Grading children’s clothes pt.1

This article was supposed to be about extrapolating grade rules from sizing charts to make the different sizes for children’s clothes but it’s descended into what Eric describes as a necessary group apology from moi. Consider that done. Let me explain.

I don’t do kids wear. Not grading anyway. In the interests of self improvement, I’ve been using a child’s pattern in my OptiTex CAD training. Last week, I started the grading portion of the training (neat!!!!). Speaking of, Mike says his wife Amy learned the whole program in four hours. Oh how I envy; I wish I were half as clever… Anyway, I started the grading portion by using the grading charts for kids wear from the Handford book. Since the pattern I was using had already been graded by my friend in hard copy, I was surprised that Handford’s charts differed so much from hers. His were definitely dramatically longer. The one thing I remember my friend saying was that her sizes were much different from books but that after seven years of use, she knew her patterns ran true to size (for her market).

Which is what started my quest over the weekend to find standardized sizing charts, throw them into a spread sheet and compare the grades between them. What I didn’t expect, was to find such vast differences. There’s also a bit of controversy to explore as well. The cut to the chase lesson for today is two fold. One, check the sources of your sources. Two, just because you have to buy a given data set, doesn’t mean it’s better than the available free one.


In this post (this is where the group apology comes in), I’d said where one could get sizing standards. For children’s wear, I said one could use the ASTM standard D 5826. However, I was doing a comparison so I pulled measures from Mortimer-Dunn, Solinger, and Jaffe Rosa. The thing that stood out -glaringly obvious- was that the charts in Solinger, (appendix E), shows bodies larger than the published ASTM standard (D 5826). Since Solinger’s book is 27 years old, I started to read the fine print. As it turns out, the data for the ASTM standard is from 1930! Wow! Aside from the obvious, 1930 wasn’t exactly the best time to be measuring kids considering it was the depression and all. So, I looked up Solinger’s source material which turned out to be the Commercial Standard CS151-50 (pdf) which dates from the early 1970’s, a full forty years newer. As it happens, this data set is in the public domain and readily available along with a few other data sets. Caveat; this standard has been officially withdrawn because (the “because” matters; it wasn’t withdrawn because it was defective or superseded by a newer standard):

The commercial standard and products standards on body measurements for the sizing of apparel ….maintained by NBS under the Voluntary Product Standards [sic] Program (VPS) were withdrawn. This was in accordance …to withdraw these standards after sponsorship was assumed by the private industry sector.

Really? Guess by whom was the responsibility assumed in the private sector? That’d be ASTM (they are so going to kick me out). What I don’t understand is why the “sponsoring organization” is selling 1930’s data when responsibility for this 1970’s standard languishes. I am absolutely baffled. It’s crazy that you have to buy the 1930’s data while the 1970’s data is free (pdf). May as well go and get it. I’ll be using it as source material when I explain how to calculate grade rules from measurements.

~Sigh~. Regardless of the base sizes described in ASTM D5826 vs CS151-50, the most important thing is the rules derived between them. As it turns out, there’s some quirkiness there too; it almost looks like butt covering hedging one’s bets. I’ll explain more on that tomorrow so be sure to stay tuned to this riveting, gut wrenchingly exciting series. Heh. Now I have to get back to grading practice…

Edit:
I forgot to mention that between all of us on the forum, we have an in depth topic on cutting the differing sizes in children’s clothes with side discussions of major retailer private label requirements (anybody have Penney’s or Sears’ specs?). See Grading kid’s clothes 3, 4, 5, 6 (and I suppose, 6X, 7?) for more developments. If you have nothing to add but want to be emailed notice of updates, be sure to select “Watch this topic for replies” at the bottom left portion of the screen.

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