Choosing the right pattern size

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

Sticking with the commercial pattern theme, I thought I’d share some tips on choosing the right size for you. This topic tends to confuse because many think that if they’re a size 12 in the shops, they’ll need a size 12 pattern. But it doesn’t work like that. It’s all in the measurements. Before buying a pattern, take all your measurements and compare these to the pattern measurements, which should be on the packet. You’ll probably find that you need a size or two up from your normal size – but don’t despair, you haven’t put weight on, it’s just different that’s all. Then choose the size nearest to your measurements.

However few of us have a standard figure, so there are often discrepancies between the pattern measurement and ours. Depending on the pattern, it’s best to choose the size that corresponds to the most important area of fit.

  • For a dress or jacket, choose the pattern nearest to your bust size and adjust the other measurements to fit if need be
  • For skirts and trousers it’s the hip measurement that’s important so choose a size that matches your hips and adjust the waist to fit
  • If you choose a pattern which has several different garments in the one packet (skirt, top and dress for instance) it’s best to select the size that corresponds to your bust measurement and adjust all the rest if needed. If there’s a large difference or you don’t feel confident adjusting the pattern to fit, buy two sizes of the same pattern and mix and match the pieces until you get the closest fit for you. Most patterns these days though come in multi-sized options all within the one packet, which makes life so much easier as you can use whichever size you need for the different ares of the body.
  • Take note of the description on the packet. For instance a blouse may be loose fit, very loose fit or fitted. If you don’t want it too fitted, choose a size up. Or a size down if you don’t want it too loose.



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