Sizing, Grading and Measurements
While you are cutting patterns and preparing to drape and fit them for final design, an important thing you need to know and understand is sizing.
In the design phases, you may have been inspired to create a distinct style for a specific body type. However, if you are styling for a broad audience, you will need to prepare sizing for mass production. It is important to understand how to size and measure properly once you reach this stage of production.
The first thing that you must remember is that women and men are not sized the same, so if you are designing for both markets, always keep that in mind.
A woman’s size is based upon measurements of her bust, height, hips, and waist.
Another thing to remember is that sizing differs depending on location. For example, sizing in the United Kingdom begins at a size six and goes up to a size 22, while American sizes range from a two to a 14, in general.
Menswear sizing is based on a measurement of his chest to fit a jacket, a waist and inside leg for trousers, and a neck sizing for shirts.
Finally, children’s clothing is measured based upon height. To help you along the way, you can obtain a pattern cutting book for handy measurements on each size.
Grading is a specialised area in pattern cutting that involves scaling a pattern to a different size by increasing points of the pattern according to measurements on the British standard sizing chart. These increments can vary from three to five centimetres, depending on the garment.
There are a few factors that will affect grading, such as lifestyle changes, which is why the British standard sizing chart has changed over the years to accommodate the average body shape. Another important thing to note is the varying body types in different areas.
For example, European body shapes are usually tall and bigger, while in the Far East, you will find the average shape is short and slim.
After considering all those factors, make sure all your seams, notches, and punch marks match before grading your pattern.
Throughout your career, you will find yourself taking measurements often, so you should familiarise yourself with the common areas on the body that you will be measuring.
The measurement that you take will help you determine how much fabric you will need for your designs.
As you advance in your career and find your niche, you may choose to enter specialised design fields, so you will need to know the following measurements like the back of your hand.
Neck girth - The measurement around the base of the neckline is referred to as the neckline. This is important to determine collar and shirt size.
Shoulder length - The shoulder length is determined by measuring the area from neckline to the shoulder bone.
Top bust girth - In a horizontal line, you will measure around the body, under the arm, and above the bust to get the top bust girth measurement.
Bust girth - This measurement is taken in a horizontal line at the fullest part of the bust line.
Under bust girth -The under bust girth is taken under the ribs in a horizontal line.
Waist girth -The waist circumference is taken at the narrowest part of the waistline.
High hip girth -The high hip measurement is measured eight to 10 centimetres below the waistline and around the abdomen.
Hip girth -The hip girth measurement is taken around the fullest part of the hip.
Arm length - When measuring an arm length, the arm should be slightly bent, then you will measure that area from the shoulder past the elbow, to the wrist.
Front length - A front length is measured from the neckline/shoulder cross point, past the nipple, and down to the waistline.
Back length - The back length stretches from the nape of the neck to the waistline.
Waist to hip - The distance between the fullest point of the hip line and the natural waistline is measured here.
Waist to knee - This measurement will calculate the distance between the natural waistline and the knee.
Outside leg/Inside leg - You will need to measure the outside and the inside leg when you are fitting for garments. One measurement represents the distance from the waistline to the outside ankle and the other measures the inside ankle.
Bicep - This is a measurement of the top of the arm.
Elbow - The elbow measurement covers the width of the elbow
Wrist girth - The wrist girth measures the width of the wrist.
When you are cutting patterns, you have a variety of different collar and cut options to enhance your designs. The collar is a design feature that attaches to the neckline of a garment and changes the way the garment appears.
There are three basic methods of construction for collars:
The first method is a right-angle construction, which is used for shirt collars, stand-up collars, and small flat collars.
The second method joins the front and back bodice shoulders together to construct a collar directly on top of a bodice block.
The third method, the lapel collar construction is extended from the centre point towards the shoulder. An example of this is shown in shawl collars.
Using one of these three methods of construction, a variety of collars are constructed including some of the more popular types:
Right angle construction collars
Adding pockets to your garment can define the style of your apparel and serve a functional purpose as well.
Pockets come in two categories; firstly, set-in pockets, which place the pocket on the inside of the clothing.
Alternatively, the second category places pockets on the outside of the garment. These are called patch pockets.
When you are designing pockets, remember they should be functional, so try to make them large enough for a hand to fit into.
Also, the positioning of a pocket is an important factor to keep in mind, and it should be easy to access.