December 21, 2020

An update on our size expansion to 0-32!

Hi everyone!

At the end of August this year I announced our plan to expand to a size range of 0-32, and was thrilled with all the amazing responses from the community. It was great to get confirmation that there are lots of big-boobed sewists in smaller bodies who want to make patterns without the drudgery of FBAs, and also to hear a range of feedback from our existing awesome community in the 12+ size range.

As it’s been a few months since we made that announcement, and I wanted to give you an update on what we’ve been up to and where we are headed.

Size 0 – 16 pattern development

We kicked off our pattern development by working on two knit garments and one woven from our existing catalogue of patterns – the goal being to nail the fit on those, and then transfer what we’ve learned to other patterns. As expected, it hasn’t always been straightforward!

The knit garments have definitely proven easier, as they are generally much easier to fit. We didn’t simply “scale down” everything, but instead we re-developed a base size 8, and then graded thoughtfully. We discovered the need to move the waistline down (smaller people tend to have lower waists than bigger people), alter the width and depth of necklines in some cases to maintain the right proportions, and for some patterns also slightly shorten the front. For these two garments we did successful testing rounds, made some tweaks, and they are nearing completion, even with the photos done!

For the woven pattern… well, it’s been a much bigger learning experience! We are now entering round 4 of development, having already done three full rounds of pattern drafting and testing. There’s a reason a lot of brands don’t develop patterns for big boobs – it’s definitely a lot more complex than if there’s only a 2″ high bust/full bust difference! It’s particularly difficult getting a good fit in the shoulder AND the bust AND the arm – nailing that for the original range took nearly a year – so we’ve had to work through iterations.  Right now we are about to test another sample (must be sample 85 by now LOL), and we are crossing our fingers this one’s a winner! But we will probably have to go to yet another testing round before it’s finalized. As we pay testers at Cashmerette, this is definitely not an inexpensive process, but in the long term it’s more than worth it for a high quality product that sewists will get in the end.

Our work to center our 12+ community

In addition to the excitement we heard from smaller sewists and many size 12+ sewists, we also heard reservations from some people in our existing community, which I anticipated would happen when we made this announcement. I totally understand how much people want Cashmerette to remain a safe space for sewists with bigger bodies, and we are 100% committed to that.

At the time, I spoke at length on Instagram about how dedicated we are to centering our plus size customers, but now I can share a bit more about how we intend to achieve that (although it’s still a work in progress!)

  • Facebook: Our popular Facebook Community Group has been updated to be the Facebook Community Group (sizes 12 – 32). That means it will remain a place solely focused on size 12+ sewists, and effectively there will be no change for existing members of the group. In addition, we now have a NEW Facebook Community Group (sizes 0 – 32) that sewists of any and all sizes can join. It’s up to you: if you’d prefer to only see 12+ sewists, join the 12 – 32 group, and if you’d rather see all, you can join the size 0 – 32 one, or indeed you can be in both!
  • Instagram: Our current Instagram account @cashmerette will cover our entire size range, but we will also be creating a size 12+ specific Instagram account, which will only feature models and customers in this size range. Again, we’re giving you the choice of what you want to see on your screens.
  • Newsletter/emails: We will be giving you the option to choose what you want to see in your newsletters: models/customers across our size range, or just models/customers in size 12+. It’ll be a simple button to click and you can curate your emails! Whichever you choose, you’ll always receive all the news and discounts relevant for you, but if you choose 12+ only, we won’t email you specifically about historic patterns being launched in the 0 – 16 range, and when we launch a new pattern in sizes 0 – 32, we’ll only show you the 12+models.
  • Website: The website has had a refresh (only partly visible right now!), and will have prominent buttons where you can choose to shop patterns that are size 12 – 32, or patterns size 0 – 16. From the product page you can also click on either size range, and when you do you’ll see photos of models in that specific size range.
  • Photography: All our patterns in the 0 – 32 size range will be shown on a range of models of different sizes. We are actively working to have more models in the size 28+ range (on our next release, two of the three models are 28+!) and we’ll always show a good variety across the spectrum.

