Sunday, February 14, 2010

Have you measured yourself lately?

You might be in for a surprise.

My recent lecture to Elizabeth - you're not a size, but a measurement - is only effective if you are the measurement you think you are. Otherwise, it's just a random number as the size assigned by the pattern company.

I thought I had a 35.5" bust. Maybe a 36 on a good bra day or if I'm PMSing. I generally fit into a Big 4 size 12 with little alteration. Occasionally it's been known to be a bit tight in the boobage if I'm trying to make a fitted shirt, but fitted shirts and I have always had issues. (I love them but look like crap in them, for the most part). You can see some of the many shirt patterns who have tried - and failed - to move successfully into my closet.

McCall's 5522 recently caught my eye. It was one of Patternreview's Best Patterns of 2009, and has 30-some positive reviews. That kind of an assortment of bodies has to be on to something. Plus it's one of their patterns drafted to 4 different cup sizes. I bought it. In sizes 2-12, since I'm a 12.

Which, according to the envelope, is a 34" bust. Oops. So I'm a 14? Well, I can draft up a size. No biggie.

I grab the measuring tape, wrap it around my chest. 37.5"? WTF? When did that happen? Did they grow? At 46? Did I shape-shift? I've always been fairly broad across the back and working on my house and in the yard seems to have done more for that than going to the gym. But still - 2 inches?

I measure everything else - waist, hips. They're within a half inch of where I left them. I haven't lost any weight in the past few months, but I haven't gained any either. I'm the same solid 140 I've been for the last couple of years, and - I thought - the same general shape.

Stomping out of the workroom, I ask he who should notice these things. "Have my boobs gotten bigger lately?" Look of complete mystification. "No."

So were they always bigger than I thought they were?

I go back and face my dilemma. Thougth I was 35.5", turns out I'm 37.5". Pattern is for 34". Even at my most optimistic, the pattern would have gaped (if it had fit at all) and I would have blamed the pattern.

Because I know my measurements.

Have you measured yourself lately?

Bottom photo is of my recent new patterns: the Jalie scarf tie top, McCalls 5522, and my first two Colette patterns - the Sencha blouse and Oolong dress. McCalls 5522 (adjusted to my new measurements) is up first, in an orange plaid. Be afraid. Be very afraid.


KayY said...

Yay orange plaid! Now that you have your measurements up to date your fitted shirt will fit perfectly, I hope. Can't wait to see it.

Nancy K said...

Something tells me that your new corrected measurements will make you a lot happier with fitted blouses.

Birgitte said...

Excellent post, headed straight for the tape! Relieved it had not changed, but I do remember when I returned to sewing- after my child was born- and didn't measure, just made my regular 12. Very tight... so it's been 14 since then, or a 12 with broad back adjustment. Age also does weird things, shifting weight around, guess the lesson is: just measure already :))

meredithp said...

Things move, it's a fact. It's great that you have fresh measurements. I don't sew often (certainly not as often as I'd like) but I take my measurements before working on any new pattern. And I keep them and my weight on Excel spreadsheet, with the date, and it can be graphed...perhaps I have said too much ;-)

As far as the boobage, the older I got, particularly past forty, I went from being flat chested to "normal", with no weight gain (for that reason anywaY). I am SO glad I didn't have any augmentation (yes, I was that flat, to think about it anyway), because all I needed to do was wait. And I didn't have to have children to have that increase.

Anonymous said...

Haha! Now you know how I have been feeling. ;)

I want to see the orange plaid asap.

Rose said...

Oh, plaid! I hope you sew away while I go for my measuring tape.

Auset's Stitched Treasures said...

Hi Karen,
I read somewhere that the Big 4 uses the high bust in their measurements. I have bought patterns according to my full bust measurement and had the garment swimming on me. Then when I use a pattern according to my high bust measurement and do a FBA, a damn near perfect fit!

teresa said...

Great post. I recently measured and was happy to discover I was an inch smaller in the butt and waist (due to improved diet and exercise). Haven't grown any in the chestal area unfortunately because I frequently have to do an SBA. I have found that even in patterns that match my bust measurment, the fit is off. I have heard that pattern companies use a B-cup as their standard and I'm a small A at best. Does anyone know if this is true? I've found going one inch smaller than my bust measurement usually gets a good fit, though that doesn't really make sense does it?

Kathi said...

I know what you mean -- I can stay the same size, yet completely change size in areas. I just don't get it!!

Vicki said...

I always go by my high chest measurement as my shoulders and ribcage are pretty small. But I have noticed that my bust is actually getting bigger as I get older...? And I still weigh more or less the same.

Kat said...

Karen, I'm the same way. My measurements really haven't changed except for my bustline. The past few years it's getting fuller which puts me into a very solid C, filling-out-the-cups C. Not a small C anymore.

If that's the only problem though, it's not a bad one to have.