Thursday, 19 February 2015

Relax. They're just numbers.

My lovely friend Debra, from Stitching Rules, is currently hosting a skirt sew along on her site. If you haven't seen it yet, you can read all about it here: Stitching Rules Skirt Sew Along.

While going through the usual motions of measuring myself, to compare against the pattern sizing, I started thinking about how many times I've heard comments like "I'm so depressed. This pattern says I'm an 'x' but I usually fit into a 'y'. Surely I'm not not that big?". Today I'd like to give you a more positive approach to take.

First of all, please don't compare pattern sizes with store bought size. They're simply not the same. It would be like saying a small apple should be the same size as a small watermelon because they're both labelled as small. You might argue "but in the case of patterns, they're the same item: clothing", but that's not entirely true. One is a finished garment number that helps you find the most suitable fit off the shelf. The other is a number on a piece of paper that indicates which lines you might like to cut to give you the most flattering fit. They really are just numbers. The paper pattern could just as easily have said A, B, C. Perhaps they were originally intended to be the same. I don't know. All I know is they're not the same now and we all need to stop basing our self-worth on randomly selected digits.

Secondly, pattern sizes will differ between companies and garments. There will be ease added which will also change those numbers. Are you going to have your day ruined because some person you will probably never meet decided that they wanted that top to be a little floppier than the last? I sure won't.

Thirdly, we as adults, spend so much time telling our daughters (and hopefully sons) that we should strive to be healthy, beauty is within and that everyone is different...perhaps we need to start listening to our own advice. Small people can be healthy, larger people can be healthy, tall people, short people, big fat furry people. My point is, aim for health and the rest will follow. Ignore numbers, sizes or anything else that makes you feel crap even though you thought you were doing OK (without ignoring medical advice, of course).

Sizes on a pattern image

I hope this post gives you a new outlook when addressing the dreaded pattern sizing monster. Share with your sewing friends and remind them...they're only numbers.


  1. Brilliant perspective Rachael, thank you!
    Maybe I should start labelling patterns with letters rather than numbers.

    1. Hanaha mix it up completely and give them names. Imagine the questions. 'If I'm a Susan around the waist but a Cheryl for hips, which line should I cut on?' Hahaha

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks :D Hopefully a few people get to read this and feel a little more confident next time they're measuring themselves for a pattern.

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