an expanded size range for our liesl + co. patterns

Over the years we’ve heard from some of you who have expressed an interest in a wider range of sizes for our women’s patterns. Initially there were just a handful of you requesting them, mostly in my fit workshops, but that call for more sizes has grown over time.

If you have kept up with the industry on blogs and social media over the past few years, you will have seen a greater call for more inclusivity in the range of pattern sizes available from all of us indie patternmakers. I’ve been following these discussions with a lot of interest, and taking it all to heart. We certainly heard you and wanted to offer more sizing options.

It took longer than I wanted for several reasons, but at long last we’re ready to go!

Patterns in sizes 16-30

Increasing our range of sizes has taken some doing, starting with a lot of research and learning. I’ve never worked specifically with this size range before, aside from fitting you in workshops, so I needed to educate myself and find someone who could help me. Up until now I’ve done all the patternmaking for our patterns by myself, but I didn’t feel comfortable doing that with a second base size and with a range of sizes that are completely new to me–especially because it was really important that we do it correctly from the start.

So once I found someone who could help me, we started by making samples, doing lots of fittings, adjusting, making new samples, etc. It was slow going, very labor intensive, and costly. And, frankly, there were times when it just felt like we wouldn’t be able to get it right. (Word of warning: the fall pattern collection is going to be late this year!) But I’ve learned a lot in the process, and I’m very proud of what we’ve developed.

Since this is new to us and we’re not sure what to expect from the market, we’ve decided to start with two of our newest patterns. These two expanded size range patterns are available in PDF format for now. However, if they sell well enough we’ll be happy to entertain the idea of paper patterns. Future patterns in the expanded size range and paper releases all depend on how these are received. If sales demonstrate that there is a market for our expanded size range, we’ll develop and release more. So if you fall into this size range, please make a purchase to cast your vote for more. And if you don’t fall into this size range, help us get the word out about the availability of these patterns, will you?

Before I introduce the new patterns and show you all the photos, which I’ll do next Monday, let’s talk about the sizing, shall we?

Our usual Liesl + Co. size range includes sizes 0-20. The new expanded sizes range includes sizes 16-30. So you can see that there is some sizing overlap between the two. Both size ranges include 16, 18, and 20 in case you need more than one size. (We heard you on this; you told us it was important to you.)

Since we developed a new base pattern for the expanded size range, we were able to adjust the fit specifically for this size range. For example, if you compare the two sets of pattern pieces you’ll notice that in the original size range the size 18 is drafted a little differently than the new expanded size range size 18. The difference is mostly in how we’ve re-proportioned the shoulders and neckline to be a little bit narrower in the expanded sizes.

When patterns are graded, the shoulders and neckline grow along with the width of the chest, waist, hips, etc. (at a different ratio, but they still grow), so if you’re built narrow through the shoulder you may often find that the shoulder of a graded pattern is too wide by the time it reaches your bust measurement. We’ve addressed that common complaint with our new size range.

We’ve also increased the waist and hips in the expanded sizes to better suit those of you who are more pear- or apple-shaped. (Why, why, why don’t we have a better way of referencing our body shapes? I don’t think of myself as a pear….) And, finally, you’ll also notice that we’ve given you more room through the bust with a larger bust dart for our expanded sizes, since that’s a frequent frustration as well. So even though the bust measurement for both size 18s are the same, the proportions are different, with more room through the bust and a narrower shoulder and neckline.

Does all that make sense so far? And can you get a sense now for why developing this new size range was much more complicated than simply grading up our existing patterns? Lots of math. Lots of fittings. Lots of trial and error until we felt like we had it right.

Here is a measurement chart so you can compare the two size ranges. I know you’re curious.

Initial Size Range
Size 16 18 20
Bust, A/B Cup 42″ 44″ 46″
Bust, C Cup 43″ 45″ 47″
Bust, D Cup 44″ 46″ 48″
Waist 34 1/2″ 36 1/2″ 38 1/2″
Hips 44 1/2″ 46 1/2″ 48 1/2″
Expanded Size Range
Size 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30
Bust, A/B Cup 42″ 44″ 46″ 48″ 50″ 52″ 54″ 56″
Bust, C Cup 44″ 46″ 48″ 50″ 52″ 54″ 56″ 58″
Bust, D Cup 46″ 48″ 50″ 52″ 54″ 56″ 58″ 60″
Waist 37″ 39″ 41″ 43″ 45″ 47″ 49″ 51″
Hips 45 1/2″ 47 1/2″ 49 1/2″ 51 1/2″ 53 1/2″ 55 1/2″ 57 1/2″ 59 1/2″

 

And here’s a little sample of two front bodice patterns laid on top of each other to give you a better sense of the difference between the two.

What else can I tell you here? Mostly, I guess, that I’m really hopeful you’ll like these patterns. We’ve worked hard on them and really, really, really hope you’ll be pleased with the results. I’m, frankly, very nervous to put them out there. (It’s always nerve-wracking to release something you’ve spent a lot of time developing, but you know that, right?) I’d like to do more of them, especially since now I feel like I understand the process and the challenges better after all this time spent developing them. And because you’ve been asking for them. Obviously we’ll be looking forward to your feedback and to seeing how they work for you. Ultimately you get to decide whether we’ll offer more in this size range.

OK, having said all that I’ll be back on Monday and Tuesday to show you what we’ve got for you! Have a great weekend.



 

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31 Comments

  1. Now I’m even more proud to carry your patterns and tout them!

    1. Aw, thanks so much! It’s nice to get that kind of feedback.

  2. Tali

    Thank you! I appreciate the effort to be inclusive and the professional manner you are doing it.
    I have the same fit issues you are wrote about also in sizes 12/14, with the shoulders and neckline getting too wide comparing to the bust.

