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Conversational Threads

Sewing for large sizes

quixotesmom | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Am I the only large person sewing. Every blog or list I look on is for tiny little people(any one below a 16). I love clothes and the only reason I want to lose weight is so clothes look better on me. I’d love to hear from others about your strategies for flat pattern making, draping, enlarging patterns. I’m involved in making some costumes for a professional singer and she’s a total different shape. Pat


  1. marymary | | #1

    Pat, I am right there with you.  I have always had a problem with patterns, no matter what my size because I am so many different sizes.  I am a pear.  I have to start at the top with a small size and go through about three, sometimes four, sizes to the hips.  This means I have to either cut the pattern or trace it off.  Both take too much time and I am never quite sure I am going to get something I like.

    Drafting my own patterns has not been that successful either.  Since I can't take my own measurements, I have to rely on DH.  He does his best, but just doesn't know about sewing and fitting. 

    I can make anything.  I just can't make anything to fit me!

    I have hunted for blogs of people sewing garments larger than "tiny", and have not been successful in finding any.  I keep hoping to find someone with my same fitting problems.

    1. quixotesmom | | #3

      The entertainer I'm sewing for has the same body type as you. What styles have you found that suit you best? I have a friend with your body type who has always sewn for herself and does what you say. Buys pattern for top and enlarges the bottom.

      I've just been reading about measuring from a garment that fits well. This seems like a great idea.

      I agree with iigg. You really have to make a muslin. I make only that part I'm not sure of. I'm making a silk blouse with a plain neckline and am going to cut(out of scrap) the facing pieces only, fasten in back, put it un and then mark with marker where finished neckline should be. I don't agree that you have to do this for everything . I try to have basic patterns that I can put together to create my design.

      Are you working on somethin now?


      1. tricone | | #4

        HiHave you tried making a body bust, it will help with fitting. I to am a larger size, small shoulders, big bust, small waist , big hips etc. ... But the biggest problem area for me is the armhole, so having a body bust made of me helps. There are lots of larger women out there struggling with the same issue, Just wish i could find a website to share some more hints etc. Good luck and happy sewing.

        1. quixotesmom | | #5

          Please share them here!! One I know is cutting the arm hole higher on either a sleeveless or tight fitting sleeve.Used to make ice skating costumes and in order for the skater to have free motion with arm the sleeve needs to fit right under arm. Think this might work for a larger arm where the sleeve pulls when arm lifted. Sleeveless just looks lots better when the arm hole is high and you don't see all that extra flesh. Pat

          1. limelake | | #44

            I have been reading through some of the comments and noticed that no one mentioned taking advantage of local resources to either help to measure you or to draft/create the initial pattern for you. I am just bringing this up because when I took some beginning drafting classes the teacher measured everyone to show us how to take correct measurements. It took her less than a half hour per student to get the measurements and I must say that the sloper we created fit us fairly well with minimal adjustments. She was also able to advise us if there were specific adjustments we should think about making, in my case adjustments for a slight swayback. When we went on to create garments it was really important for us to create the muslin since this helped us determine whether we needed to make adjustments related to the details - was the ease appropriate for how we envisioned the garment, was the depth of the neckline appropriate, was the width of a collar correct, etc. I would hope that you could find a local resource who could at least do some good measurements for you, make sure they do it in front of a full length mirror so that you can see watch them. They may even be willing to create a sloper or basic patterns for you. My assumption is that they may request a fee for these tasks, but it may be worth it in terms of time and skill sets that they provide.

          2. Nurselady | | #45

            Hi, I'm new here, but was instantly attracted to this discussion.   I have been working on the plus size pattern problem for several years.  I was most interested in making clothes for my daughter who was blessed with my lack of height and my husband the linebackers body.  Her measurements are perfectly square,  48, 48, 48.    The bust measurement is more properly a chest measurement on her because she has small breasts but a very broad back and chest.   I have Fanastic Fit for Everybody,  but the book that was the breakthrough for me was Barbara Deckert's Sewing for Plus Sizes.  It is now my bible.  I have sucessfully made a homecome dress that got raves from her friends and it fit!!!.  It wasn't too tight and it wasn't a tent.  It wasn't even a complete pattern.  I took the top part of a Kaliah Ali top and attached it to the bottom of a different plus size skirt.  I followed the principals in Deckert's book and it fit.   

          3. quixotesmom | | #47

            Did you remove the bust dart? For many of us it's not needed or at most a dart from the shoulder works better. You should be able to work off those 2 patterns and make lots of clothes for her or better yet get her interested in sewing. Pat

          4. Nurselady | | #49

            I have modified the bust dart on a few of her things.  She thinks she looks too masculine without one.  The homecoming dress was a halter top that was gathered to the underbust band shich I shorted to make an empire waist.  Then I attached  a 6 piece skirt with godets.  Since she did not want a full length skirt , I was able to actually start with the hip part of the pattern at the empire waist which was great since she doesn't really have a waist.  I ended up making the back panel as two pieces so I could put in the zipper.   She has a long torso and short legs so this made her look leggier.    I wish I could get her interested in sewing.   Right now it is all softball.  Maybe someday.   

          5. User avater
            Aless | | #50

            I check in here every so often and was pleased to read this thread, particularly after what happened today. I was browsing the underwear section of our local KMart (don't know what the equivalent U.S. store would be), interested in buying perhaps a new bra, and being hopeful/wishful about knickers to match.....

            I did  find a few sets in my size (22D Australian) but the matching (lacy) knickers were only up to a size 18 (I'm 24-26).  Usual frustrated sigh!

