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Choosing the correct pattern size

Pattern Diagnosis – taking the mystery out of pattern sizes

Below is a typical body measurement chart found on the back of a pattern envelope.

Size 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
Bust 30½ 31 ½ 32 ½ 34 36 38 40 42 44 46
Waist 23 24 25 26 ½ 28 30 32 34 36 38
Hip 32 ½ 33 ½ 34 ½ 36 38 40 42 44 46 48
BWL 15 ½ 15 ¾ 16 16 ¼ 16 ½ 16 ¾ 17 17 ¼ 17 3/8 17 ½
Bust 78 80 83 87 92 97 102 107 112 117
Waist 53 61 64 67 71 76 81 87 94 99
Hip 83 85 88 92 97 102 107 112 117 122
BWL 39.5 40 40.5 41.5 42 42.5 43 44 44.5 45

BWL = Back waist length

Use this to select a pattern nearest to your body measurements, taken in underwear for accuracy.

This is regardless of garment choice. Please don’t guess – no-one else need know!

Personal Body Measurement Analysis
Body Measurements Personal Pattern Difference + or –
Bust
Waist
Hip
Back waist length
High bust comparison 6cm (2 ½”)

This is a personal measurement chart. Fill in the chart, first with your personal measurements. Next, use it to compare your measurements to the pattern nearest to your size. Select pattern by bust size, unless there is more than 6cm (2 ½”) between your high bust and full bust. In which case use your high bust measurement to select the pattern. Exception – if this would mean dropping down two sizes, just drop one size lower to be on the safe side. Adjustments required will become apparent during tissue fitting.

Once selected, fill in the pattern column using the measurements provided on the pattern measurement chart.

Now fill in the third column, noting the differences.

You now have enough information to make adjustments to the pattern nearest to your size.

Obviously your personal shape will determine exactly where the pattern needs to be adjusted. For example you may need more room across your tummy than across your bum! In which case, the pattern would need to have excess removed from the back and possibly more added to the front.

Learning how to analyse your shape will empower you to make stylish clothes that fit well.

Pin the pattern together along the seam lines and enlist a friend to help you try on for a tissue fit. This way, you can make needed alterations before cutting your toile to fine tune the fit. Remember time spent now will save time and effort later!