Pop Quiz: What is an optimal size range?

A lot of interesting commentary came out of Tuesday’s entry, What is a size break?, one of which was the question of the optimal size range. By way of example is Sarah’s question:

How many sizes can be reliably covered by grading before the technique breaks down and there really should be an adjustment for a new shape? Misses sizes based on an 8 or 10, can be graded from 0 to 20 (11 sizes). I think it is stating the obvious that this large a grade would not work. In an ideal manufacturing world, what would?

Wars have been started under flimsier pretexts but few would agree it is possible to do a good job of grading 11 sizes from one base size pattern. There is a lot of wiggle room depending on styling and fabrication so try to limit your answer to specific examples.

You should know that today’s entry is a pre-pop quiz to another pop quiz to be published next week (now here). At that time you’ll see how having too many sizes can dilute the size spread such that your medium is not a medium for costing purposes. If you’re not sure why a medium is the base size for costing purposes, Analyzing sales by size is required reading -as is part two in the series. However, this does not mean a medium always should be the base size, far from it. Not knowing when it should or shouldn’t be -or even which size should be- can bury you. Happily, this has a simple solution, I wish most production and sizing problems could be fixed this easily. In next week’s pop quiz you’ll get the chance to explain (or read) how to do that too.

Regrouping, today’s question is: How many sizes can be reliably covered by grading before the technique breaks down and there really should be an adjustment for a new shape?

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  1. Kathleen says:

    I’ll go first. Left to my own devices I wouldn’t grade a style more than two sizes up and down from the middle (base) size because the grade can become diluted unless you’re a whiz-bang gen-you-win expert. If a medium were my base size, the size range would be XS, S, M, L and XL.

    The silhouette and fit of numbered sizes is generally more tightly controlled. In those, the profile customer vs styling matters more. If I were making a princess seamed lined coat and 10 were my block size, my numbered sizes would run 6, 8, 10, 12, 14. Subject to modification of course once sales came in. If sales were slanted toward the upper end, I’d switch gears to use the 12 for my base size, drop the 6 and add a 16. If there were more sales in the smaller sizes, I’d make the 8 my median size, drop the 14 and add a size 4. Rinse, lather and repeat till it’s nailed down.

    If you’re not sure why I’d limit my range to only five sizes, my company is tiny and I can only do so much. Most women’s wear manufacturers in the US (68%) are tiny companies with fewer than 20 employees who don’t have the resources to cover a larger sizing spectrum. It’s only after a company grows larger that they can add more sizes. Even so, there’s quite a few medium sized firms who only cut a limited size range. It really depends on the customer attracted to it.

  2. dosfashionistas says:

    OK, I’ll bite. I always thought that sizes designated SML etc. bridged 2 sizes. M being an 8-10 and so forth. I’m not trying to be trouble. I know part of the answer; but I want to hear yours.

  3. Rocio says:

    In the “old days” S-M-L was mainly used for knits or loose fitting garments (like sweatshirts) but my impression is that we see more of this on woven garments because companies don’t want to have to carry too many sizes.

    I would typically recommend that a new brand sticks with a basic size offering for the first couple of seasons until they start getting feedback to justify making adjustments.
    For a more established company that has a few seasons under it’s belt, changing the base size (even if it’s for the right reasons) could turn into a nightmare.

    Private label manufacturers produce based on sizing standards established by the retailer.

  4. Ann Vong says:

    I have a question/confusion about size breaks and how they relate to grading. The textbooks show a 1″ circumference grade for smaller sizes below a base size and 1.5″ to 2″ grades as the size gets larger. Is the size break related to this change in circumference grade?

  5. Esther says:

    No to side track things too far, but if the sizes in S-M-L span two sizes, do you lean toward the larger of the two or average. I go for less work and say that my medium covers 8-10 but is actually and truly a 10. (shhh, don’t tell anyone).

