I started Charm Patterns out of a fascination with vintage fashion – and the difficulties in finding a perfect fit that come with it! After falling in love with garment after garment that just didn’t fit right, I set out to learn everything I could from old-school craftsmanship and adapt it for modern sewists. For me, sewing is a way to lean into a fantasy life – who doesn’t want a little more glamour in their lives?
Fit has always been central to this work – it’s so important to us that everyone can feel their absolute best in our patterns. Our current size range of sizes 2-20 with separate A-H cup sizes goes through painstaking testing to make sure that it fits every size in the chart beautifully. To serve even more vintage sewing enthusiasts, we have now created a new size range, in sizes 18-34 with cup sizes A-H. This new range will go up to a 64 inch bust, 56 inch waist and 64 inch hip. Please read on for size charts, as well as a timeline for releasing patterns in this new range.
Which range should I choose?
You may notice that two sizes (18 and 20) appear in both size ranges. Our new range was developed independently from our original sizing, so the sizes in the overlap don’t perfectly match up to each other. This is because good fit in plus sizes necessitates the need for a new “block,” a base pattern developed specifically for that range (rather than continuing to grade up from a smaller sample size, which can result in poor fit at the upper end of the range). The new block was developed based on listening to community feedback, studying professional fit standards, and from years of assisting students with fit adjustments.
If you are in the sizing overlap (sizes 18 and 20) and unsure which range to use, it’s best to assess your current fit within the 2-20 range:
- If you find yourself having to add width to the waist, you may be better off with the new range.
- If the current range is too large in the bust compared to your other measurements, you may be better off with the new range.
- If the current range fits you well, then no need to change!
Here are measurements for both ranges so you can better assess:
|High Bust||29 in||31 in||33 in||35 in||37 in|
|73.7 cm||78.4 cm||83.8 cm||88.9 cm||93.9 cm|
|Bust A cup||30.5 in||32.5 in||34.5 in||36.5 in||38.5 in|
|77.5 cm||82.5 cm||87.6 cm||92.7 cm||97.8 cm|
|Bust B/C cup||31 in||33 in||35 in||37 in||39 in|
|78.7 cm||83.8 cm||88.9 cm||94 cm||99 cm|
|Bust D/DD cup||32 in||34 in||36 in||38 in||40 in|
|81.3 cm||86.4 cm||91.4 cm||96.5 cm||101.6 cm|
|Bust F/G cup||33 in||35 in||37 in||39 in||41 in|
|83.8 cm||88.9 cm||94 cm||99 cm||104.2 cm|
|Bust H cup||34 in||36 in||38 in||40 in||42 in|
|86.4 cm||91.4 cm||96.5 cm||101.6 cm||106.7 cm|
|Waist||24 in||26 in||28 in||30 in||32 in|
|61 cm||66 cm||71.1 cm||76.2 cm||81.3 cm|
|Hips||36 in||38 in||40 in||42 in||44 in|
|91.4 cm||96.5 cm||101.6 cm||106.7 cm||111.8 cm|
|High Bust||39 in||41 in||43 in||45 in||47 in|
|99 cm||104.1 cm||109.2 cm||114.3 cm||119.4 cm|
|Bust A cup||40.5 in||42.5 in||44.5 in||46.5 in||48.5 in|
|102.9 cm||107.9 cm||113 cm||118.1 cm||123.1 cm|
|Bust B/C cup||41 in||43 in||45 in||47 in||49 in|
|104.2 cm||109.2 cm||114.3 cm||119.4 cm||124.4 cm|
|Bust D/DD cup||42 in||44 in||46 in||48 in||50 in|
|106.7 cm||111.8 cm||116.8 cm||121.9 cm||127 cm|
|Bust F/G cup||43 in||45 in||47 in||49 in||51 in|
|109.2 cm||114.3 cm||119.4 cm||124.4 cm||129.5 cm|
|Bust H cup||44 in||46 in||48 in||50 in||52 in|
|111.8 cm||116.8 cm||121.9 cm||127 cm||132 cm|
|Waist||34 in||36 in||38 in||40 in||42 in|
|86.4 cm||91.4 cm||96.5 cm||101.6 cm||109.2 cm|
|Hips||46 in||48 in||50 in||52 in||54 in|
|116.8 cm||121.9 cm||127 cm||132 cm||137.1 cm|
|High Bust||39.5 in||41.5 in||43.5 in||45.5 in||47.5 in|
|100.3 cm||105.4 cm||110.5 cm||115.6 cm||120.7 cm|
|Bust A cup||42.5 in||44.5 in||46.5 in||48.5 in||50.5 in|
|108 cm||113 cm||118.1 cm||123.2 cm||128.3 cm|
|Bust B/C cup||43 in||45 in||47 in||49 in||51 in|
|109.2 cm||114.3 cm||119.4 cm||124.5 cm||129.5 cm|
|Bust D/DD cup||44 in||46 in||48 in||50 in||52 in|
|111.8 cm||116.8 cm||121.9 cm||127 cm||132.1 cm|
|Bust F/G cup||45 in||47 in||49 in||51 in||53 in|
|114.3 cm||119.4 cm||124.5 cm||129.5 cm||134.6 cm|
|Bust H cup||46 in||48 in||50 in||52 in||54 in|
|116.8 cm||121.9 cm||127 cm||132.1 cm||137.2 cm|
|Waist||40 in||42 in||44 in||46 in||48 in|
|101.6 cm||106.7 cm||111.8 cm||116.8 cm||121.9 cm|
|Hips||48 in||50 in||52 in||54 in||56 in|
|121.9 cm||127 cm||132.1 cm||137.2 cm||142.2 cm|
|High Bust||49.5 in||51.5 in||53.5 in||55.5 in|
|125.7 cm||130.8 cm||135.9 cm||141 cm|
|Bust A cup||52.5 in||54.5 in||56.5 in||58.5 in|
|133.4 cm||138.4 cm||143.5 cm||148.6 cm|
|Bust B/C cup||53 in||55 in||57 in||59 in|
|134.6 cm||139.7 cm||144.8 cm||149.9 cm|
|Bust D/DD cup||54 in||56 in||58 in||60 in|
|137.2 cm||142.2 cm||147.3 cm||152.4 cm|
|Bust F/G cup||55 in||57 in||59 in||61 in|
|139.7 cm||144.8 cm||149.9 cm||154.9 cm|
|Bust H cup||56 in||58 in||60 in||62 in|
|142.2 cm||147.3 cm||152.4 cm||157.5 cm|
|Waist||50 in||52 in||54 in||56 in|
|127 cm||132.1 cm||137.2 cm||142.2 cm|
|Hips||58 in||60 in||62 in||64 in|
|147.3 cm||152.4 cm||157.5 cm||162.6 cm|
When will the new range be available?
