Tips & Tricks on Tuesday: Using a size chart {Free Printable}

Hi friends!!! It’s that time of the month when we all need to bust out our trusty measuring tapes and take updated measurements on our kiddos! It’s a hassle, yes, but using accurate measurements will definitely make for well-fitting garment. If your kids are anything like mine, they probably shot up a size or two this summer. Must be all that good Vitamin Sea 🙂

I want to share with you a super easy and helpful printable and some tips and tricks for using a size chart to make a custom fitted garment. Let’s get started!

Violette Field Threads Size Chart and Measurement Guide

I adapted this printable from this great blog post. If you need guidance on how to take accurate measurements of your child, hop over and start the adventure there!

I would recommend you print out 12 of these for each of your children and put them in a binder close to your sewing space. Having extra copies on hand will serve as a great reminder to update your measurement chart each month.

I used my youngest as the example today, although I need to take updated measurements for my oldest before I start back to school sewing!!

Measurement Guide and Size Chart ExampleI circled her measurements on the Violette Field Threads standard measurement chart, showing where a mash up will be needed (stay tuned for next week’s post on how to mash sizes!). You’ll notice I kept her waist at 22″ instead of circling between 22″ and 23″ because I knew she just ate lunch and probably had a full tummy versus her everyday measurement.

Once you have updated measurements, you’ll want to open up your sewing pattern and take a look for two things.

  1. Amount of Ease/ Intended Fit of the Garment

  2. Finished Measurement Chart

I’m going to use the Elodie dress pattern as my example today but the process can be applied to any pdf sewing pattern.

Let’s first look at the amount of ease or the Fit Guide.

Screen Shot 2017-07-24 at 2.15.06 PM

The Elodie dress is an empire waist dress, so the waist measurement isn’t a critical piece of the overall fit and therefor is not mentioned in the Fit Guide. The two critical measurements to look at are the bust (chest measurement) and the dress length (height measurement).

BUST: Looking at Honor’s measurement chart, you’ll see she has a 21.75″ bust measurement, which puts her just under a size 5. Since the Elodie dress has 2″ of ease intended, if I only sewed a size 4, she would have 1.75″ of ease and that means she may outgrow the garment sooner than I hope. I could mash between a size 4 and 5 but since I’m sewing for fall garments now, I’m going to sew a size 5 bodice and let her have some more room to grow.

LENGTH: Again looking at her measurement chart, her height is 43.5″ which is much closer to the size 5 height than the size 4. The intended dress length is 2″ above the knee which is great for school dress codes. If I sewed a size 4, I am guessing she won’t be able to wear it to school so I’ll be sewing her a size 5 length for her fall wardrobe.

Now let’s jump to the Finished Measurement Chart to see how this garment is going to measure up once it’s sewn.

Screen Shot 2017-07-24 at 2.26.29 PM

The Finished Measurement Chart is mostly used as a way to double check the garment after it’s sewn to be sure it was completed accurately. There is nothing worse than finishing a garment and having it fit too small, only to realize the printer settings were off or the wrong seam allowance was used!!!

I also use the Finished Measurement Chart to be sure the final garment is going to give me the exact fit I want. Sometimes a pattern may have ease built in that either is too little for what I’m aiming for or too large and I want a more tailored look.

Knowing the ease of the Elodie dress (2″) and my child’s measurements, I can see the finished dress is going to give her 2.25″ of ease and that will be great for the upcoming season. I anticipate her growing more as the summer rounds out and she turns 5 years old. I am also able to measure her from the shoulder to knee (24 1/2″) and I see that the size 5 finished dress length will hit about 1″ above her knee. Perfect for school wear!

If I wanted to keep with the intended fit of the garment, I can cut a dress length between the size 4 and 5 measurements and that will give her closer to 2″ above the knee. But, since I am anticipating more growth and want to be sure she can wear to school, I’ll stick with the size 5.

I am ready to sew the dress pattern now that I’ve taken updated measurements of my child and have surveyed the Fit Guide and cross checked with the Finished Measurement Chart to help me choose what size will give me the best fit and most wear.


One of the greatest benefits of sewing for your own children is that you can customize the fit of each garment so that it will give you lasting wear and look really polished. I love using the Fit Guide and Finished Measurement Chart along with the Standard Size Chart to help me choose the best size(es) to sew for my kids!


2 thoughts on “Tips & Tricks on Tuesday: Using a size chart {Free Printable}

  1. Thank you for sharing! Such a handy printable – I’ll be printing that and putting it right at the front of my folder of VFT patterns.

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