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A Few Words On Amerson


Wow. I cannot thank you enough for all of the constructive criticism I received on my first pattern, Amerson, yesterday. For the entire day, I was moving about nervously. “Please don’t receive a comment saying it sucks, please don’t receive a comments saying it sucks.” You put a lot of faith in me for my pattern making skills and if I didn’t create the pattern correctly, I was worried that you would doubt all the tips, tricks, and insider info I have given you thus far.

If I had to grade myself, I would have received a C, which, if you have seen the movie Perks Of A Wallflower (it’s been playing on repeat in Chateu Madalynne), I’m above average (okay that’s not how the movie goes exactly but stay with me here). Hey, that’s pretty damn good! I have many updates to make but I am confident that with the release of my next pattern, I will receive an A+. I hope that you will be continue along for the ride until then.

I wanted to address some of the comments, tips, suggestions I received yesterday.

Misprint: There was a misprint on the pattern that was initially released. Both front and back patterns were labeled “front.” The pattern was updated as of 02/11/13.

Summary of terms/glossary: Because the pattern was so simple and straightforward, I did not include a glossary or summary of terms. But I realized words that are everyday jargon to me are not to you (i.e. yield). I will add a glossary/summary of terms, which  will be a great addition because it will refresh my memory of the definition of basic terms and it will teach you industry terms.

Different line strokes: Again, because of the simplicity of the pattern, I did not vary the line/dash thickness or spacing from size to size. I halfway credit this to my tendency/weakness to favor the design over the function. I like the look of a graded/nested pattern that has the same line/dash thickness and spacing. It’s clean. Going forward, I will vary line/dash thickness and spacing to make it easier to cut and to decipher between sizes.

Hip measurement: Many commenters said that they couldn’t make Amerson because their hip measurements exceeded the hip measurement of the largest size – XL, which on my measurement sheet, is speced at 40”. I was afraid of this. Because the shirring ratio is so high, the finished measurement and measurement chart are smaller than normal (the finished waist spec for a size XL is 16 ½”). This needs further explanation. When I worked in technical design, a lot of the tops and dresses had smocked panels. These types of garments always made us nervous because the finished measurements would measure smaller than a normal garment and if there was a problem with the fit when the garment hit the stores, we were tied to those number and could get in big trouble (i.e. “You approved the garment for production with those measurements!”). We could be blamed for a 10,000+ piece order not selling. No pressure or anything. To put this into perspective, if the chest spec of our sample size was between 17” and 18,” then the chest spec on a garment that had smocking at the chest could be as low as 13”-14.” But this is because when the garment was worn, the smocking panel would allow the garment to stretch out and “meet spec.” So if you’re worried that this pattern won’t fit you because it’s too small, try tying ¼” elastic around your low hip and leg opening and sewing Amerson with that elastic measurement. Your pair of undies might not be as ruched as mine (it’s shirring ratio won’t be as high), but the pattern itself is big enough to fit bigger sizes. Does this make sense?

Metric Measurements: Duh Maddie! Why didn’t you include this? Noted for all future patterns.


  1. Reply


    I have just barely downloaded the pattern and have yet to open it, but I am so excited! Just the illustration is heart-stopping. Congratulations on the release, dear! I’ll share more complete thoughts when I’ve finished my Amersons. xoxo

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan


  2. Reply

    Shannon Smith

    Maybe you could make each size a different colour? I’ve seen this in a couple home-printed patterns. It’s very helpful.

    • Reply


      The only problem with that is: lots of people only print with black ink.
      So if the lines were different colors, they would print as greyscale
      which is ambiguous and difficult to distinguish. I always groan when I
      see at-home printable patterns with colored lines, and I’m not likely to
      buy a 2nd pattern.

      Maddie — I don’t mind the way your size lines printed up! It could be clearer with differently spaced dashes maybe, but I like the thickness of the line you used and I find it prints well even when my printer is on conservation mode. So thank you!

      • Reply

        Shannon Smith

        Why not do both? Different colours and different spaced dashes. And with darker colours so that they aren’t too pale.

