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high hip?

mimi | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Can anyone define exactly what “high hip” means?  I have been sewing for over 35 years and had never heard this term until recently.



  1. suesew | | #1

    A high hip to me means that one hip is bigger or higher than the other. In order to accommodate this you need to add more fabric to go over that spot. This can be done by several methods: spliting and spreading the pattern or cutting the seam allowances and spreading them. I once sewed for a little tiny nun who had a very misshapen left hip bone that jutted straight out. I had to add nearly three inches to the left edge of the front and back waist line, tapering it to nothing added at the center front and back,. It looked really weird sewn up but was just fine when worn on that body. One maybe easier way to figure it out is to add a few inches to the top and then tying a narrow elastic or string around the waist and marking a waist line. You can even pin in darts at this point. It may come out looking really uneven, but it works. I see this problem frequently on ready to wear alterations where someone has pinned the hem level with the floor but when I try to follow it it actually has a big swoop in it that will defy laying flat and hanging properly. There is no way to fix this in ready to wear. We just have to cheat and get it as straight as possible.

  2. stitchmd | | #2

    A high hip is also known as hip fluff. It is padding closer to the waist than the widest part that is about 9 inches below the waist. It is more like 4 or 5 inches below waist level. This is something that usually afflicts women as they age.

    If you have this figure characteristic you need to adjust your fit for it. Instead of gradually curving between waist and hip your side seam (and often front and back center seams too) will widen more abruptly and stay wide for some distance. You also need to shorten darts to accommodate for it.

    Ask me how I know.

    1. mimi | | #3

      Thanks for the information on high hip.  This is what I suspected it was and what I need to alter patterns for.  What else do you know about it or how to alter for it?


      1. stitchmd | | #4

        The alterations are pretty much what I've already described. The best way to do them is by making a muslin. Give yourself extra seam allowance so you can widen above the hip line the pattern indicates. Shorten your darts so they end just above the fluff. I had a friend help me pin the darts and side seams with good results for pants and skirts. Once you establish these contours you can compare future patterns and adjust the markings. They will still need some tweaking as you fit.If you are short you should check out Petite Plus patterns. They provide for this and have a "belly" measurement and a hip measurment. Some styles will be more flattering. A skirt that closely follows your hips, such as a straight or pencil skirt, will accentuate this contour. Pleats will "break" at this line and draw attention to it. An A-line or gathered skirt can skim over it and camouflage the fact that there are two wide points, making one smoothe, continous line.I've recently lost a lot of weight, but this ridge will not go away, so I'm learning to live in peace with it. Growing old and fat isn't so bad when you consider the alternative.

        1. mimi | | #5

          Pasdemon:  Thanks, that is a great explanation.  I have always had great luck with A-Line skirts, now I know why.  I don't mind growing old and I'm working on the fat slowly but surely.  Even when I was skinny, I had the high hip problem.  I think "padding" only makes it more noticeable!


          1. FrancesC | | #6

            I have a "high hip" and the reason for it is scoliosis. That is, my spine curves to one side and pushes up one hip and also pushes the other down. The shoulder blade on one side is also pushed out.I had a high hip for a long time before I knew what caused it because I was only slightly misshapen and no one questioned it. I hope that nowadays, scoliosis is caught early in life but I do wonder how many people there are who have the problem and don't realize it. If any of you do have one, ask your doctor to look at your spine. I think that the curve would be visible without having an x-ray.In the meantime, it is a nuisance when fitting clothes and the muscular stress on one side causes me discomfort when I stand or walk very slowly for quite a while. But what I dislike most is that I look like a hunched up old lady (which I guess I am) but I don't feel that way. I am 73.FrancesC

          2. mimi | | #7

            Frances:  My aunt had the same thing, causing one hip and shoulder to be higher than the others.  She was a fabulous seamstress and is the reason I learned to sew.  I wish she had taught me how to make pattern alterations!  My hips are high on both sides and I have a bit of a sway back; I don't know if one causes the other. 

            As far as feeling old, there are days when everybody has aches and pains, no matter how old.  As long as your mind is young and you can keep busy, you will never grow "old"!


          3. SusanT | | #8

            I'd like to alter my high hip with liposuction! <vbg>

          4. mimi | | #9

            LOL!  I think mine is a little more structural than that, but it wouldn't hurt.


