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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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About Irene Q starstarstarstar
Member since: 3/19/04
Reviews: 127 (tips: 12)
Skill level:Intermediate
Favored by: 95 people
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Posted on: 12/27/05 2:58 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 14 people   Very Helpful by 69 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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christie99 said... (4/13/15 5:52 PM) Reply
I've been trawling the net to find a way to increase pattern for childs dress from an age 10 up to an age 12. Was going to try the slash method when I found your tip. I tried it out immediately and I am absolutely astounded. It works so well. I graded up, made a muslin and the new size is perfect, armholes, sleeves, neck everything. Thank you, thank you, your'e a genius.
Akann said... (11/17/14 1:27 PM) Reply
Awesome idea! Thanks.
EleanorSews said... (11/8/14 6:23 PM) Reply
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!
Mufffet said... (11/8/14 5:30 PM) Reply
FANTASTIC!! Love this - why didn't I think of it?! who knows....makes good sense. Thanks!
juniev said... (5/12/14 1:52 AM) Reply
Tip - Grading Up or Down One Size
marymary86 said... (5/11/14 5:36 PM) Reply
KarlaB said... (8/12/12 5:40 PM) Reply
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.
Mollymax said... (4/19/12 12:23 PM) Reply
I just tried this method on a blouse for my daughter. Works great! Thanks for sharing.
Grammy Gin said... (7/22/09 4:17 PM) Reply
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.
FreyaStark said... (4/2/09 6:48 AM) Reply
Sounds like a great tip. I must give it a go. Many thanks!
Teeavilnor said... (2/15/09 5:01 PM) Reply
Fantastic Idea, and so simple to understand.
ryansmumAria said... (10/2/08 0:43 AM) Reply
Brilliant. We call this grading in the industry.
Vicky C said... (9/20/08 1:30 PM) Reply
Great tip Irene! And I've not seen another method that is so easy!
Karendee said... (3/14/08 12:36 PM) Reply
This is a wonderful tip; why didn't I think of that? It sounds so simple.
MarijaSLO said... (1/16/08 3:50 PM) Reply
Great tip, very helpful!!! Tnx!
So So said... (12/12/07 4:01 PM) Reply
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.
Dmd4106 said... (12/6/07 7:25 PM) Reply
Interesting tip. Maybe this will give me the motivation I need to get started sewing again. Great Review.
OP Gal said... (10/2/07 6:28 AM) Reply
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!
Sanibelle said... (6/1/07 7:24 AM) Reply
I can't wait to give this a try! Thanks so much for writing this up for us.
Neefer said... (1/2/07 10:42 AM) Reply
You are brilliant!
clareyg said... (10/5/06 7:26 AM) Reply
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
clareyg said... (10/5/06 7:24 AM) Reply
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!!!!!!!!!!!!
hongkongshopper said... (8/24/06 2:10 AM) Reply
Just found this tip - great idea - never thought of that!!!
Irene Q said... (5/10/06 9:21 AM) Reply
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.
WJean said... (5/9/06 2:05 PM) Reply
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.
sue falcone said... (2/13/06 9:04 PM) Reply
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
belle said... (12/31/05 7:19 AM) Reply
good idea-I tape the pattern and paper I trace on to a door window works well
lilhoney57 said... (12/28/05 8:44 AM) Reply
Smart idea!
Stitchology said... (12/28/05 7:13 AM) Reply
Ab fab, just what we weight changing types need.
Gloria Allender said... (12/28/05 6:45 AM) Reply
Thanks, Irene. Great tip I can use.
Danvillegirl said... (12/28/05 6:00 AM) Reply
Great tip. This will aid me very much.
SewVeryTall said... (12/28/05 4:30 AM) Reply
Great tip, Irene...I wouldn't call it "quick and dirty", lol, I'd call it "quick and smart"! Even quicker...just eyeball it.
kathi s said... (12/27/05 11:24 PM) Reply
Exactly what I need- thank you!
Tov said... (12/27/05 10:55 PM) Reply
Thanks, Irene. I was given a few patterns that are one size too small, and this tip will really help. Viv
Kim Winson said... (12/27/05 5:20 PM) Reply
Irene, that's a great "quick and dirty" method...I'll have to use it to grade down a pattern.
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