That’s awesome! Your decision to start sewing was a good one. After practicing with your sewing machine a few times, you’re ready to create your own handmade wardrobe. The standard RTW (ready-to-wear) sizes don’t fit you, or you are offended by fast fashion, so you want to make your own handmade wardrobe.
The first garment you sew is a big baggy or tight fit, and you start second-guessing your whole plan of making your own wardrobe after you put your blood, sweat, and tears into it.
Inability to start is due to a lack of confidence and an inability to decide what size of the pattern to choose. In the event that we do not fit into any of the sizes listed, what should we do? Is there a difference in size between my clothes? What is the best way to take my measurements?
Are you feeling overwhelmed with sewing yet? Not sure what all these sewing terms mean? We have a sewing glossary ready for you. There are some questions you would like answered, and you don’t want to start from scratch.
When it comes to sewing, there is never just one final answer. Here are some answers from us – SewingWithEase. You can make an educated choice even before touching your sewing machine, tracing your pattern, or cutting into your fabric.
How Should I Determine The Size Of My Garment?
My most frequently asked question is: “I’m a size M in RTW. What pattern size should I use?”. In response, we always say: “You MUST take body measurements because one cannot merely compare RTW sizing with sewing pattern sizing.”
Both RTW and sewing companies create garments and sewing patterns using their own body measurements. Measuring charts are often tailored to meet the needs of specific clients. You can sew the pattern straight from the envelope/magazine/PDF without making any alterations, so the only difference between it and fast fashion is the fact that you did it all by hand instead of hiring a seamstress.
Before you cut into your final fabric, we would like to convince you to follow these five steps before you pick a size.
Here Are The 5 Steps To Pick The Right Sewing Pattern Size
Take a body measurement
The most accurate way to measure your body is to wear the bra you would wear with the garment over your underwear. Once you have measured yourself, you should compare them to the body measurements in the pattern. You’ll encounter the three most common measurements: bust, waist, and hips.
What is the best way to measure yourself for sewing?
Make sure you measure over underwear. Keep your head up, and don’t hold your breath.
You should be able to fit the tape measure snugly around your body without it being too tight or loose. Make sure you hold it horizontally and comfortably.
- Bust – If you are going to wear a bra with the finished garment, measure around the fullest part of your chest.
- Waist – Take a measurement around your waist at its thinnest point, and don’t hold your breath!
- Hips – Your hips should be measured around their fullest part. Slowly slide the tape measure down your hips while creating a loop around your hips.
The sewing pattern contains a chart of body measurements that you can use to compare your measurements with.
Use the finished garment measurements when measuring the pattern
Check the finished measurement chart included in the sewing pattern if it includes measurements for your body shape (bust, waist, hips). Measure the paper pattern the same way you measured your body (bust, waist, hips).
Having enough room in a garment to move, breathe, and sit is what makes it easy to wear. You need to check this before you pick a size because every designer and company has its own approach to this.
For example, a pattern with a lot of ease can be sized down if you fall between sizes.
For more information on ease, check out my blog, which includes an ease reference chart so you can compare how much ease is added to patterns in general.
Take measurements of your closet
You probably own a few ready-to-wear pieces that fit you perfectly, and measuring them will give you great insight into your size, ease preferences, and which alterations you’ll need. Choose items that closely resemble the pattern you want to sew. If your pattern calls for knits, then measure knits, and if it calls for wovens, then measure wovens.
You can also learn valuable information about a garment that you do not like. Your top may be too tight, short, or long if it doesn’t match your chosen pattern. For example, you can now compare the measurements of a tight top with the sizing of a finished garment. It might be possible to go up a size or add a wide seam allowance if the patterns finished size is similar.
Want to sew a garment with a similar style but do not own one? Don’t forget your wallet when you go “shopping.” Take your tape measure and leave it at home when you go shopping. You should try a new style you plan to sew before you sew it. Instead, we would discover this in a changing room in my sewing room rather than in front of the mirror where we thought the style might suit me.
If you fall between different sizes in different areas, you should compare the measurements from the first three steps. It is now time to make some early adjustments since picking the right size is just a starting point.
Make changes to the pattern
Fitting is challenging, but there are simple and minor modifications you can make before sewing your garment or making a muslin. If you wish, you can adjust the pattern a little by grading between sizes, extending or shortening it.
What is the best way to grade between sizes? Blending different sizes is an option if you are between sizes. Different sizes can be traced and incorporated. A nicely curved line should be drawn from the size 10 bust to the size 8 waist and from the size 12 hip to the size 10 bust. Both the front and back panels must be done this way.
The more projects you do, the better you’ll understand what general modifications you’ll need. My most common adjustment is lengthening sleeves and pants and adjusting my tummy if needed. For women over a cup size B/C, a complete bust adjustment (FBA) is a well-documented, common alteration.
You will need to make a muslin (toile/sample)
Once you’ve made a few standard or minor alterations, you’re ready to sew a muslin. Use old bed sheets or an inexpensive fabric to test the fit. If possible, you should try to use a fabric with the same drape and feel as the final fabric. Make sure you know how the fit will work and what adjustments you need to make before you finish the seams or hems (except when checking the length).
Even though fitting a garment can seem challenging, sometimes a simple change like lengthening or shortening a sleeve can make all the difference.
What Is The Formula For Future Projects?
Your next sewing project will have a better chance of success if you follow these five steps.
While it may seem time-consuming, building a formula for future projects will be easier if you take your body measurements, measure your favorite garments, and note their ease. It is not the sewing that makes the magic, but rather the hours of prep that make it happen.
As a final note, we would like to thank you all. When you’re just starting out, don’t worry about perfecting the fit too much if you’re discouraged. When you purchase ready-to-wear garments, you probably get better results than if you made a few minor adjustments. Remember, you’ll be moving around, and most people won’t even notice a dragline here and there. They’re likely in awe that you’ve accomplished anything at all!