  6. kathleen says:

    (shhh, don’t tell anyone)

    That made me laugh. Then too, you don’t know what the customer’s sizing expectations are, what they’re buying. What does an 8 mean anyway? It’s all over the map.

    Good question Ann. The text books should show a 1″ grow for one size larger and smaller than the base size. You can use 1″ down to a size 6 on the low end and 12 on the upper. Going smaller from a 6 takes a 3/4″ grade. From 12 to 14 on the upper end, the grade is 1 1/2. Oh, this applies to numbered sizes.

    This change in circumference grade has nothing to do with a size break at this point. Look at page 172 of my book, fig 5.65 and 5.66. Figure 5.65 is what people think a grade looks like or should be but Fig. 5.66 is correct. As people get smaller, they get proportionately smaller. The reverse is true too. You can grade up another two sizes like that (1 1/2″ grade) but after that you should really think about breaking the size right there. If you want to do larger sizes, then start a new body at that point. It will fit better. Or rather, it’ll fit better faster.

  7. Another tangent….I understand that the generally accepted sample size is an 8 or a 10 but is that an old-school 8 or 10 or an 8 or 10 that one could find at say the GAP? I ask because I’m confused as to where the 1″ vs 1.5″ grades would be. Handford indicates that the 1.5″ grade starts between the size 12 and 14 but if we’re talking about smaller bodies than the 12s and 14s I make for than I’d love to know where to adjust my grading. I couldn’t find that information in Handford’s book and re-read your section on grading but I’m still confused. Thank you for your time!

  8. Liz says:

    I would think that the optimal size range would be less tied to what a manufacturer’s medium is than to how adult bodies change shape as they get larger.

    The assumption is, within the Misses range, that larger sizes are worn by taller women, smaller sizes, by shorter women. Look at how the back waist length grows as sizes increase. Within the size range where larger = taller, one can grade and have it work well.

    However, on both ends, this assumption doesn’t work out. Petite women are not the same shape as average sized women, only tinier, and we know heavy women aren’t the same shape, only larger/taller.

    So, I see the size ranges covering the group of bodies which have the same proportions, just scaled down/up. There will be fixed places where mere grading won’t work any more, that’s where size breaks need to happen.

    So, where are they? This is where I say I’m just an enthusiast and don’t have the knowledge/experience to say . But I’d guess that, on the large size, it’s somewhere between (current day) Misses size 12 and 16. So, while 4 to 12 might work, 10 through 18 would not.

  9. kathleen says:

    I would think that the optimal size range would be less tied to what a manufacturer’s medium is than to how adult bodies change shape as they get larger.

    Every manufacturer has a target customer they’re shooting for. They decide. The midpoint of their customer spectrum is their medium. It should not be so general as the broad spectrum of body changes with size. Now, that doesn’t keep a consumer from deciding they are a customer but it doesn’t hold the manufacturer is sizing to that or any potential consumer’s expectations. Let’s say a manufacturer is making ballerina leotards. The size range is tied to that demography and the mid range of that market. It would not make sense for this manufacturer to tie their grade to the broad spectrum of how adult bodies change shape as they get larger.

    The assumption is, within the Misses range, that larger sizes are worn by taller women, smaller sizes, by shorter women. Look at how the back waist length grows as sizes increase. Within the size range where larger = taller, one can grade and have it work well. However, on both ends, this assumption doesn’t work out.

    Actually, this assumption does work out, the data proves it. Over the past few days, I’ve linked repeatedly to historical sizing data that definitely shows that the median of women of subsequent larger and smaller sizes, change height -and in vain, I have tried to get everyone to look at it; it was a three part series.

