Some argue clothing size doesn't matter. Personally, I agree with the doesn't matter side. However, it matters a great deal when measuring a body for custom sewing. If you choose a pattern based on your ready to wear (RTW) size, you will end up wth a garment of no use to you. Custom sewing demands that size matters.
There is a particularly sensitive issue that presents itself when I am measuring a person for custom sewing: How to address the large gap in numbers (sizes) between what size they are in RTW and pattern sizes? Some customers are aware of the difference, but others are genuinely dismayed that in RTW they are a size 6 - patterns say they are a size 12. Ouch!!
How to Find Your Pattern Size
Size It Up
Now that you have your basic measurements you can select the pattern in your size. Today, patterns are multi-sized (this has several advantages; more on that later) so your pattern will most likely have a range of three to four sizes.
Look to the left of the numbers. Do you see the short column that reads SIZES? There is where you will begin and follow the row across to the number that best represents your measurement. For example: Bust measured at 35, so you would select the next size up which is 36. That places you in the size 14 row. Chances are your waist will not be 28" as shown in that column, but it can be adjusted. Tip: If your hip measurement is larger than your bust measurement, go with the size of your hips. Why? It's easier and less expensive to have a garment taken in.
A few more tips on measurements and sizing:
Special Note: Patterns are now printed in several languages and are made in multi-sizing. The benefits are you only need one pattern for a variety of sizes; it's easy to adjust sizing; it saves on paper and keeps costs down. Patterns are expensive, so I find it a good thing I have a range of sizes in one pattern when working with making dresses for a group of ladies.
Are you shocked at the dramatic increase of your size of clothing? It's not only the pattern industry. Manufacturers nationwide size their clothing according to their measurements. This explains the phenomenon of the same maker, but different jeans you buy and they are different in size. As for patterns, if you buy a 12 in the pattern but you need a 20 or 22, prepare for immediate disappointment!
The charts below will help illustrate the gap in sizing, emphasizing the need of knowing your measurements before you purchase a pattern.
What have you noticed in the difference in sizes? Have you noticed a difference between pattern makers as well?
Whatever pattern(s) you choose for your custom sewing project, I wish for you success and inspiration in all you do, today and always!