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Dressmaking pattern sizing (stupid question alert)

(6 Posts)
Spikeinhiscoat Sat 20-Apr-13 15:44:47

I've been inspired by TGBSB to dust off my sewing machine, and try and make some clothes. I've used the machine before for curtains, bags, quilts, etc. but haven't made clothes before.

I've got an easy skirt pattern (New Look) and material, but am scared of cutting out the pattern. When buying clothes in the shop I'm a size 8, but looking at the sizing measurements on the pattern packet, I'm getting confused. According to that, with a waist measurement of 28 inches, I'm a 14, and hips of 36 make me a 12. The pattern lines correspond to sizes 6-8, 10-12, 14-16. Do the pattern sizes correspond to shop (vanity) sizing, or would I be better cutting the pattern to the 10-12 size (& possibly risk it being too big). I don't yet know enough to feel confident of making alterations.

It just seems very final to cut out the pattern if I'm not certain of the sizing. Thanks in advance for the advice/reassurance.

KurriKurri Sat 20-Apr-13 18:46:53

I would cut the lightly larger size (you can always make things smaller, but harder to make them bigger), then tack it together and try it on, then make any adjustments - use the smaller size markings on the pattern as your guide. (I.e. if it is too large put your pattern back on your fabric and recut) You might find that you are one size in the waist and a different size in the hips - most people aren't 'standard' so you can fiddle around with it until it is a good fit for you.

I find that dress making patterns always come up larger than your size in a shop - and are maybe based on more traditional sizes.

It's not hard to do a few adjustments - don't be frightened of that, just pin and try on at each stage, but always easier to remove excess fabric than try to add things on to increase size.

Good luck smile

KurriKurri Sat 20-Apr-13 18:47:11

slightly larger size

IDontDoIroning Sat 20-Apr-13 19:03:23

Do your measurements and cut the pattern to the size stated on the back and go for the biggest size if you are inbetween sizes.

I was mortified when I bought a vogue pattern for trousers size 8-16 (I'm a 12 to 14 usually) and when I was measured I should have actually bought the pattern for sizes 18+.
So I've got to enlarge the pattern a little.

I've since read that pattern sizes don't always relate to dress sizes due to vanity sizing etc.

It would be an expensive mistake to cut out the pattern to the wrong size (too small) and an even more excessive mistake to cut out your fabric to too small.

You could try getting some tracing paper and tracing the pattern and then making some alterations if you needed to to. This way you won't spoil the pattern if you make a mistake.

Spikeinhiscoat Sat 20-Apr-13 20:44:29

Thank you both, I'll try the larger sizing and see how I get on. That's a good idea about the tracing paper, I'll try that as well.

UniqueAndAmazing Sat 20-Apr-13 22:30:18

always copy it onto tracing paper.

on the back of the pattern, there is a vgart that tells you what inch measurements relate to which pattern size.
you can go between the lines to different sizes, but do it carefully up the seams.

if you decide what sizes you want and copy them out onto the tracing paper, make up a toile (practice run) using calico fabric (it's dead cheap), then measure it to yourself and work out where you need to adjust it.
once you've got your pattern right, copy it out onto tracing paper again, label it with the pattern name/number and the sizing you used and save it for the next time!

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