Getting the Best Size for You, Part II

Decide what size pattern to use by comparing your measurements to those on the pattern package.  If your measurements fall in between two sizes, chose the larger size.

Everyone has a unique body proportions.  Many people wear one size upper garment and a different size lower garment.  Making your own clothes allows you to make adjustments for size difference. When making a dress you may need to make the bodice a different size than the skirt.

You should also take ease into account when deciding on a size.  Ease refers to the difference between the body measurements for a particular size and the measurements for the actual finished garment.  All garments must have wearing ease so that you can move comfortably in them.  Some styles have extra ease and this is called design ease.  For example, a tailored jacket hugs the body more closely than a loose fitting garment such as a caftan.  If you like a lot of ease in your garments, chose a larger pattern size that you actual body measurements would indicate.

If you have difficulty getting  a perfect fit, consider making a fabric sloper.  Inexpensive muslin is used for fabric slopers. While you can use any classic pattern to make a sloper, if you are an inexperienced sewer, consider using a special fitting pattern from one of the major pattern makers.  Dress, pants, and even jacket fitting patterns are available.

For more on picking the proper pattern size have a look at these great articles from Threads Magazine and Simplicity Pattern Company.