Hiya! Looking for the latest and greatest chart of sewing pattern sizes? Check out my updated post here!
I love independent pattern companies – they just can’t be beaten for modern, fresh RTW patterns. But… then there’s the sizing. Ugh! First, they’re all slightly different. Second, many of them don’t go into plus sizes, which frankly, is just a bit embarrassing all around. Mary has covered this issue far more eloquently than I can, and Carolyn had her own experience with this challenge just the other day. The average US woman is a size 14 – and many of us got into sewing due to RTW size issues in the first place. And there are so many beautiful talented plus size sewists out there! Just looking at these ladies below makes me smile….
I’m passionate about encouraging more plus size women to get sewing and blogging, so I thought one helpful first step might be to let everyone know which patterns could fit them. Now bear in mind, all patterns are alterable – the most common one for me, a Full Bust Adjustment, can add multiple inches onto the measurement of any patterns, and there are others specifically for the waist and hips. However, you need to know where you start.
So, here’s a chart of most of the major pattern companies, which sizes they cover, and indeed what measurements are linked to those sizes – as you’ll see very quickly, it’s extremely variable! One thing to note: the Big 4 and some of the independents use the “classic” sizing – which is different from RTW sizing (e.g. I’m a 14 in RTW by a 22 in Butterick). However, just to make things confusing some of the independents are in RTW sizes, which themselves vary. Therefore the best way to use this chart is to look for your measurements, and then go to the size – that’s the size you need to use from that company. The relative US vs. Euro sizes below are based on Named Pattern’s conversion, but again, don’t worry too much about the relationships between them, just look for your measurements and all will be fine!
Three cheers for independents like Style Arc, Cake, and Colette for venturing above the apparently scary heights of a 45 inch bust. And for the others? Well, maybe you should let them know that plus size sewists are out there and we’d love to give them their cash if only they’d accommodate us.
And OK, straight size ladies I didn’t leave you out! Here’s the 0 – 12 chart, doing the same.
On a side note, my other little bugbear is pattern companies that use a XS – S – M – L – XL – XXL sizing. Trust me, when an XL is a RTW 12 (*below* average size!), it doesn’t make you feel excellent to be grading up three sizes…. am I really an “extra, extra, extra large” person? Why not just use the regular size scale (12, 14, 16 etc.) when it’s available and everyone already understands it?
I hope this is a helpful reference for you – are there any patterns companies there that you didn’t realize you’d fit? And what else would be helpful for my fellow plus size sewists out there? Do let me know!
I’m LOVING all the comments pointing me towards other independent pattern companies! I’ll collate them here for everyone to see:
Hot Patterns – up to size 26, 52″ bust, 44″ waist, 54″ full hip
Lekala – patterns tailor made to your measurements! I haven’t tried them, but heard good things. Do wonder how you would grade if it didn’t fit?
Seamster Patterns (formerly Disparate Disciplines) – up to 3XL: 47″ bust, 42″ waist, 50″ hip
Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick – Made for plus size petites! Up to 54″ bust, 49″ waist, 56″ hip
Lolita Patterns – up to size 24, 54″ bust, 46″ waist, 56″ hip
Petite Plus Patterns – another for petite women. Up to size 26, 50″ bust, 42″ waist, 52″ hip
Fit for Art Patterns – a very eclectic set of patterns! Up to 3XL, 58″ bust, 63″ hip
Jalie Patterns – up to size 22, 50″ bust, 44″ waist, 53″ hip
BlueGingerDoll Patterns – measurements vary by pattern. Winifred: up to size 18, 45″ bust, 44″ waist; Billie Jean: up to size 18, 46″ bust, 37″ waist
PaperCut Patterns – on their website they say they go up to L (41.75″ bust, 34″ waist, 44″ hip), but thecuriouskiwi has heard that their latest patterns go up to an XL (44″ bust)