We’re launching the new size range on Patreon, so from August onward, every new design we release will be available in the new sizing. Meanwhile, we’ll be making our way through our existing patterns (for both Patreon and Charm Patterns) and releasing those older patterns in the new size range as quickly as we can. Because many of our patterns are technically complex and have many cup sizes (think shelf busts, ultra-fitted dresses, and more!), this process will take some time. Please be patient with us as we make our way through the archive. As much as we can’t wait to release everything in the new range, we don’t want to compromise fit for speed. For the time being, we will be releasing the new range in PDF only, based on guidance from industry leaders for making this transition as sustainable as possible.
I already purchased a Charm pattern in the old size range – will I receive the new pattern in the entire range once it’s expanded?
The Charm Patterns archive is currently available in sizes 2-20, but we will be updating those patterns to include the new 18-34 range. Once we begin expanding those older patterns, the 18-34 range will be sold as a separate product from the existing range (meaning that you will choose either sizes 2-20 or sizes 18-34 in a drop-down menu when ordering a pattern). However, if you have already purchased a pattern in the old range and the new range is a better fit for you, we will be able to help you out! Stay tuned for announcements when those patterns are updated. And please join our mailing list if you’d like to be updated as patterns are made available in the new size range!
What is the process for creating the new range like?
I know a lot of you are curious about how the drafting and grading process works! I thought the addition of this new range might be a good chance to demystify the process a bit, and also shed some light on why expanding a size range can take some time.
All patterns start with a block, or a basic pattern. A block is a simple darted bodice, set-in sleeve, and basic skirt/pant. There are different blocks for knits and wovens (which, incidentally, is why it’s not usually a great idea to choose a knit when a woven is recommended). The block is developed in a single “sample size”, which can be chosen by the designer based on the availability of a fit model, or it can be smack dab in the middle of the range. The block conforms to a size chart, which is decided individually by each company. This allows the company to make decisions about their ideal fit. (For Charm, we’ve always focused on a specific fit, with the waist to hip measurement ratio being larger than what you might find in a store. We also focus on bust fit, providing A-H cup sizes for every single pattern.) Once the block is finalized, it can be used to create new patterns through flat pattern-making methods, and sometimes we use draping methods as well. Then the pattern is graded into the full range, and tested in a sampling of sizes and cup sizes throughout the range. Oftentimes many tests and revisions are needed for each pattern to make sure the fit is correct and the design is working as intended for all sizes.
So if a designer wants to add sizes to their range, what happens to this process? One of the most common misconceptions about sizing is that it is easy to press a button and digitally grade up a pattern to any size. If only it were that simple! Grading too many sizes from one block results in distortion and poor fit the further you get away from the sample size. We also rely on hand grading for each of the cup sizes, as this is not something that can be done digitally.
This meant that we needed to start from scratch for a new range with an entirely new block for sizes 18-34 and treat it as a separate product. This means that we have doubled the development timeline and process for every pattern. Since we only have three full time staff members and publish over 16 patterns a year, this is something we took really seriously as we didn’t want to offer a rushed product and let our quality suffer. I also wanted to be sure we could move forward in a way that was mindful of my team’s workload without making this work unsustainable for them. We assessed our workflows, made some ambitious changes, and got to work!
When developing the 18-34 block, we had the opportunity to address any fit problems that would have started occurring had we continued grading up the size 20 further. Based on plus size measurement charts, customer feedback, and my own discoveries from fitting students, we decided on a slightly different bust/waist/hip ratio to ensure a good fit for our 18-34 customers. This is why there is an overlap in the two size charts (sizes 18 and 20), and why the overlap sizes are not the same measurements in each chart. In the 18-34 range, we pay special attention to the fit in the shoulders, armhole, bust, and sleeves to make sure that the grade rule is resulting in a great fit. Once we’re happy with the fit in the entire range, we sew some fabulous samples for the photo shoot! Finally, the pattern itself has to be designed for the home sewist to use, meaning that the technical pattern files are converted and designed into easy-to-use PDF patterns available for both home and copy shop printing.
I hope you’ve found the process interesting! We hope you love the new range.