    People have the expectation that if they gain weight, they would just buy the next largest size of a given product line and it should be graded to their specific static height but this rarely holds true. This is why I showed the grading example with the bowls. The bowls get progressively taller as they get broader. This is how grading works in clothing too because the average person of a next larger size are slightly taller. That a given individual of a specific size does not gain in height when they grow into the next size is patently obvious but the majority of the people who will take that size are slightly taller or shorter. If this were not the case, you’re basically asking a manufacturer to select one specific height person -say, 5’5″- and to make all of their sizes only grow or shrink in girth so that all of their sizes will fit the 5’5″ consumer. This would dramatically decrease the range of customers who can wear this brand. The problem is one of expectations. People need to realize that as they gain or lose weight, not only will they need to change sizes, they may also need to change brands.

  10. Liz says:

    Kathleen, I think you are saying, in the proper technical terms, what I meant.

    There is a point where “height increases as girth increases” no longer applies — or a size 48 woman would be around 9 feet tall. There will be a point where the grading rules must change to stop taking height into account, and that’s where the size break has to be.

    As far as a manufacturer’s size range, I can’t see how they could economically cover both sides of that break point in one size range. The numbers assigned to each size are irrelevant.

    Am I making any sense at all here?

  11. Liz,
    If I were making ballerina leotards and my customer was by definition fit and trim, absolutely, my size 48 woman would be at least 9 feet tall. (Which means I probably would not bother making any size 48s.)

    If I were making leotards for the general fitness market, I would assume a thicker, less-muscular body. My size 48 would be tall, but not impossible.

    If I were making leotards for the plus-size market, my size 48 would be completely average-height, possibly on the short side.

  12. Liz says:


    True, and we’re talking about 3 very different grades here:
    – “fit & trim” which would grade size/height up to, oh, a 6 foot tall size 14 (I’m guessing here)
    – general women, which might start at 5’3″ size 6 and go up to 5’10” size 16
    – plus size, which might start at 5’3″ size 14 going to 5’10” size 24
    – plus, plus, which would cover those larger than size 24
    (all these numbers choses at random, because I don’t know enough about sizing to know the real limits, and the numbers don’t mean a lot anyway.)

    The point I’m trying to make (and apparently failing) is that there are natural size breaks which determine a manufacturer’s range. A manufacturer of “fit & trim” exercise gear can’t just grade up to a size 18, she would have to move into the plus size grading system, with all the extra costs that entails. Where she placed her Medium really doesn’t matter.

  13. kathleen says:

    Liz, I wrote a (too) lengthy response yesterday that I didn’t post, wanting a spate of time to shorten it. Your comment this morning lends me to think I was on the right track with it:

    Okay Liz, I think I understand the direction you’re taking. Yes there would be size breaks when growing or shrinking a size range in girth/hgt to the extent it is no longer sane or logical. If I understand your context, then your question is kind of a theoretical because we hit other constraints that limit the range before we’d ever get to that point. Given characteristics of the target customer will limit the size range so we’d never hit that theoretical end point to worry about hitting a size break.

    In my unpublished comment, I went on to explain that analyzing or dealing with the theoretical end points of the size spread was interesting but not useful because there were other constraints that would prevent ever needing to deal with it. Then this morning you said

    The point I’m trying to make (and apparently failing) is that there are natural size breaks which determine a manufacturer’s range.

    which is along the lines of what I’d been writing. One difference tho, it’s less a matter of size breaks per se which limit a manufacturer’s range but these other constraints. I’ve listed them according to this example:

    For example, I cannot say that only slender shorter girls will want to buy ballerina tutus but that the majority of girls who fit the physical profile and lifestyle dedication would be the demographic of a high end tutu maker. A dirty old man might want to wear a tutu too but there is either not enough dirty old men who want tutus to make it worthwhile to produce for them or one’s firm is such that your stature and professionalism is an element of your brand image.

    Redux: we don’t need to worry about the theoretical fit end point. We only have to worry about the spectrum of our market. Our size range will first be limited by:
    1. Physical characteristics unique to our customer.
    2 Interests
    3. Lifestyle / Professional dedication
    4. Mission of the business: serving professional ballerinas.
    5. Company image and credibility to their customer.

