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COMPARE 1956 SIZES TO TODAY'S

1956's size 14 is equivalent (bust-wise) to today's size 2!

Figuring out sizing in vintage patterns can be a challenge. Industry Standards have changed over the years, with US Standard Clothing Sizes determined in the 1940s and 1950s based on statistical data. Early patterns (19th and first half of the 20th century) often gave instructions for only one size, and schematics or measurements were rarely given. If a stitch gauge is given, you can usually figure out the bust/chest measurement and adjust the pattern as necessary.

Patterns in the early 20th century were usually presented in a single size and seldom included measurements or gauge. It was suggested that the knitter "knit a strip of plain garter stitches, and as you learn new stitches, add them on to it. In this way...you always have a scale of stitch measurements...you will always be able to determine how many stitches you knit to an inch" (from "My Knitting Book" by Minerva Yarns). Standard bust size in this era was generally 34-36".

Here's a Chart of Women's and Misses' Body Measurements (in inches) from a 1956 issue of Vogue Knitting:

SIZE 10 12 14 16 18 20
BUST 28 30 32 34 36 38
WAIST 24 25 26.5 28 30 32
HIP 31 33 35 37 39 41
ARM LENGTH 16.25 16.5 17 17.5 18 18


Compare it to a current Misses' Size Chart:

SIZE 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
BUST 32-34 34 34 35 36 37.5 39 40.5 42 44
WAIST 22-24,5 25.5 26.5 27.5 28.5 30 31.5 33 34.5 36.5
HIP 33-35.5 36.5 37.5 38.5 39.5 41 42.5 44 45.5 47.5
BACK-WAISTLENGTH 14.5 14.75 15.5 15.75 16 16.25 16.5 16.75 17 17.25

Best advice when knitting or crocheting a vintage pattern? Swatch, swatch swatch! Know your key body measurements and be ready to make adjustments in the number of stitches and rows when you are creating a garment to fit.

 


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