A Stitch in Time: A Guide to Choosing the Correct Size in Sewing Patterns

A Stitch in Time: A Guide to Choosing the Correct Size in Sewing Patterns

Jan 24, 2024

Embarking on a sewing project is exciting, but one crucial aspect that can make or break your creation is selecting the right size in a sewing pattern. Whether you're a seasoned seamstress or a novice with a passion for DIY fashion, understanding how to pick the correct size is fundamental for achieving a professional and tailored finish. In this guide, we'll walk you through the essential steps to ensure your garments fit like a glove.

  1. Take Accurate Measurements:

The foundation of choosing the correct size in a sewing pattern begins with accurate body measurements. Use a flexible measuring tape to measure your bust, waist, hips, and any other relevant areas specified in the pattern. It's crucial to measure over well-fitted undergarments or the type of clothing you plan to wear under the finished garment.

  1. Refer to the Size Chart:

Every sewing pattern includes a size chart that correlates your measurements to the corresponding pattern size. Resist the temptation to select a size based solely on your ready-to-wear size this will be totally inaccurate, just remember there are no size labels in your hand crafted made to measure garment! Take note of any ease included in the pattern, ensuring your finished garment will have the intended fit – whether it's a snug, tailored look or a more relaxed silhouette.

  1. Consider Your Body Shape:

Understanding your body shape can further refine your size selection. Some patterns are drafted with specific body shapes in mind, so take note of the pattern's recommendations. For example, if you have an hourglass figure, you might need to make adjustments to accommodate a fuller bust, smaller waist, and curvier hips.

  1. Muslin / toile testing:

Before cutting into your precious fabric, consider creating a muslin or toile (a practice garment) to test the fit. This step is especially crucial if you're working with a new pattern or making significant adjustments. A muslin or toile allows you to identify any fitting issues and make alterations without compromising your final fabric.

  1. Check Finished Garment Measurements:

In addition to the body measurements, take a close look at the finished garment measurements provided in the pattern. This information gives insight into the intended ease and allows you to make informed decisions about how fitted or loose you want the final piece to be.

  1. Alterations and Grading:

Don't be afraid to customize your pattern for a perfect fit. If you fall between sizes or have unique proportions, consider blending sizes or making specific alterations. Understanding basic pattern grading techniques will empower you to tailor your pattern to match your unique body shape.


Selecting the correct size in a sewing pattern is a crucial step toward achieving a professionally finished garment that complements your body shape. Taking accurate measurements, consulting size charts, considering body shape, and testing with a muslin / toile are key components of this process. Remember, each sewing project is an opportunity to refine your skills and create something uniquely tailored to you.

Happy sewing

Link to share

Use this link to share this article