    Beyond the struggle for appropriate diction or semantics to describe this complexity, there’s confusion too. I don’t suggest you’re confused by any means, I mean generally consumers are. They confuse the major brands, store brands, and even lifestyle brands and think that this is the majority but it’s not. Most manufacturers are targeted. I explained this the other day when I said most manufacturers stick to one sizing category and that childrenswear manufacturers were the only common exception. In the why manufacturers don’t add a plus line, I said that adding plus sizes is like adding a whole other division and explained why it’s costly. This applies to any product line. Even the largest brands are broken into separate divisions and never deal with the full spectrum of the theoretical size spread. Within each division is one size spectrum. Divisions (or autonomous lines) don’t cross size breaks. Crossing a size break is what determines the necessity of the creation of another division (or label etc).

    I don’t think consumers understand how much we think of our customer as a tightly defined entity to design around them. I think that consumers think that if they have the money, like something and will buy it but they’re constrained by the entry point of the manufacturer’s definition of their customer, they’re not pleased. They think if they have the money, they should be able to buy it. Sometimes it’s obvious so they might realize it but the differences between mainstream lines is nearly always subtle. There is no sign hanging on stuff saying: “you are not my customer unless ……….”

    People also don’t realize that these sorts of social mechanisms of how people dress according to social strata, is new. Before it was easier for a manufacturer to signal to a consumer that they were the intended customer of product line such as in various types of workers vs military vs nobility etc. As our social edges have softened and the boundaries of our social aspirations have become more porous (a good thing), so have our clothes. One can aspire if only through their dress. This is one reason why clothing fits badly, manufacturers don’t know who their customer is anymore and the causes are myriad. Point is, a customer may covet a product line that was not intended for their demography and rather than realizing it, they resent their aspirations have not been considered for inclusion.

  14. Denise Woodson Ofria says:

    “Point is, a customer may covet a product line that was not intended for their demography and rather than realizing it, they resent their aspirations have not been considered for inclusion.”

    Okay — I admit it! I resent the fact that manufacturer’s of stylish women’s professional wear, e.g. suits, skirts, jackets, tops/blouses, cannot foresee a plus size woman as their customer. I walk through the misses and petites departments and see beautiful, stylish, well made suits; suits with design details and that are made from fabrics with natural fibers. Then I walk into the plus size section, which is usually in a badly lit, remote corner of the department store, and almost everything is made of polyester and is styled for the kind of woman who perennially looks baggy and saggy or for the woman who only dresses casually in jeans and t-shirts or baggy track suits.

    The plus size range is no longer solely for those who are not fit, never were fit, or eat 10,000 calories a day. More and more of us who bought our professional clothing in misses and petite sizes at the beginning of our careers are now middle-aged, postmenopausal and paunchy. When I first entered the professional working class, I was frequently “the first woman” or “one of a small, but growing number of women”. (By the way, at that time I was a size 10.) Designers and manufacturers didn’t produce for the older professional woman, because they were just too few.Okay, that was fine 40 years ago. But, now we are approaching a majority in these positions — where are the professional clothes that will fit us?

  15. Denise,

    Is it possible that you’re trying to shop in a store where their plus-size is an afterthought? Might you have better success shopping in stores where you are the target customer?

    It’s annoying to have to start all over again looking for the right stores, the right brands, the right lines. You did that once already 30 years ago and you thought you were set for life. You had a system. It worked.

    But when we change our old system is not guaranteed to work for us any more. If you want to find clothes that target the woman you are today, you may have to give up the approach that worked for finding clothes that targeted the woman you used to be.

