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Fitting the Figure After 55

Linda_Neumann | Posted in Fitting on



  1. Linda_Neumann | | #1

    Threads May 1999 Number 82 Fitting the Figure After 55. I am past 55 and my figure is not at all like the four ladies you had in your magazine. I am 5'1" petite, my weight is 122 lbs. I wear a size 6 dress, however in a suit, I need a jacket size four and a skirt size 8 or depending on the material a size 6. I don't like shoulder pads and have to alter the shoulders of patterns. I would like to see styles for someone in my category. Everyone past 55 isn't out of shape.

    1. maggie_kappenstein | | #2

      *I liked the article in Threads. I am not over 55, but I have found that even though my weight has not fluctuated much, I do have different fitting challenges as I get older. I especially liked the approach they used with the pattern pieces and the changes that often have to be made, and will keep it for the future. I did not consider that the ladies represented were out of shape, I think they are very representative of mainstream middle aged women, except that they appear to have exceptional design and sewing talents that they were willing to share.

      1. Joyce_ | | #3

        *Fitting after 55 article was a great help to me. I wish the pattern companies would start taking into consideration that there are a lot of us who need these adjustments and can only find help on the European patterns.

        1. carol_broscheid | | #4

          *Joyce, I would be interested in your description of how European patterns are a better fit for the mature figure.

          1. Diane | | #5

            *Try the new Sandra Betzina patterns for Vogue. They start with a more reasonable sloper than regular Vogue and are closer to a mature woman's body shape. She also gives very good instructions inside for altering for different figure types. I just made the pants and found them very good--room for a slight tummy and flatter in the behind as many women get as they age.

          2. Victoria_ | | #6

            *This may not answer your question, but maybe it will prompt an article by Threads(?). Several years ago I was asked by our local Cooperative extension office to be a part of a research project on sizes/measurements of women particularly over 55(although I am not over 55). It was my understanding at the time that this was funded by Levis and/or LL Bean and conducted by the University of Arizona?? Its purpose was to update the 1950's data base of sizes. I have yet to see the results of this research other than the addition of many patterns for the over 55 woman available by some pattern companies. Does anyone have any information regarding this?

          3. Amy_Dalin | | #7

            *The research project that you are referring to was done by Dr. Ellen Goldsberry from the University of Arizona. An article about the results is in the January 96 issue of Sew News, as well as info on how to get the consumer and trade edition of the results directly from the Institute of Standards Research. We used Dr. Goldsberry's proportions in designing our Gold Dress Form and have found them to be helpful in meeting the needs of our older clients.

          4. Sew_White | | #8

            *Linda, There are many of us over 200# women who feel NO PITY for you in your 122#, because don't all tiny women look good in just about anything?Sorry, I'm just being sarcastic. We all just seem to focus on ourselves and our own problems way too much. Why would you even think of wearing shoulder pads anyway? No wonder you don't like them. Shoulder pads are made for those people like me who have large hips and who need to make their shoulders look wider so the hips will appear to look smaller. [Although you may need shoulder pads to fill out an uneven shoulder or because you are so thin that you need some depth.] Do you have good posture yet? You are on the right track, to make any garment fit first you must start with the shoulders so the whole thing can hang right.

          5. Dorothy_Atkinson | | #9

            *Fitting After 55. Threads May 1999 Number 82I found this article to be very helpful. I think it was a matter of luck. I look almost exactly like the 3rd lady from the left figure that is. I am much older at 65. I have multiple fitting problems which are a result of four spinal surgeries. I have numerous books on fitting. Sandra Betzina is great and is so sympathetic to we people who don't have perfect figures. I have her patterns and book and they are just wonderful. I also have another book called "Fantastic Fit for Every Body" written by Gale Grigg Hazen. Gale has the most wonderful attitude towards her own body which is a little on the plump size but she accepts (with humour I might add)it and dresses beautifully. I always dread the fitting part of any garment and after reading her book I realized that I was purchasing too many patterns and not using them.She shows that we can really just need a few patterns but can change them with a little imagination and practise. Now if only I could find a blouse pattern with a yoke front and back with some gathers. I also have a concave chest and this pattern was wonderful. This time I got caught because I really do take care of my patterns but for the life of me I can't find this one. I can find the envelope and instructions and have a funny feeling that I have backed the paper pattern with fusible interfacing and put it away carefully, but where did I put it? If anyone knows of a pattern that has a a yoke front and back, has the bodice gathered to the yoke, this fullness gives my old sunken in chest that extra fullness that I need.. The nice part of sewing for yourself is when someone says "you have such a nice figure." That is really funny, it has just come from a lot of trial and error and an awful lot of errors in fitting. Just keep trying and you will find that the "you" at 55 and over can look just as nice as the "you" did at twenty in garments that you have. Dorothy

          6. Cordell_Affeldt | | #10

            *What are the patterns used by Judith Rasband (third from left in opening picture)? Smaller on top, larger on bottom. Thanks for any info or cues!

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