Traditional Sizing

You know all too well that a size on a garment is very subjective. What you wear in one store may be completely different from what you wear in another. The best reason for this is vanity sizing.

Vanity sizing applies to the ready-to-wear industry. Over time, the same numerical size has come to represent a completely different body size. The reason for this is subjective, but I have no doubt that clothing stores figured out that they could sell more clothing if a person could buy a smaller size in their store than they could in another. Most people wish they were smaller than they are and this psychology feeds into that desire.

The American Society for Testing and Materials, ASTM for short, is an international organization that sets standards. Believe it or not, they even set the standards for clothing sizes. Pattern companies generally comply with these standards, although the ready-to-wear industry does not.

However, even the ASTM has changed their standards over the years. If we look at a size 10 in 1952, the bust would have been a 28”. Today that same size has a bust of 37 1/4”. That is an enormous difference.

Not only is this information interesting, it's also important if you get your hands on older sewing patterns. Make sure to evaluate the measurements, NOT the sizes. As you can see, there can be a substantial difference.

Now that you understand the sizes a bit more, I'm going to tell you to ignore them completely. These numbers are arbitrary designations and shouldn't matter to you. If you are going to sew garments and have them fit properly, you've got to come to terms with your measurements and accept them as they are.

Do not make clothes for the measurements you want to have in 6 months or next year. If you have weight gain or loss goals, that's fantastic and I applaud you for your efforts, but do not make clothes today that don't fit today. One of the greatest benefits of making your own clothes is making design and fit choices very personalized to your body.

If you're a little heavy, you can shed pounds with the right design choices. You can make clothes that fit you perfectly, flatter your assets and hide your flaws. They really have the power to do this, so take advantage of it. Your self-confidence will increase when you get compliments on how good you look now. You can always make more clothes when you reach your future weight goals.

We all have different body shapes and some garments will be flattering to one shape and look awful on another. You can easily drop five to ten pounds by making the right garment choices.

If your body type is not in line with the current clothing standards, you're going to have problems. Trust me, I know this from experience. I thought I was a freak of nature with all my problems, but I've come to learn that we all have these same challenges. That’s why generating your own custom patterns with Patternmaker Pro is such a great idea.

Although you don’t have to worry about the fit of your clothes when you use Patternmaker Pro patterns, you still need to think about the style lines of the garments. As we talk about body types, I urge you to love who you are. Don't get hung up on your faults, we've all got them. We're going to have fun finding ways to make you look your very best.