  16. Denise Woodson Ofria says:

    Allison, I’m not clear on where you would send me to shop. I live in the Phoenix, AZ metro area — in other words a large city area, not a small town. I shop the usual department stores – Macys, Nordstroms, et. al. There are stores that cater to the plus size woman here that I do not frequent because of the poor quality and dated or inappropriate styles I find there – think national chains of fat lady stores. I used to shop at Talbots because they carried larger sizes in good clothing, but now the Talbots store does not carry the larger sizes in their store, only mail order. I know of no other source for larger size clothing except mail order. Now, when I lived in San Francisco, there were upscale boutiques that sold very well made, very fashionable plus size clothing. Also the SF Macys had great professional clothing in a larger size range. Alas, I do not live in SF any longer.

    But think about it! Look around in the grocery stores, in a mall, in the movie theatres, in your local hospital, in the museum. What size range do the vast majority of women fall into? If you do not live on the island of Manhattan, then this size range is the plus sizes, 16 and above. So why, why, why is there no clothing for us? I’m not interested in the tsk, tsking about the national obesity problem. I just want some G*damned suits.

  17. Denise Woodson Ofria says:

    Allison, Sorry, I kind of popped my cork in that last post. I am certain your comments were well intentioned. You were right in a way, I have had to give up the approach that worked for me in my younger years. I no longer shop for clothes; I make them. But, I grumble under my breath all the while that I should be able to pop down to Nordstroms and buy whatever it is I am sewing. Thanks for taking the time to respond to my post.

  18. kathleen says:

    Denise, I already know you probably won’t like this answer but it could not be truer and it is the same thing I tell every plus size person. As kindly as I can, I say no one owes anyone anything.

    All product lines are started by one person who either had a vision or was fed up and decided to do something about it. I personally feel the best person to put out a plus size line is a plus size person. There is no reason why they can’t do it, why expect someone else to? Plus sizes say it’s a great market, people are willing to spend…so go for it. It should be a slam dunk.

    If skinny people start lines for skinny people, ex-ballerinas start ballet clothing lines, moms who love dressing their babies cutely start kids lines and cowboys start cowboy lines, I don’t understand why the plus size market thinks they should be the singular exception and why someone else owes them this. It is the only market segment I know of that routinely holds this expectation and I’m at a complete loss to understand why. Sure, it’s a lot of work, a tremendous amount of work but it can be done. Obese people get upset if it is suggested they’re lazy so I know of no better way to contradict this belief by trying it themselves. Every day, people who don’t know squat take a risk, buy a book (hopefully mine) and get to it. I think the better question could be, why don’t plus sized people start clothing lines proportionate to their numbers like other groups of people do?

  19. LizPf says:

    Denise, I understand your plight.

    I’m not plus sized (any more … I had a health scare in June that made me realize I had to lose weight, and I’m 15 lbs and a size down already), but I have always had trouble finding clothing to fit my short but curvy body. I’m middle aged too, and know that ultra short sleeves and low-rise pants don’t look good on bodies that have seen a lot of gravity.

    What I did this past spring was go to the mall and go into *every* clothing shop that catered to adult women. I pretended I had landed in a foreign country and knew nothing about the shops. I walked into every store, and every department of the department stores (except the teen/junior ones). I looked at the styles. I looked at quality, at prices. I picked a few garments that might fit and tried them on. I didn’t expect much, except that 90% of what I looked at would be wrong.

    But I did find a new to me store that has styles I like, at a price I can afford, with reasonable quality. I like everything they sell, except the pants, all of which give me camel toe. I never went in before, as their decor screamed *expen$ive*! But it’s now my default store, except for pants.

    Denise, I suggest you do the same thing, with one addition — dress up. If you’re looking for business clothing, wear a suit. Let the clerks see that you have money and want top quality clothes. Even if you find nothing, the message that plus size women want high quality professional clothing, will filter up.

  20. Jodes says:

    Im late to the party, but Im here to agree with Denise in her frustration over availability of good quality items for plus sizes. There are more people sizes 14+ than ever before, yet the majority of fashion is made for people sizes 0-12.