Finally, we’ve actually had a pattern launch logistics challenge which we are solving by prioritising our plus size customers. Due to COVID, the development of our blazer pattern has been delayed quite significantly, such that it will now be launching after the smaller sizes are launched in some of our old patterns. Theoretically, we could delay the blazer so that we can also do the smaller sizes of it and launch them all together. However, we know you’ve been waiting for the blazer for FOREVER so we decided to go and launch it in our 12 – 32 range only, even though we’ll have started the 0 – 16 rollout at that point. We had to make a decision, and we decided to prioritize our sizes 12 – 32 (but don’t worry, straight sizers, we may also expand it in the future!).

Progress on expanding the whole range to 32

Of course our straight size launch isn’t the only size expanding we’re doing! We announced in January that we’ll be expanding to a 32, and in that time, we’ve updated/launched 19 (PHEW!) patterns in 12 – 32 – they’re all clearly marked on our patterns page. Pandemic-permitting, the next patterns planned are the Upton Dress, Tobin Sweater, Ames Jeans and Ellis Skirt (in the spring), and the final 5 should be done by end 2021/early 2022 at the latest.

The Concord T-Shirt, modeled here by Michelle in a size 26 C/D graded to a 30 at the waist and hips, was one of our most recent patterns to be updated to sizes 12-32. 

What’s next?

First up, we have to get this woven pattern sorted! Once we do, we’ll finalize all three and get them sent off to the printers, and start doing all the usual work we do for launch. At this point, we are hoping to launch the first 0 – 16 pattern from our existing collection in the first few months of 2021 – but given we must always expect the unexpected (pandemic, anyone?!), I can’t guarantee exactly when. We are also just starting to work on the NEW patterns for 2021 (beyond the blazer), and those will be done from the start in our full 0 – 32 size range, so do not fret if you think we don’t have enough work on our plates 😀

So that’s where we are! It’s lots of work from the team (not to mention investment) to expand a size range, and it takes quite a while, but I hope you’ve enjoyed a little bit of “behind the scenes”, and I’m happy to answer any questions as always.

16 thoughts on “An update on our size expansion to 0-32!

  1. Sue Rogers says:

    Wow sounds like you’ve been super busy despite the difficulties of the pandemic etc.
    Have only just discovered your patterns and have one so far the Dartmouth top but absolutely love it, have made 3 tops and 2 dresses from it so far and will be ordering more.
    I was concerned as all patterns are expensive and have mainly been Simplicity for years but I have found the quality of your pattern, the ease of instructions and the fit absolutely superbe.
    Happy to recommend you when asked in various Fb groups as truely brilliant especially for us larger and curvier girls 🙂
    I am British, living in the UK, and totally love your quality and amazed at your skills and ability in making something so good.
    Keep up the impressive work and hope you have a happy Christmas and New Year
    So looking forward to your next patterns in 2021
    Kindest regards

  2. Saremy Duffy says:

    This is a monumental amount of work. I’ve been a pattern drafter for 30 years and you’re basically launching new businesses with these size ranges. You have to have different sets of testers, fit models, photo models, pattern blocks, etc. and now you’re adding different marketing too! Phew! Major kudos to you. I didn’t used to fit in to your patterns (I was just under the lowest size) but I never expected you to create sizes that would and I thank you. I wanted that Lenox shirt dress the first day it came out. But when I saw it wasn’t in my size, I said awesome! This size category deserves their own treasures. Especially since they’re well drafted. So thanks! I look forward to sewing more of your patterns!

  3. Debbie says:

    I love your plus size patterns. I can understand how women of all sizes could enjoy the patterns. Smaller women have more choices in patterns and ready made garments. Please keep developing patterns for women in larger sizes!! We need you more. Thanks l appreciate your prompt response to email fitting questions.. Thanks again!

