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How to Grade Between Two Sizes

How to Grade Between Two Sizes

We are a unique and amazing bunch of individuals, all different shapes and sizes. Even those of us with the same measurements can be different shapes! You’ll understand them, with the best will in the world, it’s not possible to create a pattern that fits everyone straight off. The best course of action is to arm ourselves with enough fitting knowledge and skills to adjust, as necessary, our patterns to create great fitting garments.

So, what is a girl to do when she falls between different sizes on the size chart? This is where you need to know how to grade between two sizes. This method is also known as blending sizes, and it allows you to use the top half of one size and join to the bottom half of another size.

How do you know?

Once you’ve checked your measurements against the body measurement chart, may well find you cross 2 sizes, perhaps your bust is measuring for the size 12 and your hips are measuring for the size 14.

Take a look at the garment measurement chart – a looser fitting garment may give you that extra you’re looking for. I often find, that for me, this is the case for the waist on a less fitted style – no alteration needed!

You made a toile: perhaps your dress is a little too snug on the hips but great on the bust… then this one’s for you.

WARNING: If your toile is pulling because of a fuller tummy or bottom, or because you actually need to do a full bust adjustment this alteration may not do the trick, this is really just to add a bit of extra wiggle room.

How To Grade Between Two Sizes Tutorial_MAVEN PATTERNS-36


  • your nested pattern
  • contrast coloured sharp pencil
  • french curve/pattern master (optional)


If you have a pattern that is layered, use that option to select and print only the sizes you need.

Then all you need to do is draw a line from one size to the next, use a contrasting colour so you can easily see which line to follow later.

In this case I’ve used the bust from the UK size 12 and the hip from the UK size 14.GRADE BETWEEN SIZES TUTORIAL-03

It’s important to make a nice smooth line, remember bodies are rounded, so keep your lines curved rather than joining to each other in a point. A french curve or a Pattern Master is really useful and a good investment for the long term. But, you can also use the pattern as a guide by copying the side seam shape on to a piece of paper, cutting it out and using it as a template between your sizes. It will need pivoting between points, and the line will change but it does give a good starting point.

GRADE BETWEEN SIZES 01_TUTORIAL_MAVEN PATTERNS-01Of course it works the other way, to allow for smaller hips / larger bust combination too (but sadly not instead of a full bust adjustment).

Good To Know:

  • The Chain Effect: Alter all corresponding pattern pieces so they still fit together and the pattern stays balanced.
  • Front and backs need the SAME treatment.
  • This dress has a side seam pocket, as the side seam shape has changed, the pocket pattern needs to be checked against the side seam to make sure it still fits and adjusted if not.
  • Make sure the correct size sleeve pattern is selected, it should be the same size as your selected bust size, so it still fits into the armscye (Fancy word for armhole. Don’t ever get put off by terminology – that is possibly the first time I’ve ever actually used the word armscye , & I’ve been doing this since I was 16!)

NOW CHECK YOUR PATTERN FITS TOGETHER: nice smooth line? side seams the same length? 


But, it’ll be worth the effort because you are going to have a beautifully fitted pattern you can use again and again, now that you know how to grade between two sizes!