            Then  I saw some interesting body controlling briefs in nice colours..hmmmm. They were available in a plain or lacy fabric up to size 18,but only the plain fabric after that. My thought, as always, was.....Do 'They' think

            (a) we (more voluptuous women) are not worth the trouble 

            (b) we don't care enough about  looking attractive 

            (c) we don't have anyone who thinks we are attractive ???

            If I could just sit one of 'Them' down I would explain [perhaps not so kindly :-) ] that I

            (a) am  worth the trouble-I would buy a lot if I could only find such items

            (b) do care (that's why I sew for myself,and look good in what I sew)

            (c) do  have a wonderful someone who tells me how attractive he finds me,after 36 years!!   

            I get soooo frustrated with 'Them'...I don't want to have to sew everything that clothes my generous body!!

  2. jjgg | | #2

    Pat.It doesn't matter if you do flat pattern drafting from your own measurements or alter commercial patterns. And it doesn't really matter what size you are. It all has to do with FIT. With flat pattern (I am a pattern maker) you still have to fine tune the fit in muslin, there are areas of 'flat pattern making' that just can't really be 'fitted perfectly. And, it all has to do with the fabric choices you use. A perfectly fitted blouse out of fabric "A" will not work out of fabric "B"Well fitted clothes on ANY size body looks good.poorly fitted clothes on any size body looks sloppy.

  3. fiberfan | | #6

    Check out Carolyn's blog "Diary of a Sewing Fanatic".  Her Jan 3 post has pictures of some recent dresses that are wonderful.  I don't know what size Carolyn is - I do know she isn't model size and she makes wonderful clothes that fit and are attractive.

    Another blog I follow is Debbie Cook's Stitches and Seams.  Debbie's clothes are usually more casual than Carolyns but also well fitting and attractive.

    I have been drafting skirt patterns for years.  I finally got a sloper that fits great in fall 06.  Having a sloper that fits is critical to successful flat pattern making.  I was close when I made an armhole princess top.  That top became my sloper.  I like a sloper with fitting ease.   When I draft a pattern from the sloper I just add design ease.

    I buy commercial patterns for design details and ideas.  Occasionally I morph my sloper and a commercial pattern.  I use large seam allowances so I can tweak the fit for a particular fabric/design. 

    I have a dress form that is really close to my size.  I bought a dress form that is much smaller than I am.  I used my armhole princess with a zipper front to make a cover.  I altered the cover so it fits my snugly.  Under the sloper I put a bra that fits well.  I used batting and stuffing to make the cover fit the dress form like it fits me.

    The only problem with making clothes that fit well is I still have things that don't fit in my wardrobe and find they irritate me when I wore something that fits well the day before.


    edit to add Debbig Cook's blog

    Edited 1/22/2008 10:57 am ET by fiberfan

    1. Gloriasews | | #11

      If you don't mind me asking, what is an 'armhole princess' top/dress?  Is it just a sleeveless princess-style dress/top?  (It's the 'armhole' that puzzles me).


      1. fiberfan | | #14

        Princess lines can go to lots of places.  The most common are the armhole and the shoulder.  I tried both and like how the armhole princess looks on me better than a shoulder princess.  This pdf from the home sewing association's web site shows both armhole and shoulder styles.


        1. Gloriasews | | #20

          I see what you mean - I had just never thought of them that way.  Thanks for the link.  I've used both armhole & shoulder princess styles, but never thought about which fit better.  I will definitely theck this out now.  Again, thanks!


          1. gwoman | | #65

            I'm sorry if I'm commenting on something that's already been said, but I haven't looked at the messages in a while.  I'm a large-size woman from a family of large-sizers.  If you haven't yet had the chance to read, The Triumph of Individual Style, it's worth your while to do so.  I learned so much about body types that have helped me change the way I look at sewing, pattern selection, and the notion of "rules".  The book is not about sewing per se, but about our individual bodies, and how we accentuate or camouflage aspects of them.  It's worth the purchase price or the trip to the library for it.


          2. Gloriasews | | #66

            Thanks so much for the book suggestion - I'll definitely check it out, as I have never heard of it before & I don't think anyone in these threads has mentioned it before, either.  Thanks, again.


  4. GailAnn | | #7

    I understand, completely.  I struggle to stay in a size 18, simply because anything larger seems so shapeless and distorted.  I could be a size 26 in one months time, if I was not ever vigilant. 

    Even in an 18, the upper arms are much too small!  Directions for enlarging the upper arm adds maybe 1 1/2 inches, as if that would help at all...................

    Not only do commercial pattern makers think we all have skinny arms, but our arms must reach down to our knees.

    I have complaints with ready to wear, as well.  Why will the very same manufacturer make beautiful clothes of nice fabric and decent workmanship up through a size 14 or 16 and then IF they offer larger sizes the quality of fabric and workmanship is always sacrificed.

    Once upon a time, I was a size 8.  I didn't have the money to spend on my clothes (or fabric)  then that I do now at a size 18.  Gail

    What are they thinking?  Gail

    1. sewelegant | | #8

      I find your comments very interesting because I have pondered the same thoughts about quality in the RTW large sizes.  I love the Land's End cashmere sweaters and have noted the colors and/or styles I really get attracted to are never made in the larger sizes!  It has to be that there are just not that many buying these more pricy items and the store can't absorb the cost of unsold merchandise.  I noted this year that they were adding nylon to the cotton sweaters and I thought this is great (I find 100% cotton always loses its shape) but, alas, this addition did not include the larger sizes! 

