Different Pattern Companies

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I have read where the patterns of Simplicity, McCall's, Vogue, and Butterick
are all pretty much based on the same industry standard (with respect to size)
and that if you have need an alteration (i.e., forward shoulders) for one
pattern of one company, you'll probably need to make the same adjustment in
patterns from other companies.

The pattern I've been working on for DD is a Simplicity pattern, and it
definitely requires a shoulder adjustment for forward shoulders, as well as
bust enlargement.

I made a dress from a McCall's pattern for my daughter a couple of months ago.
It wasn't a good fit, and that was before I got tips from you guys on how to
fit her.  So I fit her to that pattern again last night.  Much to my surprise,
no adjustment for forward shoulders nor bust enlargement was needed (same
size).  I'm wondering why this one doesn't require an adjustment for forward
shoulders.  Any comments?


Karen C./KY

Re: Different Pattern Companies

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Hey Karen,

Basically, they are all different.  They may say they work from the same
model....and I could say I have the same body I had before I had children.

What I have found is I have to make the same adjustments to each pattern
from one company.  Like say I have to shorten the bodice on every McCall's
pattern I use.  But the New Look patterns fit me fine lengthwise.  Then I
might have to shorten Butterick patterns, but not nearly as much as
McCall's.  From brand to brand the fit of patterns varies pretty widely.
But within each brand, I have found I have to make the same changes each

I can't tell you **why** that is, but I promise you it's been my experience.
It's just one more thing you learn to deal with.


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Re: Different Pattern Companies

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Hi, Sharon!  Thanks so much for the feedback.  I was beginning to worry that
I'd not made the correct alterations for the dress I cut out last night.  Got
to say it looked good on the pin-fit, though.  I am anxious to see how it will
work up.

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Well, after dealing with the pattern last night, I can see exactly what you're

As stupid as this will sound to you guys, I never realized how important it was
to shorten/lengthen at the waist, hips, etc.  I always just shortened at the
bottom.  I didn't realize how much shortening at those different levels made a
difference.  I don't know why it never occurred to me before (probably because
that's how Mom taught me).  That pattern-fitting sure looked a whole lot better
this time around than the last dress I attempted to make!  I'll let you know
how it turns out in the finished product.

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Well, it sure helps to know this is the way it is.  Thanks a bunch!  I
appreciate your feedback.

Karen C./KY

Re: Different Pattern Companies
Mike and Sharon Hays wrote:
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 From my experience, I  would go one more step.  Just
because one Butterick or McCall's pattern fits one way is
no guarantee that the next pattern from the same publisher
will fit the same way.  I don't know if it's because of
the individual designers or some other factor, but I
strongly recommend that you double-check each pattern to
see if it needs adjustment.

http://members.tripod.com/~bernardschopen /

Re: Different Pattern Companies
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I don't doubt what you say one bit!  I will definitely take your advice and do
so with each pattern.  Thanks for your feedback.

Karen C./KY

Re: Different Pattern Companies
Well, maybe the companies aren't as different as I thought.

I had made the same dress (McCall's 8171) a month ago (didn't turn out that
great, but I assumed it was because I had made it out of stiffer fabric
(jacquard) than was suggested on the pattern).  Also, I used the incorrect size
(12 instead of 14), which I found out later, after trying to learn the basics
of pattern fitting.

So I got some nice challis fabric (kind of wild, tropical print, but the kid
chose it).  I added 1/2" at the neck because it shows a little bra strap.  I
made the adjustments for length at the four different areas, midrif, waist,
knee, etc.  I even took another bold move and made a dart-type adjustment at
the back neck, which went down to the midrif area.  The length and tne dart
adjustment did make a big difference, and I was feeling quite smug.

It didn't appear to me, at the time of tissue fitting, that we needed to make
the forward shoulder adjustment, as I've been doing with the Simplicity pattern
I'd previously written about.  Boy, was I ever WRONG about that!  Not only do I
need a forward shoulder adjustment, I need to take up a little slack in the
front neck area, because I've got a gap.

Am I just exceptionally dense, or is this the way you guys learned to fit too?
Here I thought I was doing so well.  I worked on the McCall's because I thought
I was closer, due to the original jacquard one being so close.  LOL!  I guess
the difference in the fabric really made a big difference.

I think maybe I'd better concentrate on getting the one dress finished with a
proper fit before I work on the other one.

Anyway, it's back to the old drawing board.  Remind me not to get to acting so
smug till I get one actually finished, will ya?

Karen C./KY

Re: Different Pattern Companies
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Re: Different Pattern Companies
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Pretty much, though I learned to really sew about the time cast iron polyester
doubleknits were the in thing -- they all draped pretty much alike, and
the fit was more geometric then.  And my mom's best friend was a tailor,
so I learned a lot from watching her.  But yes, it takes practice.

