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Forum > Fitting Woes > pattern sizes vs ready-to-wear sizes... not the same! ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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pattern sizes vs ready-to-wear sizes... not the same!
A size 10 sewing pattern is not like a size 10 in the store!
jenithea
jenithea
Intermediate
Washington USA
Member since 1/7/08
Posts: 5
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Date: 1/8/08 8:42 PM

I guess I should not have been suprised by this, considering how long I have been sewing, but for some reason I was. I confidently bought a size 8-14 pattern and prepared to cut out the size 10 version, since I normally buy size 10 clothes in the store, and was horrified to discover that in PatternLand I am actually a size 14 or 16, and a size 10 is way too small! Has it always been like this? Or did ready-to-wear sizes get bigger, so that now a 10 in the store matches a 14/16 in a sewing pattern?

Another question I have is about fitted tops or jackets, and how to adjust the upper back and/or sleeves so that they don't bind, whilst the rest of the garment is still sufficiently fitted. It seems like I have a problem with finding (or sewing) fitted jackets/coats/tops that are not too tight in the shoulders or under the arms when I move my arms forward.
Should I just add fabric across the back and then take it in at the lower sides at the waist so the jacket is not too big in the waist? Or should I make the sleeves bigger at the top?

this is a cool forum community -- I just discovered it the other day!


Speech girl
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Speech girl  Friend of PR
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Georgia USA
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In reply to jenithea
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Date: 1/8/08 8:47 PM

I think ready to wear has gotten bigger over the year. I recently watched an "I love Lucy" episode where she had to fit into a size 12 dress to be able to dance in Ricky's night club act--and a 12 was considered so small that Ricky didn't think she could do it.

I have a broad back and add to my pattern across the back and take it out at the lower back at the side seams or with deeper darts, but there is also an alteration in Fit for Real People where you can add just to the upper back--I've never done this so I can't describe it or recommend it but maybe somebody else has.

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Kim
formerly mikkim
http://girlwithatimemachine.wordpress.com/

EveS
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EveS
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Michigan USA
Member since 11/26/06
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In reply to jenithea


Date: 1/8/08 10:31 PM

It's a painful truth about pattern sizing, isn't it. Before I had sewn my first pattern, I went on a spending spree at Joann's...they were moving and all patterns were $1. Well, I wear anywhere from a 10 to 14 RTW (with a broad back), so I was in the same boat as you...right at that size break on a lot of patterns!

Fit For Real People is an excellent reference that lots of people swear by...I learned from The Perfect Fit (oddly, no author is listed) and I really like that book, too. It has lots of photos of fit issues. I switch back and forth between the 2 books for alterations.

Eve

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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it - Chinese proverb

KiwiWendy
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KiwiWendy
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Date: 1/8/08 11:47 PM

Ready to wear sizes have definitely gotten a lot bigger than they used to be. To the point where someone I know says "I''m a size 12" and I KNOW she isn't. A mutual friend of ours is a size 14 RTW and is smaller than the 12er.

Buying patterns based on body measurements is a reality check, compared to vanity sizing in RTW.
-- Edited on 1/8/08 11:49 PM --

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Sydney, Australia

Tall Mary

Tall Mary  Friend of PR
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Nevada USA
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Date: 1/9/08 0:32 AM

I am starting to teach a learning to sew with knits to a group of quilters who gave up garment sewing when their bodies started to age like fine wine. I have been talking to several of them over the phone about their ready-to-wear sizes probably are not the same as their pattern sizes. Each person has been upset about having to choose a larger size pattern. I repeat, "Size is just a number," in a soothing voice to each one of them.

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Sewing and reading about sewing are daily pleasures.
I hope to use up lots of stash in 2013.
2011-Sewing from Stash-SABLE

Ronda Rae
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Ronda Rae
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Florida USA
Member since 3/20/06
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Date: 1/9/08 5:48 AM

Even in the last 20 years! I weigh the same as I did 20 years ago and I wear a smaller size now. 2-3 sizes smaller even!

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I don't mind going to work but it's that 8 hour wait to go home that's a B!TCH.

ryan's mom
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ryan's mom  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/9/08 6:48 AM

I have a pair of size 6 (1990's) Levis that I still wear from about 10 or 15 years ago. The current size 6 (the ones I tried on in 2006) Levis are way too big. I'm sitting at the computer now in my size 4 Levis. In fact, virtually all my RTW pants are size 4, and my figure has hardly changed in the last 15 years. Vanity sizing.

I use a pattern size 12 for tops and bottoms too. ETA, and I'm been wearing the same pattern size 12 since high school so there is no vanity sizing in patterns, thank goodness. My size 12's from 20-25 years ago are still good today.
-- Edited on 1/9/08 6:52 AM --

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Big 4 Pattern size 12, RTW bottom: 6, RTW jacket 8, RTW top (no size fits me well!)
Measurements: 34 HB/36 FB (34C bra)/27.5/36 (and working hard to keep it that way.)
Machines: Sewing: Elna 760, vintage Kenmore Model 33 (1967), Janome Gem Gold 3. Sergers: Babylock Imagine and Babylock Enlighten. Embroidery Only: Janome 300E. Coverstitch: Janome CP1000. Straight Stitch: Janome 1600P.

If you think your sewing is better than everyone else's around here, get out of my way b****. I hate sewing snobs.

My blog: www.phatchickdesigns.blogspot.com

Nancy K
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Nancy K
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New York USA
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Date: 1/9/08 8:37 AM

A size is just a number. Great fit will make you look good no matter what your size.

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refashion

refashion
Intermediate
Ontario CANADA
Member since 10/25/06
Posts: 23
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In reply to jenithea


Date: 1/9/08 9:00 AM

As everyone posted before me RTW do have vanity sizing since when are there size 0 and 00? You dont exist? Those altered sizing came , in Canada at least, about 12 years ago. After I had my fashion design course, and we were taught in standard sizes.
As for alterations for your broad shoulders you might have to try a few alterations before you get is right. I always add at the sleeve. Ex. I sew a size 12 pattern and use a size 14 sleeve.
But before you put the sleeve on put the garment on and look in the mirror.
Is the shoulder seam were it should be?
Is the side seam in the middle of your side thruout the garment? Is the arm opening maybe to small or big at the back?( you might have to add some hight to your back at this level)
Is the shoulder-sleeve seam were you need it?
Is your underarm seam to high or to low?

When you analyse your body verses the pattern you will be able to see were you have to add or take off.
But remember were you take off or add to your arm opening you have to adjust your sleeve acordingly.
Here is an other tidbit, make sure your sleve are slightly facing forward once they are sewn in. You see we need a little easement like that to help since our arms dont go back wards as often!

Irene Q
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Irene Q  Friend of PR
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New Hampshire USA
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Date: 1/9/08 10:31 AM

When I started sewing 40 years ago, the patterns were about one size larger than RTW. And I remember my mother saying how you always take a smaller RTW size in the more expensive stores. So it's been going on for a long time!

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