I received the following email this morning:
Below is a copy of my receipt and the recipent just advised me that the wrong size was shipped. Please advise the best way to exchange the pattern for a size 4 and not the size 12 that was shipped."
When I informed her that a size 4 did not exist in 1962 for sewing patterns and that the bust, waist and hip measurements given on the envelope was what you needed to utilize when buying vintage sewing patterns, she responded:
"Thank you, the recipient & I were not aware of that."
This communication, triggered me to re-post this very valuable bit of information.
Most people who sew know that a manufactured dress size and a dress pattern size have nothing in common. This guide is purely for fun and to show the changes in standard sizing for dress patterns through the years. It has nothing to do with the little tag on a dress in the department store. Sizes weren't routinely listed on all patterns until around 1940. Prior to WWII the sizing was strictly related to the bust measurement. Here is a brief look at the changes in a Size 12 from 1930-2000
1930- Bust 30 Waist 25 Hip
1940- Bust 30 Waist 25 Hip 33
1955- Bust 30 Waist 24 Hip 33
1960-Bust 32 Waist 25 Hip 34
1970-Bust 34 Waist 25.5 Hip 36
1975-2000 Bust 34 Waist 26.5 Hip 36
So, as you can see there is quite a difference in the fit, silhouette, and sizing of vintage patterns throughout the past 60 years.
Most Pattern sellers will list the Bust Size in the title of the listing so you can browse at your leisure instead of plowing through multiple listing only to find the pattern won't fit. An experienced and talented person who sews can always moderate and alter a pattern up or down, but it's nice to know what you are getting from the beginning.
And to add a new addendum for those just entering the world of true Vintage and not Vintage Style. True vintage sewing patterns are not easily found and can't be produced with the click of a finger. They are no longer manufactured, and those offered for sale are found in various places in various conditions and they are old. They weren't printed last week or even last year. Your seller has found them in an Estate Sale or some other type of situation and they have taken the time to check the pieces and make sure the pattern is complete and if it has been used lovingly or abused terribly. So please read the descriptions and make your purchasing decisions based on your own personal needs and the information (or in some case, lack of information) given. And never hesitate to ask questions if you are in doubt.
My sincerest wish is for each and everyone of you to have a Joyous Holiday for whatever occasion you celebrate this season.