So, garment sizing. In technical terms, in my world, this is called “grading” a garment. It’s the most difficult part of my job. As I’ve said before, the designing part of my job is great fun and very satisfying. But, there is more to it than designing. Designing is like a painter using a brush and canvas to create a work of art. It usually comes from your soul.
Writing patterns isn’t something that comes from your soul. It’s precise technical writing. It’s a learned skill, much like legal or medical transcription. It would be like that same painter turning around and making a paint-by-number of that same painting.
Now, for garments, there is an entirely different beast that must be addressed in addition to the pattern writing. You have to take a written pattern that you have completed and produce different sizes for the same pattern. This part of the job is also a learned skill but it’s a skill that grows with time and lots and lots of research.
These days, no matter the style of the design, a pattern writer is expected to write the pattern for sizes up to 2X or 3X. Take this style, for example. This is my design of the Strasbourg Vest.
Pursuant to current requirements, I sized this design to fit sizes small through 3X. Does this mean that I feel that this style will be desired by a size 3X? No. This is an example of “just because you CAN knit it doesn’t mean it’s going to automatically fit your own style.”
There seems to be a lot of this going around. Just because a garment is sized to your size and you have the ability to knit or crochet, it doesn’t mean that every design out there is going to work with your own personal or body style. It doesn’t work that way anymore than it works to go to the mall and find that everything marked as your size fits you and looks perfect on you.
The beauty of making your own clothing, of course, is that you are crocheting or knitting your own garment. You can make spontaneous changes to the design.
If we look at the above style, the total length of the vest is sitting right at the top of the hip. When this garment is graded, it will continue to fall in the same location of high hip, even in the 3X. I can’t make a decision to spontaneously change the length to mid- or low hip simply because I think that it would be preferred in a size 3X. I can’t spontaneously add waist shaping to sizes 1X-3X because I feel that it would be desired. Nope, I’ve got to stick with the original design of no waist shaping and high hip throughout.
Just like in a sewing pattern, I can’t change the style of the garment as the size increases. It must remain the same, whether it’s my own personal choice or not.
The pattern certainly isn’t incorrect because the size 2X isn’t desired as a high hip garment by most. It would be incorrect if I suddenly made a decision to change the style to a low hip A-line only in specific sizes because I felt that it would be more suitable for those sizes. I can’t make the decision to change design elements in a design from size-to-size.
BUT, just because *I* can’t spontaneously make changes to a design because of my own view of style choices during the pattern grading, it doesn’t mean that YOU can’t spontaneously make changes to a design.
It would be easy to alter the above style. It’s worked top-down and in stockinette almost exclusively. Since it’s worked top-down, you can make it as long as you like. Since it’s almost predominantly stockinette, it’s easy to add some waist shaping, even to turn this into more of an A-line style at the hip.
If you’re unable to find that perfect style of garment in knit or crochet, be sure to take a look at other styles which are close enough that you can alter them for that perfect fit you’ve always wanted.