The Acton sew-along : How to grade between pattern sizes

For many women, your measurements will range across several sizes, and you will need to grade between sizes after you print your pattern. For example, in most patterns, my hip measurement is usually a size or two bigger than my waist measurement, which means I need to grade up from the waist to the hip to account for this difference. It's a really easy adjustment to make, and makes the world of difference when achieving a great fit (and that's one of the main reasons we all sew, right?)

So today, to coincide with the Acton sew-along, I thought I'd show you how it's done!

Print the pattern


To start, take your measurements to work out what size/s you need. Print the Acton dress pattern. In the Folds digital patterns are layered, so you can just print the size/s you need. Check out this tutorial if you need some help with this step (please note : for the Acton, there is just a "Pattern Info" layer that includes the grid and tags). Assemble the pattern as normal.

Mark hip line on the pattern


Mark the hip line on the pattern. You can do this by holding the pattern piece up to your body and marking your hip location. 

Grade between sizes


In the case of the example, I am grading between a size C at the waist, up to a size D at the hip. To do this, simply draw a diagonal line from the size you are at the waist, to the size you are at the hip. As you can see in the illustration, the top of the pattern is still a size C (which means it will still fit together with the size C bodice), but at the waist it is now a size D.

Complete the pattern


Now, there are a couple of options for what to do next. You can either continue the side seam on the size you have reached on the hip, or continue the straight line created by the diagonal line. You can see that the first option creates a shallow point at the hip, but when just grading up one size, it's no big deal - it won't effect the shape of the skirt.


If you're grading between more than one size (or don't mind a little more volume in the hem), then you can just continue the diagonal line, until you reach the hem. 


Complete the hem, by extending the original hemline (you choose which size you prefer at the hem line - according to the length you want) until it intersects the new side seam. 


Move any notches that have been displaced by the new side seam... And you're done!

Cut out the new pattern piece and get sewing.

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