red-headed stepchild in the house of love (djmermaid) wrote,
red-headed stepchild in the house of love

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Excerpts from the book "Professional Pattern Grading" by Jack Handford

"Standardization of men's sizes in America developed right after the Civil War, about 1865, from the measurements of the soldiers who had been inducted into the Union Army. These measurements became part of the records of the US Bureau of Standards and the stage was set for the development of ready-made menswear."


"Children's clothing is sized by age, unlike men's clothing, which is sized by chest circumference or women's clothing which has an entirely different system that has evolved from the need to fit a variety of sizes and ages."

"When fashionable clothing for women was first manufactured in the USA, the sizing was patterned after the European system of using the bust measurement to determine the size. [...] Thus a size 36, the first sample size, fitted a woman whose bust measured 36 inches. The patterns were graded two inches per size in circumference, up and down. 'Women's' sizes are still referred to by bust measurement."

"US manufacturers during the 1920's felt the need for a new and younger looking garment which was called a 'Misses' or 'Missy' size and given a new size range designation of 10 to 20. The size 16, the sample size, was equal to the size 36 'Women's' size but used one and a half inches between sizes. A California retailer of better apparel hit on the idea of changing the size tickets of their garments to one size larger. A size 16 from their store now became a size 14. Other stores soon caught on to the idea and manufacturers began sizing their garments up one size. When women were asked what size they wore, the reply became, 'A 16 (or a 14 or whatever) in a cheaper dress, but only a 14 (the next smaller size) in a better dress.' The game has continued until today the size 8 has become the accepted sample size in the Missy range - and has about the same measurements that the size 16 once had."

"In the 1930's, a new size range was introduced, the 'Junior' size. A group of manufacturers in St Louis, with the support and assistance of a progressive retailer and Washington University, had observed that there was a large group of young women who were in between the standard Children's sizes and the adult Misses or Women's sizes."

"The Junior size was a young figure with a higher and smaller bust, slimmer through the hips, shorter waisted and not as tall as the standard adult sizes. The Juniors sizes range adopted the odd numbers in sizes, 3 through 15, to distinguish it from the Missy size range. The sample size was size 9 and the grade difference between sizes was one inch."

"Sometime later it was noticed that some of these Junior sized girls were becoming mature adults without getting any taller or longer waisted. Their figures were too full and too mature to fit into the Junior clothes, yet they were not tall enough of long waisted enough to be properly fitted in the Women's or Misses sizes. The 'Half-Size' or 'Custom Size' was introduced. The size range was from 12 1/2 to 22 1/2 with a two inch difference between sizes."

"The past forty years have seen the introduction of various other size ranges - the Junior Petite, the Petite, the Tall - in our continuing effort to produce ready-made clothing to fit any figure, with manufacturers making slight variations in their sample sizes and/or their grading to accommodate the needs of their customers."

Still with me? See why it's so challenging to find clothes you like that fit well, and why the size numbers seem increasingly meaningless?

:::tears at hair, goes back to reading:::
Tags: ack, design, sewing, sizing

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