How to blend pattern sizes

It’s not a secret.  Humans come in all shapes and sizes.  Little humans are no different.  If you have a child that isn’t an average shape, you may have difficulty with properly fitting clothing off the rack.  This may have inspired your desire to sew but you probably soon realized that even sewing a straight size doesn’t guarantee the desired fit.

Sizes can also be blended if you’d like to reduce the wearing ease of a style(this should be done with caution because some styles require a certain amount of ease if there is no placket.  Reducing the ease may make dressing more difficult).  Let’s take Take a Bow(this one has a side zipper so dressing is simple, even with less ease) for example.  The finished ease on the dress is 2″ but if you want a slimmer fit, you could choose to reduce the ease by blending the height you need with the finished measurement you desire.  This would be done exactly the same way as described below.

For children that don’t fall nicely into the average size bracket, blending sizes is necessary.  My daughter is slim for her height, but I’m lucky because she’s also short waisted.  That means that I can usually get away with just lengthening her skirt.  I wasn’t always so lucky, however.

When I first started drafting patterns, she was the height of a five year old but had the chest width of an average 2-3 year old.  Her chest was 20 1/2″ around and her height was about 45″.

Let’s look that up on the Duchess and Hare Size chart.
chart

The chest is between a 2 and a 3 and her height is in the 5 range.  This means that I can’t just cut her a size 3.  It will be far too short.  It also means that I can’t cut her a straight 5 either because it will be too large in the chest.  The remedy is simple!  I can blend the sizes!

I know I need a size 3 and a size 5, so I’ll print those two and show you how to blend them on the Every Which Way bodice.

To make blending easiest, line up the bodices at the underarm like so.  Make sure you keep the bodices aligned on the straight side.

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 1.16.33 PM.png
You want the height of the 5 but the width of the 3.  I’ve marked the points we’ll need to blend on the pattern pieces below.

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 1.18.49 PM.png
To find the new shoulder width, I’m going to draw a line from the size 3 and end it at the size 5, following the curve of the armscye.

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 1.20.06 PM.png
Now, we’re going to draw the blended armscye starting at the new shoulder width above and ending at the size 3 armscye.  Remember, we need the width of the 3 and the height of the 5.  By nesting the two at the height of the armscye, blending is simpler, because both the 3 and the 5 are the same height there.

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 1.23.25 PM.png

Now, on to the sides.  Extend the size 3 bodice down to the size 5.

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 1.25.20 PM.png

Now, continue around the size 5 bodice, keeping the size 5 neckline because that’s at the height you want to cut.

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 1.28.16 PM.png

Now you have your new bodice with the size 5 height but the 3 width.

What if you have to go the other way?  Let’s say your child has a 23″ chest but is only 38″ tall.  Blending that way is just as easy.  I chose a size 5 and a size 3 again just for illustration ease.

chart2

We mark the pattern just as before, but this time, the blended pattern will be wider and shorter, whereas before, it was narrower and taller.

Once again, mark the width you want and the height you want.

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 1.43.48 PM

Extend the width of the shoulder to the 5 width marking.

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 1.45.03 PM
And then blend the armscye.

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 1.46.14 PM.png

Now, onto the side.  The new side is blended from the new armscye to the marked length.

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 1.47.21 PM
And, as before, you just continue around, keeping the neckline of the height you need.  In this case it’s the size 3 neckline because the child is a size 3 height.

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 1.49.14 PM
Now, you have your 5 width, 3 height pattern piece.

Other pattern pieces are blended in the same fashion.  Marking the width and the height that you need and then blending between the points.

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