When I first started down the road of wanting to make myself some clothes I bought a few books and magazines for some ideas, both for things I could make, and what I could expect. Now I knew that with my rather well endowed top half, that I was going to need to do a bit of altering and tweaking, and I had read that clothing patterns varied in size from the ‘off the rack’ sizes on the high street, but boy what a difference!
I have been proudly sporting UK size 12 bottoms (that would be a US 8-10), so I was thinking in a pattern that may be about a 14 or something. Err, no. I measured myself up, and my waist is between a 16 and 18, and my hips between a 14 and 16. I’m sorry, WHAT?! I had read that the sizings were based in the 50s, and that clothing manufacturers had been more generous over the years to flatter their customers, but really, are Gap, Next, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Berghaus, Craghopper, Moutain Outdoor, Fat Face and good old M&S ALL knocking themselves out to make me feel better? I am 2 lbs off my ideal weight, I am well within the healthy weight for my height, my Wii Fit happily tells me I have a healthy BMI (my balance sucks, but who cares about that ;o) ), but pattern making companies are making me feel the size of your average fresian!
My friend, who I’m going fabric shopping with tomorrow, has told me repeatedly of late that the average UK woman is a size 16, and I don’t for a minute think that that means a pattern size 16! So when are the pattern companies going to catch up to the ‘real world’? Why put a number on something that doesn’t correspond in any way, shape or form to what it says on the hanger in your average shop? (Incidentally, my mum, who did home ec in the 60’s, says the sizing was pretty dubious even then!) Just put the bust/waist/hip/whatever measurements on and be done with it. I am chuckling to myself though because my 32Gs, which need at least a 14 on the high street, are between a pattern size 16 and 18 too – women were obviously crazy shaped in the 50s, either that or they chose a wonky model ;o)
Now random number sizing aside, I have gone back to a magazine I picked up way back in February as I was setting out on a long train journey – Sew. At the time I flicked through and didn’t look so much at the free pattern (as it wasn’t really my style), but today I actually looked more closely, and was stunned to find that the sizing was 8-16. That would be 8-16 paper pattern size, not 8-16, grab it in the high street size. That means that my normally size 12 arse/14 top will not fit in this pattern, which is truly and utterly ridiculous – seriously, how many stick thin girls are going to be buying this mag? And how many of the ‘average size’ 16 girls will be buying it? Funnily enough I’ve seen someone freaking out on their forum who also thought she was a 12 and discovered she wasn’t lol
For a magazine, this just seems to me to be an own goal. I thought the whole idea was to encourage more people into making things, it’s becoming a very popular pastime, but if my below average sized person can’t fit into the ‘freebies’ which is, let’s face it, the main reason people buy these things, then what’s the point? Would it kill them to grade up a bit more for more realistic sizes?
On that note, I’m away to put together my whale sized skirt ;o)