Monday, 29 November 2010

Still ranting, this time on body measurements vs sizes

After the Kahliah Ali nasty hard work fitting surprise, I did some nice soothing Sunday afternoon sewing - Jalie sweetheart top about version #25 for my younger daughter


then Burda Style 12-2009 pyjamas about version #15 for my older daughter


(Whilst I am ranting I will mention that I thought I was off the hook after making 5 sets of pyjamas for this daughter last summer, but she insisted on continuing to grow, even though her 13 year old sister seems to have stopped)

Then I started reading comments on my previous 2 posts. Some of these are fabulous.

First I would like to quote Mary Nanna, and Mary Nanna's sister, by hearsay.
My sister was mocking me last night for sewing from pattern magazines and not using the big 4. "What, are they too mainstream for you, too guaranteed to be successful, not enough risk and kook for ya?" See she was WRONG about that.

Well, yes, and now I'm laughing about it. Thanks

I find Jalie and Burda very consistent - and when they are not consistent, they give you a big fat clue like "Burda TALL" or "Burda PETITE" or "LARGER SIZE" with a specific measurement chart in the magazine (although I admit, the different draft for the clothes in the larger sizes section seems to be secret insider knowledge). Jalie of course, did change their letter code to match a different body measurement chart a few years ago, but the chart on the pattern envelope for body measurements matches the pattern in the same envelope.

Some of the comments left me feeling a bit annoyed. I was already grumpy, so am probably over reacting. I am quite ready to blame myself for bad sewing, but pattern drafting issues in a purchased pattern are not my problem, and I feel entitled to whine about them.

I am not sufficiently familiar with Patrones to comment on the consistency. To answer several commentors, who may not have read the entire post, I used the body measurement chart in the magazine to check my size, I did not just pick a size at random, nor use the Spanish or German ready to wear clothing sizes, (with which I am not familiar). This is also what I did with the Khaliah Ali pattern.

Burda size 38 - Body Measurement Bust 88cm Waist 70cm
Patrones size 40 - Body Measurement Bust 88cm Waist 66cm
KA Simplicity size 12 - Body Measurement Bust 87cm Waist 67 cm

The shoulder to bust length is slightly less in the Patrones chart than in the Burda, and is not given for the Simplicity chart.

The difference in fitting is mainly due to the pattern draft and design ease. My body measurements did not change whilst sewing these patterns.

The difference in waist measurement is not significant for me, I always take in Burda patterns at the waist, by about 5cm. The Patrones blouse was merely too tight for my taste. I could get it on just fine, as I am squishier, and a little smaller than my dress form. If I make something else from Patrones, I will go up a size to give myself more wearing ease. This did not bother me particularly. It is a pity the blouse did not turn out, but as I said, I'm glad I made a toile.

The Khaliah Ali pattern does give a finished pattern measurement, bust 99cm for 12 B, 102cm for 12D indicating a lot of ease. My Boo to Simplicity is for their inconsistency. Ease was not the only issue with the Khalia Ali blouse, it was quite different in shoulder, neck and bust fit from other Simplicity patterns I have been using for years. I will steer clear of patterns with names on them in future. This pattern starts at a size 6, bust 83cm. How anyone is supposed to know that Khaliah Ali written on the pattern means the draft is plus sized is beyond me. Is she famously plus sized in America? - fine, but I bought this pattern in Australia.
I think I will make some more pyjamas.


Mary Nanna said...

I hear you. I really hate inconsistent sizing because it just makes the whole thing so much more complicated than it needs to be.

I do love the Jalie top (now on my list of knits for summer but we'll see if that eventuates) and the pj's are just adorable. Nothing like falling back on a bit of known success after a headache or two.

shams said...

Most excellent points. :)

I remember when the Kaliliah patterns were added many years ago, to much hoopla (at least by the pattern company). At the time they made a big fuss about the sizing. Thing is, that was a long time ago, even for folks in this country. I'm sure you aren't alone in that confusion.

A "named" pattern does not always mean special sizing, but it does in this case. Similarly, I'd stay away from a Hilary Duff pattern. ;)

Anonymous said...

Rant as much as you need too. I hate sneaky sizing issues too!

The PJs are adorable


Joy said...

I just don't get the inconsistent sizing. Now that I've figured out Burda's and Ottobre's fit for me and my kids, envelope patterns don't tempt me. I've seen many people get great results, but my 2 or 3 attempts at Simplicity and McCall's haven't encouraged me to try again. Although I'll still considering the nice Vogue blouse pattern my mom gave me!

