A book review: Concepts of Pattern Grading: Techniques for Manual and Computer Grading 3rd Edition by Kathy K. Mullet
For those unfamiliar with grading, it's when you take a flat pattern in a master size and use that to create bigger or smaller sizes. This is what you do after your pattern is finished, to create a set of patterns to reflect a size range. you can do it manually or on a computer, both methods are explained in the book. It's an interesting technique if you have a pattern and want to grade up or down to match your own size, but it's typically used by the industry and not by those sewing their own wardrobe.
When I first received Concepts of Pattern Grading I couldn't put it away and even read it in bed. It's a recurring theme with pattern drafting related books, reading in bed. I want all the knowledge, now ;)
The book starts with some history and explains the concept of grading. It talks about size charts and how to develop your own size chart. The book includes an astm size chart: D5586-10 women aged 55 and older that is used throughout the book.
What I found useful, was that the main part of the book focuses on woven women's garments, and it covers a 1", 1 1/2" and a 2" grade. There are grade distribution charts for the basic bodice, dress, long sleeve, pants and skirt besides that there are charts for raglan sleeves, kimono sleeves, collars, but it's not an exhaustive list. The book gives you enough tools and examples to get you started on your own designs. If you have complex or asymmetric designs, it will be quite a puzzle.
But wait! There's more...a chapter about complex grading, a mens shirt is graded in an alphanumeric size range (xs-s-m-etc.), stretch garments and basic children's blocks are also covered albeit rather lightly. For in depth information on those subjects you should looks elsewhere.
Although I recommend the book, it´s not for everyone, nor is it the solution to all your size chart and grading problems. Definitely not the easiest book for the beginner. I'd say you need to have a basic understanding of grading, and creating size charts otherwise it might be overwhelming.