I recently conducted a little experiment with my sewing. It was an accidental experiment, but I learned a very important lesson. Actually I already KNEW this lesson, so I more or less just proved my hypothesis.
When pattern designers create a sewing pattern, they don't all use the same size chart. Each designer uses their own size chart to create their patterns. A size 4 to one designer might very well be the same measurements of a size 3 to another designer. It's always a good idea to take measurements and write them down BEFORE choosing a size to make. For my kids, I typically take their measurements about every 4-6 months. My kids are slowing down in their growing, but for a baby, you should take measurements more often.
For this experiment I made 4 different patterns by 4 different designers, BUT I made the same size in each pattern: size 12 months.
- All You Need Jammies by Heidi and Finn
- Everyday Princess by Jocole Patterns
- The Bubblegum Dress with the Swing Dress Add-On by Candy Castle
- The Aivilo Ruffle Pants by Aivilo Charlotte
First up is the All You Need Jammies by Heidi and Finn. You can read my entire post about these jammies. As I was cutting out the size 12 month, I kept thinking to myself. Maybe I should have cut out size 18 months? These look awfully small...Of course PJ's are supposed to be snug and I was using knit fabric with a pretty good stretch. The next time my little niece was at our house, I held the sleeve up to her arm with a bit of relief. The pj's would fit, but not for very long! The finished pj's are a perfect fit, but sadly there is no growing room. Lesson #1 learned: don't guess on the size!
Next up is the Everyday Princess by Jocole Patterns. I didn't even look at the size chart on this one! I simply cut out size 12 months. It fits, but it gaps a bit at the back and you can see in this picture how much it really gapes open at the shoulders and neck area. Even with the shirring in the back, it's still too much big for her, so maybe it will be good worn in the winter with a long sleeve layered underneath? Lesson #2 learned: check the size chart!
The third pattern that I sewed is the Aivilo Ruffle Pants by Aivilo Charlotte. These are a really cute (and cleverly constructed) wide leg pant with ruffles or pleats on the hems. The smallest size here is the 12 month size and I remembered from testing these that they seemed to run a bit on the long side, so I knew without a doubt that these would be long on her. I should have measured her inseam and adjusted the length. It really wouldn't have been a difficult adjustment to make. The waist fit well, so maybe the length will fit her when she is 2? Lesson #3 learned: take measurements and adjust the pattern for length if necessary!
The final outfit that I sewed for my (very unofficial) experiment was the adorable Bubblegum Swing Dress by Candy Castle Patterns. This pattern went from size 6-9 months and then jumped to 12-18 months. I said well she is almost a year old so I'll just make the bigger size. As I was cutting I felt like the pattern pieces were a bit on the large size. And my instinct was right! The finished dress ended up being a little on the long side, and she definitely has some growing room! I did use snaps instead of a ribbon tie, so that helped with fitting around her waist. Lesson #4 learned: pattern sizes don't necessarily coincide with age!
And there you have it! Four reasons that you should always measure your model AND check the size chart of the pattern before cutting and sewing. Also further proof that all designers follow their own size chart for their own brand of patterns. Happy sewing!