Grading Between Sizes

Top or Dress with No Dart

In this section, we’ll look at how to grade between sizes on a top or dress with no dart. This section applies to the Appleton Dress, Turner Dress, Washington Dress, Concord T-Shirt, Dartmouth Top, and Cedar Dolman Top.

Always retake your measurements before starting each project. Make sure you’re wearing the type of bra you’ll be most likely to wear with the garment and take your waist and hip measurements while both standing up and sitting down to make sure you have sufficient wearing ease in your garment.

These patterns are all super easy to grade, plus they’re knits so they’re a bit more forgiving! Let’s say your bust measurement is 44″, your waist measurement is 38″, and your hip measurement is 44″. Based on these measurements, you’d want the 14 G/H bust, a size 18 waist, and a size 14 hip. For this example, we’re showing grading on the Washington Dress bodice.

To grade between the 14 bust and the 18 waist, you’ll want to start at the bust notch on the side seam of the front bodice piece and grade to just above the seam allowance on the waist seam or the waist of the top. You can start by connecting these two points with a straight line and then base the curve off that.

Next, you’ll want to repeat these steps with the back bodice piece. One thing to check before you cut your pattern pieces out is that the side seams are the same length. Walk your ruler along the new line on both the front and the back and either add or take away curve to make the measurements the same. I usually adjust the curve on the back piece to accommodate the length I’ve established on the front piece.

So now, our waist is the size 18. If you were making the Turner Dress, you can cut a straight size 18 skirt even though it would be technically too big in the hips. If you try it on and the ease around the hips feels too much, you can always take in the skirt on the side seams. The same is true for the tops; you can alway take in the side seams if the top feels too big around the hips.

Other things to consider:

  • If you’re making the Washington Dress, grade the yoke piece from your waist size to your hip size and cut the skirt in your hip size.
  • For the Concord T-Shirt and the Dartmouth Top, start your grading at the lower bust notch on the front piece.