• Singer Perfect Plus

    Sew a Mix-and-Match Wardrobe for Plus and Petite-Plus Sizes


    Kathleen Cheetham presents 4 enclosed patterns, step-by-step construction, and fitting instruction. Readers can create a wardrobe of versatile and stylish garments--which can be adapted for office wear, casual wear, or evening wear, just by varying the colors, fabrics, and finishing details. Never have to say you have nothing to wear again!

  • The Pocket Stylist

    Behind-the-Scenes Expertise from a Fashion Pro on Creating Your Own Unique Look

    Professional fashion advice for all body shapes and sizes!

  • Pants for Real People: Fitting Techniques

    Any sewer will benefit from the fitting techniques featured in this informative DVD, a companion to Pants for Real People: Sewing Techniques . 

    Sewers will learn how to buy the right-size pattern, fine-tune it before cutting, and then tissue-fit it. 

  • Pants for Real People: Sewing Techniques

    This informative guide illustrates how to sew great pants that flatter any fit. 

    The tips and techniques within this useful reference include how to prepare and cut fabric, mark darts, sew zippers, pin-fit the fabric, press seams, and attach different styles of waistbands. 

    This DVD is a must-have to follow up the fitting DVD.

  • Big List of Sewing Blogs

    Big list of Sewing blogs - I'm in, are you?

What Size Sewing Pattern Should I Buy?

You take your measurements carefully. You buy a pattern that lists your measurements. You spend hours making the garment. The result? It doesn’t fit!

How frustrating! After a few experiences like this, you are tempted to give up on sewing altogether. You just buy whatever clothes fit the best in the store and wear them. What choice do you have?

Having “been there, done that”, I have found a solution!

Back in 1994 Oxmoor House, Inc. published a book written by Nancy Zieman called Fitting Finesse (ISBN: 0-8487-1486-5). On page 8-9 Nancy shows a chart she uses along with a front width measurement to decide on what size pattern to buy. The measurement is taken across the chest, above the bosom from one arm crease to the other and taken quite snugly. This measurement is used to determine what size pattern for tops, dresses, and jackets will fit best.

The easy way to convert the measurement to a size is to remember that a 14″ measurement equals size 14. Every 1/2″ difference up or down is another size up or down. For example, a measurement of 13.5″ is a size 12. A measurement of 13″ is a size 10. Or, going larger, a measurement of 14.5″ is a size 16, and a 15″ measurement is a size 18 and so on.

According to Nancy, this front width measurement actually measures your body frame. It doesn’t change much with weight gain or loss and probably puts you in a smaller size than you normally would buy. However, it is relatively easy to adjust the rest of the pattern for your body variations. It’s the neck and shoulders that are difficult. This method of measuring will giveĀ  you a much better fit in the neck and shoulders and eliminate any gaping.

For years I’ve worn plus sizes 22-24 and always struggled with a gaping neckline in both ready-to-wear garments from the store and garments I’ve sewn myself. With this system, I find that a size 18 is actually a proper fit across my chest. I just need to adjust for my DD’s and my larger waist/hips and big, short arms. This is a much easier process than trying to adjust the neckline and shoulder width.

Patterns for the bottom half of the body (pants, skirts) should be purchased, according to Nancy, at least 2 sizes smaller than the recommended size according to the pattern chart on the back of the envelope.

Again, I have to agree. You will need to make adjustments but they are relatively easy. Waist and hip adjustments are really easy and so is length. The difficult one with pants is the crotch length (and it isn’t even that difficult). Circumference adjustments for larger/smaller waist and hips are probably the easiest adjustments to make in any apparel.

Although this book is older and dated in some ways, this method of figuring out sizing has always worked great for me.

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