How to choose the right size

How to chose the best size when sewing clothing

When ordering clothes online or determining the size of a sewing pattern, you should always check the size chart of the brand itself. Based on your own measurements you can check the chart and determine which size fits you best. ‘Best' is in this case the fit the brand had in mind when designing the garment. Does that sound like a lot of gibberish? Let me break it down for you

1. What is a size chart and what is it based on?

2. What is the relationship between a size chart and the fit of a garment?

3. How do you determine your top size?

4. How do you determine your bottom size?

5. How to determine the size of pieces that combine top and bottom sizes?

6. The Zonen 09 size charts

What is a size chart and what is it based upon?

A size charts respresents a brand’s ideal customer body type. It is comprised of a series of body measurements to act as a guide when developing patterns. Typically a brand’s size chart is based upon the average measurements of the inhabitants of the country where the brand is located. This is also the case for Zonen 09. When grading new patterns the sizes reflect the average body measurements of the Belgian population.  

What does a size chart tell you about the fit of a piece of clothing?

During the design phase, a designer makes a decision on the fit. A sweater e.g. can be slim fit, but it can just as well be oversized. Depending on the designer’s decision, a number of extra centimeters are added to the most important measurement (chest for top pieces, hip for bottom pieces).

The extra centimeters on top of the overall body measurement determines the comfort and is called ease or wearing ease. If you want a garment with a loose fit, more ease will be added. For each Zonen 09 pattern the description will tell you what fit I had in mind.

How to choose the correct size for tops?

How to chose the best size when sewing top pieces?

Since the most important measurement for top pieces like t-shirts, shirts, blouses and sweaters is the chest circumference you compare your or someone elses chest measurement to the size in the chart. This way you determine the size you need. Never assume that your ’regular’ shop sizes will also be the best choice here since every brand and every designer uses their own charts based on what I described above.

So it seemt that you have a size 50 if you check the size chart for one brand whereas your regular size is only 44? Let it go. '50' doesn’t mean anything. The designer could just as easily have called it ‘yummy thing' ;-).

Even if you make something for a very all or very short person, you choose the size bases on the chest size. Before you cut the pattern pieces from the fabric, you either lengthen or shorten the pattern. How it is done is explained in the instructions of every pattern. Soon you’ll also find some extra info here on how to take measurements and adjust patterns.

How to choose the correct size for bottoms?

How to chose the best size when sewing bottom pieces?

When it comes to deciding what size to choose for bottom pieces like pants and skirts you simply follow the same logic as for tops. The only difference is that the hip circumference is now the most important measurement and when checking the size chart you should focus on that specific measurement.

How to choose the correct size for pieces that combine tops and bottoms?

How to chose the best size when sewing pieces that combine tops and bottoms?

Now you understand how to choose the correct size for tops and bottoms, you might wonder what measurements to take into account for longer shirts, dresses or coats? What size do you choose if you compare your measurements for chest and hips to the size chart and it appears that you have two different sizes? 

If this is the case you start from the chest circumference and you adjust the pattern so that there is more or less ease on the hip. You can do that by copying the patroon at waist height in the corresponding size. Let me explain: the size chart indicates that, based on your chest measurements, you are a size 38, whereas when your hips are concerned, you are a size 42. In that case you copy the lines corresponding with size 38 for the top part of the pattern. From the waist down you copy the lines corresponding with size 42. Make sure to connect both sizes with a fluid line.

The Zonen 09 size charts

With this information you should be able to understand the Zonen 09 size charts and know how to choose your perfect size. You can find all charts here.

If you still have question, then don’t hesitate to contact me!