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Knit skirt Chapter 2: which size?

6 May, 2017

Well, that's the question, is it? Which one of those four lines on the pattern will give me the end result I want? I can't just take three into to changing room and see which one works, and I'm certainly not going to make one, and think “Oh, it's too small. I'll try the next size up” (more like leave the offending item languishing in the corner of the sewing room, never to touch the pattern again).

Time for the tape measure. The fullest part of my seat measures 42″. According to the pattern envelope that makes me a size 18. My waist isn't, but I'll worry about that later. So, size 18, lets get the scissors out.

Nope. It took me many years and garments for the penny to drop, but many patterns, particularly the “big 4” have more ease (extra room for movement and the look of the thing) in their pattern than I like. Fortunately most patterns have the actual garment measurement somewhere. The nice ones put it on the envelope, but you can usually find it on the pattern piece if not. If it's not there, the hip point usually is, and you can get the tape measure out and measure on paper pattern much fabric there is around the hip. Don't forget that you don't want to include the seam allowance. My pattern had the garment measurement on the pattern.

45.5″. So that's 3.5″ of ease. That seems like a lot to me. The pattern is meant for wovens, and ponte has more give, so I don't think I'll need that much. I'm not sure I'd need that much for wovens. But what I want to know, is how much? I googled, hoping the blogosphere would provide the magic number. Instead I found this post on the Iconic Patterns blog. Why didn't I think of that?

I wonder if the size 16 hip circumference would work? So I measured 43.5″ on my ponte and held it around my hips. Yep, that should about do. It pulls in a bit under my tummy, but again, that's a fitting issue I'll deal with later.

Yay, size 16, lets get the scissors. No again. The earlier reports long abandoned blog posts here bang on about Swedish tracing paper. I'm still a fan. I'm going to do some fitting adjustments that are new to me, and with Swedish tracing paper I won't have ruined my paper pattern if I completely cock it up. Yes, I did buy one pattern three times before I realised this. And if I want to use the pattern again, and have changed size, or need different adjustments, I can. Swedish tracing paper is also great for tissue fitting, because if I can avoid making a toile/muslin I will.

I often do some basic adjustments while tracing. For example, I want a 17″ skirt length, and the pattern is for 21″. I'll trace the bottom edge 4″ higher. The distance between my waist and hip is pretty standard, so no alteration here, but when I'm making a top I'll often do the short waist adjustment at the tracing stage. Also, I must remember to take off the seam allowance at the centre back, since I'm taking that seam out. Actually, there's shaping in that seam, it gets to stay.

Oh, and I need to trace off view A front and back too, since that will be my lining.

Coming up next, trying to figure out what to do about fitting my tummy and waist.


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