April 27, 2006

Children's Sizing and Measurement Standards Vary by Company

After studying and comparing all of my size charts collected from various sources I have come to realize the search for a good standard may be in vain. Here is just a brief example of one meausurement and how it varies among pattern drafting manuals and retailers.

Size 8 child: Major US Retailer
Bicep (inches) : 7.75
Recommended Ease : 1.5-2.0
Draft Line : 9.25-9.75

Size 8 child: Armstrong
Bicep (inches): 8.125
Recommended Ease : 2.875
Draft Line: 11

Size 8 child: Mortimer-Dunn
Bicep (inches): 8.75
Recommended Ease: 1.5-2.0
Draft Line : 10.25-10.75

Size 8 child: Dressform Co.
Bicep (inches): 7.75
Recommended Ease : 1.5-2.0
Draft Line : 9.25-9.75

As you can see there is quite a range in measurements. To fit the most average child, it is best to fall in between the range. But it still begs the question of who is correct? The Armstrong measurement is especially suspect because she recommends far too much ease in her drafting measurement.

For my new blocks, I have decided to use the Aldrich charts. She has statistical data to backup her charts. The US retailer and dressform co. charts are based off of the 1977 study and have been adjusted/updated over the years. I don't know where Armstrong and Mortimer-Dunn got their measurements, but their numbers seem odd. As far as I can tell, Aldrich is fairly close to the Major US Retailer. I am currently in the process of converting her measurements over to inches, to the nearest 1/8". This introduces an error into her measurements, but I am most comfortable using those units. Once I fine tune and tweak the numbers so they look right and are easy to work with, I will then compare my charts to those above and make sure I fall somewhere in the range. And I am still toying with the idea of working in metric anyway. I am unsure how my US customers would respond...

The next step is to draft some basic blocks and sew-up a fit sample.

My sources:
Major US Retailer - Kept confidential. Their size charts were last updated in 1981.

Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph Armstrong (5th edition) - her third edition has an even larger measurement for a Size 8 bicep and still too much ease. I have no idea about the fourth and fifth editions.

Pattern Design for Children's Clothes by Gloria Mortimer-Dunn - the book shows basic pattern drafting skills but her size charts are a bit odd.

Dressform Co. - kept confidential, but they have one of the better charts I have seen for infants.

Metric Pattern Cutting for Children's Wear and Babywear (4th edition) - the best book by far. I have not cited her bicep measurement because I am still studying her charts.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:22 PM

    I found this page when I was searching for "books on drafting patterns for children". I've noticed the same discrepancies with sizing charts. I have Mortimer-Dunn's book and thought it would be great until I noticed that her "standard" sizes didn't match other charts I'd seen. I am a self-taught clothing designer and I am having a heck of a time finding a good book that will help me draft a standard sized pattern for kids! Since you wrote this post 4 years ago, I am hoping you've found the perfect book. Have you had any luck?