We’re Expanding Our Sizes!

Written by Camille
February 2 2021 | News from the shop

We have some big news to share with you. We are pleased to announce that in 2021, Deer&Doe will be expanding our size range. We spent the second half of 2020 diligently researching what it would take to increase our sizes, and it’s time to share our plans with all of you. While many details are still in the works, here is what we’re working on, what we know, and what you can expect from our new size range.

Why Expand Sizes Now

To put it simply, expanding our size range is the natural next step in our commitment to being an inclusive pattern company. We’ve learned and grown a lot over the years, and while we know it’s impossible to truly include everybody all of the time—that doesn’t mean we can’t always do and be better. When Deer&Doe launched in 2012, not only was our size range incredibly limited, so was the imagery we used to reflect the brand. On both fronts we’ve invested time into learning and changing—making it a priority to reflect a diverse range of sewists in our photoshoots and communications, as well as adding three new sizes to our size chart in 2017. Of course, it didn’t take us long to realize that this wasn’t nearly enough, and even with our expanded range there are still many people who cannot access our pattern designs. 

Picture ©Will&Joan from our book Dressed

To be frank, one reason it has taken us this long to increase our range is that we were scared of the amount of work and the lack of available resources on the topic. We also lacked the time and attention that we knew this project would require of us. Producing a quality pattern for plus sizes requires the development of several new blocks, new grading rules, and familiarity with the specific nuances of pattern development for larger sizes. Unfortunately, resources for developing these skills are few and far between in the pattern making industry, and until recently we were stumped at how to go about learning them. It is thanks to the wonderful contractors we hired in 2020, and the generosity of pattern designers who have shared their homework and resources with us (specifically Kim McBrien Evans, Raphaëlle Bonamy, Heather Lou, and Jen Beeman), that we feel confident about both the work needed and our ability to accomplish it moving forward.

How It Will Happen

On that note, the first thing we need to do is invest time into learning. We will be drafting and grading the new block ourselves (just like our current size range), but before we can start we need to learn how to do it properly. To that end, we will be taking multiple online courses specific to plus size pattern development, and Eléonore will be receiving private instruction on plus size grading with a RTW industry professional. We’ve also ordered two new dress forms: one is a plus size Alvanon form that will be crucial in developing and testing the new block; and another is a size 40 FR / US 8, which will ensure that the drafting and pattern design ease are standardized across both size ranges.

Picture ©Alvanon

We expect to receive the new dress forms sometime in April or May, at which point block development can begin in earnest. Although our measurement chart and size range will not be finalized until then, we know that it will go to at least a 53”/ 135 cm bust measurement, and a 56” / 142 cm hip measurement. We are also planning to have some overlap in the two size ranges, so that anybody who falls in the middle can have flexibility when it comes to choosing which block will fit them the best.

Release Timeline

With the blocks developed, grading rules defined, and measurement chart finalized, the normal pattern development process can begin. We are hopeful that we can begin this stage in the second half of the year, and release the Sirocco jumpsuit in the new size range by November of 2021. We’ve chosen to start with Sirocco first because it is our most requested pattern, and since it is an existing pattern, it will save us time in the design stage that we’ll likely need in the testing stage (at least for the first pattern). Additionally, starting with a pattern we know inside and out will help us test and tweak the new blocks as needed, because we already understand exactly what we’re aiming for.

After Sirocco, the next release in the new range will be the Spring-Summer collection of 2022, and every new pattern launch after that. We will also continue to re-release popular older patterns in between the new pattern launches.

Speaking of testing, rest assured that we will take this process as seriously as we always do. The entire size range will be tested thoroughly—from top to bottom, not just as an afterthought. Likewise, we plan to find plus size models to ensure that both size ranges are represented and photographed whenever new patterns are released. 

Purchasing the Expanded Sizes

Our pattern prices will remain the same, and both size ranges will be sold in PDF format as a single product. In other words, there will be no need to buy the pattern twice if you fall in both size charts. Likewise, as older patterns are re-released, anybody who has previously purchased them will receive the updated version. We did look into releasing the new size range in paper format as well as PDF, but to do so would have required a drastic overhaul to our current printing process (and added at least another six months to our timeline). Instead, we have decided to prioritize an earlier release date, and save that project for another day.

Last, but not least, one of our top priorities in this endeavor is making sure we are transparent, accountable, and communicative about our plans. This includes sending regular updates about our progress, details as they are finalized, and otherwise relevant updates. Of course, if you don’t fit into our current range, we understand that you might not be interested in receiving all of our updates (and we don’t expect that) — so we’ve created a separate email list for anybody interested in news exclusively regarding the expanded size range. That way you can receive anything relevant to you, and skip the rest.

Click here to sign up for updates exclusively about the new size range.

We hope that you are as excited for this change as we are. Hopefully we’ve addressed all of your burning questions (those we can answer and those we can’t yet), but if we’ve left anything out, please let us know!

32 commentaires

Muriel, February 2 2021

Great news.

Civo, February 2 2021

This is great news but I had hoped that I might see something for the taller sewer. Most patterns have a lengthen marking but at 185cm tall that doesn’t really do the trick as I am long everywhere – I live in hope that tall women are included too

    K, February 2 2021

    I feel your pain. I’m the opposite end of the spectrum 152cm it’s a shame designers don’t appreciate for both ends of the spectrum it’s not just about lengthen and shorten lines but proportions as well.

Joyce Eustace, February 2 2021

Fantastic news, can’t wait.

