Felix Sew-Along: Choosing a Size

Felix Sew-Along: Selecting a Size | Grainline Studio

Today in the Felix Sew-Along we’re going to talk about selecting a size! I’m going to use my measurements as an example so that you can see how I selected the size for the two Felix dresses above, and how they ended up fitting on my measurements. Before we get started here’s a bit of intel on the two dresses above. On the left above I’m wearing the longer length with flutter sleeves, and on the right is the shorter length with the 3/4 sleeves. Both dresses have rayon as the self fabric and are lined with silk habotai, and all fabrics have been pre-washed so I can throw these in the wash on delicate/cold and air dry with no trouble. Okay with that out of the way, lets talk sizing!

Felix Sew-Along: Selecting a Size | Grainline Studio

The first thing you’ll need to do when figuring out what size to make is to take some measurements. The three measurements needed to select your size are bust, waist, and hip, and with the Felix, the most important measurement is going to be your bust. The shape of the Felix dress is pretty full from the shoulders, so in my case I based my selection on my bust size.

For the bust measurement (1) you’re going to measure around the fullest point of your bust, wearing whatever type of bra or undergarment you plan on wearing under your garment. It’s a good idea to have someone help you take your measurements, especially the bust, if you can as having your arms up and holding the tape can affect the measurement a bit.

The waist measurement (2) will be at your natural waist. On many people this is the smallest point of your torso, though on me, it’s pretty much a straight shot from one measurement to another. If you fall into my category a good rule of thumb is your waist is generally where you hands want to end up when you put them on your waist. It’s also where you bend from.

The hip measurement (3) will be the fullest part of your hips and butt. Typically this is approximately 7″ below your natural waist, though it can be higher lower depending on your body. You want to make sure you get around the full circumference so you don’t end up with tight hips!

Felix Sew-Along: Selecting a Size | Grainline Studio

Once you get your measurements you can select your size on the size chart. If your measurements fall between two sizes, for instance if your bust is 34.5˝, you’ll want to round up and choose the next size up. My measurements are shown highlighted on the chart above and as you can see I fall into 3 different size ranges (shoutout to all my other squares out there). If you fall into different sizes for each measurement like me, you can either go with a straight size of the largest measurement or blend between sizes to get a better fit. As I mentioned before, you do want to consider the bust measurement as the most important measurement so that’s where the finished measurements come in.

Felix Sew-Along: Selecting a Size | Grainline Studio

I’ve highlighted the size 8 measurements above and as you can see my waist and hip measurements do fall within the finished measurements for the size 8. I would probably not recommend going down more than a size in the hip or you’ll start to lose the swingy feeling of the skirt. If you’re more than a size apart you’ll likely want to blend through the waist from your bust to hip size. As long as your waist measurement falls within the finished measurement of the smaller size you’re blending plus a few inches of ease you should be just fine.

We’ll talk more about blending in our next post on basic pattern adjustments, so look for that on Monday. If you have size questions in the meantime, let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to help out!

26 replies on “Felix Sew-Along: Choosing a Size

  • Elaine Dailey

    I am so excited to start this dress! Sizing is always an issue for me. I am a size 8 for waist and hip but my bust measures 40 inches. Should I grade between sizes or do a FBA?

    Reply
    • Jen

      You could do either, though which is a better fit for your body it’s hard for me to say without more detailed info or really being with you in person. I’d probably make a muslin of the bodice grading between sizes before you do an FBA just to see what you think.

      Reply
    • Jen

      I probably wouldn’t go down more than a size if you’re going to try this. The shoulders are fitted and the torso isn’t super large so you may end up restricting your movement. I’d say make a muslin of at least the top and see how you feel.

