Choosing the right sewing pattern size is critical to getting a good fit for your sewing project but it doesn’t need to be difficult or complicated! All you need to pick the right size are some key personal measurements and the Body Measurement table provided in the pattern. This guide will walk you through choosing the right size for you.
Measure & record your key personal measurements:
Getting correct measurements
When you measure yourself, make sure you are not wearing anything bulky or multiple layers. It is best to measure yourself directly against the skin, or a tight fitting tank top. This way your clothes, as thin as they may seem, don’t give you a false body measurement reading. This could mean you choose the wrong size and make a top that’s too big or has a poor fit.
Once you have your measurements, we’ll move on to the Body Measurements table to see where you fit.
Use the Body Measurements table
Compare your key measurements to the values in the Body Measurement table. Experimental Space patterns share this table in your instruction booklet and on the back of the envelope. I’ll add a copy below so you can see what we are talking about. I’ll go through some examples below to help you choose your size(s).
Don’t be surprised if your measurements aren’t all in the same size. For example, some people will be 1, 2 or even 3+ sizes bigger in the hips than the base pattern starts you at.
Everyone’s body shapes are different and sewing patterns are just a (very helpful) guide that covers one starter body shape. It is very easy to make a pattern across multiple sizes, called grading a pattern. How to grade will be talked about in a future Learn to Sew guide!
Jen – All measurements fit into one pattern size
Let’s use Jen as the first example. Jen has taken her key personal measurements and they are:
High Bust: 35″
Full Bust: 37.5″
Comparing these values to the Body Measurement table, you’ll see each size falls within the size Cara. So Jen will use the Cara size lines for all areas of her garment.
Emma – Hips in a larger size than the bust
Now let’s take a look at Emma:
High Bust: 37.5″
Full Bust: 39.5″
If you compare Emma’s measurements to the Body Measurement table, you’ll see she will be choosing Dee for the High and Full bust area, and then grade towards Eve for the waist and using Faye for the hips.
Maria – High Bust and Full Bust in different size categories
Let’s do one more example. This time showing when the High Bust and Full Bust do not share a size.
High Bust: 37.5″
Full Bust: 41.5″
Her Full Bust measurement is in the size up from her High Bust. In this instance, it is better to do an FBA (full bust adjustment) to accommodate the extra room needed at the Full Bust instead of just going up a size at the bust. She will still grade up to Eve for the waist and Faye for the hips.
If you don’t already know how to do an FBA, keep checking back to the Learn to Sew series where I’ll guide you through the steps to doing this adjustment in a future post! New guides will be posted in the blog or sign up to the newsletter to be updated as soon as it’s published.
More help with choosing a size
If you are still unsure what sewing pattern size you should choose please get in touch, letting me know your key personal measurements, and I’ll help you choose the right size.