      Here's another thought:  I have shopped Nordstrom in the past as well as Distinctions, but they are a little pricy and I would still have to go home and resew the item to fit so I went back to sewing my own.  Now my problem is finding fabric!  Life is just not fair, is it?  I am forever on a diet, but even when I get down to a 14 I do not fit the waist so have to buy something bigger and that is very discouraging.  Catherine's sells a Maggie Barnes line that seems to fit my proportions well, but that's one designer out of hundreds. Elizabeth (Claiborne) has quality but the petite tops always fall short on me and the regular large sizes are too humongous.  I spend a lot of time in my sewing room working on that Perfect Pattern, but have not come up with it yet!  If I use the same pattern I worked out successfully, the new garment (fabric or whatever) could be a flop.  Is the answer to get to a certain size I'm comfortable with and keeping it there?  I wish I had figured that out 30 years ago and come to grips with the reality of it.  I think I always thought I would reach a plateau and stay there, magically, without having to  put any effort into it.  But... somebody or something (the scale) doesn't know what a plateau is.

      Something else I have observed:  most large women and any woman who does not have a tiny frame for that matter, always seems to have ill-fitting clothes and I wonder how they can stand that.  It's finally dawned on me that they do not SEW and have no option but to take what is out there and wear it.  I am grateful that sewing is a part of my life and that I usually enjoy it and the end results.

      1. quixotesmom | | #9

        I can't figure out the manufactures. When you watch QVC the Sizes 1x, 2x, 3x are always the first to sell out. Bob Mackie has made some great larger size clothes but lately he's getting too "Cute".

        I live in the Seattle area and all the fabric stores are basically quilting, I just bought fabric on line from http://www.fashionfabricsclub.com/catalog_items.aspx?typid=24&Viewby=Types. I found a silk with some spandex in it and am going to try a blouse. Their prices are very reasonable. Hope it works out in quality. I was in need of slacks and a skirt all black. I found some great wool double knits on line that are gorgeous. Now all I have to do is clear off my cutting board.

        Thanks for the sewing blogs. I'm going to try them. Pat

        1. GailAnn | | #10

          I have purchased several things in the past year from Fashion fabrics club and have pretty much been happy with it.  The two or three things that I haven't been very happy with,, were due to the fact that I couldn't see and touch it in person. 

          That said, however, in the past I HAVE purchased fabric from a 'brick and mortar' store when two weeks later, I wondered; What was I thinking???????

          Fashion fabrics club quality is good.  Prices are reasonable.  I find they often take a little longer to ship than I hope they will. 

          I wish they would include the "mm" weight of their silks in the descriptions.  It is difficult to tell what a silk is suited to without knowing the weight.

        2. Kilroy | | #46

          Another Seattleite checking in, and I do find that Talbots has nice women's sized clothing, and they have an outlet store near Alderwood mall... I tend to get so excited about finding nice clothes that fit me as if I were their fit model that I will walk out of there with two bags stuffed full of great fitting clothes.
          For fashion fabrics in the Seattle area, there is the Pacific Fabrics in Northgate, and there is Nancy's on Queen Anne.
          And if you sew and are anywhere near the Pacific Northwest, go to the sewing expo in Puyallup at the end of this month. http://www.sewexpo.com/ They have vendors come in from all over the country - you will walk out of there with a bit more than two bags stuffed full!

          1. quixotesmom | | #48

            If any of you are considering the Puyllap show it's well worth a trip. I used to work it years ago and what an exciting time. Because of an accident I gave up sewing, joined the faculity at the UW and purchased my clothes. I really don't have major problems getting fitted in ready wear but am really missing designing. I used to flat fit my daughter(taking 2 rectangles of fabric and pinning) for her skating outfits. She remembers the process so she's going to flat fit a badice for me. I'm getting tired of paying the price for a silk shell when I can run one up in less than a hour. After reading lots of book on coutour sewing, I'm going to utilize my love of hand sewing. Pat

      2. Gloriasews | | #13

        I can't understand how the manufacturers think they'll not make money on larger sizes, as they DO charge more for them.  Some manufacturers lately have topped their line at size 22 (they used to go to a 24), so where does the really large woman find decent clothes?  The styles in the larger women's stores are terrible, too - either really dowdy/sloppy or designed to the teens.  Even in larger men's stores, one has to go to a specialty store to get a tall, as the manufacturers seem to think that all large men are short.  You just can't win . . .  You're so right about having to alter the RTW items when we get home.  Some take more work than they're worth, so we may as well spend the time sewing from scratch.

        Keep on sewing & fitting, fitting, fitting!  But, on the other hand, Kathleen Fasanella said in a website that was on these threads that we sewers tend to over-fit, which could be true, too - where is the happy medium?


    2. Gloriasews | | #12

      I suspect those manufactures/designers think, because we are big (which is a no-no in their thinking), we don't care how we look - we just need something/anything to cover our 'ugly, politally-incorrect' bodies.  It's really sad that they are thinking this way, as larger people are becoming the norm & there is money to be made from them.  Another pet peeve is that they make really nice styles in the smaller sizes, but don't continue on into the larger sizes - some of those designs would look great on a larger woman - guess that's why we sew, eh?  We can make what WE like & what looks good on us, with fabric of our choice & finished properly, not what THEY think will sell (like horizontally striped dresses/tops - aagh!!!).  We all know how the RTW doesn't fit our larger bodies, anyway (too big around the neck, hangy-down shoulders, too-long sleeves, darts in the wrong place, & very poor finishing, etc.).  A few years ago, I read an interview with Oscar de la Renta & he came right out & stated that he doesn't design for the larger women and never will, as we should all slim down.  So there ya go, eh?


