NMSU: Selecting a Pattern Size for Perfect Fit
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Selecting a Pattern Size for Perfect Fit

Guide C-205

Susan Wright, Extension Clothing and Textiles Specialist

College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences New Mexico State University

This publication is scheduled to be updated and reissued 6/06.

The first step in achieving excellent fit in fashion with a minimum of alteration and fitting is the selection of a pattern that fits properly from the start! It's a good idea for home sewers to take measurements periodically so that they can be sure of selecting the pattern type and size with the best fit. This is especially important  for growing children and youth whose figures have not yet completed  development, for people who gain or lose weight easily, and for mature adults as their figures change. In just a matter of months, one's figure may change enough to change the size or type of pattern needed for best fit.

The pattern types available  are designed for a variety of figure types. The pattern type selected should generally be determined  by height, stage of figure development and back waist length measurement.

The pattern size selected within a pattern type will be determined by the body's circumference measurements. Check the back pages of the pattern catalog for a guide to determine the pattern type needed for the best fit. Then, use the guide for pattern sizes to select the appropriate pattern type and size.

Accurate measurements are essential in finding the best pattern size. Listed below are the measurements needed for determining pattern size. Beside each one is space for recording measurements three different times. When selecting a pattern, these measurements are the ones you should compare with the measurements on the chart in the pattern catalog to decide what type and size pattern to buy. Look at the illustration to determine where to take the necessary measurements.

Women:  There are a variety of pattern types available for women including: Petite, Junior, Misses, Half Size and Women's. Sizes available vary with the pattern type selected.

Measurements Needed to Buy Pattern 

 

Measurements and Date Taken

   
1. Bust (fullest part of bust, high under arm, straight across back)       
2. Waist (natural waistline)      
3. Hips  (fullest part of hips)      
4. Back Waist (from top of prominent bone at base of neck to natural waistline)      
5. Height (without shoes)       
These measurements indicate:  Pattern 
Type
Pattern 
Type
Pattern 
Type
  Size Size Size

Toddlers: Pattern sizes for in-between baby and child stage of growth. (Size 1/2-4)

Measurements Needed to Buy Pattern 

 

Measurements and Date Taken

 
1. Breast (fullest part of chest, high under arm, straight across back)      
2. Waist (natural waistline)      
3. Garment length (from neckline at center back to desired length)      
These measurements indicate: Pattern 
Type
Pattern 
Type
Pattern 
Type
  Size Size Size

Children and Girls: Sizes incorporate both circumference measurements and height because they are inter-related. Children (Size 1-6X) and Girls (Size 7-14)

Measurements Needed to Buy Pattern 

 

Measurements and Date Taken

 
1. Breast (fullest part of chest, high under arm, straight across back)      
2. Waist (natural waistline)      
3. Hip  (fullest part)      
4. Back Waist Length (from top of prominent bone at base of neckline to natural waistline)      
5. Height (from top of head to floor, without shoes)      
These measurements indicate:  Pattern 
Type
Pattern 
Type
Pattern 
Type
  Size Size Size

 
 

Boys' and Teen-Boys: Size ranges planned for boys and young men who haven't reached adult stature. Height is considered because it is directly related to circumference measurements. Boys (Size 7-12) and Teen Boys' (Sizes 14-20)

Measurements Needed to Buy Pattern 

 

Measurements and Date Taken

 
1. Chest (fullest part of chest, high under arm, straight across back)      
2. Waist (natural waistline)      
3. Hip (seat) (fullest part)      
4. Neck (around neck at base)      
5. Height (from top of head to floor, without shoes)      
These measurements indicate: Pattern 
Type
Pattern 
Type
Pattern 
Type
  Size Size Size

 
 

Men: Patterns are designed for figure of average build that  stands about 5'10" tall without shoes. (Size 34- 48)

Measurements Needed to Buy Pattern

 

Measurements and Date Taken

 
1. Chest (fullest part of chest, high under arm, straight across back)      
2. Waist (natural waistline)      
3. Hip (seat) (fullest part)      
4. Neck (around neck at base)      
5. Sleeve Length (from top of head to floor, without shoes)      
These measurements indicate: Pattern 
Type
Pattern 
Type
Pattern 
Type
  Size Size Size

New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.

Reprinted June 2001
Electronic Distribution June 2001