        • Reply

          Maddie Flanigan

          Gotta please everyone 🙂

  3. Reply


    Happy to hear I can make the Amerson in my size after all! And you get a much higher grade than a C! You’re sharing something you worked so hard on for free. A+ for generosity!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Your comment just made me think of an idea. What if I eliminated the finished measurements and size chart and asked users to choose a size base on what they normally wear. In the instructions, I would tell them to tie 1/4″ elastic at their low hip and leg to determine the length of the elastic. The pre-shirred pattern is large enough to fit women with a low hip spec of above 40.” The shirring ratio would be different for each pair of undies but at least it would fit all sized woman. Have you ever heard of a garment that fits all sizes and shapes? This might be a first!

      • Reply


        i was laying awake last night thinking of your undies. no other way to put it.

        what if each size was a range? with low & high specs (like, XL is 40-45 hip)? i thought this idea wouldn’t work, since it would change the shirring ratio, but now that i see your reply here maybe it would… for me, i’d rather see a range than tie elastic. i don’t know why, but seeing it on paper is a better motivator than doing something physical to gauge if it will fit. (i do know why. i’m lazy.)

        • Reply

          Maddie Flanigan

          So you’re thinking of Madalynne undies as you lie awake at night. Oh the things I could say right now. I’ll keep my mouth shut. Yes, Maddie, that the best thing to do.

          There are many solutions to my sizing error/flop and I think your idea would work to. I hesitate to eliminate a size chart and advise my readers/customers to choose a size base on the size they usually wear. This could cause more confusion – sizing is different from company to company and country to country. But giving them a range would be a solution. Yes, the shirring ration would be different but not by much (1 3/4:1 versus 2:1).

          Great feedback. I cannot say how much I have learned from everyone’s comments.

  4. Reply


    of course you’re grading yourself, i love it. (and two front panels are hilarious. the whole shebang is just so PRETTY i never even noticed!!)

    i think i get it– this means a size XL would also fit a size XXL, there will just be less ruching to go around?

    i’m itching to try these…i need my damn zigzagger to work!!

  5. Reply


    Maddie, you’re just wonderful! But I think maybe a “C” is a bit harsh!! Haha! Those are all fair mistakes, but I agree with Suzanne, you get an A+ for generosity!

  6. Reply

    Janey Bates

    I made the size Small for my girls, and the front was great! The backside was not quite high enough for them, What would you suggest for augmenting the back? Would I need to grade up from the front to make sure the side seams match up? Or, would making a Medium be better and keep the sizing on the elastic for a small? My girls wear size 1 to 3 in most clothing lines, but usually buy a 5 in lingerie.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      The correction is easier than you think. Lengthen the back rise as needed (shown in the photo) and blend to 0″ at side seam (so that it matches the length of the front side seam). Does this make sense?

      • Reply

        Janey Bates

        Thanks! That makes perfect sense 🙂

  7. Reply


    Oh no, this is not a C! Interesting about the glossary of terms, as I haven’t seen those in any underwear patterns. Perhaps one of your features is including or teaching us about industry terms?

  8. Reply

    Natasha Estrada

    A few pantie patterns I’ve used have instructed the elastic to be cut to the wearer’s measurements minus a certain percentage.

    While I understand what you are saying from a technical standpoint I’m nt sure what you mean in relationship to the pattern. That the measurement chart is a finished garment measurement and not actually the measurements of the person who will wear it? 40″ hip is going to turn a lot of buyers off.

    I guess the overall comment I have to say once I’ve given it a good look is that its a little too much industry jargonish is that I can look at it and see its a modified tech pack. Industry jargon can also vary according to which company you work for.

    This pattern will attract beginners. The suggestion I have is to find one of the more common sewing books like Vogue and Burda and see what they call things because this is the language most sewers use.

    I actually hate being critical but I know this is a start of a new business venture for you and I would like you to make some money. Maybe you could be a thousandaire?

    Oh and C’s get degrees!

    • Reply

      Jen E

      Do you really hate being critical? I’ve been following Madalynne for sometime and it seems, to me, that all you tend to do is criticize….

