Let’s talk about size range!

Not all of my sewing patterns come in the same size range, which is definitely confusing to people and something I’d love to remedy. However, as it seems unlikely we’ll be able to accomplish that in the near future, I thought it would be helpful to post some information about our women’s pattern sizing. And look! Elli made a handy infographic to make it easy to see at a glance the evolution of our size range and which patterns come in which sizes.

Many of you are aware that my latest pattern, Rose, comes in a larger size range than any of our previous patterns. Rose has gotten a fair amount of attention for having a more inclusive range, and I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Rose has been our most successful women’s pattern launch to date.

Here is the size chart (11 sizes) we began using this year (2019) beginning with Rose:

I’ve noticed that many people aren’t aware that the size range we began using in 2016 included plus sizes (up to roughly a US size 24). Gemma was the first pattern to be released in this range. We have begun working to update our older patterns as well, starting with Ruby, which we released in this new nine-size range in both print and PDF early last year.

Here is the size chart (9 sizes) we began using in 2016 (Gemma, Isla, Ruby,Cleo, and Jade come in this range):

And here is the original women’s size range (2012-2015) — patterns in this range include Washi, Beatrix, Josephine, Bianca, and Luna:

If someone stumbled across an older pattern in the original size range (like Washi or Beatrix), it makes sense that they would assume that ALL of our patterns have the same range. Until we manage to update all of the patterns, this will continue to be confusing. It’s also a bit of a vicious cycle — if people assume that all of our patterns come in a limited size range, we don’t get included in plus sized pattern roundups and it’s harder to get the word out that we have more sizes, which also means the updates don’t sell as well.

Happily, we’re currently working on grading both Luna and Washi into the newest range, and adding a bodice piece for fuller busts to Washi (similar to what Gemma, Beatrix, and Josephine already have). Because Washi is my oldest women’s pattern and has been in print since 2013, figuring out the logistical issues of re-releasing this pattern is definitely going to be a challenge. But I really want to be able to provide a wider range of sizes for those of you who would like to sew this beloved pattern (and Luna!), and I’m committed to this project. Stay tuned.

In the interest of transparency, one of the questions that I still can’t answer is whether the investment of increasing size range for older patterns (that is, grading, testing, updating and reprinting) pays off. We’ve only managed to update one pattern (Ruby) so far, but I suspect that that a re-release will never be as exciting as a new pattern launch. Fewer people talk about it, or share online, and despite our best efforts to let people know, it is understandably less of a big deal. My guess is that the most sustainable path forward will be to continue to intersperse pattern size updates with new pattern releases. We’ll see how it goes with Washi and Luna.

I’d like to say thank you to the awesome sewists who shared their body measurements online using the #sewmysize hashtag earlier this year. Knowledge is critical, and knowing what sizes we weren’t reaching allowed us to depart from using the size data we were using before and add more sizes to our size chart. Voices matter, and the amplified conversations around size inclusivity have been important to this change for us.

Many people have expressed appreciation for the new sizes. It’s encouraging to hear that feedback, and I am also very aware that we still have a lot of work to do, and that there are still people who are outside of the current range who would love to sew for themselves. While I certainly wish I had done things differently from the start, the best I can do is try to do better moving forward.

Thank you to those of you who helped post about and spread the word about our new size range and previous size updates. And if you didn’t know about it before, know that we are working hard to make more of the patterns fit more of your beautiful bodies!

19 thoughts on “Let’s talk about size range!

  1. OMG- that’s so exciting to hear! I’ve been lusting after a Washi dress for a few years, but with a 50″ apple shape, I thought it was forever out of reach. I expect to see updates on the Curvy Sewing Collective, which has a pretty busy hashtag, too, which you could use to get our eyes on your updates #CSCmakes

  2. I am so pleased that you will be releasing Washi in larger sizes. I have your pattern, but it is too small for me. I tried to alter it, cutting it a little bigger, what a disaster! Hopefully, when your updated pattern is released I can finally join the Washi wearers!

