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Help with fitting

helenscurious | Posted in General Discussion on

Hello all…Can use your help…haven’t sewn clothes in about 30 years, done lots of quilts, but no clothes…working with my daughter to fit her for a wedding dress. Undecided if she wants to purchase or we may take the challenge and make one. That’s where i need your help-she’s a plus size gal, tall and beautiful..none of the current patterns fit the bill, so we will have to make adjustments. When measuring-how much allowance should i allow on either side of the bust-waist and hips?..Should i measure snug, then make an allowance or just right and leave a fingers width on either side…your help would be greatly appreciated and i thank you in advance..Happy sewing!


  1. Palady | | #1

    MO, the best approach is to make up a muslin in a pattern of her choice.  Realize you've yet to find one that fits the bill, but perhaps the place to also look is dreesy dresses that can be made longer. 

    Being unsure of where you're located, you might be able to find old patterns in  second hand store. 

    There's a post here on Gatherings for the amount of ease.  Though it might be just for street wear.  You might consider using Advance Search to see if you can come up with it.  I have the message # elswhere at the moment.

    Another member may be able to offer it to you.

    There might be a site with info on making weddings gowns that you can review.  A Google search should find you one if it's out in cyberspace.

    Sure hope you find something.   nepa



  2. cafms | | #2

    The Simplicity website has some fitting helps that you might want to review before doing your measuring here http://www.simplicity.com/index.cfm?page=fitHelp_main.html  They have frequently asked questions and a lot of other topics. There is a chart called Do You Really Know Your Pattern Size that can help you choose a pattern.  You can print it out to write on and carry with you.  It is a joint effort with Vogue, Butterick and McCalls pattern companies.  Ease is usually built into the pattern for both wearing and design ease.  Remember all pattens are designed for a B cup so a full bust alteration will be needed for anything larger.  There are a number of books that can help with the alterations.  Barbara Deckert has one called Sewing For Plus Sizes, Gale Grigg Hazen has one called Fantastic Fit For Every Body, Patti Palmer and Marta Alto have one called Fit For Real People.   A little reasearch may help you feel more comfortable sewing the dress.   



















  3. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #3

    If I may offer some advice on the style problem?
    Does your daughter have an idea or style she likes, but does not see a pattern that fits what she wants? Or is the problem that she does not see a pattern she likes? Do not restrict yourselves to just the "Bridal" patterns! Any fancy dress can be done up to become a wedding dress! Check out all the dress patterns, fancy or not to see if one is close to what she wants or likes. A pattern can be lengthened, or a skirt made fuller fairly easily. Then choose fabrics, laces and trims to make the dress as fancy and bridal as she wants. Cathy

  4. AlisonRuthDesigns | | #4

    Hi Helen,I think the idea of making your daughter's dress is a fabulous one. As a plus size woman who has been making formal wear for herself and others for more years than I care to think about I can tell you what works for me.You have to start with your daughter's shape. What is in her day wardrobe that she loves wearing, looks good in and most importantly feel comfortable in? This would be a good place to start thinking about the design elements of her wedding gown. Try to stick to natural fibres in the garment as they will breathe and there is nothing worse than being hot and bothered when you are trying to be gracious to your guests on your wedding day.With anyone but plus size women in particular I find draping rather than drafting a much better way to assess fit. When I make a muslin I make it a smidge bigger then put it on the person and use safety pins to nip out the extra fabric. Not everybody carries their weight the same way so drafting just doesn't take into account the three dimensional nature of our bodies.I find Burda patterns are the best for plus sizes if you want to start with a commercial pattern. I would echo the comments of the other responses that looking a day dress that could be modified into a wedding gown is a great idea. As for wearing ease, in formal wear the bodice tends to fit quite closely so having the foundation garments your daughter intends to wear on the day before you start the pattern making is critical. Many brides choose to wear a corset, which are very comfortable when they fit properly, give a lovely smooth line in that troublesome midsection, and just make the wearer feel sexy (never a bad thing). There is a company in Stratford, Ontario, Canada called Farthingales than sells kits and patterns for corset making. They ship internationally. I made one for my wedding three years ago and it was well worth the effort.Hope that helps!Alison

  5. Ceeayche | | #5

    I made my own wedding dress.  Though not plus sized, I have been "blessed" with an abundance of curves in the places that women get curves.  I have a small frame, but my blessings are in the plus size category.  In my opinion, the recommendation for the muslin is the best route.  It served a couple of purposes:

    1.  I was able to make design changes and test them out with my undergarments.  I HAD to wear undergarments that function and the cute ones they offer up for wedding day attire weren't going to cut it.  So, the strapless, ultra low back and low front were not options for my church wedding.  My girls need support and ample coverage.  The muslin allowed me to figure out how low I could go and not send my mother into orbit. 

    2.  I was able to spend time in the muslin with out mussing the fashion fabric.  I used this to figure out what would really be comfortable for an affair that was going to last late into the night. 

    3.  I was able to lengthen the original pattern (a basic formal) in a matter that dropped gracefully from my hips (the right place for my body) without hugging my rear too much.

    4.  I was able to figure out exact placement of my lace overlay without inserting pin holes into the gold lame that was my underlining.

    5.  It was cheap.  And, I figured out exactly how many buttons, what length zipper etc. by usin the muslin-- so I didn't buy extra or not enough.

    6.  I ended up using a thin cotton batiste to underline the entire dress (except the train)-- giving it the the body I needed.

    7.  I was able to dry run the mechanics of the train-- which I ended up making detachable.

    My photographer entered my wedding portrait in several industry competitions and has won several awards using the full length portrait!

    1. sewslow67 | | #6

      What an interesting and helpful message ...even though I never plan on making a wedding dress.  Although at the end I was terribly disappointed, because ...yup ...I would love to see a photo of you in the dress.  And I'll bet other gals would too.  Please considering sharing.  Your hard work and success will no doubt bring many compliments.

      And if you decide not to post a photo, then thanks for sharing your experience anyway. as it is an excellent reminder to all of us as to the benefit of making a muslin. 

      Good Job!!

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