You may remember that I did a quick sizing survey a few weeks ago. I had a few questions about my sizing model and wanted to make sure it worked going forward. Over a thousand of you filled it out (THANK YOU SEWING ANGELS!) and I had a number of requests to share the results. In my silly, naive fashion I thought, “Oh, I’ll just throw some numbers together and make a quick infographic!”
There is no such thing as a simple infographic. After importing all the data and figuring out how to collate everything in Excel, I then spent an inordinate amount of time trying to visually render the information I captured. While it ended up taking wayyyyyyy more time than I expected, it was a worthwhile exercise since it actually forced me to engage with the data in an in-depth way. I chose a few key things to share with you today; I think the results are pretty interesting.
When I developed my sizing chart, I was working from pretty “standard” measurements from the ASTM, which in turn were captured from massive polling and studies of women’s bodies (you can purchase the data I based my chart off of here). It was somewhat reassuring to discover that my size 10, which I use as a sample size when drafting, is more or less the average body size of the women I surveyed. In the graph of bust, waist and hip measurements, the peaks represent my sample size 10 measurements almost exactly, in addition to working out when all the numbers are averaged together.
To be honest, I was a little surprised by this since I have often heard that the average dress size for American women is 14. I’m not sure if my data pool is not quite broad enough, or if a size 14 in those studies is a little abstract since there is no real sizing standard in the fashion industry. In my own chart, I’m a size 10 at the bust, 12 at the waist and 14 at the hip. Unfortunately I couldn’t figure out a way to figure out how typical this size straddling is since Excel makes me want to cry just about every time I use it. Needless to say, I think the averages that I came up with in this survey should be taken with a grain of salt since it was hardly a proper, statistical analysis; I think a more well-rounded view would be obtained by polling readers of lots of blogs. I’d be highly curious to see how my results would change if I had also surveyed the readers of the Curvy Sewing Collective, for example.
In terms of bra sizing, while C cups took the slight lead in terms of overall population, 34B was the most worn bra size at just under 10%. However, after comparing many ladies actual measurements and noted bra size, I couldn’t help but concur that quite a few of you are probably wearing the wrong size, even when taking into account all the different bra sizing schools of thought. One thing I noticed was that the larger the bust, the more accurate the sizing seemed to be. I can only guess that very large busted women are more likely to get properly fitted for bras because it’s imperative to support the ladies. If you’re unsure about your own size, I highly recommend going to an independent lingerie shop or a good department store (no no no Victoria’s Secret) and get a professional’s advice; you might be surprised by the results!
Finally, I promised two patterns to a random person from the survey; I randomly scrolled and stopped at the first name my mouse clicked. I’ll be emailing @sbothma today to ask her for her choice.
Thank you so very, very much for your time and help with this survey; I feel like I have a much more nuanced understanding of your shapes and fitting issues now and it will greatly inform and improve my work going forward. Hopefully you find some of this data as interesting as I do!