      1. maggiecoops | | #19

        Well as a vertically challenged doughnut, particularly over the last year, I'm noticing more and more what the more voluptuos lady is wearing, and I'm dissapointed. There seems to be two camps, on one side of the road those who believe they should don shapeless tees, baggy joggers, over sized dresses that resemble marquees. On the othder side of the road,those plump  folks who are in denial, the hideously tight jeans, crop tops, three sizes too tight garments. It's not just the ladies, men do the same, witness the trousers that struggle to stay fastened worn under an oversized belly. One way of not resembling a tent or an overstuffed sausage, is to wear the size you are. If you are overweight but still have a waist line, dont hide it under a baggy top. wear something that's shaped in at the waist, it slims you. Princess seams have always worked for the fuller figure. The seaming encourages the eye to view from bottom to top not across, so it makes you appear taller , and slimmer and they make fitting pear shaped hips much easier. The same with skirts, 6, 8, 10 gored skirts slim you down, worn with a cross over blouse that has gathers across the mid area, it makes a staement, I have a figure. The thing is it works. Boxy tops do what their names imply, make you look boxy. If like me you have huge upper arms, wear a sleeve that ends below the elbow but above the wrist,don't wear a tight short sleeve it emphasises the width of the upper arm.  If you have a huge bust dont wear wide lapels, or gathers over the bust, if you have the confidence, wear the plunge neckline, but not down to the waist as that is not nice nor sexy. . And the one colour you never wear if you are plump, large, big, whatever you describe yourself as, in my case fat, DONT WEAR BLACK   Black absorbs the light so presents a visually larger shape. It really is a fallacy that black slims you down, it doesn't. It doesnt hide the fact you are large it draws attention to it. Start looking at colour, putting the right colours together can drop several stones off how you look. Get it wrong and the opposite can happen. There isnt a list to tell you whats the right colours, skin tone, hair colour, eyes, all determine what colours suit you and can slim you down. In my case its shades of green, all the browns from deep chocolate through to palest ivory, blues work on me, but maroons, purples, greys, make me short and wide.

        Stay away from those fabrics which are heavy, like denim, wide cordrouy, tweeds, investigate the softer drapy, silky fabrics, a bias cut silky blouse skims and moves, it disguises those tyres lurking below the fabric. Heavy fabrics don't they are just too stiff. I think I've gone on long enough here, Now what was the question?? 


        1. Gloriasews | | #21

          I SO agree with you, Maggie, on the clothing styles (as well as your take on women's lib on another thread).  I, too, find princess styles more flattering, & the boxy styles are just that - boxy.  Surprisingly, the colours you mentioned that don't look good on you are the same for me!  And you're really right about the stiffer fabrics, too.  We really enjoy your input in these threads - keep it coming!


        2. scrubble4 | | #22

          Maggiecoops:  Amen!  I agree with the vertical lines princess and gored, the fabrics that flow (40mm silk crepe is fabulous if you can afford and have made a muslin) and the colours.  I like a bright bit of colour even on a darker outfit, even if it is just the bias binding.  I also like texture again even on collars, cuffs or buttons.  Finally the right amount of ease in the pattern to skim rather than hug or billow. 

          Also, the interesting response from Kathleen Fasanella on applied anthropometry may be part of our answer to making things look good.  She talks about this in the Thread on Ready to Wear Alterations.  I will follow her input on this topic with great interest. 

          Thanks Scrubble4

        3. fiberfan | | #24

          Your post has made me think (might be dangerous <g>).  I was wearing a loose fitting magenta knit dress at church last summer and someone asked me if I had lost weight (I hadn't).  The outfits I receive complements on usually are things that fit well.  I have thought about that lots but I am still not sure why the person thought I had lost weight.  I love the color and the dress is super comfortable.  It makes sense that how comfortable I feel in an outfit could impact how others see me.

          This is a great topic, I want to wear appealing but not revealing clothes and have learned much from online conversations since I started seriously working on fit 2 years ago.


        4. marymary | | #25

          maggiecoops, I am not trying to pick a fight, but this does not work for me: 

          "Princess seams have always worked for the fuller figure. The seaming encourages the eye to view from bottom to top not across, so it makes you appear taller , and slimmer and they make fitting pear shaped hips much easier."

          Recently, I made a couple tops, with princess seams,  that do fit, they just don't look good on me.  I don't know why.  Perhaps, it is because I used fabric as a muslin that I would never wear as a garment.  Or, maybe it is an age thing.  I was really shocked to find out that they looked so bad after going to all the trouble of adjusting the patterns.  It seems to me that I look shorter and wider with a defining line.  Does anyone else experience this?

          I agree with you about a box or tent.  You end up looking like you are wearing a box or tent.  I curve my patterns at the waist, and not always the same amount.  It depends upon the pattern.


          1. maggiecoops | | #27

            Hi Mary x2, a princess seam top unless it's worn outside a skirt doesn't slim a fuller figure. You need the full length of a dress or the long line of a shirt for the seaming to work it's effect. http://www.butterick.com/item/B5047.htm?ab=large_sizes&page=1   a lot would depend on the colour , fabric, and neckline as well. Having said that, not every body can wear blouses. My ex daughter in law, a beautiful looking girl, is 4.11" and a USA 16 which is a British 18. Now she cannot wear a blouse, her body line is just too short, I used to make her trouser suits with hip length princess seamed jackets which she wore over shaped tunics.  She always wore black until she met me, poor lass, she looked radiant in plum teamed with cerise, charcoal grey with pale baby blue,  very deep dark red with silvery lilac and shades of cinnamon and ivory. She was from Belize and had wonderful dark hair, but she loved it frizzed up like a bad afro, so I persuaded her to stop crimping it, have it cut a little and let her natural curliness show as it was loose curls and waves. The first time she had the courage to step out in the first outfit I made her, she found people were saying how much weight she'd lost, others would turn and look at her, she was stunning. I made her an outfit identical to the Butterick link one above, in pinks, The top was in rose pink faux suede, the skirt in shimmery rose pink crushed velvet and the top, I made to look like a waistcoat so the points carried the eye down on through the skirt, was a soft satin crepe in aubergine to break up the the rose pink. That outfit added 12" to her height and 10' to her self esteem. Getting her to realise tops mustnt be worn inside skirts when you are short and plump was hard work,getting her to see she needed shapes that curved in to show she had a waist was equally hard. Getting her out of black was harder, but now, she doesnt own a single black item except for shoes and the only sloppy tops she has are those she keeps to remind herself, she doesnt suit them.

