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Your Fit Questions about the Pisco Tank and Dress Answered!

Posted by Betsy C on

I know there are lots of burning questions on the fit of the Pisco Tank and Dress, so let’s jump right in.

How do I know if I am petite or average height?

Let’s take this question at face value to begin with. Petite for the SBCC range, is anyone 5ft 3” and under. What I would consider “average” height is 5ft 4” and above. Traditionally, RTW styles are made for someone approximately 5ft 7”, as the norm.
However, there is a big segment of the population that falls within a grey area where they could be 5ft 7”, for instance, but their torso is short/petite. Or You could have a 5ft 1” gal with a long torso but short legs. The fit struggle is real! But of course that’s where the Pisco comes in.

How do I know if my torso is petite or average height?

Let me just get this out now, I’m not going to give you exact body numbers on this (Yes, I hear the collective groan of frustration from all the number crunchers out there, lol). However, I think I could be opening up a blackhole of potentialities if we get into the nitty gritty of body measurements, ASTM standards, and all that jazz. Bottom line is, for the Pisco Tank and Dress the petite bodice is 1” shorter overall then the average height bodice.
I think it’s better to address this in terms of the visual symptoms because as creators, we all have a general sense of what the look is that we would like to achieve.
If you have been known to find the following faults with non-petite patterns or your non-petite ready to wear, you should be choosing the “petite bodice”:
- Armholes are too low.
- Necklines are too low.
- Waist positions are too low.
- Sleeves are too long.
If you find that these are not an issue for you, then go with the average height bodice.

How do I know if my legs are petite or average height?

Once again, from a visual standpoint, if you find the following issues, you should probably go with the petite skirt:
-inseams are too long on pants
-Rises are too long on pants
-skirts are always too long and need hemming.
The Pisco Tank and dress are made with a 2 ½” difference in skirt length between the petite and the average height for the full dress version.

How do I choose the correct size?

The Pisco is intended for knit fabrics so there is negative ease involved. This has been engineered to work for your body in the knit fabric of your choosing to maintain stylistic proportions. For any pattern, not just the Pisco, always consult the body measurement chart first. The finished garment measurements should only be used for reference. Ease is part of the design factored in once you choose your body widths.
I recommend choosing based on your chest, first and foremost. If you get this right, then it’s easy to add or reduce width by grading between sizes. The chest area is the most problematic for fitting, so I think it’s best to start out from a good place and not have to wing it.

What if I don’t match a straight size? How easy is it to grade between sizes?

The Pisco is unique because there are no side seams, only front and back princess seams. But don’t let this worry you one bit. It’s easier than you think. Here is one scenario:
Let's say you choose a size Xsmall for your chest, but your hips are an XL. This is what to do: 
Using the full nested size range, tape your torso to the skirt according your petite or average height selections. Make sure to Select your bodice size according to your chest/cup size. Select your correct hip size at the widest part of the skirt. Blend the two together. The waist should be a size halfway between the desired size ranges.
The picture shows just the side panel, but the procedure is the same for the remaining front and back panels. 

How do I choose the right cup size?

There is a big difference between cup size for sewing patterns and the cup size for your bra. Maybe you know this already, but I admittedly had no clue for many years. I assumed it was based on bra sizing, and was like- no way! That’s a logistical nightmare! I do grading for RTW bras and this consists of a special sizing system that has trouble bridging the gap with clothing sizing (if anyone is particularly interested in analyzing the differences and wants to melt their brain with the minutiae, perhaps that’s a post for another day. But I’ll need a cocktail first).
Cup sizing in sewing patterns is related to an increase in projection/shaping for the front chest. Really, it helps to give you the right circumference for your chest while still keeping the desired waist and hips that may fall within a smaller range.
Cup sizes for sewing patterns are designed according to the difference between your high bust and full bust. 2”= B cup, 3” =C cup, 4”=D cup.

There are two options for L & XL across the size ranges. How do I know which one do I choose?

I know quite a bit of people go back and forth on this one, and I swear, it’s not intended to make you second guess yourself. The intention is to give you the best range to work from if you need to grade between sizes. If you are looking at the XL and are thinking you may need to size up for other points then choose the L-4X. If you think you need to size down for other points, then choose the XXS- XL size range.
The two size ranges exist separately because they are each created from their own base. Since the XXS range starts from a base size of S, it would not be a great disservice to the 4X to grade up from this point.

Can I add a sleeve to the Pisco?

Here’s what we know so far: sleeves are in demand. This was originally not even on my radar, but I hear ya and I’m going to do some experimenting to see if there is any easy-ish way to do this. But regardless, hacks are a lot to cover here and I’m working myself up to it.
Are there any other hacks you are thinking of? I love it to see how others minds work as to what can be done with SBCC as your base.
Still have questions/concerns? Drop them in the comments below and we'll get you sorted!
Want more details on the Pisco? Check out the full blog post.
For those of you who want to join in on the Pisco Party, get your copy today! 
Still on sale for a limited time at 20% off!

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  • Another emphatic vote for sleeves, as well as sleeve options on pretty much everything! As we age, a lot of us older ‘curvy chicks’ develop batwings, and how we look in sleeveless tops and dresses is not aesthetically pleasing to us. Even in summer, almost elbow length (and not skin-tight either) sleeves are what makes us feel comfortably put together…

    Julie on
  • I would love to be able to add a v-neck.

    Karen Guerra on
  • Another vote for sleeves here. As an older woman who is always cold, sleeveless anything is pretty much a non-starter for me, so I’m happy to hear you are looking into them.

    I also wanted to comment on the cup-size question, as a woman with narrow shoulders and back, and a “prominent” b cup (by sewing calculations), I always pick a smaller size and do an FBA. I thought about using a C cup to cut a smaller size and keep the back from being too wide, so I was surprised to see that it’s really about the waist and hips.

    elOmbu on
  • I am excited to try one of your patterns and it sounds like you have thought of so many options for fit! I love the style! The only hack I might like are some different necklines…maybe mock t or cowl to transition to fall with jackets.

    Jean on
  • Recommendations for doing an SBA. 1" difference between upper and full bust for me.

    Looking forward to making this pattern. Great style. I love having petite patterns. I’m 5’.

    CIndy on

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