    1. If you’re running into that problem with our smaller sizes you’re almost certainly selecting a size that’s too large. A smaller size with the FBA will usually be a better option for you. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Karen

    Bravo!!! Your efforts are so appreciated.

  4. Tali

    It actually happens even when there are cup sizes included. In a way I feel i have the curvy shape but with a bit of a smaller size. I guess this is a body shape issue and I appreciate your thougt about naming body shapes as fruits, it really feels uncomfortable.

  5. Vero

    Thank you for hearing us! I was stunned that you took the time to learn the different block and grading required for plus sized patterns! So many don’t do this (even some of the big 4).

    I look forward to getting some of these patterns in the near future!

  6. Tammy Campbell

    Thank You! Your new size 20 probably won’t require any adjustments other than length for me. Short person here.

  7. Dana Tougas

    I am really excited for your new expanded sizes. I fall partially out of the standard size range and right into the expanded size range. Knowing how beautifully you create your other patterns I’m extremely excited that you’ll be now offering this. Looking forward to hearing more next week but the sneak peaks are already looking great!

  8. I really enjoyed reading this post because I only had an inkling of what was involved in expanding the size range, so this post was very enlightening! All of the sneak peeks look like you have a beautiful fit! Looking forward to seeing more!!

  9. Joana

    I’m so excited about your new venture. It’s disheartening to check pattern sizes and realize the designs are just not intended for you. I haven’t sewn for myself in years, so I will be anxiously awaiting your post on Monday!

  10. Janice Jacobson

    Thank you! Thank you for being willing to put in the time to expand your sizing and also for your explanation of how the expanded sizes differ. I can’t wait to see them on Monday.

  11. Barbara

    Thank you! I’m a sorta-20 in the original range, exactly 16D in the expanded range. I’ll certainly buy my already-faves in the expanded size range.extended range, and I look forward to future releases.

  12. Thank you for giving your time and expertise to those of us living in extended sizes. I am thrilled at the thought of making and wearing clothes as polished and chic as those you’ve designed for the sizes I’ll never fit this side of Heaven!

  13. Cate

    I am so glad to learn about this! I have followed you for years, mainly because you have always been so transparent about the business of sewing and patterns. If I could put a vote in – I’ve been pining for the gallery tunic since you introduced it. When you get a chance to revisit older patterns….

    1. That’s nice to hear, Cate. I’ve been thinking it might be time for an update on the business side of our business. And the Gallery Tunic is a good idea! I’ll see what we can do.

  14. Karen

    Thank you ! Thank you! I am excited to try these patterns, I fall into the petite plus range and had quit sewing for myself because of fit issues. I am hoping those days are over!

  15. Lyndalee

    The measurements of expanded size 16 coincide with my measurements perfectly. Now I’m going to buy/try one of your new patterns.

  16. Addie

    I am very glad to see you expanding your range. Even though I fall within the original scope of sizes (with FBA or D cup), I hope more sewers will be able to use your patterns in future. I also run into the issue of the shoulders being too wide, even with an FBA or D cup front piece available. I look forward to seeing the new samples too.

  17. Liz

    All the details on sizing and fitting are really interesting! Thank you for sharing your thoughts so thoroughly.

  18. Genevieve

    Yay Liesl, this is so exciting! I’m definitely grateful for the effort you’ve put in to cater to more of the market. Really looking forward to sewing your patterns. I’ve got a few of them already waiting for me to work out how to grade up…I especially love the idea of the Cinema Dress being updated…!

    1. Aw, thanks! Maybe if all goes well we can take a vote to see which are most popular/wanted. In the meantime, I need to get busy with fall!

  19. I’m very pleased. I like to be fashionable too. Most patterns out there are terrible in larger sizes. The shoulders hang off. For a long time, I have refused to make my clothes. It’s exciting to be able to sew clothes again. Can hardly wait!

  20. Tracy

    Does the expanded size range have different cup sizes or is the block based on something other than a standard b cup?

    1. Good question! The expanded size is still what I would call a B cup, but it’s a more generous B cup than our misses sizes. So it’s not simply a “graded up” pattern, but instead is specifically designed for these sizes. The Rush Hour pattern includes cup sizes, while the Gelato includes instructions for doing a full bust adjustment if you want a larger cup size. Does that make sense?

      1. Tracy

        Yes, thanks to your class on Creativebug I have gotten good at fba Although I was hoping it wouldn’t be needed

  21. Cindi

    This is such great news! I have followed your pattern line for years and wished you had expanded sizes! I am also very pleased to hear you are not just grading them up! That is the main reason I have stayed away from indie expanded sizes just because I am bigger than a standard size doesn’t mean I want to wear a tent, and I still have curves.
    Consider me a new customer!

  22. Kay

    Thank you! I really appreciate the thoughtful way you’ve gone about this.

  23. sue

    Aw, man, I already bought the gelato dress in the smaller sizes. I bought the paper pattern, which is what I prefer. Now I have to decide if I want the bigger size in a PDF. I would buy it in paper form if it were possible. I really detest PDF’s in anything other than kid sizes. I’ll get off my soapbox now and say Thank You for options

  24. Jo

    This is fantastic to hear! I always have a hard time with necks/shoulders being too big! PLEASE go ahead and offer more patterns in the expanded size, even if these first two aren’t fantastic sellers. I’m just thinking there might be some shapes that appeal more or less to the 16-30 crowd. (For instance, I don’t personally think the Rush Hour Dress would be very attractive on my short, apple-shaped body.)

  25. Mary Willemsen

    I’m so excited to see you are expanding your size range! This is great news.

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