Kacey, February 2 2021

What fabulous news! Great to see xx

Sierra Bruckner, February 2 2021

So glad to hear this as I’ve always liked your patterns but knew they were not in my size.

Marieke, February 2 2021

So good to hear this! Is there any chance that you are also looking into of including different cup sizes in the current and extended size range? As an A-cup woman I find doing a SBA on a C-cup pattern very tricky. There is just so much room to take out. It easily distorts the shape of pattern pieces. Especially with anything wrap front like Sirocco or Magnolia.

Chelsea, February 2 2021

A question about those of us who previously purchased paper patterns, will we be able to access the updated pdf versions? Thanks!

    Sylvie, February 2 2021

    The PDF patterns will be updated automatically, and we will keep on offering a discount on PDF for people who bought patterns in print format before the PDF version was released.

Whitney, February 2 2021

Great news – and finally! I can soon add you all to the pattern companies which I would be proud to give my money with your updated size range.

Thérèse Embry, February 2 2021

WONDERFUL NEWS, CONGRATULATIONS : )

Virginia Johnson, February 2 2021

Congratulations! I applaud your transparency and commitment to better represent and serve the sewing community. Your recognition of the problem and passion for rectifying it will earn you my continued support and respect!

Sandy, February 2 2021

I have been hoping for this, my daughter has wanted the AUBÉPINE DRESS for over a year now and I’ve been too lazy to attempt the alteration to make it larger.

Krissy, February 2 2021

Beyond excited for this! Thank you for your honest and open post, I cannot wait to see what comes <3

Danielle, February 2 2021

It sounds like this is a well thought out plan and I applaud that. However please reevaluate your top size. To be considered minimally inclusive today you must have at least a 60″hip measurement. I would still not be able to use your patterns.

    Nanna, February 2 2021

    I agree. Of course designers need to define their size range and there will always be people who will not be included but the suggested maximum hip size seems rather small if they want to be truly inclusive.The Curvy Pattern Database (which is a fantastic resource IMO) includes hip sizes with at least 56 inch/142 cm hips so Deer&Doe would qualify but only barely. It would be great if they would reconsider their max size. https://curvydatabase.wordpress.com/curvydatabase.wordpress.com/designer-database

    Jana, February 2 2021

    I also think it should go higher, 60 inches for sure.

    Sylvie, February 2 2021

    Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee anything for the moment. We will do our best to push our sizes as far as we can from our base blocks while ensuring the grading quality.

    Emma Watt, February 3 2021

    I also agree that the 56” hip is the minimum you can do … if you’re looking to expand the minimum these days is 60” hip – look at other pattern companies that have taken that step. Helen’s Closet and Cashmerette have resources there too. By just going up to a size 56” you are still leaving plus size sewists out. I agree that this is a huge task but you’re not the only ones who have done it and you can ask for help!

Rosalind, February 2 2021

Not to sound snarky, but one aspect of “accessibility” that is always overlooked is Price. Great that larger women will be able to make your patterns, but what about poor women? Especially after the year we’ve all just had, and with lockdowns & limitations continuing into 2021 (and for who knows how long), many people are strapped for cash. Disposable Income is not a thing anymore. If the sewing community really cared about sustainability, they would work harder to help people take up the hobby of sewing their own clothes and avoid the temptation of cheap & unethical Fast Fashion. Sewing shouldn’t only be for the lucky & elite. Pattern & Fabric companies should do better.

Elena MUELLER, February 2 2021

how about a petite size range? Approximately 34% of US women over the age of 20 are under 5’4″. Being petite is not just about shortening.

    Meghan, February 2 2021

    Are you blaming the right agencies for fast fashion being a go to? Pattern companies put a ton of resources in to developing patterns and that is reflected in the price. The price of a deer & doe pattern, amortized over 4 or 5 garments is very fair. Inexpensive fabric is readily available at chain stores. I expect that time is the resource most necessary for home sewing and that is a resource that tends to increase as income increases. Deer & doe didn’t invent capitalism or inequality.

Jana, February 2 2021

Thank you so much! This made my week! I’ve been wanting to buy your patterns for ages! Will you have multiple cup sizes as well? As a G cup, I always have to adjust my patterns.

Zenaida Molina, February 2 2021

Will you be needing pattern testers? I willing and able. ✂️

    Sylvie, February 3 2021

    Thanks for your offer.
    Unfortunately, we can only work with French-speaking sewists for our tests at the moment.

Stephanie Reed, February 2 2021

Eagerly awaiting the update to the Magnolia dress! 2022 is a lpng ways away, but glad you are taking the right steps!

Raylene, February 2 2021

This is excellent news!

Lhizz, February 2 2021

Great news! And realy appreciate hearing the sort of logistics that go into expanding a pattern range.

C. E., February 3 2021

I’d really love to see the plus sizes extended to include 56”+ in the bust and at least 60” in the hips. Even then, many will still be excluded. I’m thankful for more designers taking steps in this direction. I just wish the steps were greater overall. The resources are out there.

    Sylvie, February 4 2021

    Thanks for the feedback.
    A 53” bust and 56″ hip is the only thing we can 100% guarantee at the moment, but we’ll try pushing it as far as we can from our base blocks while ensuring the grading quality.

Ambra Tieszen, February 4 2021

I speak both French and English, and am a Beginner/Intermediate sewist in the US. I would love to be a pattern tester when you get to the Mélilot 🙂

    Sylvie, February 4 2021

    Merci pour votre proposition. Nous la garderons en tête 🙂

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