Part 3: Suit-A-Long. What Size Do I Choose?


We’ve covered what pattern to order and what fabrics are suitable.  In this post, let’s talk about what size to cut so we can get started making mock ups!


Just as a reminder, here’s the silhouette of the suit.  In this pattern, I give all the original sizes in one size pack.  Remember, proportions back then were different than today, since women often wore corsetry since an early age.  But in this post I’ll tell you what size to pick, taking into account the cut of the suit.

Here’s the size chart.


We’re going to pick the best size for each piece.  This may mean you’ll cut a different size of the jacket than you will for the skirt.


The jacket is cut really full, in an “A” type shape.  There are no darts or shaping at the waist at all.  The jacket is pulled in to fit the waist with a belt.

For the jacket, CUT ACCORDING TO BUST SIZE.  If your waist is smaller or greater than the one given for that size, disregard it for the main jacket pieces.

FOR THE JACKET BELT– cut according to your waist size.  This means your belt may be a different size than you cut for the jacket.  This may feel really strange or not right, but it’s all going to be ok, I promise.  The design of this coat makes it really forgiving, and this is the best solution to the problem if you don’t fall in line with the original size chart.

“What if I’m in between sizes, like a 37″ bust?”  You’ll cut the size larger, at 38″.  Don’t cut smaller.  Old patterns didn’t have the ease that modern patterns do.  Do the same if you’re between sizes for the belt.


The skirt is A line, and falls from the top of an interior waistband, that fits 2″ above the natural waist.

For the skirt, cut according to WAIST SIZE.  There’s some wiggle room in the hip because of the way it’s cut, so most hip sizes will be fine.

If your hips are more than a couple of sizes larger than the the size you need according the chart, you may need some adjustment in the mock up stage.

If your hips are much narrower than the size in the chart (I fall in this category), I suggest adding an extra petticoat or two to help with the period silhouette.

If you need a skirt size that is larger than the pattern, since the period size specifications were so vastly different than today, I’ll show you how to make the skirt larger in the next post.

If you’re in the size range offered in the pattern…

– – – Feel free to start cutting your pattern now, and start cutting your mock up! – – –

1 Comment on Part 3: Suit-A-Long. What Size Do I Choose?

  1. Tracey
    April 23, 2014 at 1:53 pm (10 years ago)

    I can probably only afford to buy the jacket or the skirt pattern right now. Which one are you going to start with for the sew-a-long?

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