          2. marymary | | #28

            maggiecoops, I have been thinking about this since I wrote my last message.  I know the conventional wisdom is that a princess seam slenderizes.  Then why do I have a problem?  I had an light bulb moment!  The pattern for the top I have been using is cut so that the seams really accentuate an hour glass, after I adjusted it for my hips.  The result is not slimming.  I need the seam to be straighter, I think.  I was using a Vogue that is apparently now OOP.  I did make a second top from a fabric I would wear, after I made the muslin.  This is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  Not smart.  It does not look good on me either.

            I have all of Connie Crawford's Butterick patterns.  I love her designs but the sizing had me a bit confused for a while.  Although they are supposed to follow RTW sizing, I guess that depends upon whose RTW sizing since there is no industry standard.  I have "all" of them since I have to buy two of each, one for the tops and one for the bottoms.  I started with the simple shell to check out the size and it took me three tries to get it right.  Now I have a "jumping off place" and can use it to create whatever I want.  Now I want to start on a pants pattern from her line.

            I so agree with you about color.  I have to change mine and it is hard!  I can no longer wear the beiges and browns I used to when I was a blond.  I look much better when I wear greyed pastels.

            In a recent issue of Threads, the one prior to the current issue, I believe, was an article about a surplice.  The article states that anyone looks good in one.  Well, here I go again...not true.  I have tried them on in RTW and even made one thinking that maybe if it fit better I would look better.   Maybe it has to do with where the fronts cross over and I am just not getting the best design. 

          3. maggiecoops | | #29

            Mary 2, this might sound extremely nosey,but, how tall are you, if like my ex daughter in law you are short AND have a bust and hips, you need something to elongate you. If like a friend of mine you are 5'10"" and a size 26, with a huge bust, normal  in comparison waist, you need something to balance the bust.  Now surplice tops suit my tall friend and me, so do princess seamed jackets and blouses. I'm just over 5'2"" and weigh 178 lb, my  back neck to waist measurement is 15.5" and I have a 41/42" bust. I'm a a British size 20 which I believe is an American 18. 2 years ago I was a British size 16, American 14, , 38 b bra size and overweight, 136 lb,  I've never been skinny. I weighed 116lbs until I was 40 was a British 14, American 12 and then climbed to 126, stayed there until I hit 60 when I retired, and then boy did I yo yo. I know why, (I'm fat,) I eat too much and excersize too little. I plonk my over ample bottom in front of my computer or my sewing machine for hours on end day after day. I don't moan I'm fat because it's my own doing and I hold the key to reducing some of my bulk by eating more sensibly and doing moderate excersize. However I still need to disguise a broad back, wide shoulders, (years of swimming,) huge upper arms, a double, threatening triple, chin, and fat bottom. At the moment I think I have become to thick across the middle, thanks to a high large belly, and frankly a huge backside, for a princess line to work its magic. I have to arrive at an alternative. The two points of my torso that aren't vastly misshapen, my upper chest and my upper thighs. So I need to wear a style that emphasises those and detracts the eye from the blob in between. A gored skirt with a flare starting below the thigh will work on my bottom half. A jacket with princess seaming and not long, worn open which implies a waistline exists, over a soft draped top, and then a real optical distraction, a long silk or soft fabric scarf with fringing or  beading , tied loosely at waist level in a very simple single loop over. It totally confuses the eye and hides that lump behind it. I have a short neck so need v necks, open necks, collars on jackets that can be worn open, I can't wear short chains I need the longer ones to create the V effect to make my neck look longer. I have to have short hair if I'm to stop my face disappearing into my shoulder line, I cant wear drop earings because they show how short my neck is. As you can see, I know my body shape really well, and I don't pretend to myself that I'm not an out of proportion shape. I draw my basic shape on paper, at the moment it's a 4 sided diamond , narrow at the top, widest across the middle, narrow across the base. so that's why I need 3 vertical points. The open jacket provides 2 and the scarf provides the third. A necklace wouldn't do it, that would draw the eye to the area I'm obscuring. A great way of seeing what shape you are, is to stand in your bra and pants in front of a full length mirror and then squint at the mirror. The only clear thing you see is the geometric shapes you resemble. You might not see it at first, but once you get over feeling slightly foolish, you will. Then when you have done that draw it or them and use other shapes to make them appear taller, shorter, wider thinner, remember colours do it as well. Cool colours recede, warm colours advance. frame a small area of warm by two areas of cool, So open shirt and skirt in cool blues, turquoises, greens, framing a warm red, pink, apricot top. It's a shame we all live so far apart, we could do a lets find a shape/ colour scheme that works. I used to teach art and over the years learnt practically thousands of visual trickery strategies.


          4. marymary | | #35

            maggiecoops, I have found my long lost twin!  You described me almost perfectly except that I am a little longer waisted.  I suppose you could call me a diamond if my arms are at my side.  I have always been a pear, even when I weighed 104 lbs.

            I no longer tuck shirts in.  V necks are my best friend.  My wardrobe is very casual because that fits my life.  The last time I worked in an office, it was over two years before anyone knew that I sew.  They were all surprised to find that the clothes I wore to work were made by me.  I am now trying to adjust to casual and my hair color being grey.   I want stylish casual and good fit.

