We started a project aimed at helping you pick the right sizes. Unfortunately, our research showed that it's hard to find two people in the clothing industry that agree on anything. Every manufacturer has differently sized patterns and a different understanding of what the size numbers and letters mean. Really crazy!
After lurking in department stores and pattern departments we realized it wasn't our imagination, or just the vendors we deal with. In any case, what we show below are what we decided to be "normal" or average representations of sizes in general based on weights and measurements of the average medians (got that?). Use it as kind of a guide or starting point, just remember that we get blanks from all over, and the vendors don't necessarily conform to the charts below. Also, "normal" sized stuff shrinks if not pre-shrunk so you have to allow for the shrinkage when ordering. A very few vendors "cut oversize to allow for shrinkage". This means that after shrinkage, they should fall into the appropriate size ranges, depending on that vendor's interpretation. We mark those items with a "cut oversized" icon. When we realized, though, how much variation there was, we decided to measure everything we carry, before shrinkage, and you will see those measurements on all of our clothing - use that when you need to have a more specific fit, and don't forget to allow for shrinkage!
That's the deal. Confused? Join the club. Anyway, we hope it helps.
I WONDER HOW MUCH IT SHRINKS?
Cotton shrinks! This fact is reported to have been discovered by the ancient Egyptians and has been confirmed by countless distraught women through the ages. You can figure about 3-5% in width and 8-12% in length depending on the type, weight & knit. Sharp changes in temperature cause more shrinkage than gradual changes. High agitation washing machines cause more shrinkage than gentle hand washing. Preshrunk goods shrink less, but still shrink. "Compacted Cotton" has been scrunched up between rollers so that there is built in extra length in the fibers so it seems to shrink less. Some big name T-shirt manufacturers call their T-shirts pre-shrunk, but they are actually only compacted, and have never been washed.
Allow for the shrinkage! In some garments, this means buying a size larger. If the item is "cut oversize to allow for shrinkage" then it will be big at first, and then shrink down to the size on the label. In the end, we have to leave it you to judge the right size to buy.
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