There is nothing worse, well maybe, than taking all the time to make something that doesn't fit. So, what size should you cut? If you go with the size you buy off the rack you may be sorely disappointed. "Fashion sizes" change from year to year and brand to brand while "pattern sizes" stay pretty standard. I a store I'm an eight, but when I cut my patterns I'm usually a 10 or 12. But don't you fret, for that same reason Marilyn Monroe is reported to have worn a size 16 dress. In reality and by today's ample dress sizes she was more of a size 6-8. So really, measure your self and cut the right size. You can always add a tag with a much smaller number, but a trim look can only be achieved by wearing clothes that fit. The great thing about the maxi dress is you just need to worry about your bust size. The skirt is so gathered and loose that you just need to fit the top. I suggest having a friend help you so that you are sure to have your tape measure run across the fullest part of your bust while keeping the tape parallel to the floor (line 1 from left graphic). The back of the pattern will have a chart to tell you which size to then cut. Any questions?