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I have a pile of patterns, most of them a size 14, I am a size12 !

 The patterns I like the most look easy to make up, how easy is it to make the patterns smaller?

 Is there a size in cm that I should follow  ?

Help please

x x x

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Hi Charlotte.. this is a great link for grading patterns.

The easiest way to make the pattern smaller is to draw the grade lines on the pattern (as per the above sites instructions) and then just fold & tape out the excess.

eg. to downsize a bodice (half bodice pattern), you will need parallel lines running from neck thru to waist, from shoulder thru to waist, from underarm thru to waist. (there will be some illustrations on the link)

pinch out 3mm (total - so 1.5mm on the half pinch) on the neck grade line, 3mm on the shoulder grade line and 6mm on the underarm grade line.

Your pattern will now be one size smaller! ie. the half bodice pattern piece is now 12mm smaller, which is 48mm smaller on the whole.

You can also draw a horizontal line above bust and one below bust and take out 6mm along each to shorten the bodice. But as you may be shorter or longer in these areas anyway you may want to make a muslin and check whether you need a  different measurement.

Hope that helps. It's difficult to explain in words. Check out the might look frightening at first.. but downsizing one whole size is the easiest grade you could do. Good luck!

thanks, its a bit scary!
Super good question... something I'm currently struggling with at the moment too. I tried the "cut and shrink" method (like in Casey's Threads link or this one from Sense & Sensibility patterns has more of a tutorial) and while I was initially really terrified about it & put it off for ages, it ended up not being too bad! My problem was though that I'm not in proportion... for example, the pattern I have that fits my waist & hip size is 3" too big in the bust. I'm still trying to figure out how to make these patterns fit me - the "cut & shrink" method doesn't work as it works in proportion - if I take 3" off the bust then it also takes 3" off the waist and then it fits my bust, but too small for my waist. I'm trying to figure it out just by using muslins and pinning on me/my mannequin but it is time consuming, complicated and I'm getting discouraged! I'll be keeping an eye on this discussion, hopefully there are some answers for both of us!

I have the opposite problem and need to size patterns up - lucky you ;0)


Hope you are having fun x

although I think this is  a valid question, I have just remeasured myself and according to the patterns I'm a size 14 and sometimes size16 , I'm not impressed. Summer is coming though and I', going to beat the bulge that is slowly spreading!!!
(I know where you're coming from!)
I don't take too much notice of the measurements on patterns - I am a size 12/14, (US 10), yet some patterns would have me making a size 20!  Now I know you should use them as a guide, but I generally make my size or one size up - and so far, so good.
I've got to the point where I use my measuring tape on the pattern pieces and match it up with me. That seems to work for the most part.
thats a good, simple idea
Charlotte - I've seen your photos - you have no bulge!! I know what you mean with pattern sizing though - it can be a bit discouraging at times - in modern American sizes I'm a size 6 hip and waist and a size 0 bust! In 50s-60s patterns I'm a size 16 hip and waist and between sizes in bust; but in 30s-40s patterns I'm almost exactly on measurements! It's frustrating having to re-size everything I make but I'm trying not to let it it get to me!

I'm glad its not just me, it's interesting to know patterns are so so different.


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