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How to Grade Patterns for Plus Size

Learn how to resize sewing patterns for larger bodies. Once you learn this technique, you can make your own flattering ensembles and look amazing! Plus, this also works for downsizing.

By: Editors at AllFreeSewing.com
Updated September 21, 2022
How to Grade Patterns for Plus Size

It's no secret that we don't live in a perfect world, and consequently, things that might seem like they should be easy still arent. Obviously, I'm talking about something specific pattern sizes.

That's where this tutorial on How to Grade Patterns for Plus Size comes in to help.

Of course, I understand that the standard range for pattern sizes is based on a measurable need and market demand, etc. But the truth is there's no way that every shape and size can be accounted for when creating patterns.

The disappointment isn't solely in the fact that there is a shocking lack of plus-sized patterns available, but that there aren’t a variety of patterns for different shapes.

It’s hard to find a killer pants pattern for a pear shape or a flattering summer top for a large chest.

"Specialty" patterns are expensive and at the end of the day, who has money to use on customized clothing patterns when they could just forge ahead with somewhat sub-par, pre-made fits?

Shouldn’t we all just buy knits, squeeze into them, and then throw a huge sweatshirt or trash bag over ourselves to feel decent (or even stunning)?

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How to Grade Patterns for Plus Size

This #CustomFit post says, ‘no’ to traditional pattern grading.

That’s right, we’ve done a little homework and have found an alternative to spending a lot on customized clothing because of your size or shape. Thanks to the incredible network of creative sewists out there, plus-sized patterns and customized clothing are more accessible to you than ever.

You might be thinking, "AllFreeSewing writer, you’re bananas. I’ve done my research and there is not a wealth of plus-sized clothing patterns out there."

Well, smart armscye, you’re right. There are not a lot of tutorials on how to sew plus-size clothing specifically. There are, however, a lot of tutorials on how to alter a pattern. We’ve pulled our favorites for you.
 

How to Make a Sewing Pattern Larger (or Smaller)

Melly from Melly Sews has done it again. The all-star designer and sewist addresses the art of pattern grading (in layman’s terms) in this remarkable post.

Discussing the various steps including proportions, this is a great resource for those who are timidly stepping into the world of garment construction. Read it here!
 

How to Make a Sewing Pattern Larger or Smaller

How to Resize a Sewing Pattern

One of our all-time favorite pattern makers, Jennie Chancey from Sense and Sensibility Patterns has an entire discussion (with tips and photos) on how to resize a pattern.

For those of us who are off the beaten path for clothing sizes, this post is miraculous. Short torsos, long torsos, bigger busts, and smaller shoulders, are all addressed in How to Resize a Pattern.
 

Resizing a Sewing Pattern

How to Grade a Sewing Pattern Up

It’s one thing to show you how to grade up, it’s another to show you step-by-step. We not only love this tutorial on How to Grade a Pattern Up: The Easy Way from Curvy Sewing Collective, we love the entire community from which it springs.

This site is a wealth of information for those looking to find plus-sized sewing tips of the trade. Thank you, Tanya, for this amazing article. Be sure to check it out - we know you'll learn so much!
 

How to Grade a Sewing Pattern Up

How to Enlarge a Sewing Pattern

Wendi from Shiny Happy World goes into how to enlarge a dress pattern, but via video. This makes understanding how to expand a pattern remarkably more accessible.

The pattern Wendi works within this post is for a girls’ dress, but the concept can be applied to very basic designs such as shift dresses, and regular tees. Watch the How to Enlarge a Dress Pattern video here or below.

How to Grade Patterns for Plus Size: Conclusion

Being plus-sized doesn't mean you can't look amazing and be ultra-comfortable, too. Same with being petite. Instead, make patterns work for you.

By following these guides, you won't be able to stop altering clothing patterns to fit your perfect body shape. It takes work but the results are so much better than ill-fitting clothing bought in stores or online.
 

How to Grade Patterns for Plus Size

Want More?

25+ Fabulous Free Plus Size Sewing Patterns >>

Why do you think plus-size clothing patterns are so hard to find when so many people need them?
Let us know in the comments!

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