            Does anyone have comments about asymmetrical closings?  I have a couple Vogue patterns of jackets that have asymmetrical closings.  One shows it being suitable for a triangle (the new name for a pear) and another shows that it is not.  I cannot figure out why it would not be.  Both are straight lines from the shoulder.  One is an old pattern that I would love to make.  I keep pulling it out, looking at it, and think, "Oh, maybe I shouldn't make that."

          5. starzoe | | #36

            Why don't you make a muslin of that pattern, without facings. When you try it on, you will certainly find out if it suits you or not. There is a saying in the knitting community that says not to worry, it is only string and the same applies to sewing. What will you lose? A little time and some insignificant fabric. What will you gain? Maybe a lot of experience and perhaps a pattern that you love, or maybe you hate and then you can carry on from there to either sew up the garment in some beautiful fabric or toss the whole thing and put it out of your mind and purged from your stash of patterns.

          6. quixotesmom | | #37

            I'm really glad I started this. great posts. However, I need to add a couple of other ideas. I am 5'7 and wear a 1x-3x in ready made clothes. My weight is thru the middle. My arms and legs are fairly slender and the MOST flattering for me is a box. I love black and wear it a lot but not exclusively. Often black shell and pants with a colorful jacket over. Pants look good on me if I can hide my waist (with my box). I agree that if you have weight in your hips a box isn't for you but don't rule it out for everyone. I love a slightly enlongated Chanel jacket. I agree that our clothes need to fit and running up any pattern in muslin is really necessary. I like having classic patterns that I know fit well and in what fabric they need to be made.

            Someone mentioned adding 10" to a pattern. This isn't really hard but you need to know where YOU need the extra fabric. If you slash the bodice and add 1 1/2" to both front and back and 1" to each side seam you have 10". If you have a large bust you need the fabric in that area. If your built like me, enlarging it as I said works great because I don't need the arm or neck changed.

            I'm sewing for an entertainer with the pear shape. I'm designing glitsy full length coats that just skim the body and you don"t realize there are 60" hips under there,

            I'm glad thisvsubject is bringing out what the manufactures don't realize. We may all be fat but we're sure different shapes. There are some clothing lines that fit me well and I hope you all can find some that work for you. I have in the past had a line that was sold in an upscale San Francisco store but because of our body shapes it's really hard to fit most large women with one line. Pat

          7. marymary | | #39

            Sometimes the obvious escapes me, starzoe.  Thank you for pointing it out to me.  Of course a muslin will help me determine if the asymmetrical closing is for me on these two patterns.

            Had to laugh as I was going out the door this morning.  The jacket I was wearing, and one I really like, has an asymmetrical closing!  It is made from two-sided fleece.  I am not a big fan of fleece and made this just to see if I would like fleece.  It is a Kwik Sew pattern.  Guess I will go on to the Vogue that should be made from wool. 

            maggiecoops, I followed the links you provided.  Another problem that I experience is not being able to use "Women's" patterns.  A size 18 just falls off my shoulders.  That is why I like patterns that come in the entire range of sizes.   Some have 18W as the smallest size.

            Never heard that knitting quote, but it may be applicable to me.  I have picked up knitting again after a 35 year hiatus. 

            This thread is great.  Thank you, Pat, for starting it.  I have tried to find pictures on the Internet of women who resemble me for inspiration.  All I ever find are pencil thin models trying to show what a size 16 and above would look like.  Doesn't work for me.

          8. maggiecoops | | #38

            Hi Mary, I just realised I never wrote to say the links I had sent to Sew elegant were also meant for you, in particular the wrap over blouse  or surplice. It crosses diagonally over the midriff to a fairly low point, and that's the type that suit me. They hide my spare tyres and create the allusion there's a waist under it. If you are wide hipped in comparison to your torso, the top makes a nice transition from upper to lower body.  When you do an alteration to a princess seam for a larger bust that then has to go down to a wider hip, don't make the side seams curve, that stops a sudden change in direction and smooths the visual transition.



          9. scrubble4 | | #40

            Hi Marymary:  I have been thinking about your comments about princess styles on you.  Did you use the shoulder or armscye seam?  For me since my bust points have always been low even when I couldn't hold a pencil under them, and now that they have headed south, I have found that the armsyce seam works best so there isn't this really long line until you get to my bustpoint. 

            In reading Claire Shaeffer this morning she makes a suggestion for designing for a full bust.  She suggests repositiong the shoulder seam forward by up to 1 1/2 inches.  This made sense to me as it would reduce the length of the seam to my bust point.  I don't know if this is any help to you.  Scrubble4

          10. marymary | | #41

            The knit top that I made using the princess seam comes from the shoulder.  Because my shoulders are narrow, the line starts at the center of my shoulders, but has to make a wide arc to go over my hips.  It is like an hour glass with all the sand in the bottom. 

            A princess seam from the armhole would also create a line that probably would not be flattering on me.  I am not ready to give up on the idea of the princess seam.  It might have to do with the fact that I have not worn anything as form fitting as this top for a long time.

            Scrubble4, I don't understand how moving the shoulder seam forward would help with a large bust.  Can you explain it more?


