1950s Pattern Sizing
In the early and mid 1950s, pattern sizes remain consistent with sizes in the late 1940s. Categories remain the same: Women (or Ladies), Miss, Junior (or Junior Miss), Teens, Girls, Children, Infants, Boys, Men. And sizes remain the same for these categories. The Half-Size is still a relatively "new thing" but makes gains during this decade.
Misses and women's sizes run in even sizes from 10 to 46, and a size 16 is still a bust 34, waist 28, hip 37. Teen and junior sizes run in odd sizes, from 9 through 19. The junior figure is defined as a shorter-waisted figure than the miss, as well as slighter in other respects.
Pattern sizes from McCall's Complete Book of Dressmaking 1951
A Note about the Half Size
The junior figure is not to be confused with the half size figure. Half sizes are defined as figures that are shorter than regular size figures, and are usually slightly larger at the waistline and hip line. Half-size gals had the option to either buy a half-size pattern or purchase a regular pattern and alter it, using the directions in the following image.
Sizes Change in the Mid 1950s!
In the mid-to-late 1950s pattern sizes begin to change, apparently in response to size changes issued by the US Bureau of Standards. I have read various sources on the Internet that place the date of this change variously in 1957 or 1958, but when I view the patterns themselves (and their copyright dates), I see the change starting to occur as early as 1955 and definitely implemented by 1957. Regardless of the precise date, the effect of the change has hips at only 2 inches (5cm) larger than the bust. Bust 34 is now a size 14 instead of size 16. The waist drops 2 inches and the hips shrink one inch. Here is a comparison:
|Size 16||Size 14|
|Bust 34||Bust 34|
|Waist 28||Waist 26|
|Hip 37||Hip 36|
From Vogue Sewing Book 1958, you can see the familiar body types that we know from the 1940s: Junior Miss, Teen, Miss, and Women:
The Vogue Sewing Book 1958, like sewing books of all eras, provides instructions on how to measure yourself.
But now note the new sizing!