Choosing the right size

Sewing is much more fun and garment fitting is a great deal easier if you start with the right pattern size. Still, many people go for the wrong size either ignoring their actual measurements or taking an incorrect measurement type as a guideline in determining the size for a specific garment type.

Having a set of accurate (and true!) measurements Taking measurements allows you to make a good decision about which pattern size to take.

You need to be aware that a pattern size number is just a name of a certain combination of standard measurements. Moreover, some pattern companies base their pattern sizing on a specific figure type. Some companies may still have a metric system for silhouettes typical for a given country. Sewing pattern sizes may differ as well from the sizes of ready-to-wear garments you are used to. These garments have ease included in their designs Understanding ease, which you may mistakenly assume to be a part of the size. Some clothing companies also make their clothes slightly larger (in other words they size the garments down) just to please their customers –  a kind of cheating, but it works as a marketing strategy. There is even a nice name for this approach – “vanity sizing’ – and the more you pay, the smaller size you can be. But such tricks are not working when we are making our own clothes. Therefore, forget the number you thought your size was and focus on your body measurements.


Let’s get down to business and talk about choosing the right size based on your body measurements. Please note that these are merely general guidelines and you should read carefully the comments included in a model dedicated Full Sewing Guide accompanying each MySizePatterns sewing pattern to check if any attention points are made.

Dresses, Tops and Jackets – select the size based on the bust size (ladies) / check size (gentlemen). For ladies it gets a bit more complicated as they need to consider the bust cup size. Luckily, there are ready-to-take different bust sizes available for MySizePatterns patterns.  You will find more on that at the end of this article.


Skirts – if your waist is small compared to your hips, choose the size for straight/pencil/fitted skirts according to your hip measurement. If you sew “A” line/full skirts, be guided by your waist measurement. If the difference between your waist and hips is rather small, go for the size indicated by your hips for all kind of skirts.


Pants –  the size indication should be the circumference of your hip, just above the crotch.

Pregnancy clothes –  for maternity patterns (at least these available in MySizePatterns), choose the size according to your current under bust and full bust measurements. These patterns are adjusted for a fuller bust and a growing waist, but the general structure of the silhouette is the same. Before cutting the fabric please check if there is enough room for your tummy by comparing your circumference at the widest level with the circumference at the corresponding level in the pattern.

That is not all when thinking about the proper size. Consider also the information about ease included in the model and more importantly – your personal (!) preferences about ease together with the qualities of a fabric you are going to use for your project Dealing with fabrics .

The right size means also the proper height. Please be remined that not everybody has a standard length of 168cm / 5ft6in for a woman and 186cm/6ft1in for a man. Although the length adjustments are less troublesome than width or depth modifications, it all takes time and carries some risk of miscalculations – especially if the pattern has original, design cuts. MySizePatterns patterns are available in different heights.

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