    The point is, whilst the previous conversations were talking about taking an arbitrary number and then going two sizes up and down of that size to remain a cost effective producer, none of you were talking about whether that median size was cost effective in terms of “is this the median” or “perhaps this size range is overcatered to?”. I’ve been involved in plus size fashion campaigning for over a decade, trust me, I know how little I have available to me and how I can best manage that by ordering internationally. I still have perhaps six stores at best that I can trust to give me good quality clothing that fits and is fashionable. Compare that to my size 12 coworker, who has at least a couple of hundred stores in this city alone.

    Think outside the square, fashion folk. You can produce clothing for a market that is swamped to the point of ridiculousness in terms of choice, or you can broaden your outlook and increase your chances of making money by catering to a demographic that is quite frankly, screaming out in frustration for more choices, styles and sizes. We have money to burn, people. Your average straight sized customer will hardly give you a second glance, whilst that plus size customer you’ve been ignoring will eagerly buy your clothing if you provide it.

    I strongly encourage you to consider the profits if you open your mind to the potential selling power of plus size clothing.

  21. Kathleen says:

    Jodes wrote:

    …none of you were talking about whether that median size was cost effective in terms of “is this the median” or “perhaps this size range is overcatered to?”.

    We didn’t need to. It is cost effective for this manufacturer. Expecting every size related post on this site to revolve around plus sizes can only be described as communal narcissism when people have pressing problems to resolve concerning demonstrable sales and customers they already have.

    But since you ask, we’ve debated this in painful excruciating detail. It’s off topic on this post and I let it go out of respect for Denise who’s a regular here but I won’t publish anymore comments along these lines in the future. There’s plenty of other posts here to debate it.

    Returning to your summary conclusion that manufacturers are myopic (at best) or have blinders on -we’re neither blind or stupid. If you were manufacturing you’d know there are excellent reasons why existing manufacturers don’t add plus sizes. Do go read that. Understanding the complex variables will help you to do something about it rather than continuing to rely on ineffectual lobbying or deprecating “the enemy”. Neither are productive.

    Since I have you here, what I do not understand is why plus sized people do not start clothing lines proportionate to their numbers like other groups of people do. If “skinny” people start lines for skinny people etc, why don’t plus sized people start clothing lines proportionate to their numbers? Why? Obese people get upset if it is suggested they’re lazy so what is the reason? Are they more risk averse? Why are we expected to do something for you that you won’t do for yourselves?

    Anytime I ask plus size women why they’re not starting lines like “skinny” people do, they say they have careers they’re committed to or busy family lives -as tho none of us did. Or they say their job is “more” important -which indirectly implies our jobs aren’t. No one is inspired to do favors for people who disrespect them, think they’re stupid or blind so I don’t know why anyone would expect we would.

    I am only certain that the absentia of plus sized people starting clothing lines does not compel anyone else to get into it. Contrary to sometimes cantankerous debate, the market must not be that great if even plus size people will not consider it. Over 75% of successful manufacturers don’t have a fashion degree or a background in the trade before they started so if those reasons are not stopping us from getting in, what keeps plus size people from doing it? Why do plus sizes expect other people to do something for them that they won’t do for themselves?

    In other respects it doesn’t make sense. Why would plus sizes demand that people they think hate or disrespect them, to design clothes for them? If a waiter spits in my soup, I don’t want him to bring me another bowl. I want another waiter -or another restaurant.

    Again I ask you, if skinny people with “more” important careers and busy family lives start clothing lines for skinny people, ex-ballerinas with “more” important careers and busy family lives start ballet clothing lines, moms with “more” important careers and busy family lives who love dressing their babies cutely start kids lines and cowboys with “more” important careers and busy family lives start western wear lines, I don’t understand why the plus size market thinks they should be the singular exception. I’m willing to concede they are more special than we are but I want to know why. Until those reasons are made clear, the fact that plus sizes do not start clothing lines commensurate to their numbers tells the rest of us that the market must not be worth the investment and risk to enter a niche of which we know little.

