We changed so much in 2018! I did a lot of new things this year—including changing the size chart and grading software I use. Read on to find out more about why it mattered so much.
A New Software
Actually, the change in size chart happened in 2017, but I fleshed it out a bit more this year as I began to learn a new software for drafting and grading. Most indie PDF pattern designers use Adobe Illustrator to draft and grade patterns. When we first started out in 2014, I also used Illustrator. It was great until I drafted more complex women's patterns. With darts, cup sizes, and a wide range of sizes, I felt limited with the Illustrator software. I was on the prowl for something that would streamline my process.
I had heard about a few designers using a program called PadShare and I gave it a go! It was a major learning curve but one that I'm happy I decided to invest in. My new software allowed me to draft and grade more accurately as well as update a lot of my older patterns. I updated our most popular patterns: the Emily T-shirt, Sydney Raglan, Dani Joggers, Scarlett Jeans, Penelope Camisole, Tula Dress, Samantha Dress, and Taylor leggings. The remaining patterns will be updated over the next several months and you'll see a few new additions in there as well.
What About the Old Patterns?
Now, the question on most people's minds will probably be, "Was there something wrong with the older patterns?" Well, yes and no! The older versions of the patterns were great. We tested them thoroughly and each size worked well. But my thinking was that just because each size worked well, it doesn't make a neat pattern. I'm a perfectionist, so I wanted to offer you the best I could give you as you used the patterns. Things like shoulder points, necklines, and hems were not exact between the sizes and that just didn't cut it for me. Part of the reason the patterns weren't equal between the sizes was my size chart.
When I developed my women's size chart, I took measurements from the ASTM standards and several other places. Essentially, I averaged between the few size charts I sourced. Unfortunately, it didn't produce an even grade between the sizes. To fix this, in 2017, I changed my women's size chart to a single/double grading system. Sizes 00-12 are graded with a single grading system, meaning there's one evolution per size. My evolution is 1" horizontally, so you get a 1" total difference between the side seams of my patterns for size 00-12. For double grading, there are two evolutions. So for sizes 12-26 I have a 2" total difference between the side seams of my patterns. The grading is much neater and more appealing.
Making the Patterns Fit You
Now, how do real life bodies fit into this new size chart? With all my patterns made or updated after December 2017, I can get pinpoint accuracy with the grading. That means if your measurements fall within multiple sizes, all you need to do it grade between those sizes at each point in the garment. I use bust, waist, and hip lines to help you with the grading and it produces such an accurately sized garment for each person!
In late 2017, I also added sewing cup sizes to my patterns which helps tremendously when sewing. Having a D sewing cup size myself, I always needed to do a full bust adjustment (FBA) to my patterns. What a pain in the neck! So I added sewing cup sizes A-E to my patterns to help sewists take the guesswork out of sewing them.
My firm belief is that each body is beautiful no matter the size, shape, or color. You all deserve a well fitting pattern and it's my job to help you achieve that. If I give you the most accurately graded pattern I can, your job gets that much easier.
All of these changes come, in part, because of new plans I have for my business. Paper printed patterns is my ultimate goal for 2019! Putting it out on the interwebs is a little scary, but I'm hoping it will give me greater confidence to get it accomplished. Wish me luck!