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Vanity sizing? Or am I doing something wrong?

(8 Posts)
CaulkheadNorth Wed 19-Apr-17 16:49:04

I wear a 10 or a 12. If I bought new clothes I would probably get a 12, and have a few things that are a 14 if I want them a bit roomy. I can comfortably fit the size 10 things I currently own.

I'm making a dress, and having measured myself, I'm coming up as a 16. I'm confused as to whether I've measured myself badly, or whether I am actually a 16 and what was a 16 has now become a 12.

Any ideas? I'm bigger than I'd like to be but worried that if I make this dress it'll be too big.

ACloudCoosHi Wed 19-Apr-17 16:59:05

The sizing on patterns tends to be a lot smaller than modern sizes. Depending on the type of dress, measure yourself carefully and cut out the largest version of the pattern, with a view to taking some of it in.

I have larger than average frontage, so I cut accordingly...

CaulkheadNorth Wed 19-Apr-17 17:03:29

Okay, thank you. I'll try that.

Fozzleyplum Thu 20-Apr-17 07:15:05

Pattern sizing has not changed since the 1940s/50s. I am a 10 to 12 in today's sizes (35-29/30-38) and I'd probably need a size 16 pattern.

jcscot Thu 20-Apr-17 08:39:06

Actually, pattern sizing was last standardised in the mid 60s - however the most important measurement in sewing patterns remains your bust. It's the most difficult area to adjust so you selecr pattern size by bust and grade up or down accordingly for your waist and hips. I wear a modern size 10 in RTW clothing but I'm a size 14 or 16 in a vintage 50's pattern (I sew a lot from vintage patterns) and a 12 in a modern pattern. Size matters less to me than fit!!!

It's worth noting that sizing isn't just about overall measurements but about the expected "shape" of women - 50's patterns tend to have quite a nipped in waist, acheived naturally or by the corsetry of the day, with the waist fitted high and snug. Modern RTW sizing has been adjusted for the increase in average height and the changing shape of our bodies as well as the change in fashion expectations.

I'm short and have a short back and (comparatively) neat waist so I find that some vintage patterns suit my natural shape more than modern ones (where I always have to adjust the torso length). I also rarely have to shorten the overall length in a 50s pattern - people were shorter on average.

I also sew a lot from independant sewing patterns rather than the Big Four and I find their sizing runs better for me (Colette Patterns, The Maker's Atelier are two of my favourite designers albeit with bery different aesthetics).

CaulkheadNorth Thu 20-Apr-17 09:24:50

Excwllent, thanks. I've seen it as a 16, and now working out where I need to adjust. It was the bust and waist which were bringing me into a larger size than expected, hips were fine!

thegoatwhogotthequiche Thu 20-Apr-17 10:22:40

...just to confuse things I made trousers from an independent pattern maker, they were lovely to make but the pattern came up huge! I was pretty much back to my normal vanity sizing size.

I found this book really helpful for fitting, the explanations around pattern sizing was really good too.

jcscot Thu 20-Apr-17 10:51:30

I find Vogue patterns have very little "ease", Simplicity always come up large on me and Burda are always a bit neat. I sew the most from Vogue, normally vintage patterns. I also draft and adapt my own patterns.

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