How to get sizing and grading standards

People ask me all the time for sizing or measurement charts relating to their product lines. There are 2 basic ways to get sizing information. One is to buy it (the subject of this post) or to design it yourself, usually via reverse engineering of your competitor’s products (a later post).

Buying sizing information can also be done in two different ways. Many companies use the sizing charts that come in the pattern grading book they’ve chosen as their house reference and accordingly, I’ll list your best options. You can also buy sizing information as a product onto itself. The standard reference house for technical specifications of all industries (in the US) is known as ASTM, the American Society for Testing and Materials.

As far as grading books are concerned, I’d recommend Handford’s Professional Pattern Grading for Women’s Men’s and Children’s Apparel as this is the book that seems to be used most in the US. It’s a good basic standard that I recommend most. The best selling book is Grading Techniques for Fashion Design -because it is published by Fairchild- but it isn’t nearly as user-friendly. I also like all of the English books by Cooklin such as Pattern Grading for Men’s Clothes and Master Patterns and Grading for Women’s Outsizes but I see those books are quite rare now. Oh my, maybe Linda at International Fashion Publications in Los Angeles (213-622-5663) has them.

If you don’t get your standards out of a grading book, you can get them from ASTM International. The ASTM committee charged with the minutia of this industry is D-13 Textiles. The subcommittee Body Measurement for Apparel Sizing is D-13.55. Now, you can buy in several ways. You can buy the huge 2 volume set 70.01 & 70.02 in either hard copy or cdrom, or just one of the volumes (prices range from $185-$320). Lastly, you can order whatever technical specs you need most. For example, D5585-95 Standard Table of Body Measurements for Adult Female Misses Figure Type, Sizes 2-20 costs $28 for the 4 page set. Below I’ve gone to the bother of listing all of the ASTM sizing standards that are available:

D4910-02 Standard Tables of Body Measurements for Infants, Sizes 0 to 24
D5219-02 Standard Terminology Relating to Body Dimensions for Apparel Sizing (reference points aren’t numbered!)
D5585-95(2001) Standard Table of Body Measurements for Adult Female Misses Figure Type, Sizes 2-20
D5586-01 Standard Tables of Body Measurements for Women Aged 55 and Older (All Figure Types)
D5826-00 Standard Tables of Body Measurements for Children, Sizes 2 to 6x/7
D6192-98(2004) Standard Tables of Body Measurements for Girls, Sizes 7 to 16
D6240-98 Standard Tables of Body Measurements for Men Sizes Thirty-Four to Sixty (34 to 60) Regular
D6458-99 Standard Tables of Body Measurements for Boys, Sizes 8 to 14 Slim and 8 to 20 Regular
D6829-02 Standard Tables of Body Measurements for Juniors, Sizes 0 to 19
D6860-03 Proposed Standard Tables of Body Measurements for Boys, Sizes 6 to 24 Husky
D6960-04 Standard Table of Body Measurements Relating to Women’s Plus Size Figure Type, Sizes 14W-32W
D7022-04 Standard Terminology Relating to Apparel

To buy any of these standards, go to ASTM and paste the document you want into the search bar. Also, with some documents you may have the option of selecting either 2004 or 2005. If you want standards to use now, get the 2004 version. The 2005 version won’t be published until the end of this year in November so you’d be paying for information you can’t even get yet. You can also get a free catalog (print version) of all available standards here.

I suppose I should mention that I’m a voting member of several ASTM D-13 subcommittees but believe me, I don’t make any money selling these specs and just because I’m a member doesn’t mean I’m an apologist for them either. For example, D7022-04 Standard Terminology Relating to Apparel is a waste of money. Only 59 terms are defined and of those, 29 are related to feathers and down! I kid you not. Obviously one of the voting subcommittee members represented the down industry. Be that as it may, I wouldn’t be involved if it were not a worthy organization.

Espionage for better sizing
Espionage for better sizing pt.2
How to shop for clothes for sizing research
How to get sizing and grading standards

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32 Comments on "How to get sizing and grading standards"

Libby Romano
3 months 19 days ago

Is there an ASTM table you recommend for maternity-wear – specifically, dresses? I’m getting the following two options, (MIL-DTL-29477A and 78A) but neither seem to be specific to maternity-wear OR dresses.

1 year 4 months ago

Hi Kathleen, is there another grading book that you can recommend? The one by Hanford is wayyyyyy out of my budget. I saw that Concepts of Pattern Grading 2nd Edition: Techniques for Manual and Computer Grading by Moore, Mullett, and Young has pretty good reviews on Amazon. I am not quite a beginner but I don’t think I am good enough to consider myself an intermediate with pattern grading.

1 year 5 months ago

I like the Aldrich books quite a bit and have all of them. I agree with Simone that Aldrich could be a good source. The 5th edition of Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear has a summary of the BS/EU sizing initiative (13042 et al).

That said, it is important to separate the value of pattern instruction in a book from sizing guidelines (which are only included so the student can execute the drafts). Crazy as it sounds, a patternmaking book should not be considered a reputable source for sizing—and this applies to all pattern books, not just Aldrich’s. Reason is, sizes are constantly changing while the instruction of how to make a pattern, does not. Case in point, if we gauged the value of a pattern book according to the quality of the size measurements within it, some truly lovely vintage books would be judged inferior.

But returning to Simone’s point: If you’re on a budget (data sets aren’t cheap) and if basic measures are all you need, the latest editions of the Aldrich books could solve a lot of what ails you.

1 year 5 months ago

All the titles by Winifred Aldrich have several size charts and are the best I have used! Find them on Amazon, they are worth every penny!