Standard Measurement Chart

Standard Measurement Charts are useful when determining true sizing.  I say true sizing because the fashion industry has run amok with vanity sizing, making it very hard to determine your size when making clothes…IF you go by the size you buy when clothes shopping.  If you take your measurements for making your own clothes though…

Ah the Standard

Ah the Standard

Well, it can be a bit startling to look at a measurement chart and go WAIT!  I cannot possibly be a size 10!  When I shop at the store I’m a size 4!  Trust me—make the size 10.  Vanity sizing means nothing if the clothes you make are too small to wear.  Now, something else to notice about the vanity sizing chart:

Back of a Big 4

Back of a Big 4

The big 4 are slowly starting to adjust to vanity sizing too.  Notice that on the Standard Chart, a size 18 has a 42 ½” bust.  But on the back of this pattern from Simplicity, a size 18 is only a 40” bust.  The Big 4 (Simplicicy, McCall’s, Butterick, Vogue) compensate for this vanity sizing by allowing an inordinate amount of ease, so that their patterns tend to require a bit more adjustment than patterns from independent designers. While independent designers also size independently of a standard chart, they tend to have less ease and require less fitting overall.

Size chart from Gertie Sews

Size chart from Gertie Sews

Size chart from True Bias

Size chart from True Bias

The short uptake of this lecture, is ALWAYS check your measurements against the pattern you are using.  And if you are looking to buy a dressmaker dummy of your very own, check your measurements against The Standard Measurement Chart, and if you’re between sizes (like your bust measures at an 8 but your waist measures at 6), buy the smaller size and pad out your form to fit.  It’s far easier to add size (whether it’s through extra donuts or batting pinned to the form), than it is to remove size (cutting out the extra bulk from the form is as challenging as remembering to walk every day and not eat the donuts).