Today we launched our latest pattern, the Sienna Maker Jacket. This is the first pattern we're releasing with extended sizing and we couldn't be happier about it. Since we'll be offering all future patterns in our two size ranges, I thought it would be helpful to explain how our sizing works and how some of the drafting may differ from one size range to another.
Before I get into some of the more technical details, I want to take a moment to give a heartfelt thank you to our community for calling us out on the limits of our size range. It became really clear this year that making our size range as inclusive as possible wasn't something we could continue to put off if we wanted to truly serve the needs of our community to the best of our abilities. Making such a big change to the products we offer has required restructuring our workflow and taking a deeper look at scheduling, but it's been a true joy to dive into a new way of working and thinking about our patterns. I've personally learned a lot this year, namely facing my own body privilege and understanding the challenges facing those of you excluded from traditional sizing models. It's all too easy to be unmindful about this issue when you've never been discriminated against because of the size you happen to be, and hearing your stories and feedback this year was a major wake-up call. I am grateful to those of you who encouraged us to change, and I mean it deeply when I say we are excited to try and be part of the solution rather than a part of the problem going forward.
So what does this all mean in relation to our new size range? In the spring, we surveyed over 1100 people size 12 and up. We evaluated the most common proportions among those we surveyed, studied a lot of anthropomorphic data from industry leaders like Alvanon, and finally settled on a drafting convention for our new block. The most important thing to know is that our new size range is drafted for a different body shape with different proportions than the existing 0-20. Spanning from size 14 to 30, it is drafted for larger D cup busts with a pear-shaped lower body. This was the most common body type by far in the survey data, and allowed us to design our new range for the greatest number of people.
While there are a few overlapping sizes in both ranges from sizes 14-20, please note that body measurements are not the same. If you've made our patterns before, you may find you are a different size in the extended range, so it is really important you choose a size based on your actual measurements rather than what you may have chosen in the past. We've updated our size chart page, where you can see all the relevant measurements for both size ranges. Here is the size chart for the 14-30 range:
We've spent the better part of the last 6 months working on new blocks, and Sienna is the first pattern we'll be releasing in the extended range. The testing process is key for us during development. For Sienna, we made a substantial number of subtle changes to our 14-30 draft after getting tester feedback. Our 14-30 Sienna is a little less boxy, with less volume through the waist. We tweaked ease ratios and agonized over sleeve fit (seriously, I thought our patternmaker Celine was going to murder me by sleeve revision #18). We are very happy with the final product, but of course, we would love to get feedback from those of you sewing up this pattern (and those to come) so we can make continual improvements to our products.
The biggest question I am anticipating is:
What size should I choose if I fall in between both size ranges?
The answer to this question depends on your bust size and waist to hip ratio. If you have a larger bust and pear-shaped lower half, you will be best served by our 14-30 size range; if you are not as curvy through the lower body as our new size chart BUT have a large bust, you should still use our extended range and then grade to a smaller size below the bust to get the best fit through waist and hips. However, if you are pear-shaped with a smaller bust, my advice would be to stick with your typical Closet Core size if you're generally happy with the fit, and grade to a larger size at waist and hip to give you the custom size you need. This means you won't have to make any small bust adjustments to the 14-30 range, which tend to be more complicated than simply grading below the waist. Our size 0-20 chart and drafting has not changed at all, so if that size range has worked for you in the past, I suggest sticking with it.
How does the drafting differ between the two ranges?
Because our base blocks in each size range are so different, you can definitely expect to notice changes in the drafting between the two. Proportions will be different, details may differ, and we may have engineered additional tweaks to the base pattern to ensure a better fit. For example, we may add darts to our extended range for better fit through the bust, or shape seams differently. This is a process and we are learning a lot; we can't simply apply an existing pattern to a new size range and go from there. Each pattern has to be drafted from the ground up, with separate fittings with fit models in each base size at multiple stages to ensure that fit is consistent between ranges. This means similar sizes between ranges will definitely have differences in the way they fit. If you fall between sizes and are unsure about what size in what range to make, my suggestion would be to choose the closest size to you in each range and make a muslin of each to see which fit you prefer.
We are currently re-drafting the three patterns from our Rome Collection and I'm hoping to have those out by the end of the year. Re-releases of our most requested patterns will be coming out on an ongoing basis in the coming year, and we have a number of new patterns coming next year that will be available in both ranges.
Our extended sizing will be available for all releases in PDF format only. We made this decision because the vast majority of our sales are in PDF (at a rate that keeps growing year after year), and by going in this direction we are able to get patterns to you much faster than if we printed them. We'll keep evaluating the possibility of print in the future as Closet Core Patterns grows! In the meantime, if you can't or don't want to print at home, we highly recommend services like PDFPlotting.com who can print and send PDF files to you at a low cost (we have a full list of PDF printers in our guide to assembling PDF patterns here). We've also made big improvements to our PDF patterns this year, including making them layered, which means you can turn off the sizes you don't need when you're printing them out.
Here are some answers to additional questions you may have:
How do I know which patterns are available in both ranges and how do I purchase them?
Once we re-release the Rome Collection, we will be setting up navigation on our site so you can easily see which patterns are available in each range. For now, we are trying to make it clear by having a size choice in our dropdown menu for each PDF pattern available with extended sizing. While you'll have to choose a size range to checkout, you will be given the ability to download both size ranges if you so choose once your download is ready. The most important thing to note: make sure you use the instruction booklet for whatever size range you're making. We created a different booklet for Sienna 14-30 since we added a dart and it changed all the illustrations. You can also expect to see two models for each new pattern, one in each size range, to help give you an idea of how our patterns look on different figures.
If I bought a pattern in the past and it becomes available in extended sizes, will I get the update for free?
Yes! We'll be offering free updates when we re-release old PDF patterns with extended sizing starting with the Rome Collection later this year, which will likely be emailed to you automatically. We are working on a technical solution to offer these updates to people who have purchased applicable print patterns as well, since extended sizing wasn't an option when they made their original purchase, but going forward, all new patterns will be treated separately in regards to print or PDF.
If I buy a new printed pattern that is available in extended sizing in PDF format, will I also get the digital file?
No, we will continue to offer print and PDF patterns as separate products.
We've spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to apply these changes to our company, so I hope all this makes sense! We are VERY excited about what all this means for Closet Core Patterns. We love our community so much, and I'm so happy we are going to be able to serve you more inclusively from here on out. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section and we're happy to answer!