      I can’t wait to give this pattern a try! I’m sure, being a beginner to the sewing world, I will have a few questions along the way but I really think you made it easy even for people like me to understand.

      You rock!

      • Reply

        Natasha Estrada

        If Maddy thinks my posts are too critical then she can delete my posts she has my email. She could also thank me for the package I sent two weeks ago but I’m a realist

        You a beginner great you see things differently. I’ll tell you my background. Apart from studying design I ran my own footwear design company manufacturing. I had my product manufactured in China to my specification and distributed them through my own online retail outlets. Ballroom dance shoes to be precise not that makes much of difference. When the economy went sour my client base disappeared and I had to choose another profession to pay the bills. Building something you love up then having to let it go is heartbreaking and if I can prevent that for someone by being critical then thats what I’ll do. This industry will eat you up. Also you might want to google what happen to Hotpatterns when they debuted in 2005

        But since we live in a young america where no one has ever heard anything but a kind word said to them then I guess this is my queque to pack my bags and go since apparently you have deemed me as the Grinch. At least I saved myself the effort of cutting out and making up all the sizes as feedback. But apparently feedback = accolades and I don’t do that. Feel free to come over and throw eggs at my house.

  9. Reply

    Truly Myrtle

    I’m reading backwards – I haven’t caught up with yesterday’s post yet…. are your knickers out?! I hope so, I have PLANS for this pattern 🙂 I’m actually quite pleased about the small hips thing… I find regular patterns are always too big in the hips…

  10. Reply


    Hi Maddie! i’m a new reader – found your blog via all the other blogs telling me about your new pattern, and now am reading through your old blog posts 🙂 Anyhow wanted to say thanks for offering the pattern, it is very generous and love the well-packaged PDF and that you have industry background! Tasia’s industry background is the reason I decided to purchase Sewaholic patterns in the first place. I haven’t made up the pattern but I printed it out – my only comment is when I print things I try to skimp on ink as much as possible, since the edges/borders have shading, it does make me feel a bit like i’m wasting ink printing the borders?

    As a home sewer – what I look for in PDF patterns is not too many pages. Once I printed out a pattern from a big company and it printed 100+ pages because the company didn’t adapt their pattern for at-home printing (ex: the pattern pieces were spaced very far apart) and ease of putting together (I liked your circular notches for taping together the sheets!)

    If your pattern can fit larger than 40″ hips you absolutely should
    make that clear, otherwise you will lose a lot of potential customers. On burda/burdastyle website the comments I see the most are requests for larger sizing, and burda sizing is for full hips from 36″-44″!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      I’m glad you found my blog as we’re both offering each other something. Me with my pattern and you with your feedback.
      I definitely made a mistake with the sizing but it was a good mistake. Going forward, I will grade my designs for skinny, normal, and larger sizes. Everyone, I am certain, can look good in Madalynne wears 🙂

  11. Reply

    Miranda Foxx

    I was having that conundrum about the hip measurement too, but had hoped the shirring would make up the difference (or that I could use your handy grading tips to make them a size bigger). Thanks for confirming that my hunch was right! These are so cute, I really can’t wait to give them a whirl :).

    p.s. is it weird that I’m half tempted to make a fleece pair? my bottom is always so cold! (I like to think that’s because my deliciously big booty counts as an extremity, hahaha)

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Haha… that is all I have to say. Fleece undies, your booty an extremity, delicious – that is way too much for one comment.

  12. Reply

    Bella Leslie

    I just printed out and cut this pattern and I can’t wait to make them. One question, when you mention drop waist, how many inches below my natural waist should I be measuring? It’s easy enough to locate my hips but I just wasn’t sure where to find my drop waist. Sorry if there is an obvious answer to this! Keep up the awesome work, I love visiting your blog and learning new things.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions – is no such thing as a stupid question 🙂

      Drop waist is approximately 5 inches below naturally wast.

      May I ask for a favor? Can you let me know how your pair of Amerson undies turn out? An email with pictures would be awesome!

      • Reply

        Bella Leslie

        Yes of course no problem!

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