March 15, 2007
An Open Letter to the Makers of Clothing Patterns
Dear Pattern Makers,

As a relatively inexperienced sewer, I have heretofore been intimidated by the thought of sewing actual clothes that would, in a wardrobe malfunction, leave my poochy little body uncovered for all the world to see. I've never sewn any clothing articles, unless you include the three dresses I once made for my family's Jane Austen tea party (yes, my family is a bit strange, but I do adore them), but really, I think we can all agree that those didn't count.

So, upon deciding to make myself a cute spring skirt, I dug out a pattern and measured myself and began to figure out my size. I was shocked, and fairly appalled, when I looked at your sizing chart. I checked my measurements, and then I checked your chart again. Now, at Banana Republic, I pay good money to be a size 4. My Simplicity pattern told me I'm a size 14 or 16, depending on how I want my skirt to fit. Yes, I read on the instructions to "not be alarmed if I was a size or 2 bigger in patterns than in store bought clothes", but really, I think we've surpassed 1 or 2 sizes here. If I were a 6 or an 8 or even a 10, I wouldn't be too upset. But good Lord, a 16? It's too much.

This leads me to the conclusion that you are perhaps out of touch with the world today. No wonder so few people make their own clothes. It's not because they don't have time or it's too hard- it's because you make them feel like hippos! I can only imagine that the people you have making patterns are the kind of people who go to New York to become big names in fashion, but who instead end up working for you. Perhaps they are bitter about this, and that is why they would torture me so. Please, buy them something nice so they will stop hating your customers.

My suggestion to you- re-do your sizes and up the price of your patterns. I'd happily pay a few dollars more for a pattern in which I was not in the double digits.

Slush the Hippo
Blogger lawyerchik said...
I always love your "open letters" to various people - as usual, you're right and right on target with this one....

Dratted people who make clothing anyway. I mean, come on. Audrey Hepburn was a size 8 in her day - that was just wrong.

I suppose we should be thankful we do not live in Europe, although if all of the sizes are double-digits (30s and 40s), it might make tag-shock a little less agonizing.

Which is why the only "sewing" I do these days is the surgical removal of clothing tags from my clothing. What I don't know won't hurt me..... :)

Blogger Katrina said...
I share your frustration with sizing differences in clothes--although my beef is not with pattern makers (since the last piece of clothing I ever sewed was a truly horrible pair of culottes in the fifth grade) but with those little boutiques in the mall that have the nerve to call a size 6 top a LARGE.

By the way, I think it's actual illegal in several states to call your body "poochy" if you can wear a size four in anything! ;) LOL!

Blogger Damselfly said...
I'm right there with ya! Once I was looking at European-made patterns, and because I don't know my measurements in metrics, I asked the fabric store fabric cutter person if I should calculate my size based on store-bought clothing or based on American patterns. I told her what my store-bought size was, and she said, "Oh, well all clothes have vanity sizing these days," and then told me to go by the American pattern sizing, which in her mind was *more accurate*. Grrrr....! What is vanity sizing, anyway, but just a number? And everything has a number. So, in that line of thinking, *everything* is a vanity size!

Anonymous Katherine said...
I feel you on the size thing, if you're a size 4 imagine what size big old me wears in patterns. Plus size patterns are not pretty, either, just big squares. :( Let me tell you about another problem the pattern makers need to deal with - they aren't proofing the patterns! I'm a fairly inexperienced sewer too, though I helped my mom for years so I have a general idea about it but actual practice a little hesitant. So when the pattern pieces do not fit together I get really frustrated. Well the last 4 McCall's patterns I bought, I cut out, couldn't get together, gave up & called my mom. After she fiddled, wiggled, checkd I'd cut things out correctly, we determined that the pieces were wrong and ended up drafting or modifying the messed up piece to fit. Each time I called McCall's to tell them about it, each time, they basically said "whoop-de-do." So right now I'm not buying McCall's patterns, and I'm seriously considering investing in a Palmer-Pletsch class to learn to draft patterns.