Knowing what size to cut

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?


  1. YAY!
    I have always been perplexed by pattern sizes. And my girls' pattern sizes are WAY different.
    This really helped me demystify what size to cut. THANKS!

  2. Thanks for the tip. I'm still trying to figure out what size in patterns I am. The first dress I made with Kelli last year is a little small, and then the next two I've made have been too big and I've kind of messed them up by trying to take them in later. So I probably should just do a good measuring of myself.

  3. I guess I'm sized oddly. I buy a ready-to-wear size 12, measure to a size 16 sewing pattern, but those are always too big, so I just make the 12, which fits fine. My measurements don't match up to the size 12 on the back of the pattern but it fits me fine, anyway. Size 16 (pattern size) falls off!!

  4. I have a problem with patterns also, but mostly because my measurements are so crazy that my top is 2 or 3 sizes bigger than my waist and hips. ha ha ha (not at the moment though my stomach is bigger than everything at the moment. thank you little one growing inside of it) Good info.