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Yup, fabric does make a big difference.  Sometime when you're at the
library, stop by the interlibrary loan desk and get them to borrow Winifred
Aldrich's book on drape of different fabrics for you -- there's a great
chart in the back on what fabrics have similar drapiness; very handy to

(Did you do a neckline facing? Or bias band?  If it's a bias band, you
may be able to pull the gappiness up a bit by shortening the bias as
you apply it.  Be sure to stay stitch the neckline!)

The other things I encourage you to do is start looking at the "bones"
of a pattern -- those black and white line drawings are really useful
for that.  Many, many patterns are the same basic thing over and over
again, with variations in neckline, collar shape, cuff shape, tabs,
placement of zipper and buttons, etc.  Find a silhouette you like,
and work on that pattern till you've got the fit honed... then do theme
and variations.  No one will know that you're making the same thing
over and over, and you'll save tons of time. (that, btw, is the
Shirley Adams/Sewing Connection approach, too.)

FWIW, I'm decidedly unfond of Big Three patterns... I far prefer Stretch
and Sew or Kwik Sew, and Jalie appears to be good-- don't have enough
experience with Jalie yet, though.  They may not look especially fashionable
in the book, but that's easily remedied by the person designing with
that pattern. The fit is more consistent within KS or S&S than within
a "big 3" pattern.

Re: Different Pattern Companies
On 27 Jul 2003 23:14:52 GMT, Kay Lancaster wrote:

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Couldn't agree more - that's what I've been doing for years. One of the
first things I learned to make was a simple 'kimono' top, and I made it in
every fabric under the sun, on the straight, on the bias, with batwing
sleeves, with gussetted sleeves, with every length of sleeve, type of
neckline, buttoned or zipped and cowlneck. I'm certain no-one would've
guessed it was basically the same design.

This is why I'm finding PMB incredibly useful, actually - you design a
basic dress, say, and get the waist seam and the bust darts, etc, in the
right place, then just change any other bits you need, such as collars,
sleeves and skirt types - it's very fast.

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Who are the Big Three? Butterick, Burda, and someone? McCalls? I don't know
Jalie - where might I find them please?

Personally, I'm fond of Vogue, and Sewing Workshop patterns, though they're
not the cheapest.

:) Trish

Re: Different Pattern Companies
The Big Three used to be the Big Four--Vogue, Butterick, McCall, and
Simplicity. Now the first three are all one company, although they're still
being operated as three separate pattern companies.

Don't know where the "Three" came from, except that Vogue and Butterick have
been one company for many years. They still have distinct looks, though, very

Karen Maslowski in Cincinnati

Re: Different Pattern Companies
On 29 Jul 2003 12:15:13 GMT, SewStorm wrote:

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Ah - mystery solved.  I know the website you mean. I think in England it
might be slightly different in terms of what's most popular. You see Burda
catalogues in shops far more than Vogue, for instance (bit high-end for
most Brits!). Does Burda sell so well in the US? I only found out recently
that European garments are cut rather differently from American ones -
maybe this difference is why I love my Orvis clothes.

:) Trish

Re: Different Pattern Companies
On Tue, 29 Jul 2003 14:03:10 -0700, Poohma wrote:

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I must admit to never trying a Burda pattern. I must give it go sometime.

Sadly, I don't think I'm a very European shape. I'm certainly not a French
shape - I have an English big end ;) French skirts and jeans are cut for
cute girls with little buns, which is not a description of me.

My DH used to stock up on clothes in the US, especially Banana Republic and
Gap before we got them in the UK.

:) Trish

Re: Different Pattern Companies

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I'm glad to hear you are liking it that much.  I'm going to take the plunge as
soon as I can, but it will be later, in the fall.  It's just as well that I
can't get it till after the new version comes out, anyway.  I do think I
probably need to get more of the "fitting basics" under my belt before I tackle
the software, anyway.

Karen C./KY

Re: Different Pattern Companies
On 30 Jul 2003 07:32:49 GMT, KCunnin502 wrote:

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I am as pleased as punch with PMB, but I should add that I've been drafting
patterns for years, so I'm just using it to make things quicker. If you can
get to grips with Click and Sew then you should be fine with PMB. I am
jealous that you'll get the new version - I can't afford to upgrade.

It is important to be realistic, though. Some people on
patternmasterchatter clearly expect the program to do everything for them,
and to cope with every figure anomaly, and it can't do that, especially
left/right assymetries - it's not designed for it. It's like the spell
check on Word will show up a typing error, but it can't teach you how to
write... I  don't mind a few tweaks at fitting stage to get everything
exactly the way I want it - the program is still creating garments that fit
better than any pattern I've ever bought (at 5' 1" and short-waisted,
pattern alterations have always been a swine).