RuthieK said...

I'm getting fairly good results at the moment with 'normal' Simplicty patterns, but I think they do have a wider range of other drafts now just to confuse us. Love the outfits for your girls, you do such excellent work even on very simple pieces like T's and PJs.

Sharon said...

Great t-shirt and PJ's.

Handmade said...

You're right about consistency - and there are huge variations in those measurements you quoted from the 3 different patterns. I really think you should explain your experiences in an old fashioned letter to them - do they read blogs? Do they read pattern review? Who knows? Cute top and PJs!

Gail said...

So sorry that my comment annoyed you - was just passing on a warning that had been given to me. I haven't cut a Patrones yet. Will venture forward with caution.

Sue said...

I am with you on sizing. The worst part is that you can't read the finished size until you have the pattern home and may find what should have fit going by the size chart has such a huge amount of ease that it is too big. Worse if it is the smallest size in the range in the packet, which has happened to me a couple of times now!
It would make a lot of sense to me if they had the finished size on the outside of the packet.

Anonymous said...

Nice use of deco stitching for the casing on those PJs! I have found that some ranges are better than others, but my instinct with named pattern ranges (not Vogue, as they do designers but not ranges, except Sandra Betzina) is that the drafts are different for every named range. So if Kahliah Ali fits you (I know Carolyn likes them for example) then you don't have to do the alterations you would for another line. I buy the Threads collection from Simplicity, which I find true to size, and also the Amazing Fit have a good rep. And Simplicity at least DO print the finished pattern sizes on the tissues. But I do think that with your skills you don't need the extra instructions and can stick with the magazine patterns. I've only made kids stuff from Patrones so can't comment yet on their adult sizes. I loved the comment from Mary Nanna's sister, LOL. Not too mainstream - too expensive, too inconsistent, too little variety, etc etc. Listen, if Burda is good enough for Ann Rowley, it's good enough for me.

Misafir (Ruth) Geldi said...

Thank you. I think you have started a VERY useful discussion. I know that the different named ranges use different blocks, but absolutely NOWHERE do the pattern companies tell you HOW the blocks differ. I had a disastrous experience when I returned to sewing after about ten years to use a Sandra Betzina pattern, which, in spite of my "correct measurements" didn't fit me at all. If I remember rightly, it was by reading Shams' blog (another ten years later) that I found out why. I have a more "classic" body shape and the normal Vogue block fits me very well. Betzina's not at all. With Simplicity I have to take 3cm or so off each shoulder and slope it, with Vogue few if any adjustments, and so on. I adore Burda because they give such a detailed measurement chart. So I don't need to make a muslin for every garment (I have no time or patience for muslins). I can just make flat pattern adjustments and they fit.

Why on earth don't the pattern companies give ALL the details of the block for each range, like Burda does. (Some people need a block with wide shoulders like the Khaliah Ali block. How do they find it except by chance?)

Poor marketing from the Big 4, IMO. They should realize that a large part of marketing is about providing information!

Katharina said...

Sorry, i didnt want to annoy you. This was meant as an explanation for the failure. How could you know european sizing? In my experience Burda runs quiete big compared to the given measurements but normal compared to RTW. So my comment.

sdBev said...

I really do wish they would standardize sizes. It would be much simpler if I knew, no matter the pattern, that I need to make the same alterations for it to fit. But alas not only is the sizing amuck, but they lie with the photos as well. It's not uncommon for a photo to show a well fitting garment courtesy of clips beyond the camera's eye; when in fact the pattern is a shapless bag.

Anita (Summer Gypsy) said...

The t-shirt and pj's are adorable. And I agree with your rant about pattern sizing. What a pain!!!! But in spite of that, you create the cutest garments. (I'm new to your blog and have been enjoying browsing)

Kylie said...

I have just started loaning out a couple of the magazines from the library and am looking forward to finding some time to make somethings for me:)
Thanks for the lovely comment on my blog.

Carolyn said...

Oh, it is very disheartening to have a bad sewing experience, and I agree with you 100% that there should be NO drafting issues with a purchased pattern. I get a bit grumpy if I'm expected to fiddle even slightly, let alone drastically, with any pattern to get it to fit.
But those jammies are totally adorable. The animal print is so pretty!! Your kids are so lucky their Mum is willing to sew cute stuff like this for them...