  3. I’m so pleased you’ve explained your pattern’s size ranges. And, I’m so happy you’re committed to extending the sizes in older patterns. A recent comment from another company really irked me. It said that the whole process of extending sizes was very time consuming, costly and they’re not sure they’ll continue to extend their sizes unless they get a good response to the very small range of patterns they’ve released.. Surely people who fit beyond the largest size deserve as much research and time dedicated to a pattern as those who fit into the regular sizes. Thank you for what you do. Thank you for not making excuses. Thank you for being inclusive with the language you used.

  4. I have fabric in my stash eagerly awaiting an expanded size Washi pattern. I keep looking for another pattern in my size but kept coming back to the Washi as inspiration and couldn’t find anything that felt right. Love my Rose pants and Ruby top, can’t wait to add a Washi dress.

  5. I love that you are working to expand sizes. I didn’t realize that you had expanded the Ruby sizing. Is there a way that those of us who bought the original pattern can “upgrade”? At the time I was at the top of your size range, but now I need those extra sizes to fit me!

    • Hi Ellen — When we updated the Ruby sizing, previous purchasers should have automatically received a new download link. I’ll look for your order and re-send the update!

  6. I would love to Thank You for making bigger sizes. It is greatly appreciated, there’s a lot of people in need of the larger sizes ,and I would much rather support smaller people like you. If you ever get the chance watch QVC when they are selling clothes ,the first sizes to sell out are always the largest ones. So there is definitely a market. Thank you again.

  7. This is happy news! I came to your site this evening because a customer was looking for the information to purchase her own Ruby pattern – I had one made and on display at my shows this spring and it was SO popular! Not only was I able to get the links my customer needs, but I am able to come away with happy news about expanded sizes. I sell a lot of linen in my shop and will be happy to promote these patterns. I think I need to get some hard copy patterns to sell in my shop!

  8. I am beyond excited about this!! Thank you for expanding your sizing. I will do all I can to sew up as many of your patterns to promote this wonderful change!!

  9. super happy about this. thanks! as someone who went to a “friend” for help in how to adjust the washi so i could wear it and being told “i can’t make it humongous”; well, i’m thrilled. truly! this has been on my dream list to make and i cannot wait! idk how it’ll pay off for you to re-release patterns and i’m sure it is a ton of work but thank you. it is most definitely appreciated.

    • It’s so good to know how excited you are, Megan (and really, really sorry to read about your experience of “help,” uggh). Thanks for chiming in! 🙂

  10. I tried the Washi and was sad that my bustine busted out! It’s going to be nice to be able to try again!!

  11. The Washi is still my all-time favourite dress pattern-I just fitted your largest original size- and it gets lovely compliments when I wear it (I seldom wear dresses, actually). I haven’t done much sewing for myself in the last couple of years (first grandchild got that time!!), but I am planning to change that. Dresses are calling loudly to me, but I have to be VERY careful with the design- full skirts and waists do NOT look good on me! I really really appreciate your designs, great customer contact, and friendly manner, Rae. AND I have encouraged dozens of women to try the Washi dress!!

  12. It’s always nice to find a pattern in one’s size…but though American “normal” is quite a bit larger than it has been historically, those of us who are smaller are still here! Despite being average height, I do not fit into modern store sizes (“00” is a number?!? My 50s vintage dresses often are size 12-14.) This is largely why I learned to sew–the ready-made world doesn’t value me and my household as customers anymore (and I know people with smaller measurements than I.) So, your xxs is still a size too large for me–I can get around it without too much trouble, but please do not eliminate the small sizes you currently have.

    • Hi JC!
      Agreed, size inclusion means including both larger and smaller sizes. When we first expanded our size range, we included the XXS for this very reason; we’d had customers mention that our original XS didn’t fit. We have no intention of eliminating any sizes — that would defeat the purpose of including MORE bodies — so don’t worry! Thanks for the great reminder that smaller sizes are important too!

Comments are closed.