Pattern Fit issues
Some notes about how pattern companies determine sizes
Patterns assume that, if you're bigger around, you must also be taller. Therefore, the waist length gets longer as the size increases. If you're a large person and long waisted (like me), you're fine. If you're a small person and short waisted, also fine.
Any other combination will have problems (as I did until I reached the point that my girth matched my back-waist measurement; girth is an easier adjustment than waist length, IMHO).
Also remember, as has been indicated but not stated outright in this discussion, Pattern Sizes Are Not The Same As Ready-To-Wear!!!! The last time the pattern companies adjusted their sizing to match 'store-bought' clothing was in the 1960s. The same number-size in ready-to-wear is considerably larger today than it was in 1965. In patterns, however, it's still the same.
You will therefore need to buy a larger-numbered pattern than ready-to-wear dress, and will _definitely_ have problems if you don't. For me, I usually have to buy two sizes larger in patterns (or grade it up myself if it doesn't come that big...) than I do in ready-to-wear. Another thing to remember is that not all patterns fit the same.
Every pattern includes in the text description a fit indicator: "very
loose fitting", "close fitting", or some such phrase. These have specific
meanings related to 'ease', which is the difference between the garment
measurement and the body measurement. Some ease is necessary to allow you to
move, but designers put in different amounts for different looks. You can
see what the standard ease amounts are at
If you make a pattern that is 'close fitting', and you wanted 'loose fitting', it will feel too tight even if you have the right size for your measurements. Similarly, if you wanted to show off your body, but bought a 'very loose fitting' pattern, you'll be unhappy. The amount of ease needed for comfort or a particular look is very much a personal decision - there are no 'right or wrong answers' here, either - and it's Yet Another Really Good Reason to make a muslin.
This page was last updated 04/22/08