Beatrixalong Day 1: Measure and Print

Welcome to the first official day of my #Beatrixalong! So excited to have you here (stalking the sewalong, or maybe even joining us)! I can’t wait to share some of the things about this pattern that make it unique and super fun to sew.

If you’re just joining us, we’re sewing my newest pattern, Beatrix. Take a look at this post for an intro and for preparation guidance, and for a timeline for the sewalong. Remember: you can always work at your own pace. We’ll take it slow, but feel free to take it even slower, catch up later, or work ahead if you just need to get sewing!!

Beatrixalong

Today we’re going to:

  • choose your size
  • print out your pattern pieces, and
  • tape your pattern pieces together

Let’s choose your size!

First, we need to take some good measurements so we can figure out what size you need. Whaaaat??? Notice I didn’t say “Hey just go ahead and choose the size you usually wear!” I want to make sure we understand something here: you NEED to measure yourself before you sew. Your measurements are numbers and yes, they might evoke negative feelings for you (they do for me; I’m still nearly 15 pounds heavier than before I had Hugo), but it’s time to turn that thinking around. Whether you’re 15 pounds, 50 pounds, or 5 pounds over the weight you’d like to be, that doesn’t change the fact that your clothes need to fit. Measuring will allow you to make something that fits you (in fact, it’s technically a custom-fit garment), and when that happens you will look GOOD. Well-fitting clothes are flattering and empowering. If you try and stuff yourself into the size you want to be, you will look like a sausage. So measure to Empower, ladies!!!

A few measuring tips:

  • If possible, measure in the morning; by the end of the day, gravity has taken its toll on your body and you are not only shorter, but wider.
  • Wear your best-fitting (and ideally, supportive) undergarments when measuring. This is SO IMPORTANT!
  • Have someone help you take these measurements. When your arms are relaxed at your sides instead of trying to hold up the tape measure, you’ll get a more accurate measurement.
  • Do not pull the tape measure as tight as it will go. The tape measure should fit as loosely around your body as possible without falling down.

Start with your upper bust. Place the tape measure around your torso, right under your armpits and over the top of your bust. The tape measure should form a loop that is more or less parallel to the floor, but if it’s angled up a little in the front to clear the top of your bust, that is fine. Write this measurement down.

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Now measure your bust. Place the tape measure around the fullest part of your bust. Write this measurement down.

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The bust and upper bust are not only the numbers we will use to select your SIZE, but decide whether you need the A/B or C/D front bodice. Subtract your upper bust from your bust measurement. If there is more than 2″ of difference, use your Upper Bust measurement to select your size from the Size Chart, and use the C/D front bodice. If there is 2″ or less difference, use your Bust measurement to select your size from the Size Chart, and use the A/B front bodice. Note: Both the Size Chart and Finished Measurements for Beatrix can be found here (click and then scroll down).

Example 1: Your upper bust is 38″ and your bust is 43.” That puts you in both sizes XL (for upper bust) and XXL (for bust) on the size chart. You would pick XL because we’re using the Upper Bust to select your size, and you will use the C/D bodice because there’s more than 2″ difference between your bust and upper bust.

Example 2: Your upper bust is 38″ and your bust is 38.” That puts you in both sizes XL (for upper bust) and L (for bust) on the size chart. You would select L because we’re using your Bust to select your size, and you will use the A/B bodcie because there’s less than 2″ difference between your bust and upper bust.

Example 3: Your upper bust is 38″ and your bust is 40.” That puts you in size XL on the size chart. You’d probably be fine with the A/B front bodice, but you could also try the C/D bodice if you like; it will have more ease but since you’re at the lower end of size XL, you might not need it. Keep reading for more help deciding…

Now we’re going to measure your waist and hip and compare them to the Size Chart and Finished Measurements to make sure we’ve got the right size. For your waist, place the tape measure around the smallest part of your waist, and write this measurement down. It’s important to note that this measurement is usually taken WELL ABOVE THE BELLY BUTTON, and that unless you wear high-waisted pants, this is not where the waistband of your pants are. Most pant waistbands sit at the “low waist” which is different than the “natural waist” that you are measuring right now.

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Now measure your hip. This should be around the widest part of your booty, below your hip bones. Write this number down.

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The reason I’ve asked you to take these last two measurements is to check them against the size you’ve selected (see: Size Chart and Finished Measurements for Beatrix, click and scroll down). If they land in the range for your size, great. You’re all set. But if they’re both outside of the range for the size you’ve already picked out, especially your hip, you may need to either take the pattern in a bit (I’ll talk about this tomorrow) or let it out.