You asked about pattern makes and I must say I could never get anywhere
with Simplicity. Style (does this still exist?) has also been useless for
me. I love Vogue, and started sewing with Very Easy, Very Vogue. One of the
reasons is that I prefer pattern companies that show the garment on an
actual body. Having said that, I also love Sewing Workshop patterns, but
they do have a distinctly assymetric, arty feel, which is not everyone's
cup of tea.

:) Trish

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Trish, that's because Style was a division of Simplicity.

Burda in Europe is different than Burda in the US in that here the patterns
have seam allowances. They didn't use to, and I guess they felt it was useless
to try to educate the "Murricans", as OlwynMary puts it, and they simply
retooled. I have several friends who were sad to see this change, since they
actually liked adding their personal preference of seam allowances.

Burda also has a totally different, "European" pant draft, so it fits
differently than American patterns. If you have trouble fitting pants with
Burda, this could be the reason. They have a shallow front crotch curve, which
doesn't fit me at all, but some people find it better for fitting their shape.

Trish, have you tried the Sandra Betzina patterns? They fit totally differently
than other Butterick patterns (or is it Vogue?).
Karen Maslowski in Cincinnati

Re: Different Pattern Companies
On 30 Jul 2003 14:48:54 GMT, SewStorm wrote:

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Oh heck, it's so complicated, isn't it? I didn't know Style was part of
Simplicity. I haven't tried Burda yet, but I'll let you know how I get on
if I try pants.

I have a hell of a time getting RTW pants that fit and even in England
could only wear a few makes - mostly high end-ish - like Jaegar, August
Silks and Linea, with a small waist and lots of room in the butt. For years
I just made simple no-sideseam pants with a harem waist, usually
elasticated, but I haven't even made those for about ten years. I was
thinking of getting into doing trousers again after a good article on the
Threads site about different kinds of elasticated waist, which looked very

I'd noticed Today's Fit, but in what way are they different?

:) Trish

Re: Different Pattern Companies
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They're meant for women with a more "womanly" figure than the usual patterns,
most of which are based on various permutations of a Wolfe dressform. Honestly,
this is why most clothing doesn't fit--who the he** is shaped like a wooden

When I was a buyer (years ago) I once went behind the scenes to a bathing suit
manufacturer, and met their fit model. She was their "ideal"
measurements--which, coincidentally, most closely coresponded to the size 8
Wolfe dressform. Everything larger or smaller was graded from there. Most of
the pattern companies do the same thing, although this is beginning to change.

Trish, Liz Claiborne pants might fit you; they are also meant for a more
shapely figure than the usual.

Karen Maslowski in Cincinnati

Re: Different Pattern Companies
On Thu, 31 Jul 2003 15:28:48 +0200, Trishty wrote:
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Hi Trish,

I too have a small waist and a big bum - relativly speaking compared to
normal UK RTW clothes which seemed to be designed for people with no
waists - or do they think us ladies are actually men? Despite various
weight fluctuations over the years, I've always had an approx. 10"
differential between waist and hip measurements.....Personally, not
having a time of month tummy size change problem, and a trim waistline,
I don't like to wear elasticated waist anything (I think it looks frumpy)
- I must like causing myself hassle!

I've had good luck with Pattern 8612 from Simplicity, which is a work suit
jacket, trousers and skirt pattern from a few years ago. I've made the trousers
(only) about 5 times now. I altered the pattern by adding about 1-2"
length at the top, adding a *massive* butt dart on both sides at the back,
and increasing the width of the double pleats at the front. The first time I
made this, I made it with the leg width as per pattern, and ended up with
very wide trousers! Not quite what I was after, so next time, I tappered
the legs by folding the pattern and the subsequent 4 pairs have been made
to that. One other trick I use is to put a 1" longer than standard zip
into the trousers - just gives your hips that little bit extra room to
manouver in and out!

I use almost the same alterations to make straight skirts (massive butt
darts, longer zip, extra dart in the front of the skirt).

I've found fit and flare styles to be very flattering, and long 6 gore
skirts that have gores that flare out quite wide at the bottom.



Re: Different Pattern Companies
Trishty wrote:
 > trousers at all because the cuts are too skimpy and flat - I like
 > that 1940s full leg, classic, double front pleat look.

And that looks far more flattering on more ladies than most of the
styles today.
I know God will not give me anything I can't handle.
I just wish that He didn't trust me so much.  - Mother Teresa

Re: Different Pattern Companies

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So true!  Some of the stuff they are trying to sell in the stores makes me

I went to a restaurant the other day and saw a lady in her mid-20s eating a
couple of tables over from where we were sitting.  That lady's jeans were cut
so low that I saw her "rear end's cleavage"--much more of her rear end than I
ever wanted to!  YUCK!

Karen C./KY

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