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Durban Sewalong: Grading Between Sizes

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Grading Between Sizes

Carrying on from our previous Durban fitting tutorial on lengthening & shortening, today we are talking about how you can grade between sizes. It’s such a nice & simple process, but one which can really help to get the right look and fit that you’re hoping for. So grab out your measuring tapes and pencils – let’s get started!

Durban Jumpsuit and Romper by Megan Nielsen Patterns available in sizes 0-20 and Curve sizes 14-34


Do I Need to Grade Between Sizes?

If your body measurements fall across multiple sizes you don’t have to pick just one straight size – you can grade your pattern between different sizes to get the fit you’re looking for. If the differences in your sizing are small though, before deciding whether to grade, first refer to the finished garment measurements to see if the pattern already has enough ease included to accomodate.

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Grading Between Sizes | Do You Need To Grade?Durban has a relaxed fit, particularly for the waist & hips which have more ease included in the pattern compared to the bust. Because of this, if your waist or hip measurements are only a slightly larger size, your bust size will likely still be a comfortable fit. Alternatively if they are smaller, you may be happy to leave the extra ease for an even more relaxed fit.

For those of you who would prefer a more fitted waist or hip though, you can also use the finished garment measurements to decide what size you would like to grade down to that will have the amount of ease you’re looking for. It’s up to you!

Durban Jumpsuit and Romper by Megan Nielsen Patterns available in sizes 0-20 and Curve sizes 14-34


Grading From The Bust To The Waist

Busts & tums come in a gloriously wide range of shapes, sizes & proportions, so it’s common to find your bust is one size and waist is another! Not to worry, you can simply grade between them by folding up the dart of your bust size (as if you had sewn it) and drawing a smooth and gradual curve between the two sizes. To ensure your sleeve and pants still fit together with your bodice, your curve should start a little below the armscye seam allowances, and should end just before you reach the seam allowances of the waist edge. While still holding the folded dart in place, you can then cut along your curve, trimming away the excess and reshaping your dart so that it will align perfectly with your new side edge.

Grading the bodice back is exactly the same, only you don’t have to worry about the dart – so it’s even easier. Just draw your smooth curve between the armscye and waist seam allowances, from your bust size to your waist size – simple as!

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Grading Between Sizes | Bust To Waist Grade

Just a quick note – the diagrams above show the 0-20 dart which is a plain dart that is pressed downwards. The dart of the Curve range Durban bodice on the other hand is a cut-away dart and is intended to be folded up toward the armscye, as it is more flattering for a bigger bust and reduces bulk. So if you’re sewing a Durban Curve, it’s the same process but it will look a little different and you will need to fold the dart of your pattern upwards when drawing and cutting your new side edge!

Durban Jumpsuit and Romper by Megan Nielsen Patterns available in sizes 0-20 and Curve sizes 14-34


Grading From The Waist To The Hip

Moving to the lower part of the body, it’s time to look at how you can grade between your waist and hips. It’s nice and simple, all you need to do is draw a nice smooth and gradual line between the waist size and the hip size.

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Grading Between Sizes | Waist To Hip GradeLike before, we want to avoid the waist edge seam allowance so we can be sure that the pants will still fit perfectly to our bodice. As for the other end of your curve; on the outer edge of the pants you can aim roughly at the lower pocket notches and for the centre back to ensure you get the hip width you need your curve should meet your hip size around the crotch notches. For the centre front, your grade can be a straighter line, from below the waist edge seam allowances to the placket edge corner.

Durban Jumpsuit and Romper by Megan Nielsen Patterns available in sizes 0-20 and Curve sizes 14-34


Don’t Forget Your Placket

Something that is super easy to overlook is how the changes we’ve made above will affect our placket, as it’s a pattern piece that spans almost the whole length of our torso! To fit the length of the bodice, you will need to use the size of your bust for the top half of the placket. Then to ensure the bottom half of the placket is the correct height for your pants, you will need to cut the placket below the waist notch as your waist size. The decision to align all of the sizes on the waist notch was one we made during testing when we realised it would be easier for those of us blending between sizes – high five to our past selves!

And that’s all folks, you’re now ready to grade between sizes for the perfect fitting Durban, woohoo! If you have any follow up questions or ideas you’d like to share – don’t forget to let us know in the comments section below.

Naomi xx

Durban Jumpsuit and Romper by Megan Nielsen Patterns available in sizes 0-20 and Curve sizes 14-34


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About Author

Naomi is the Design Assistant here at Megan Nielsen Patterns, and our resident helping hand. She stays busy assisting Meg with pattern development leg work, getting super excited about good instructional diagrams and making green coloured fabric suggestions for every sample we make. She’s a problem solver, a fabric addict, a serial tea-forgetter and a passionate maker.

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Miranda Dixon
Miranda Dixon
1 month ago

I’m planning to sew the Durban for my 12 yo daughter who doesn’t have much bust – will it be ok if I just remove the dart or is it more complicated than that?

Meg
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Meg
1 month ago
Reply to  Miranda Dixon

Hi Miranda! That’s so wonderful! My 13yo has been asking for one too and i really need to get onto it! If you just leave the dart open it will be a little tricky as the front panel won’t match with the back. The best thing to do would be to do a small bust adjustment to eliminate the dart completely. You would essentially slash and overlap to close the gap. But having said all that, this pattern has a relatively small dart in the 0-20 range and is quite loose fitting so even with a small bust you could get away with just sewing the dart. I have an A cup myself and i just left the dart as is for my versions :) Good luck!!

Miranda Dixon
Miranda Dixon
1 month ago
Reply to  Meg

Thanks Meg, I’ll muslin the top and do that. It’s going to be her Year Six graduation outfit – short sleeve and playsuit length in duck-egg linen : ).

Meg
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Meg
1 month ago
Reply to  Miranda Dixon

Oh that will be so gorgeous! What a wonderful yr6 grad outfit! let me know how you go :)