This section is from the book "Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction", by Laura I. Baldt. Also available from Amazon: Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction.
Commercial patterns are cut according to a series of average measurements. These cannot, of course, account for the irregularities of form as well as the drafted-to-individual-measure pattern, but as they are to be had for almost every conceivable garment, and in endless sizes, they have come into very general use. It is well, then, that those of us who make use of them shall learn to do so intelligently.
Buy only those of standard makes, such as have clearly marked directions for using them. Buy waists according to the bust measure, and skirts by the hip measure. The bust measure should be taken around the fullest part of the bust, an easy measure, except for tight-fitted waists, for which a closer measure should be taken. The hip measure should be taken around the fullest part of the hip, from five to seven inches below the waist, over the bone in hip, an easy measure.
1. The number of pieces in the pattern; their type, lining or outside, or both.
2. Study guide chart, in order to become familiar with the parts of the pattern and shape of the pieces.
3. Note which parts are lining, which outside. Decide which you will need to use.
4. Open pattern; select parts you need, fold others and replace them in envelope.
6. Note what marks are used to indicate correct placing on the material.