As I’ve been trying to develop my first women’s clothing pattern, I have been shocked at how hard it has been to create my size chart. This little simple chart at the beginning of every pattern to guide you in picking your size has been the death of me!
I assumed that there existed in the world a magical size chart that you were “supposed” to use as a fashion designer…. well I WAS WRONG! After lots of googling… I found this awesome article from The Washington Post called The Absurdity of Women’s Clothing Sizes and it truly struck a chord.
I’ll give you the high points.
1930s – a government study is done on 15,000 American women trying to figure out average sizes
1958 – the first “standardized” sizing chart was created based off these numbers. The 15,000 women were all middle aged and all white. The sizes were arbitrarily numbered and the smallest size was then called size 8, which was a 23″ waist.
1983 – The US government gave up on these standards, but they are still maintained by the American Society of Testing and Materials here . You can check them out if you pay $50.
2000s – Companies started “vanity sizing”, also arbitrarily numbered, which now started at the size 00, which was a 26″ waist.
Current Day – individual companies develop their own sizes and numbering/naming systems which can vary up to 5 inches depending on the manufacturer!
So what is a girl supposed to do??? How do you find your size without trying on ALL THE THINGS??? Meanwhile, when I shop for my husband, his size is just his measurement. No worrying about if pants are going to fit or not, he just goes and picks out the waist and length measurement that he has been wearing for the last 5 years and it fits him… EVERY TIME! He may not like the style, but the size is the same across all manufacturers.
SO… I decided that Lucky Lemon patterns were going to simply be referred to by the measurements they are. When talking about sizes, I will refer to chest measurements. No more assigning numbers to other numbers because they look smaller, no more loaded words like “plus size”, no random colors instead of sizes to try to make you feel good…. just measurements.
I have a theory… what if we all just accepted our bodies at face value? What if the size of our waist was just a measurement that meant the size that it truly is??? For years I have been fluffy and HATED the idea of moving from “regular” sizes to “plus” sizes. I felt like a fat idiot having to shop in the back of Target instead of the front. I felt like I wouldn’t be happy until I was in a “medium” because “medium” is supposed to mean “average” RIGHT?
How might it change how we feel about our bodies if sizes were just true numbers? How might it change your shopping experience if all sizes were grouped together instead separated by plus, regular, petite, etc? How would it change our inner dialogue if we didn’t categorize ourselves into a half dozen different sizes? How would it be if we stopped referring to fluffy models as “plus sized model” and just called them “models”???
When I started sewing my own clothes I really came to terms with how my body was. I had to take a hard look at my problem areas and measure myself a lot as I was learning to sew and to adapt patterns to fit my body. This helped me so much! I loved learning more about by body instead of trying to ignore it because it made me feel uncomfortable.
I don’t know how to stop ranting about this, but here it is. This is the Lucky Lemon pattern size chart for women’s knit patterns, starting with the Fave Tee!
If your proportions are different than this size chart there will be some awesome tutorials on grading between sizes coming soon!
Thanks so much for reading!