We’ve all had trouble shopping for clothing before. Go to one store, and you’re one size; go to another store and you may be a size or two bigger or smaller. Even sticking with the same brands doesn’t always help: what fit you in the fall may not fit you in the spring, and that may not even be the fault of seasonal holiday foods! The truth is, manufactured clothing sizes are always changing, thanks to the trend known as vanity sizing. But shouldn’t you expect the same kind of sizing struggle from sewing patterns? The answer is: NO! Choosing a pattern size is much, much easier than trying to find things that fit in the stores. All you need is a little bit of math, a measuring tape, and the handy measurement chart on the back of your pattern envelope.
Why do we need to measure? Can’t we just choose the size we buy in stores? As we’ve already discussed, those sizes and measurements vary from company to company, and even season to season. Pattern sizing, on the other hand, is standardized. That means that a size 10 from Simplicity is always going to be a size 10, no matter which pattern you pick up—and it’s the same for the other major pattern brands, too! All you need to do is take four basic measurements.
Now, before you get measuring, make sure you’re wearing the undergarments you’ll be wearing under your finished garment, and make sure there’s nothing in your pockets!
First, measure your full bust, around the widest part of your chest and straight across your back. Next, measure your natural waist—right below the base of your rib cage, not down at your hipbones! Next, measure your full hip, around the widest part of your bottom. This is usually about 9” below your waist. The last measurement you need is your back waist length. This is usually easier with a friend’s help. Your back waist length is the distance from the top of the knob at the base of your neck where your back starts, to your natural waist at your center back.
Now it’s just a simple matter of comparing those numbers to the size chart on the back of the pattern envelope. But what if you fall between two or more sizes? Well, that’s not a problem! Thanks to Simplicity’s multi-size patterns, it’s a snap to combine pattern sizes! Just take a felt-tip pen and draw a smooth connecting line between cutting lines for the sizes that best fit you. And one more tip: Simplicity’s Misses’ and Women’s patterns are designed for someone 5’5”-5’6” tall, so if you’re taller or shorter you’ll need to adjust the length of your finished garment. Most patterns will include instructions on how and where to do this in the General Directions section of the guidesheet!
About the authors: Deborah Kreiling and Tiffany Pegram work with Simplicity. If you’re still not quite sure if you’re doing all this right, you can view our in-depth sizing guide at www.simplicity.com/sizehelp. Or, for a more personal touch, just reach out to Simplicity directly! You can reach us by phone at 1-888-588-2700 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, stop by one of our many social media channels, we’ll be happy to chat!