If you're looking at the Cashmerette size chart and your measurements fall in multiple sizes, fear not! You can grade between sizes to create your own custom size that will give you the best fit for your body. This is extremely common and most people need to grade between sizes on most patterns; very rarely do people's measurements fall exactly in one size.
How do I know which sizes I need to use? Check out details of how to choose your size here. Be sure to always retake your measurements before starting each project. Wear the type of bra you’ll be most likely to wear with the garment and take your waist and hip measurements while both standing up and sitting down to make sure you have sufficient wearing ease in your garment.
How do I grade between sizes? Basically, you’ll just draw a line between the notches at the different points on the pattern where you need different sizes. Make sure you make the same changes on all your pieces and that the seams still line up after grading. For more instructions on exactly how to grade and tips on how to do it successfully, see the different categories below.
How many sizes can I grade between? Up to 3 sizes easily, more than that is doable but just be careful about the curves you create and make sure to make a test garment to see if the changes fall in the right spot. One time, I graded to the hip notch on a pair of pants and ended up with saddle bags of extra ease and they were too tight around my actual hips…I added the ease at the wrong point vertically!
Do I have to make a muslin? Yes! We always recommend making a muslin when you’re making a garment for the first time; we especially encourage muslins when you’ve made changes to the drafting as they may affect overall fit.
What if my measurements fall in between the measurements listed? If your measurements fall between the 2” increments, generally you’ll want to round up. Round down in the case of garments with more positive ease like the Webster Top & Dress. Peek at the finished garment measurements to help you decide.
What if my measurements fall outside the chart? If your measurements fall outside the chart, you’ll need to grade the pattern itself either up or down.
Is there a difference if I’m doing a knit or a woven? The basic theory is the same, but some of the techniques are a little different. Also, knits tend to be stretchy and a bit more forgiving, so you may be less likely to need to grade.
Can I grade between the shoulders and the bust? If you have narrower shoulders and need a smaller size at the shoulders, or wider shoulders and need a bigger size, you can grade between the shoulder and bust sizes, but if it’s more than one size difference, you should do a narrow or broad shoulder adjustment instead. If you are going to grade between the shoulders and the bust, you’ll be doing the grading through the armsyce. Follow the armscye of the shoulder size to about 1/2 way down, then join up with the bust size to finish the curve. If you’re making a garment with sleeves, you’ll be better off using the narrow or broad shoulder adjustment.
What if I need a different size sleeve to the bodice? If you’re working with a knit fabric, cut the sleeve that matches the bodice size and do a full or small bicep adjustment. If you’re sewing with a woven fabric, cut the sleeve size you need and cut the armscye to match that size on the bodice. Knits are a lot more forgiving, but with a woven you may need to play around with the curves of the armscye a bit more.
Can I avoid grading between sizes? Before grading, take a look at the finished garment measurements and think about the type of garment it is to determine if you need to grade or if the ease will fit your measurements -- for instance, if your waist is slightly larger than the body measurement but you're making a wrap dress, you might not need to grade, or if it's a pattern with significant ease at the waist like the Montrose Top, you might also be fine without grading. To maintain the intended ease and the way the pattern was drafted to fit, you will need to grade between sizes.
Information sourced from Cashmerette Patterns.