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McCalls 5512 size

This was a great sewing day, I did a lot of work on my wintercoat and will soon post some pictures. Welt pockets and bound buttonholes take a lot of time.

Right now DD is tracing McCalls 5512, a Hilary Duff dress, which she wants to make in the version with sleeves. I bought the pattern in size range 4-10, assuming my daughter would need 10 (bust measurement).

I've not a lot of experience with McCall's patterns, but I read somewhere that they run large. Large? Large!!

My DD has a bust measurement of 87 centimeters, which according to the size chart would even be size 12. But after measuring the paper pattern in size 10 it would be 104 centimeters at bust level! That's 17 centimeters more than bust measurement! Of course some ease is needed, but not that much if I see the model in the picture.

And yes, I did remember to take off the seam allowances. First I forgot, so it seemed even worse.
(It's confusing working with patterns with (all American patterns) and without (Burda, Marfy) seam allowances.

After careful measuring also for the hip width, we settled on tracing size 4. I find this odd. Is it?


  1. No, not to odd. Especially for this size. I went down almost three sizes when I did a similar Butterick dress.

  2. I've never tried a MCall pattern before! I consider myself warned! (Lovely dress, btw)

  3. Hmmm . . yet another reason I really like BWOF. I know that I can make a 36 for the top and no matter the style it will fit perfectly with the perfect amount of ease. The only thing I need to do is take 2cm out of the neck to waist length and 2cm out of the sleeves because I'm a petite. I've never had an ill-fiitng Burda! Don't even get me started with the big 4 American companies. I have to make all sorts of changes, and I'm not really a hard to fit person!

    Your best bet when dealing with big 4 patterns: make a muslin. The big 4 also prints the garments finished measurements at the bust, waist and hip on the pattern pieces. Look for a list of measurements near a circle with a cross in it that indicates bust point, etc. The finished measurement will include the ease. I pick what size to cut based on that measurement not anything printed on the pattern envelope.

  4. Summerset, thanks for mentioning the finished measurements on the pattern, I never noticed before.
    And I fully agree with you on BWOF. I can make anything with BWOF without making a muslin. Of course there are a few things to alter, but once you figured out what, it's always the same (for me that is adding 5 cm to the waist for tops, and 2 cm to the sleevelength, as I'm a little taller than average and all extra length is above the waist).

    My daughter is only just learning to sew and wants to try to do as much as she can herself. Making a muslin first would be no encouragement in this stage.

  5. Welcome to the mysterious world of Big 4 measurements, Sigrid! According to their size chart I'm a 10, I'm always sewing a 6 and sometimes a 4 with perfect results. My first pattern (which I tried in a 10) was huuuuuuge

  6. Anything I've made from the big 4 is about 4 sizes too big. So Frustrating, makes me never want to buy them. Fortunatly I discovered Jalie's patterns, and they fit perfectly!! What a concept! A pattern that is the size it says it is!

  7. I am an heavy user of Vogue patterns and an occasional user of the other three of the Big 4. Here is what I have learned about sizing for my measurements (36" x 26" x 36"):
    1) Vogue is closest to the actual bosy size measurements but expect to go down 1-2 sizes depending on the garment. For me that means mostly size 10 with some taking in at key points, but occasionally an 8.
    2) Butterick is almost the same as Vogue, but will occasionally run larger. Tissue fitting is an easy way to check
    3) McCalls runs very large, but not quite as bad as they used to. I always reach for an 8 to begin with, tissue fit and usually take it between an 8 and 6.
    4) Simplicity is very large as well across the waist and hips, but is not consitent across the bust. Expect to take in at least 2-3 sizes from the waist down and check waist up carefully.

  8. This is why I don't buy American patterns any more. I initially bought (at full cost price too!) a lot of McCall's patterns based on the sizing on the back of the pattern-big mistake! My listed size was 10 whereas on the actual pattern sheet size 4 was too big for me. As for the patterns that only had sizes 8-12, those were a complete write off. I find with Vogue and Simplicity that I have to go down a few sizes as well. Its really annoying so I've given up. Knipmode/Patrones/La Mia boutique are much better anyway =)


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