Oliver + S

RTW sizing compared to Oliver and S

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • LINK
    with love Heidi @with love Heidi

    I was thinking about how I buy RTW (ready to wear) sized clothing for kids compared to the sizes I sew for them, specifically in Olived and S. I realised that if I buy RTW then I usually choose by how LONG something is, often disregarding the fit at the shoulders or waist. The length of pant legs, sleeves and the body of the shirt are what determines RTW “fit”. Pants mid calf and midi length shirts are not considered “fits well” ( unless you’re going for that look 😉 despite how well the item may fit around the waist or shoulders.

    Although length is important in home sewn clothes it’s not the first thing I consider, in fact other than the fabric it’s one of the last things I consider. I begin by looking at the chest (tops) and waist or hips (bottoms) and I begin with the size of the pattern that fit those areas then I examine the length and generally add some. For example I buy a 4 year old size 6 RTW but I start with a size 3t when I sew for her ( and add lots of length) or I would by size 8 RTW for another boy who is 9 but I am still sewing him size 6 pants (again with extra length).

    I think this may be why when you move from RTW to home sewn it can be a significant shock to find that you may be sewing 1-2 sizes (or more like the 4 year old above) smaller than you are used to seeing your child in. Not all children will need smaller sizes, some will wear the same size and others larger sizing, but I imagine it’s a big shock to find you size 6 RTW is a size 3t in Oliver and S!

    I was prompted to think about this by 2fillies and Amyfin who were asking about sizing for the rollerskate dress when the measured size differed dramatically from age and/or RTW sizing.

    Anyone else got any thoughts?

    P.S. Sorry about essay!

    Lightning McStitch @LightningMcStitch

    I have nothing useful to add but I’m excited to say that, apart from underpants and socks, I haven’t bought my kids any clothes in AGES!

    I’ve no idea what size they’d be in RTW clothes but they pretty much are the size for their age in Oliver + S, or at least I’m too lazy to measure them so that’s what I make. There are a few patterns that seem to have been a lot roomier (Ice Cream comes to mind) but I just figure that’s the style and go with it. Or put it away for a few months.

    I should make notes, or at least get some size labels, cause there are some things which I’ll make again in the same size but add length, so I think you’re right on the money with your assessment of fit!

    cybele727 @cybele727

    This is so funny. With back to school upon us, I pulled out all my son’s pants and made him try them on. Another day will be shirt day. But I was frustrated. The size 6 was a touch tight in the waist and a hair short in length. We had a pair of 7s and they were falling off of him. He’s a slow grower, so buying up and waiting for him to grow into them, isn’t always the best idea.

    But RTW means ill fitting, and yes, length is ALWAYS the primary concern.

    I have avoided making his clothes because all he wants are jeans and t shirts. But it may be time to pull out the field trip pattern and start sewing his pants. I just need to find a fabric he will wear. Maybe it will be easier this year, depending on who is in his class.

    For my daughter, I look closely at the fit so I can decide if Ms. Sassy should be a 2t, 3T or 4T. (She’s a petite 3.5 year old). If it is a loose fit like ice cream, I take the 2t and lengthen (she’s really narrow in the shoulders). If it is fitted, then a more age appropriate size. But I always look to the measurement guide.


    Sarvi @Sarvi

    I’m with McStitch. I recently had to buy school uniforms and felt so lost. I know my kid’s sewing pattern sizes pretty well but was totally clueless about RTW sizing. And it seemed to me that it was all over the map. She wound up ranging from Y2XS to 4Y — all from the same company. And wow, the smell and feel of a polyester shirt — it was a real shock.

    mcholley1 @mcholley1

    So true! My MIL will often call from a store and ask what size to buy. My answer usually includes chest and waist measurements but no idea on sizing. It took her a while to catch on I wasn’t being rude when I say “don’t buy our son pants at all!”. He is long and slim and rtw pants just aren’t an option unless you count the two pairs of levis jeans a year I special order for him. But, without her my kids would never get to enjoy all those character tees and things with excess pink glitter that they love.

    needlewoman @needlewoman

    I’ve been telling children’s parents for decades that RTW is at least one size larger than the child will need with a handmade item. And it doesn’t matter what pattern company you’re using – in a general way. And I think the problem is getting worse “out there” – different companies = different fits, just as it is for adults (which is a whole other nightmare, as you ladies know). My pet hate is the poor quality of the fabric used, and when patterns are mismatched at the side seams, in RTW. These days, it’s easier to buy nice fruit blindfolded than it is to find good quality fabric in either fabric store, or in RTW place.

    Nicole @motherof5

    The easiest and most common sense approach, for me, was given to me by Cindy (aka Beachmum). She holds the pattern pieces against her child.

    It really gives one a good idea of sizing.


    with love Heidi @with love Heidi

    I had a good giggle at the ” character tees and pink glitter” and buying fruit blindfolded 🙂 It’s encouraging me to think about making more for myself as well.

    Jillls @Jillls

    My son lives in character tees! My girls are proportionally short so I don’t add length. My oldest girl is getting out of the dress phase and I had a rude awakening when trying to purchase jeans and tshirts. At one point I had my 7 year old try on a size 14 shirt. It fit but looked hideous! I can count on an 8(pants shortened) O+S to work every time for her.

    meleliza @meleliza

    Sarvi, the poly and acrylic uniform stuff is just awful! It doesn’t even last the year. The kids with uniforms from the uniform store look like ragamuffins halfway through the year in that awful graying poly and the pulled acrylic sweaters. I was talking uniforms just yesterday with another mom from my school. She had never heard of Lands End! I buy all the boys’ uniforms from there. If you wait for a sale, they are great quality for price and they last. They don’t sell the right plaid for our girls’jumpers, but it will still make a difference to have a cotton shirt underneath. They also hem the pants so that I can buy my son the correct size in the waist and still get the length he needs.

    I find the Oand S sizes are a little larger than ready to wear. Since I can make adjustments, yes, I sew slightly different sizes than I might buy. But this is really only in pants. I rarely make adjustments to dresses. It doesn’t seem to matter for such a little girl as mine. But I still find the Oand S pants to favor girly bodies and have to make changes for the rectangular shape most boys are. In ready to wear, boy pants seem to be more boy shaped, though I struggle to get the right length for my sons long legs.

    Masha Richart

    I have found the exact same as you. My nearly-4’s chest barely measures 20 inches, putting her in the very smallest ranges – but 4s fit her perfectly for length (and are fast becoming too short). I found that the 24-mo size + length is the best for her. Interestingly, though, my nearly-3’s chest measures almost exactly the same size, but 24-mo is a tad snug for her, so I now sew 2s plus length. In RTW, 3Ts would be perfect on her if they were only half an inch longer. 4s work, though. As for my skinny minnie, I have all but given up buying anything other than very close-fitting leggings and knit tops for her. Everything else I sew (and now I will probably sew the tops too and plan to try my hand at leggings this fall). Even her RTW pjs fall off her skinny body.

    Mcholley, I too have a MIL who supplies my girls with both character tees and glitter (which is almost always pink). They wear them to death bc they know they won’t get character tees from me. I am a little more lenient on the glitter.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.


Unless otherwise credited, all work on this blog is © Liesl + Co., Inc, 2008-2024. You are welcome to link to this blog, but please ask permission before using any text or images.