          5. annsew65 | | #10

            I've been altering for scoliosis (high hip / shoulder) for several years now and my waistline curves and dips like a drunkards' path!  I've been using elastic waisted pants and skirts for quite some time now.  I cut my skirt or pants an inch of two higher at the waist and put them on after constructing everything but the waistline.  I pin the elastic snug over the waistline and pull them up on the side without the high hip until the hem hangs straight and even.  I then ask DH to mark at the bottom of the elastic with a Chakoner.  This shows you where your waistline seam must be.  There are several different ways of finishing the waistline.  I prefer adding a separate band with elastic inside as it is difficult to turn over and stitch due to the upper edge being so uneven.  This is one type of alteration where you need a body double (read duct tape double or something similar) or patient husband since you can't see yourself and mark what needs  to be marked.   I always wear a jacket or open blouse over a shell to help conceal this curve.  This is one of those times where I believe what I'm trying to do is not necessarily "fit" my clothing, but camouflage the shape as much as possible.  Altering for a rounded back is another alteration I must make to prevent the back of my jackets from hiking up and sticking out at the bottom.  There are several good books on fitting and each has its' own method of achieving the alterations needed and I find myself using different methods for different styles of patterns.  These alterations have prompted a good deal of research into the different methods and trial and error on my part and what works for me may not work for someone else as our curves will probably be different but they are definitely challenging alterations!



          6. FrancesC | | #12

            Like you, I try to wear overblouses, etc. to conceal the curvature, and I think that the current styles without waistlines work well too. And I also have to adjust for a curved back. I have adjusted my pants pattern over the years, also, but I think it's time for a wholly new pattern. I think I can do it without too much difficulty, since I have several books on pattern drafting and have been thinking about what I want to do.However, no matter what I do, from certain positions my hunched up posture is very obvious. The prominent shoulder blade/rib cage twist is very hard to conceal. Also, when I get very tired from standing, I find it very difficult to even try to stand up straight.I can't help it so I will have to live with it. My point in mentioning scoliosis in the first place was to alert others to the possibility that the high hip problem could actually be a spinal problem. If you are young enough, it is possible that something could be done about it. FrancesC

          7. stitchwiz | | #11

            Frances and Others

            My daughter had a severe curvature of the spine when she returned from a 2 year stay at her dads.  She had grown very quickly and had 2" curve each way.

            We have always had good chiropractic care.  Note:  Not all chiropractors are good.  Just like any other professional, it takes time to find a good one.

            Our chiropractor, George, caught it right away.  It took about 3 months to get her adjusted properly so that her muscles could hold everything in place.  The secret was to do an adjustment, wait 2 hours, then have the adjustment checked.  (The muscles would often push things out right after an adjustment because they were trying to get it back to what had been 'normal' up to that point, which of course was the mis-alignment, which was not what she needed.)  By re-doing the necessary adjustments, the muscles were no longer fighting the adjustments and it would hold 'til the next appointment when he would make the next set of corrections.  He did not try to correct everything at once because it would have been too much at once.

            Thank goodness George caught it and could help her.  Her spine has been straight for the last 8 years and she has no problems.  There is hope for those with a curvature of the spine.  I would be happy to refer anyone except that George retired last year and I'm currently looking for a new chiropractor - a real challenge when I've been spoiled with a fantastic one for the last 25 years.

            Today my daughter is getting ready for her wedding one month from now.  She stands beautifully straight in her wedding dress at a  glorious  six  feet  tall!

            Good luck to all who are dealing with this.  I truly hope that your situation can be helped by a good medical doctor, chiropractor or osteopath.

    2. shannonfax | | #13

      It makes me sad to read someone describing natural body variations as afflicitons.

      High hips aren't just for old ladies. I've always had issues fitting pants because of my high hip measurement. And it's not a matter of me being fat, either. In fact, the less I weigh, the more my high hip measurement varies from what's standard in patterns and RTW. If I put on weight, my measurement becomes more normal.

      When you "good-naturedly" slam your own body, you're saying bad things about others' shapes, too.

  3. User avater
    TextyleMaven | | #14

    High Hips

    In addition to the excellent thoughts others have shared, it also affects skinny people who have very prominent hip bones just below the waist.  They really need short front darts to allow for the bones and frequently need to trim down the side seam curve as they can be very straight at the side.  As one person mentioned, " ask me how I know ! ! :-)  "

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