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Member since 3/24/03
Posts: 38
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Date: 3/25/03 2:58 PM

Dear Nan, Gigi, Karen,  

I'm so happy to have found this site. Your help is invaluable and very welcome!  

Since it's unanimous that high bust measurement is the way for me to go, that's what I'll  do.  Now, with my high bust measurement of 37 inches, right between a size 14 with a 36-inch bust and a size 16 with a 38-inch bust, which do I choose?  

My other measurements are waist 34 inches and hips 38 and 3/4 inches.  Right now my abdomen is 42" but that should decrease with time--I hope, I hope, I hope!!! I've recently had pretty extensive abdominal surgery and I guess it will just take time for that part of my anatomy to  get back to where it used to be.

I'm putting "Fit for Real People" on my wish list (my  birthday isn't so far away).

RitaCarol

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Rita

AnneM
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Date: 3/25/03 5:16 PM

RitaCarol,

There was a thread that talked about pattern fitting, but I could not find it.  I will try to recap the information (from memory, so I am certain I will miss pieces).  It said, basically, "it depends".  It depends on the pattern line, the designer of the pattern, and your preferences.  

There are 2 types of "ease" in a pattern, wearing ease & designer ease.  At least in theory, all the major pattern lines use about the same amount of wearing ease.  That is simply "so you can breath" space between you & the fabric.  (It doesn't really apply to knits, since the fabric lets you breath.)  Designer ease is where the big difference in patterns comes in.  Some designers use lots of extra room in their patterns, while others go with a snug, fitted look.  Hopefully the description on the pattern will indicate this, by using terms such as "very fitted" or "very loose".  Be careful with the pictures; they are not always accurate indicators of what the finished product will actually look like.  

On top of the designer ease, some pattern lines might use a slightly different sizing base than others.  For instance, Burda's measurements listed are slightly different than Simplicities.  The independents tend to be different yet again.  Plus some pattern lines are probably simply more accurate about their fitting then others.  So you will probably need to check the measurement chart for that particular pattern, check any reviews on the pattern here at PR to see if anyone has commented on the sizing, and look at the description to see if it describes the fit.

And finally, you probably have a preference on wearing your clothes tighter or looser.  That will be a big determining factor on if you want to pick a larger size or smaller.

AnneM

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

Rita2
Rita2
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Member since 3/24/03
Posts: 38
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Date: 3/25/03 7:07 PM

Anne, your post was very helpful--I'm going to print it out so I can keep it handy with my sewing books.  

I tend to avoid close-fitting clothes, so that tells me to choose a size 16 over a size 14.  I definitely will be more careful in reading  the descriptions on the pattern envelopes.  To be truthful, I  have been looking  more at the pictures than at the descriptions.  But I know I have somewhere among my sewing notes definitions of the different terms (fitted, loose-fitting, very loose fitting, etc.). Think I'd better take another look at it!

I do appreciate your taking the time to give me the benefit of your sewing wisdom.  Thanks very, very much.

RitaCarol

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Rita

Everyday Sewist
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Date: 3/25/03 8:07 PM

Rita--you might actually get a better fit with a size 14 in tops. In fact, if you have narrow shoulders, you might find yourself going even smaller to fit your shoulders and neck. I started out buying size 16 (to fit my bust) and now I buy size 8--to fit my shoulders.

As for ease, that is in the bust, waist, and hips. You add/subtract ease, only if needed, as you alter those areas on the pattern. It has very little if anything to do with what pattern size you select to start with.

Don't shy away from bust alterations. They look scary but they are easy to make. I always trace off my patterns onto tracing paper, then alter the traced copy. That way, if I mess up, I still have the original pattern tissue.

Pants are a whole different issue--most people buy the size that best fits their hips; I buy them to fit my thin legs.

For easy alterations, I like _Fitting Finesse_ by Nancy Zieman. Be sure to use the bust dart alterations in addition to adding width. You'll probably need it.

I really like _Fit for Real People_ too, because unlike most other methods, their bust alteration does not add extra fabric in the upper chest. The book looks kind of daunting, but if you read through it first, the instructions are really quite clear.

For pants, the easiest book IMO is _Pants for Every Body_. Fitting Finesse has pretty good instructions too.

I am somewhat of a beginner too. My fit is not perfect, but it's gradually getting better. :)  One thing that really helped me was to take pictures of myself wearing the clothes I made. In fact, that's what convinced me to keep going down in pattern size.

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