Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Grading for a Larger Size

This will be good practice. That's what I'm telling myself.


Remember the latest Eva dress that I made for a friend. Well, it's back to the drawing board on this one. It doesn't fit. I've been informed that the sleeves and bodice are too tight. My linen dress was given as a test garment and I proceeded after being told that it was a size too small. Sadly and foolishly, I proceeded without seeing it on my friend or getting her measurements and just went ahead with sewing the largest size that the Eva dress came in. I know, I know, what the heck was I thinking? This is why I typically stay away from sewing for others--fit. Fit is always the biggest challenge.   

There is only enough linen fabric to make one more Eva dress so I have to make a muslin. I should have made a muslin in the first place.  

Grading a pattern. Yeah if you listen to all those folks trying to sell patterns on Etsy they'll have you convinced that it is an easy process. They must be professionals. And why is it that there are no modern sewing books that help with grading a pattern? There is a lot of information out there about alterations but there is a difference. Grading is used to change a size whereas alterations are more specific changes to a certain area of an individual's shape. I guess it's deemed un-necessary in the day of multi-sized patterns.  

The only mention of grading for changes in size can be found in my vintage sewing books from the  early to mid-1900s or my vintage Threads magazines.  
Grading, or the increasing or decreasing of the size of the pattern, is a fundamental process of pattern making that every user of patterns should understand, especially the professional worker (Women's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences, Ltd.). 
And this is why I shouldn't be sewing for others. I found some encouragement in the April/May 2017 edition of Sew News when I read, "[g]rading up two or three sizes is definitely possible, though it's easier on simpler patterns with few pieces." The Eva dress is a simple design. I can do this!  

Threads magazine, September 2006 (number 126), warns that "pattern sizes and ready-to-wear sizes aren't the same. As a general rule, your pattern size will be two or more sizes larger than your usual ready-to-wear size." This makes sense as to why the Eva dress didn't fit my friend. I only wish I discovered this important piece of information before I worked on the dress.    

I do like that the Women's Institute of Domestic Arts and Science book on Pattern Designing explains how to do both the slash and spreading method as well as the shifting method.  Threads magazine, June / July 1990 (number 29), also contains an excellent article. Off-the-Chart Sizes by Nancy Bryant details the slash and spread method for sizes up to 22 and grading measurements for collars and cuffs. I am going to try the shifting method since it is a simple design without any darts.  

Well, stay tuned and we'll see how this turns out.  

Happy Sewing!     









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