    1. Yes we have no intention of stopping developing patterns in plus sizes, we’re just expanding the size range.

  4. Sarah Flesher says:

    It is easier for me to downsize from size 12G/H Cashmerette than to alter a standard pattern to fit my daughter. I can’t imagine the work you are doing to help us out.

    My daughter is looking forward to the blazer when it comes out in smaller sizes.

  5. Madeleine says:

    What an incredible investment of time and money. I am so appreciative of all the steps you are taking to continue centering plus sized sewists. So excited to see more models at the high end of the range, and so excited for the blazer!

  6. Kelly says:

    I can’t wait! My daughters love sewing and your patterns are by far superior to the ones they usually use for dresses.

  7. Gwen says:

    I’m 4’9″ so would really appreciate lengthen/shorten lines marked on the pattern. There are lots of us undertall women out there.

    1. Yes, we have lengthen/shorten lines on our patterns already, and we will continue to do so!

      1. Gwen says:

        Oh you wonderful people! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  8. Jacqui says:

    Amazing work and such a huge commitment which is a credit to you and your team. It is so helpful to read about the challenges of getting a good fit for different size combinations. Also fabulous to read how much thought to have put into supporting your community – your passion for what you do and connection to those you serve is wonderful. Good luck with the testing! Can’t wait to see the finished results!

  9. Elizabeth F Robertson says:

    Wow what a lot of work., it’s amazing Thank you! Two questions. You say in the blog; “We discovered the need to move the waistline down (smaller people tend to have lower waists than bigger people)”
    This is wonderful, will this be featured in the Appleton Dress? Also, I’m a bit confused, which sizes will have this feature?

    1. Ayelet says:

      Hi Elizabeth, yes, we’ll be implementing everything we’ve learned about designing for smaller bodies into our new (second) size range, which will include sizes 0-16.

      -Ayelet at Cashmerette

  10. Tami Pugh says:

    I already purchased a couple of your patterns. Ames Jeans is one of them. When you enlarge to the 32 will we be able to get an update?
    I used your size chart and so far my scaling to the sizes I need is not going well.
    Size 2X bust, size, size 3X waist and finally size 5X hips. I swear a tent would just be easier. Lol.

  11. kitty0313 says:

    I am amazed to hear resistance from larger size sewists to your (long awaited, greatly anticipated and much appreciated!) plans to include smaller folk in your pattern range!! For years, the larger, curvy demographic, calling for ‘equity’ and ‘inclusiveness’, have been hounding and deriding indie pattern companies which draft for a more conventional size range. Many indies have heeded the requests and have thoughtfully, carefully redrafted blocks to extend into larger sizes. Yet, the companies that cater for larger sewers do not seem to have been as responsive in responding to the pleas of the smaller cohort. Equity and inclusiveness, it seems, can be construed as a “one-way street”….!

    This is extremely disappointing for the group of sewers who fall outside the size range of Cashmerette patterns, Muna and Broad etc. To be sure, there are a couple of indie ranges that produce patterns for so called ‘petite’ bodies. Those of which I am aware, however, assume that petite features include odd combinations of unusually small features with a larger bust – for example, they tend of draft for strangely narrow shoulders (??!). Similarly, they tend to produce ranges that are relatively straightforward drafts from a simple block, lacking the contemporary styling and fashion-forward awareness of most specifically larger, curvy pattern companies.

    My simple point: if inclusiveness in sizing is to be required of those indie pattern makers whose range appears to cater for a more conventional body shape, perhaps the request should apply to all pattern companies!

  12. Lynne says:

    As a smaller sized sewist that has always eyed off your lovely patterns, but been unable to use them 😭 I can barely wait for the smaller sizes. But I will wait as patiently as I can, as it is bound to be worth it, given how much you are putting into it. I love that you are so supportive of larger sizes in your pattern range, especially since you started long before most other pattern companies, at a time when larger women had few options. My friends tell me how well your patterns fit – they are not just mindlessly graded up. Inclusiveness in both directions shouldn’t mean anyone loses out – if everyone is included we all win!! But we do acknowledge how much work inclusiveness is, and thank you for it!

Let me know what you think!