Last week’s tip addressed selection the correct commercial pattern size. If you missed it check it out here. If you’ve already read it you may have found that your body is more than one size (according to pattern makers). I myself am usually a size (or two!) smaller in my bust than my hips. Actually my measurements have actually matched up to a 10 bust, 12 waist and 14 hips for certain patterns before. It can be frustrating and at first was very confusing! What size to I cut if my measurements match up to 2-3 different sizes?
So what do you do? Especially in a one piece like a dress or romper? Some people would say cut the pattern size that matches the “fullest” area, so in the above example a 14. However if I did that there would be a lot to take in in the bust area and ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’. Others might say fit the bust because it’s easier to adjust at the hips. I actually find this to be true especially if the bust is elaborate and the skirt fairly simple or flared, but what if it’s not?
My method? I basically create a new “just for me” sized pattern pieces based on the finished measurements and then I can tweek it from there. How do I do that? Well first I follow the tips I shared last week and decide what size matches my bust, waist and hips. If those sizes aren’t the same I grade between those sizes to create my own “size”. By grade I mean I connect the cut lines from my size at the bust line to my size at the waist line to my size at my hip line with a smooth line that mimics the curvature of the original line.
I created a dummy pattern as an example. It’s a multi size pattern for a simple dress like M6886 or V8915, that consists of two main pattern pieces (a front and back). If your pattern piece is cut on the fold you only need to grade one side. In this example the purple line is a sz 8, black line=10, blue=purple.
Below I give examples for 3 common body shapes 1) fuller hips/lower body 2) fuller bust/upper body 3)narrow waist/hourglass. The red line shows the cut lines for the size in the multiple sizes needed for each case. Or in other words the red line is you new “just my size” pattern piece.
Notice how the lines keep some of the original curvature but adjust to connect the size needed. This is what you want not the straight lines below.
If you just draw lines from the bust, waist and hip lines like connect the dots you lose the shape of the garment.
Now what if your pattern is more complicated? Multiple pieces require more work to adjust but it can be done. If you can visualize how your garment will come together you can do it piece by piece. If not you can lay out or tape your pattern pieces together then adjust.
Again I hope this helps you with sewing journey. If you have any tips, questions or comments please leave them below.