          11. quixotesmom | | #42

            I waas just looking thru a book "Fantastic Fit For Every Body" by Gale Grice Hazen. Amazon has copies from $2 plus. Gale works with larger bodies and all sorts. You might want to check out this book. It's one that you can see pages from it on line. I think it's a great book for larger sizes. I was also looking thru a book frome the Time-Life series, the Botique one. It has several desings that wouold work great on a large bust, small waist. Sob, not me. I was looking thru past copies of Threads and I'm going to order a wool suiting in a pink tweed and make a Chanel jacket. I was inspired by the Threads article by Claire Shaffer.  I hope the fabric meet my expitations for quality, if not some charity shop is going to get some fabric. I'm going to  unravel some of the fabric to create the trim and use Chanel's medthod of pulling the lining fabric to the front into the binding to increase it. Wish me luck

            One comment on past posting. Don't use lapels on large breasts. I think this is wrong. I think a lapel looks a lot better than a cardigan. It breaks up the area and lends vertical lines. But again, what rocks your canoe.  Pat

          12. scrubble4 | | #43

            Marymary:  My  sense of it is that large busts have a longer seam from the shoulder to the bust point.  By moving the shoulder seam forward up to 1 1/2 inches you are reducing the length of the seam from the shoulder seam to the bust point.  On me that is a really important visual illusion. 

            I think I understand what you mean by the hourglass effect.  I am wondering (and this may not work at all) if you could keep the width of the front panel the same from your bust point down to the hem, taking in and out the shaping needed on the side panels.  You could even put in an additional body dart on the side panel if necessary.  Would that work? 

            One reason I like sewing is we can play with optic illusions to take the eye away from areas we don't want it focusing and put the focus places we like.  Your waist sounds like a focus point and a body dart on the side panel might do this.  Only a suggestion as I haven't done this, although I do like using body darts when I am not using a princess pattern. 

            Maybe one of our talented pattern drafters can tell us if this is a usefull suggestion.  Keep asking and trying.  You will figure it out. 

            Take care Scrubble

          13. marymary | | #51

            Thought I would pass along some information.  I decided to make myself a surplice.  I used a pattern that is very basic, but does require a knit.  Since I am such a pear or triangle I have that problem of small top, wide hips.  The first muslin (out of a knit) gaped so badly at the neck that I would never be able to wear it.  I had to take a 2" dart out of the neckline.  That is a lot.  I thought this is never going to work, but started over.  I drew a line from about 6"-7" down on the neckline to the notch on the armhole, slashed this line and overlapped it.  I had to start from scratch since this made a huge difference in the fronts.  Much to my surprise, it worked.  The neckline stays where it is supposed to.  It worked so well that I am making a second one. 

            I started with a pattern that was the right size, or so I thought, for my shoulders.  I had to increase the hips, but I always have to do that.  I did take the shoulders in 1/4".

            I have not gotten back to the princess seam top, yet.  But with my newfound enthusiasm, I may just do that.


        5. sewelegant | | #30

          This thread seems to be hitting home because I can relate to so much of what everyone is saying.  Your use of the word marquee made me think of my transplanted English friend who used that word instead of tent and all I could think of was those old movie theatre "marquees" and had to ask her what she meant.

          As for wearing black... now that is questionable I think.  I notice you say you can wear brown, even the dark chocolate and I cannot wear brown even in the finest shade I love.  I think you are lucky to be able to wear brown.  Now that my hair has turned salt and pepper and now leaning toward white, I love black.  Maybe not ALL black, that is a bit boring, but with something colorful at the neckline like a pretty necklace or scarf.  And after being caught outstanding in too many group photos, I tend to bring along my black sweater.  It's true, I would rather have chosen navy or some other dark shade as my staple, but comfortable shoes were a problem when I started building a coordinated wardrobe and black seemed to be my best choice.  I'm thinking you probably wear brown the way I wear black.

          Getting back to that group photograph... a few years ago at a family reunion I was the only one wearing a darker color.  A navy background, flower print dress.  Talk about sticking out like a sore thumb.  Have you seen those family photos where everyone is wearing white?  What a great idea.  Everyone looks good.  The answer must be to to dress like everyone else and you won't be noticed.  Now, we can talk about fit and sewing again!  I have always wanted to make a princess line top, but every time I try it I haven't liked the results.  I wonder if it's because I have to lower the bust point too much?  Have you found any difference in the look of the line going from shoulder to waist instead of armscye to waist?  I am looking for a good shoulder to waist pattern to try.

          Mary A.



          1. maggiecoops | | #31

            Hi flower, I can't wear large areas of chocolate, I must keep it for accents or it makes too big a mass. I have cut my shoe colours to navy, black, or tan, I wear those with every colour in my wardrobe. Tan goes with all my various  brownsup to Ivories through yellow through greens, and my navy shoes go with my blues through palest lilac, and my blacks fill the gaps. I do have strappy sandals for summer in various colors, but I was lucky and found some which were green tan and orange, navy maroon and off white. Brown coffee and cream. So  with a pair of white and a pair of gold, I can just about match any shade on the wardrobe rail. If you saw my wardrobe you see ivory, cream, off white, different yellows, tans, oranges, rust, petrol, ginger, beige, bottle green, emerald green, sage , olive, yellow green, shades of turquoise from palest aqua to deep almost black turquoise. Orange based reds, I can't wear the blue based, lilacs, red based purples, navy, french blue, powder blue, , I adore colour. I have some fabric I have put together for a trip later this year. A soft chocolate jacquard silk, beige muslin, ivory satincrepe, and a tan and dark chocolate chiffon. I'm going to look like a glass of frothy mocha.In another bundle I have a wonderful all over embroidered design on a dull blue georgette, then a rose faux suede and and a deeper shade of the rose in a synthetic fabric that handles like satin but isnt shiney. I've several colour and texture piles waiting to be made up. slinky silk with faux suede, matt jersey with smooth satins, georgettes with muslins and satins. I love mixing colours and textures. I suppose if I have a base colour, it probably is dark olive green, I have 3 skirts in similar shades of the colour. One jersey, one georgette, and one suiting weight wool, and then a 3 piece georgette pants and long line shirt outfit also in dark olive. But I don't stick to a colour and build a wardrobe around it. I build my wardrobe around colours I adore, but no blacks, no blue based reds and no maroons. I have the wrong colouring for them, black makes me look ill as it robs all the colour from my skin, blue based reds make me look purple with the cold, maroon makes me look sallow, but yellow a fantastic colour, gets responses like, Gosh Mags you look good today, have you got a new make up on? or blimey you look well, been on holiday?

            when you get comments like that you know a colour suits you.