But before you panic, take a look at the Finished Measurement Chart (link above). I designed Beatrix to have a decent amount of ease (extra room), especially in the C/D bodice, so as long as you have at least 2-3″ of ease around the waist and hip, you should be just fine. If it’s a LOT more than 2-3″ extra, you might want to take the sides in below the bust. The point is: you want to choose your size based on your upper bust and bust so you get a nice fit through the bust and shoulders, but still check the waist and hip against the size you choose. The waist and hips are much easier to add/subtract as we go!!!

Next, let’s print and assemble your pattern pieces!

Using the printing guide on Page 1 of your pattern, print just the pages you need for the bodice (either A/B or C/D) you’ve selected. VERY IMPORTANT: CHECK THE SCALE MARKS ALONG THE SIDE TO MAKE SURE YOU’VE PRINTED AT 100%. Now use a scissors or paper cutter/trimmer to take off the print margins on the top and left sides of your printouts:

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Now place the pages together (there’s an assembly diagram on page 5) so that the circles in the corners line up nicely. If you go from left to right and top to bottom, like you’re reading a book, each page you set down will cover up the print margin from the previous page:

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Finally, tape it all together, making sure the edges stay straight!

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OK, let’s review today’s assignment:

1. Measure yourself and choose a size
2. Print out and assemble your pattern pieces

And here’s your extra credit assignment:
3. Post a photo (crappy phone pics are fine) to Facebook, Instagram, or Flickr showing me hard evidence you’ve done something from today’s sewalong post with the tag #beatrixalong. If you blog about it, post a link in comments.
4. Extra Extra Credit: Have you picked out your fabric yet? Post a photo!

Go to Day 2

Remember, you can sign up to receive my blog posts via email here so you won’t miss any of the sewalong posts!

16 thoughts on “Beatrixalong Day 1: Measure and Print

  1. Great measurement advice (even if we are just stalking along)!

    P.S. I’m waiting til we move into our new apartment in 2 weeks before purchasing the pattern….

  2. I washed my fabric earlier this week. I took my measurements, determined I wear a XXL using the C/D top. I was amazed because my measurements were exactly in those ranges, which almost never happens, so that is awesome! I taped my pattern together and hopefully today I will cut out my fabric, but that depends on my two month old who got all her vaccines today! 🙁 I’ll try to post a photo on IG today too!

  3. stalking along, too – but loving your details. i find that even seemingly obvious things like trimming and taping pieces of paper together is where i go wrong!! thanks for taking the time to spell out all the nitty gritty. i’m hoping to dive into beatrix once i can unpack my sewing machine (mover #2 on your stalker list, apparently….) i have my double gauze nani iro ready to go, but it’s in a box, too, so no photos. alas.

  4. Measuring is sooooo important! As my bra size is 80E (I can’t get over it) I simply choose size L with a C/D-cup-front for my first and second Josephine and wondered why the darts hit me below the bust. I reread your guidance and tadah … wrong Cup-Size…
    With Beatrix I take the smaller front and it’s perfect!
    So, measure ladys 😉

  5. How can this pattern be made sleeveless. So hard to find such a cute pattern with buttons in the back!

    • Hi Cate,

      You could easily make a sleeveless version by omitting the sleeves and finishing the armholes with bias. You’ll probably want to trim the armhole back at the shoulder a bit as well. Good luck!

  6. Rae – Thank you SO much for doing the sew along. The detail is amazing. I have purchased the pattern and am searching for fabric. This is an important part – getting the right size and printing the pattern – I can do this weekend.

    • What great directions about how to measure. I made a muslin earlier this week and blogged about it at nursebeansews.wordpress.com. I am grateful you are doing the sew along and looking forward to seeing everyone’s makes. I am in the process of sewing a washi for my sister. Will send her a link to this post because she was asking about how to get accurate measurements for sizing. Very timely!

  7. I have done my measurements, pattern cut out, have fabric just need to wash it tomorrow.
    I bought fabric for both versions.
    A little nervous about the fit since my upper body is smaller than the belly hip area but I think I will be okay since I looked at the finished measurements.
    I also have been losing weight and inches like crazy can’t keep up on re doing my sloppers and I have a lot more to go so hoping when I lose more I will be able to take the tops in. Plan on doing a muslin version first to check the fit and then go from there.
    Love doing a sewalong my first and glad for the daily posts and tips.
    I forgot to get buttons but should have them by the time I get to them.

  8. I forgot to ask in my last post, I am short waisted and wondered if I need to make any type of adjustments for this or if it doesn’t matter.

    I would like to know before I cut into my for realsie fabric.

  9. Hi, I think I would like to sew some of these up. They look like the basic fit I’m looking for. I’m wondering if it is easy to modify this pattern to make the top without the button placket in the back? I would probably like to make it both ways!

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