The Fashion Sewing Group  It's about the clothes.

Choosing the right size pattern

The most questions I get by mail and e-mail are about my pattern sizing for
The Fashion Sewing Group Patterns. You seem to really want body measurements on the envelopes. Now do you really? It sets up a false standard for you and also requires additional work adding for ease, etc. Isn't a 36" bust totally different by age, height, and weight? What you really need to know is the finished width, length, etc. of the pattern you're about to make, and where is the fullest point. All of my fitted patterns have the finished width measurements on the tissue and envelope. Pattern 1960 is a knits only pattern, so only the finished widths at the bottom edges are listed. If you make the fitted 1945 jacket pattern in a 10, you'll make size 10 pants, the 10 short jacket 1962, and cardigan 1960 in a 10. Keep in mind that pattern 1962 is described as loose-fitting and may need no alteration in the bust since it has at least 2" extra of ease there and an extended shoulder, but it should fit at the lower edge to your upper hip. Because the patterns are multi-sized (each pattern contains sizes 8-18), you'll be able to copy the adjustments from one pattern to the next. For example, if you cut a size 14 jacket at the hip, you'll know to cut a size 14 pant at the hip. Where you angle in or out for size on one pattern will transfer exactly to another.

I've discovered that you're so used to the BIG pattern companies, and all of the things you do so naturally to get them to fit, that you have a hard time accepting that my patterns will work without as much intense effort on your part. That was the idea. I do know that there are some smaller pattern company's patterns that are clearly a problem...a pants pattern designed for "an average 5'8" consumer" when the average American woman is 5'4" tall and 144 pounds and it lists one yard of 60" fabric for all sizes, 4-18...yeah, sure. So I can now understand why you may be skeptical. So let me hopefully enlighten those of you who need this, and reassure the rest of you that things will turn out just fine. My patterns have been reprinted and sold thousands of each style, without advertising. Word of mouth and enthusiastic seamstresses everywhere have responded to these innovative classics.

The rationale for my sizing is this:

1) Over the years, I have learned that we all add a bit to the hip area. I have never met any consumer anywhere who doesn't do this. You either really need it, or you worry that you need it. It's easy to take it in, but impossible to let out if you need more width when it's not there. This seems to be your biggest surprise when you try on the garments. You can hardly believe you can button it right up! I also gave them a more fitted shoulder and higher armscye, so the garments are so flattering to these aging figures of large seminars I love hearing your friends ooh and ahhh over how nice things look on you.

2) The difference between the American companies and European companies is that the American companies have a tendency to angle say the waist to hip girth at a straight angle, where the European companies (Burda, New Look, Style) make this transition more rounded. Since my patterns are geared to a mature, not necessarily full figure, I had them graded (sized) to a European standard, by New Look/Style graders. (If you're interested in learning more about these differences, I highly recommend Mary Morris' book, available by calling her at G Street fabrics, "Every Sewer's Guide to the Perfect Fit" ($27.95).

3) I know most of you cut a jacket from one size, and then cut the pants a size or two larger. This has never made any sense to me since the jacket has to fit over the hip, right? So shouldn't the jacket be slightly larger at the fullest point of the hip than the pant at the hip? My patterns are. If you cut a 10 jacket, you'll cut the 10 pants. Of course, if you use the multi-sizing and have to cut a size 12 at the hip of the jacket, then you're more than likely to cut the size 12 for the pants or skirt. The pattern dimensions are all equivalents so you can be consistent with less guesswork.

4) Consumers hate doing the formulas that always seem to vary from one sewing source to another..high bust vs. full bust; add X amount for ease/no add twice the amount for ease; buy by the hip/buy by the bust; and on and on and on. Well, the only thing that has really worked throughout time, is to take the measurements of clothes that fit you, or if you have a pattern that has worked well for you consistently, use the width measurements from it. Either way you'll be comparing flat to flat, not your round shape to the flat tissue. It allows for your posture, your own ease/comfort needs, and your figure. This gives you the finished width, back waist length measurements, etc. that you need to choose the proper size. This is it. All you need to know about yourself.

As a result, here are some comments I've received about the pants pattern, 1961: "...just like my favorite Armanis"...another said "the slack pattern fit had the exact measurements overall as my favorite ready-to-wear slacks."

Another woman from Florida said, "My friends all tell me how flattering the jacket is on me." From another at an Expo "I can't believe I can just cut it out and sew." And the list of enthusiastic comments goes on and on. You've got to trust me. Try to clear away all of the debris that just confuses you. This is simple and reliable.You're going to sew successfully. Ask them over on in the Patterns/Instructions file. The daily testimonials are really something to read.

My favorite comment came from Elsie in Wisconsin: "Well my disappointment over the pants was that I had made a test pair in cheap fabric, and they fit so nice, I wish I'd have just done them in something good."

I have listened and watched you sew for more than thirty years, and then made the patterns to fit you. The reward of having thousands of enthusiastic women make the patterns over and over and wear them with such pride is pure joy.

Click here for the measurement guide.

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