    Again, I suggest you read why existing manufacturers don’t add plus sizes. Read those reasons, understand the high barriers and then come back and tell us how to resolve those problems. Till now, the conversation has been one way. Plus sizes levy insults and invective at us but they don’t want to listen to what we have to say. If your existing strategy of yelling at us hasn’t worked before, it’s not going to work in the future either.

  22. Sabrina says:

    I think the correlation between poverty and obesity is one of the main reason why plus size people are not in a hurry to start a clothing geared towards other plus sized people.

    If the consumer base is not only a small subset of the general population but also has a lower purchasing power to boot, then there’s no wonder no-one is willing investing their money if the potential ROI is not so great.

  23. Paul says:

    Denise, I understand where you are coming from, but those of us that are at the extremes of the normal curve do not always get what we wish for. Forty-five years ago, I could not find unfinished slacks that could be properly hemmed to fit my height. Now, because men have gotten taller, I never have a problem finding the length, but now I have to have the waist and crotch taken in because I am slim.
    When you look around and see so “many plus sized” women in stores, at the movies, etc. you are missing the numbers that are not plus sized, which are far greater. I live in China and larger people do really stand out, but they are not the norm for the population. Any business is done for profit, so they tend to cater to the largest segment of any potential market. If plus-sized is only a small share of any potential market that can be served for a profit, then manufacturers generally would not serve that market.
    Just because you are a business woman looking for larger sizes in your clothing, doesn’t mean that the other women you see that would require larger clothing can afford to buy what you want or even want to buy what you want to buy.
    You are not alone. Women that are what we used to call petite (not plus sized at all) have just as much problem finding good fitting business attire, even here in China, where the average sized woman is under 5 ft 4 in (162.5 cm) and is small compared to North American standards. Much of the clothing these women have to buy needs major re-tailoring to fit them properly.
    I was looking for some sizing data and statistics for the Chinese market a couple of days ago. The median height is 161cm and equivalent to a US Size 6. There are about 625 million women in China today and about 400 million, it is reported fall within 1 standard deviation of this size, yet there are no domestic manufacturers making significant numbers of clothing to serve this population of customers – petite is not even a recognized size range here.
    Much larger market with income to spend compared to plus sized market in US, and these women cannot find clothing to fit them properly.

  24. Rosi says:

    I want to start making clothing for the mature women size 12-18 not plus size just a mature woman. She can not wear a misses because she has a d cup bra. Do I change dart or how do I get the extra ease that is needed because she is thicker in waist and chest and bust. How you get patterns to fir for she can’t wear misses any more
    What patterns do you buy?

    • Galina says:

      Measure your model or any woman friend, who fits in size 14-16, or extra large. Take pattern, size XL, and adjust Bust, Hip, Waist flat measurement, Across Shoulders, HPS- to Waist (back and front), HPS- to desired length, Sleeve length, Bicep total, wrist total, and apply to that pattern, according to models numbers. It will most likely be bigger then regular XL, but not evenly on all points.
      Cut garment in soft and slightly stretchy fabric. Matt jersey – is the best for your experiment, and good for dart manipulations. Fit it on a model and make adjustments as needed. Master this block to perfection and call it size 1 X . If you want to start your range a little smaller- add OX as first size, going -3″ down from 1X. Make Grading rules between 1X-2X +4″,(total in circumference) and +5″ between 2X-3X, applied to BUST- WAIST- HIPS-SWEEP. Vertical measurement grading, will probably be similar to reg. grading rules, between L-XL. This way, you are making better balanced garment per size, with easy fit and softer lines. In my opinion, you don’t need numbered grading for sizes 12-18, because women in this size range are more evenly fuller and don’t have huge difference between bust-hip-waist, as reg. sizes. And they don’t look good in tight clothes.
      So, we have OX-1X-2X-3X, which substitute sizes 12 to 20, in simple and less stressful way.

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