Consider the following when choosing from the major pattern companies:
- It's important first of all to recognize the two basic categories. AMERICAN sizing includes the following; Vogue, Butterick, Simpilicty, and McCall’s. These patterns tend to have more “ease” built in. They are best if purchased according to your high bust measurement. European sizing includes New Look, Burda, Style, Neue Mode, and Kwik-Sew. These patterns claim to run “true” to measurement. It may be best to purchase these using your full bust measurement.
- Pattern making is an art well as a science making it a complex subject. Choosing the correct size is just a starting point. The adventure of proper pattern selection only begins there. Size is based primarily on the bust, waist, hip, and measurements. There are also a variety of figure types such as Women’s, Misses, and Half-Size. Blouse and dress patterns are usually selected according to the bust measurement. Pant and skirt patterns are best selected according to the hip size. Multi-size patterns allow for more flexibility.
- The back of the pattern envelope contains important information. Pay attention to the description of the garment as well as finished measurements such as overall length and width of garment areas. In many cases the actual garment measurements plus added ease is only found inside the envelope and possibly on the pattern tissue itself.
- Fit coordination is important when you're selecting several patterns to formulate an “outfit.” Put very simply, this means that the lines of the patterns and the added ease must be compatible so they garments will fit comfortably together.
- Fashion illustrations can be misleading. The description of the garment is usually more accurate. For example, if the envelop says very loosely fitted you can be sure there is a lot of ease added into the pattern.
For many years I've been a fan of New Look patterns and I've found them to run very true to size. This means I need to be very honest with my measurements when compared to the pattern envelope. However, it also means I can be pretty sure of a good fit when I pick a size that's closest to my personal measurements. How about you? Do you have a favorite among the major pattern companies? Please share your own experiences in the comments below.