Use percentage options where possible

When designing patterns, you should refrain from using absolute values.

That 6 cm ease you add might be fine for all scenarios you tested. But, then somebody comes around who is twice your size or who is making clothes for a doll, and things will go off the rails.

Don’t be tempted to add absolute values to your patterns, as they don’t scale. Instead, embrace percentages as options. By using values that are percentages of measurements, the values will scale and continue to work as the measurements scale up or down.

Use the doll and giant tests

To check how well your pattern scales, you can use the doll and giant tests by sampling the pattern for 3 measurements sets:

  1. A set of measurements from an average person (the person)
  2. A set of measurements 1/10th of an average person (the doll)
  3. A set of measurements 3 times that of an average person (the giant)

A well-designed pattern will scale a factor 10 down or 3 up and still hold its shape. If your pattern makes assumptions about size, these tests will show that.

FreeSewing’s development environment provides these tests out of the box, so you can see their results at the click of a button.