Ordered your Coco sewing pattern? Great! Let’s talk about how to choose your size, what to do if your proportions span multiple sizes, and how to lengthen or shorten the pattern if that's what you want to do.
The Coco sewing pattern is deliberately designed to be really easy to fit – hooray! The pattern has so few pieces that for most people fitting will simply involve checking you’re happy with the positioning of the side seams and underarm seams, which are super simple to change. Moreover, knit fabrics are very forgiving – firstly because they will stretch over any tight areas, and secondly because they’re supposed to hang casually and comfortably rather than perfectly mould to every curve of the body. Particularly on the Coco pattern, which is an easy-fitting style. Awesome!
Finding your pattern size
- Bust – we’re talking the fullest part of your bust, ie. around your nipples
- Waist – the point at which you bend to the side
- Hips – the fullest part of your hips
It’s best to do this in your undies, the kind you would normally wear under the garment. Make sure you (or a helper) are holding the tape measure parallel to the floor all the way round. No cheating now – no breathing in or sticking your chest out!
Circle your measurements on the pattern size chart:
If your measurements fall between the sizes, it’s always a good idea to go for the larger one, because it’s much easier to take in a garment than it is to loosen it.
What about if your measurements span two or more sizes? That’s totally normal, our bodies are all different proportions. Take a look at the section below on combining pattern sizes.
In case you’re wondering exactly what size the finished garment will be, you can take a look in the chart below. If you compare the finished garment measurements to the body measurements chart, you’ll notice that Coco is relatively fitted at the bust (and remember the fabric includes stretch so it won’t feel too tight), easy on the waist and skims over the hips:
Combining two or more pattern sizes
What to do if your measurements span two or more sizes? Coco is a multisized pattern, so it’s easy to combine different bust, waist and hip measurements to match your proportions by redrawing the side seams. Let’s say your bust is size 2, your waist is size 3 and your hips are size 4. On the front bodice pattern piece, draw a diagonal line from the top of the size 2 side seam to the size 3 waist – which is marked by the little horizontal notch – and another line from the size 3 waist to the size 4 line at the hem. Use a curved ruler or gentle hand to draw in the curve at the waist. Repeat the process on the back bodice (or you could trace one onto the other) and add in the waist notch if it has moved.
Lengthening and shortening the pattern
The finished garment measurements chart above also tells you the length of the finished top or dress, measured from the nape of your neck. If you want to shorten Coco by a couple of cm or so, you can just trim off the bottom of the garment before you hem it. But if you want to lengthen or shorten it by more than this, it’s best to adjust the pattern before you cut out the fabric.
Roughly cut around the front and back bodice pattern pieces with paper scissors – or, if you want to keep them intact, trace them off onto a new sheet of paper. Find the set of lines running horizontally across the front bodice piece that says “lengthen or shorten here” and cut along one of these lines.
As I say, Coco isn’t a tricky pattern to fit, so you don’t need to make a toile or spend lots of time fitting it. What I would recommend is pinning along the seam line (15mm / 5/8in) from the raw edge on the side seams, shoulder and hem just before you stitch them, so you can try it on and check you’re happy with the fit. But you don't need to think about that just yet...
In the next post we’ll talk about cutting out your fabric, followed by an introduction to sewing knit fabric on a regular sewing machine. And then next week we'll sew Coco!