Vintage Sewing

Sizing accuracy – part 2

November 10, 2011

Hi everyone!

The other day Nava posted a thread, sizing accuracy about the Simplicity patterns in the 60’s and 70’s. Now I wondered if the ease is huge too in de 1930’s 40’s and 50’s? And what about the difference in sizing between the brands? McCalls, Simplicity, Butterick, Vogue a.o.? Can someone tell me more about it?

Thanks in advance!

Best wishes,


  1. Hi Audrey,
    In my experience, patterns from the 40s and before have much less ease than later patterns. I haven’t sewn many patterns from the 1950s so can’t give an accurate opinion on those, but the Advance patterns I have sewn from the 1950s did have a significant amount of ease. Most McCall patterns from the 30s and 40s that I have sewn are nearly spot on for the right fit for the size chart, and Simplicity have slightly more ease but are still really a great fit out of the envelope. I personally don’t like sewing with patterns that have a lot of ease, which is why I generally prefer sewing with vintage patterns or patterns from independant makers. I also have to note that the modern reprints from the bigger pattern companies (Vogue, Butterick, etc) had a lot more ease than the vintage ones did- they are up to the current ease requirements for the companies. Most I have made run nearly two sizes too big.
    Just my personal experience, though- others might have more input 🙂

  2. i agree with both above. my favorite is advance from 40’s and 50’s. the 40’s, for me, have the best body measurements and the best fit. the advance 50’s have a bit more ease but its super easy to alter by just adding a little bit larger SA on the sides or the center fronts. i rarely run into trouble. I find modern patterns to fit like a paper bag. i always go about 2 sizes smaller which is hard when you are already at a 10 and most patterns don’t go much lower (the vintage ones do and its awesome!! i love the ‘teenage fashion’ or ‘junior’ lines). the best way to really get a feel for a modern pattern (besides reading PatternReview first!!) is looking at the back of envelope and the actual pieces and find the listed ease. imho, its also better to buy a pattern to your bust size and either take in or let out the waist etc than trying to rework a bodice. it just never works out if you have to fiddle with all the pieces.

  3. Wow, thank you for the great and detailed comments! I’m just starting sewing vintage patterns, and I noticed the big amount of ease in the 60’s pattern. Next on my list is a 1930’s pattern, it’s good to have in mind what you all told me.

  4. i agree with alice. i love a 40s or 50s advance pattern for the sizing. even pre-60s simplicity patterns have pretty good sizing. it’s just when you hit that less-fitted era that you start to have issues–or at least, i do! i’ve found vogue, mccall and butterick have have fewer ease issues in the 60s than simplicity.

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