Jun 122013

Here is the first post in our behind the scenes look at the reasoning behind the decisions we make for the company. We wrote briefly before about how we wanted to explain how we ended up with each of our decisions and specifically, that the first post would discuss our unique sizing model.

When Amity and I started talking about what we wanted from a pattern company, one of our first goals was to have a large size range to fit all women.   After much debate and numerous revisions on what this really meant, we settle on 2 sizes ranges:   2-14 and 16-24.

While doing our research, it didn’t look like many pattern companies did larger sizes.  There are definitely companies out there just not as many.  Speaking to many others, there seemed to be an unmet need.  But to do larger sizes correctly, we had to establish different grading rule than our regular grading rules.

Lolita Patterns | Unique Sizing

To us, this was the right thing to do vs having the same grading rules from 2 to 24 which would have been much more cost effective.  The reason for the different block and grade rules is that as we ladies gain fluff some things get bigger (neck, armholes etc) but not that big.

Lolita Patterns | Unique Sizing

If we kept the same grading rules for the regular sizes and kept grading we would get linebacker shoulders, weight lifter neck and 80’s men’s tank top armholes.

Lolita Patterns | Unique Sizing

With the 2 different blocks, we have to sew 2 different samples, do different fitting sessions and many more things that cost more time, money and energy.  In the end, we think it is worth the investment.  We’re very proud of our sizing and grading and hope that our potential consumers will feel the same.

Sew that’s why we have this sizing range.

Lolita Patterns | Sizing Chart

Next time up we will address paper decisions….specifically tissue vs. bond vs. other options.  Stay tuned!

Please let us know if you like these posts and find them interesting. We are doing this series because we find it interesting learning about why other companies make certain decisions. We hope you do too!

EDITED TO ADD: There is a follow up to this post you can read here. It provides an update on our sizing and how the blogging world reacts.

Nhi Signature

  12 Responses to “Sew That’s Why: Lolita Patterns Sizing”

  1. Those are some great visuals that really explain the problem well. I know I appreciate well drafted plus-size patterns. Less work for me.

    Now I just have to get my head around paying the price for such quality. it’s hard for me to consider paying $15+ for a pattern when my only experience has been with the big 4 and I have to do a LOT of work to get them to fit right. I’m always afraid I’ll buy the expensive pattern and still have to do a great deal of work.

    • Jennifer, we currently have someone testing very size so that people can buy with confidence that the pattern will be worth the price point. Here’s how I would rationalize the indie pattern cost. With the Big 4 sounds like you’re wasting lot of time (which you don’t have). And you could be wasting money if you have to make a muslin or muslins (plural) or something ends up as a wadder (big $ hole). And what’s the price of your sanity worth? You won’t get much help with the Big 4. Whereas the indie pattern companies do a lot of sew-alongs, answer questions and show you numerous variations to stretch the pattern usage.

  2. Hi, I found this post very interesting and have only one suggestion. Stop calling your larger sizes “Plus.” We get it. Those of us who wear larger sizes get that we are larger, but the word “Plus” is just wrong. Plus, a size 16 no where in the world should be considered a “Plus” size. Just use “Regular” and “Large.” It will go a long way to making larger-sized people be more receptive to your patterns if you are more sensitive to the terminology. Thanks.

    • LindaC, your point is well taken. We made the wide range of sizes to be inclusive, not to turn off people to our patterns. We should be using “regular” and “larger” or just the size ranges 2-14, 16-24 going forward. If you catch us using the “p” word, let us know.

  3. You guys are great!

  4. I found your website via Heather Lou’s and must say I am excited to see the Sugar Plum come to fruition. It reminds me of Grosgrain’s coffee date dress which I loved but not enough to spend hours grading to figure out my size. Based on your sizing, I will still have to grade some (47-43-54) but I definitely like the idea of merging a few sizes rather than manually calculating and physically adding paper in the hopes of a reasonable fit. When do you expect to have the pattern available? I tend to use Indie or vintage patterns exclusively as I find them well thought out and more interesting so the $15 price tag is about average. Do you plan to host a sew along too? I find them super helpful and a good way for the sewists and designer to connect.

    Also, just wanted to let you know all plus sized sewists don’t mind the word plus. After all, plus means additional or extra and I consider that a positive :-)

    • We are thrilled you like Sugar Plum! The pattern has just gone out to testers and will go to the printers after that. It is generally a 6 week or so turnaround time at that point. So it will still be a couple months before the Sugar Plum is in print. However, future patterns will be much more streamlined as all the initial set up (i.e. packaging, printers, etc) has been figured out on Sugar Plum.

      We will definitely be doing a sew-along! This is a more advanced pattern and a sew-along will be really beneficial. Plus, they are fun!

      Plus is additional and therefore positive! I love it:)

  5. Will mark my calendar and definitely sign up for the sew along when it is scheduled!

  6. So glad you are doing this! I sew for clients and I always get so irritated at the way the Big 4 deal with larger-sized women. When I follow the pattern, I get clown clothes for my clients. I’ve been learning how to spot this and adjust for it before the muslin, but I would certainly be willing to pay more for a pattern that saves me and my clients time and money in the long run. Excited to see what you all create!

  7. […] sample size, grade two separate patterns, etc. It does truly add twice as much work. We wrote a post about why we chose to do that back here. It is a post specifically on the sizing at Lolita Patterns. We knew that the indie pattern market […]

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.