      Reply
  • oliviasuebowman

    Hello. I am hourglass shaped and generally a size 36C and a size 6 In the US. According to my measurements (Bust- 38″, Waist 31″ and Hips 38″) I am having difficulty determining size… I don’t want it to be huge on my waist and hips to account for a larger bust…

    Reply
  • Nan March

    Just a note – For those of us less than about 5’3″ tall – the most important 4the measuremnt is “back waist” or neck to waist. This seems true even in unfitted styles. Without a shortening the distance between shoulder/bust and waist, armholes hang down to waist, back of garment is way too full and there is poor shaping at waist. The proportions are all off and it has nothing to do with where the hem is!

    Reply
    • Sharon K

      Thank you, this makes so much sense! I’m 5’0″ and dresses are often ill-fitting and tent-like even if the hem is above the knee. I’m starting to get into sewing and am excited to make things to fit better.

      Reply
    • clayton.j82

      Thanks for this reminder – I am just over 5′ tall and getting the proportions right is a real *&%#. Those lengthen/shorten lines are so vital!

      Reply
      • Angelika Schneiderat

        Oh yes please… I’m nearly 5’6″ but with a shorter upper torso so the neckline was to deep. I fixed it myself with lots of trial and error, but as I will probably want to see another, advice is very welcome!

        Reply
          • Angelika

            Oh, you don’t want to know… 😉

            I crossed the neckband at a higher point. In consequence, the bodice on the front comes out a little smaller, but that was no problem. In the end I even took another centimeter of the side seams on the bodice.

            Probably just taking off a little bit at the shoulder line would have done the trick, but I had done a flat felled seam there. My basic mistake: I wanted to line the bodice only and hadn’t bought enough of the lining fabric (so stupid…). So I ended up only lining the front. A flat felled seam seamed a good idea (at that time) to have a nice finish, but I wasn’t sure about opening that again. In retrospect, that would probably have been the easier way..

            As I had already graded the seam allowance on the neckband, I had to do another one (enough fabric there…). I was probably panicking a bit at that point 😉 – so it took me three attempts to assemble it… (just one go at the first time).

            Next time, I will go down a size and probably shorten the bodice a little bit at the shoulder, too. I have yet to set in the sleeves, but I already love the dress a lot. So, looking forward to your ideas on the topic.

          • Jen

            Haha oh I do want to know! This totally makes sense and is a completely legitimate way to raise the neckline as long as it doesn’t pull the side seams forward. We’re going to do things a little differently in the post tomorrow with raising the V neck, so you might find that helpful or at least interesting!

          • Angelika

            Just read your new post.. Of course your method is way better!!My problem: I alwalys (well, wery often…) do a muslin – and I knew I had to go down one size a least. But when it comes to cutting the pieces I always opt for bigger rather than smaller, just to be on the safe side… And then I have to cheat because I can no longer make the correct alterations. So, I have to be bolder there.

          • Jen

            I hear you on always going larger – I just did that on a jeans pattern that wasn’t mine and when I had to take in the sides, the pockets ended up way too far to the outside. Oops! Don’t be afraid to use the finished garment measurements as a tool for choosing a size along with the body measurements, they can be so helpful

  • Bernie Heares

    Yes you’re right Nan March. I’m 5’3″ and always have to shorten the bodice no matter what style. Neck to waist is always where I make an adjustment. Not sure it would be so easy with this style tho, getting the Empire curve in the correct place might be tricky. I also think this style could be over whelming on a small frame, I like it tho!

    Reply
    • Jen

      We’re going to cover it in the sew-along next week so take a look and see what you think. I think it’s easier than one might assume! (fingers crossed at least)

      Reply
    • oliviasuebowman

      Exactly. Shorten the waist, Wish I had read this sooner. Finished my dress tonight and I look like I am wearing a potato sack. So disappointed. (It just doesn’t suit my 5’4″ hourglass frame), it enhances all of the wrong places.

      Reply
  • Linda

    I am 5’2” and short-waisted and I think this will look great on me because the shoulders are fitted and the fabric is light and drapey. Can’t wait to start.

    Reply

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