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Tips & Techniques > Selecting Correct Pattern Size

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Posted by: monijo
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About monijo star
Member since: 7/5/08
Reviews: 25 (tips: 23)
Skill level:Advanced
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Posted on: 11/9/11 6:42 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 5 people   Very Helpful by 11 people   


Since a garment hangs from the shoulders, it must fit correctly at the shoulder, neckline and armhole areas. These areas rarely change if weight is gained or lost. The bust and waistline are easily altered, but the upper body is very difficult. Therefore, it is best to purchase a pattern by front armhole width.

1. Stand braless wearing a camisole in front of a mirror and look for your armhole crease. Where your arm meets your body, a crease forms in your skin (the place where the side of your chest joins with the side of your arm. A crease will be there, right at the top of arm/chest separation).

2. Place the 1-inch end of the tape measure ABOVE this crease. I mark my body with a felt marker. You can tape the tape measure to your body if you have no one to help you.

3. Measure across the front of your chest to the 1-inch mark ABOVE the crease on the other side. This is the normal stitching line in the garment.

4. Round off to the nearest half inch.


The sizing chart changes every half inch. The key to remembering your size is that 14 inches happens to be a misses' size 14.

Front Width: 12 inches; use Misses' size 6, Junior size 5.
Front Width: 12 1/2 inches; use Misses' size 8, Junior size 7.
Front Width: 13 inches; use Misses' size 10, Junior size 9, Half-Size 10 1/2.
Front Width: 15 inches; use Misses' 18, Half-Size 18 1/2, Women's 38.

The Sew/Fit Manual by Ruth Oblander and Joan Anderson. Available at, "My Favorite Things" page.

The Busy Woman's Fitting Book by Nancy Zieman with Robbie Fanning ( A new edition will available at her website.

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PureJoy said... (2/27/14 2:52 AM) Reply
Thank you! Adjusting the shoulder and armhole position is VERY hard for me to get right. I will try this instead of spending hours trying to adjust that part of the body
Liz29 said... (9/22/12 3:57 PM) Reply
Thank U
tatica said... (11/18/11 6:21 PM) Reply
When you say 1 inch end, do you mean to say that you add 1 inch to both sides? Can you please post a picture? I'm very interested. this is an area I have difficulties with.
ginniesstitchin said... (11/14/11 2:11 AM) Reply
This makes much more sense than anything else I've found. Thanks, I'll try it.
Gildarose said... (11/10/11 11:14 AM) Reply
Thanks this is very helpful!
Gildarose said... (11/10/11 11:14 AM) Reply
Thanks this is very helpful!
knipster said... (11/10/11 5:41 AM) Reply
thanks for this tip ! it is sometimes very difficult to know where to put the measuretape exactly.
G.Petunia said... (11/9/11 3:33 PM) Reply
Thanks. Good to know :)
Gildarose said... (11/9/11 10:55 AM) Reply
This is good, thanks for the time you spent posting it.
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