We often hear the phrase that ‘size doesn’t matter’, when we are referring to personality that’s correct but in the world of dress/clothes making size is EVERYTHING.
I can already hear the discontented groans with that statement but give me a chance to explain before you hit me with negative feedback.
When you buy clothes you have an idea of what size you are, you buy clothes in that size and you set yourself little targets or rewards to reach a certain size. But when you are making an outfit, size is a whole different ball game.
Let’s think back to buying garments in shops, you see something you like and you buy it in your size. However, even when you buy these clothes they are not always the perfect fit because the suggested measurement doesn’t always match up to the actual measurement. To put it another way, imagine you go and buy a dress. Your waist size might match that of a size 12 but your hips match a size 14, it leads to ill-fitting clothes.
So how do we deal with this when we have a sewing pattern we want to use even if it’s to make something completely different from the design on the packet?
The first step is accurate measurements. There’s no point looking at a sewing pattern and saying you’re a size 14 based on how you shop. Each sewing pattern comes with a size guide. You need to fit your measurements to that guide even if one part of you is a size 14 and the other a size 10.
Ok, so we know measuring is pivotal but what if you like a pattern and it DOES NOT come in your size? Do you abandon hope? Absolutely not. You can scale the pattern to your size. This is something I thought would be incredibly difficult but actually it’s not. You just need to work at your own pace when rescaling. Don’t rush it and make a mistake because this does concentration, accuracy, common sense and a steady hand.
Take my measurements, for instance. I have no qualms in disclosing that I am a large lady. As a result, my measurements are not always catered for on patterns. One of the biggest issues I have is that, unlike many women of my size, I have a smaller bust than I do waist but a wide back, so I have to see where the size guide stops and then work out how many sizes up I need to go. I’m currently working on my first ever cosplay outfit – a Morgana Pendragon outfit from the TV series Merlin. Below is the sizing guide for the basis of my dress. You will see that with my bust I only had to go up one size to 28 but my waist went to size 36 which is five sizes more than the pattern. I was worried this wouldn’t work but my tutor was patient and talked me through it showing me how.
You need to look at the grading and follow the lines and add additions where necessary ensuring you are precise with the grading lines as you add them. Look at the photo below to it gives you an idea of how you grade upwards. To make a pattern smaller you reduce it again with precision as you measure the difference between each size.
Once the pattern is fully resized you can start to work on your toile.
As mentioned earlier I am making my first ever cosplay outfit for the MCM Comic Con in London at the Excel from the 26th – 28th May. I’m excited and nervous as it is my first cosplay. Time is moving fast so this is something I’ll be working on with a degree of speed but I refuse to let it affect the quality of my work. As a big fan of costume and cosplay, this is something I am passionate about.
You’ll be able to follow my journey, as I make the dress, here on the Silver Lining blog. I’ll even try and add a few videos where possible.
So just remember, when someone says to you ‘size doesn’t count’, you can just smile sweetly and explain why size is EVERYTHING in dressmaking.