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How to fit a rectangle (me)?

nmog | Posted in Talk With Us on

Hi all. I’ve been struggling with fitting my post-kids body. I’ve never had much of a waist, but with a number of c-sections my muscles just won’t whip back into even my pre-baby shape. Oh, if those kids weren’t so cute!
Anyway, I’m reading a book that says that a straight shape should just wear straight clothes like long boxy jackets, but that seems to contradict a lot of what I thought I knew. Shouldn’t I be making shaped, fitted jackets and A line skirts to give me a waist? I do have a large bust, but making anything empire just makes me look preggo again. Vogue 7749 looks great on me,

but this Mcalls pattern looked horrible!


Anything that I make to sculpt a waist doesn’t seem to work (except winter jackets). Are there any suggestions? Thanks so much for following!


  1. SewistKitty | | #1

    Another rectangle checking in, I usually buy the Vogue patterns now because on the back of each pattern it shows by geometric shapes what type of bodies are flattered by the particular pattern. You and I should look for patterns that have a vertical rectangle on the back of the pattern envelope. If you had an hour-glass figure you would look for the hour glass shape on the back of Vogue patterns. If you look at a number of the Vogue patterns flattering rectangles you can sometimes find the exact same style shown in other pattern companies' catalogues.
    From time to time I see articles in "Australian Stitches" magazine on flattering styles for rectangles. If I can dig up one from my collection I will post the advice in another post.In the meantime, the http://www.sewing.org has these tips under rectangular body types. What to wear: Start with monochromatic colors and/or muted shades in complementary colors. Sheaths or body-skimming styles with neckline or shoulder details draw the eye up. Princess seams, or a center-front seam, create a vertical line, drawing the eye up and down.
    Wear pants with narrow pant legs (I don't agree with this one), straight skirts, shirts with sleeves that taper toward the wrist and vests or jackets that fall below the waistline. Think long and sleek!
    What not to wear: Blocky, bold, contrasting colors and boxy garments accentuate your width. Details that draw attention to your waist (large patch pockets, belts and peplums) add pounds.I also almost always wear V-necks or unbutton the top two buttons to elongate my neck and give the illusion that those extra chins aren't there. I wear long chains or necklaces. No chockers for me.
    I also tend to wear flowy, lightweight fabrics which skim over my body.
    Hope this helps. If I find my other rectangle tips, I will post again.

    1. nmog | | #7

      Thank you so much! I'm sure that I've looked at a hundred Vogue patterns, but the obvious escapes me. Hmmm. I wonder how many of the ones I have are actually for my figure type.
      Thank you for the link as well. I'll check that out and see if I can get more info!

      1. SewistKitty | | #9

        You are so welcome. So few people are hour glass figures. I have told a number of people about the symbols in the Vogue pattern books. It seems as if many people are unaware of this feature. I only wish the other pattern companies did the same thing. I used to be a thin rectangle but now I am a fluffy rectangle. Sigh. Good luck in your search for flattering styles.

  2. meg | | #2

    I like the Vogue pattern; its lines offer a nice, fluid appearance with a smidge of tailoring. The jacket pattern seems to have too harsh a waist area for your needs. If you're looking for a jacket pattern, with a little bravery you could use the Vogue pattern as a jumping off point. Since that's a nice shape for you already, putting a center front opening to that pattern, cutting it to the length you want seems like a smart thing to do.

    1. nmog | | #8

      I never thought of changing the dress to a jacket, but it makes perfect sense! Thank you!

  3. desigknityog | | #3

    I'm a rectangle too.   I think that a long, narrow line (as in the Vogue pattern) is generally flattering.  I can see that the McCalls style would not work on a large busted woman ...it would tend to widen and shorten the figure. 

    I think I'm finally getting the hang of this whole "dress to flatter your figure" thing... from paying attention to the makeover shows (What Not to Wear) and trying on clothing in stores where I can see front and back views.  I have smallish hips and a waist that is only about 3 inches smaller than my hips, and I have some excess fat across my back, just above my waistline.  I have recently discovered that styles that have a horizontal seam across the back, approx. 4 inches below the underarm, that have a fitted upper bodice and then a little fullness in the lower portion of the top/jacket/dress... have a particularly flattering line on me.  This is a variation on the empire styling. I tried on a jacket recently (the brand was Guess) that had a band across the back in this mid-back area, and it was beautiful.

    So my thoughts: Sew styles that are semi-fitted but not too close to the body.  Rectangular figures should avoid overly-boxy styles. Even a small indentation at the "waist" is usually flattering. I am making a jacket (McCalls M5007). I looked at the pattern shapes in the instructions and could see that the side seams and CB seams curve in slightly to shape the waist, as they would in higher end clothing, so I'm satisfied that it should flatter me.  I hope this helps!

    1. sewingkmulkey | | #4

      Oh desigknityog - I couldn't agree more with your last paragraph.  I, too, am now a rectangle shape.  I found it particularly depressing since I 'used' to have such a slim midriff and felt my only option now was to dress in straight, shapeless styles.  Once I tried wearing jackets that were princess lines and semi-fitted (especially under my large 'grandma' bust) I looked pounds lighter and was suddenly stylish again.  It was a major breakthrough! 



      1. nmog | | #6

        Yes, I'm finding that princess lines work better for me, too. They give the iluusion of a better line, and they seem to fit more accurately for me. Thanks!

    2. nmog | | #5

      Thank you. I think hearing it from someone else helps to clarify! I couldn't understand how 'boxy' would work, but 'semi-fitted' has a much nicer ring. Thanks again!

  4. quixotesmom | | #10

    I've read this post and have to respond. I'm a "box" and I love it. My arms and legs are small so if I put on a "Chanel" type jacket I look great. I often wear pants since my legs a thinner than my body. If I wear a box, optically you lose sight of what lurks under it. I'm sewing professionally for an entertainer who is a pear. She does have a small waist for her overall body but when I put her into a tent shaped long coat she looks terrific. No, you don't see a smaller waist but you also don't see her 60" hips. By all means add definition to your waist if you have one. I don't so a tunic or "box" hides that. If you sew check out what the designers are doing and follow along when it applies to you. You don't have to wear the K-mart overblouse and baggy pants. Cheers, Pat

    1. nmog | | #11

      Thanks for your response. I think that I just need to get my head around this. I'm getting the information from a text that I need to know for a dressmaking course. I think I just need to spend some time in a fitting room and see what works for me. A Chanel jacket sounds great, as I could make it skim my hips. Now, if only I could go to Paris to buy the fabric....Nicole

      1. quixotesmom | | #12

        You don't need to. research Chanel on the web and you'll see she used many tweeds that are actually easy to find. I'm in the process right now in making a Chanel jacket using her techniques. I'm quilting the linning to the outer fabric, wrapping the linning to the outside front and using the tweed to make the trim. I'll use the chain weight inside the jacket. If you don't have a good fabric store near you the internet supplies the world to your door. You will also see she cut her jackets so anyone can wear them. Sometimes right below the waist, somtimes low on the hip. All I was trying to say was hiding  the fact you don't have a well defined waist is the easiest figure flaw to hide. If you have a tiny waist and huge hips it's hard to hide them. I'm sewing for an entertainer with a pear shape and it's not easy . Pat

      2. quixotesmom | | #13

        If you want to see a great fabric for a Chanel jacket try http://www.voguefabricsstore.com/store/catalog/index.html and look at VFO76-07, Nessarose wool suiting at $19.99 per yard.  Pat

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