          2. maggiecoops | | #32

            http://www.voguepatterns.com/item/V9771.htm?tab=tops_blouses_includes_designer&page=5  Flattering for larger busts as its designed not to hug the chest

            http://www.simplicity.com/dv1_v4.cfm?design=4283  Ignore the skirts it's her top, this is what I mean by a surplice top, a wrap over top with the pleating coming down to the upper hip.

            http://www.simplicity.com/dv1_v4.cfm?design=4477 Oh BINGO, take a look at this one and see what you think.

            http://www.simplicity.com/dv1_v4.cfm?design=8468 this style slims as well, (I know I've made it for myself and my mum in law.

          3. sewelegant | | #34

            I like the last two pattern references you gave.  The tie at the side (surplice?) is a popular swinsuit style that is very attractive and flaw hiding for me and I love the double collar on the last blouse.  I'm not sure I am capable of reproducing it but will be on the lookout for one like it.

    3. whitedoggy1904 | | #60

      Hi GailAnn,  someone suggested that you check Carolyn's blog "The Diary of a Sewing Fanatic" and I agree.  That's how I learned how to increase the size of the upper arms on skinny armed patterns.  I hope she still has the pics posted.  She showed exactly how she increases the dimensons.   HTH.    


      Edited 2/7/2008 11:55 pm ET by Tricia214

  5. SAAM | | #15

    Thanks for starting this conversation. I sew for my 25 year old daughter who has polycystic ovarian syndrome. In just a couple of years, her weight skyrocketed and her self-esteem took a real hit. I've been trying to convince her that size is just that, size, not a commentary on character. It's hard to convince her when she can't find appropriate clothes that fit her well and she's confronted with the issues others on this thread have mentioned (cost, quality, etc.) plus she watches her two very slender sisters fit into everything they try on. It breaks my heart to see her so discouraged. In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out how to fit for her new body type. Slowly, I am working out various issues. She is tall and long waisted, with a definite hour-glass shape: Large bust and hips with a proportionally narrow waist. She also has narrow, sloped shoulders. My biggest issues have been with fitting bodices so they fit through the chest and shoulders while still accommodating her bust (She's a J cup size). Any help all of you could give me would be most welcome.What we all have to remember is that most of the time, when we look at people, we see the person, not his or her size. My daughter worked for a time with actors, including larger women, and she frequently commented on how beautiful these women were. I just wish she could see that beauty has nothing to do with weight and everything to do with how you make your way through the world. Of course, having well-fitting, beautiful clothes as well doesn't hurt!

    1. fiberfan | | #16

      It is wonderful that you are sewing for your daughter.  With narrow shoulders and a large bust, I would buy the pattern by the high bust measurement and do a FBA (full bust adjustment)  Debbie Cook has instructions for FBAs in a variety of styles.  I have a large bust, long shoulder to bust, short bust to waist and waist to hip with narrow square hips and long legs.  Combined with some extra weight, I can buy shapeless ugly clothes or sew attractive well fitting clothes in colors I like with a few wadders along the way.

      I was surprised how much difference a higher armhole can make.  I learned this in an on-line class.  In a discussion on another group, someone suggested the armhole on fitted or semi-fitted clothes should be a finger below the armpit.  This is so much easier to measure than using a tape measure.

      Sloping shoulders are easier to fix if the shoulder width is correct.  Take the shoulder seam in on the armhole and taper that to nothing before the neckline.  If the armhole fits good you can just move it down.  If the armhole is too big, the sloping shoulder adjustment will help.  Measure the armhole on the fitted bodice and the pattern to find out what size pattern will fit into the armhole.


      1. SAAM | | #17

        Hi fiberfan,Thanks for your great tips. I have been doing the FBA on patterns that are sized for her upper bust measurement. The issue I'm having is that the FBA is really a lot of inches to add — a difference of about 10" between the bust and upper bust measurements — so then there's a lot to take out under the bust as well. Also, my daughter is interested in some of the wrap-style blouses and dresses, which I think would look great on her, but when it comes to figuring out how to do a FBA on the appropriate pattern pieces, I'm a bit at a loss. I feel so much of it is trial and error; mostly error.I'm going to try your suggestion about raising the armhole. I think you are right about that being crucial to excellent fit and ease of movement. So often, the blouses my daughter buys seem okay as long as she has her arms down by her sides, but as soon as she moves, the blouse is riding up and looking terrible.

        1. Elizard | | #18

          how do you know how big an FBA you need to make? What you might want to try is measuring from one nipple to the other and compare that to where the darts intersect, to CF (assuming you have both a waist and bust dart). And using this to determine how much to alter the pattern
          I haven't tried this myself, (as I have the contrary problem, but that is an entirely different matter :) )

          Edited 1/23/2008 1:35 pm by Elizard

        2. fiberfan | | #23

          Check out this entry from the Sewing Diva's blog.  The entry shows how to do a FBA on a wrap top.


          1. SAAM | | #26

            Thanks so much for this. I have bookmarked this page and I will refer to it when I work on the pink knit my daughter has chosen for her wrap top, Simplicity 4095. I'm sure it will make my job much easier.

          2. Gloriasews | | #33

            Thanks so much for the link - it was exactly at the right time, as I was wondering how to do it!  You gals in these threads are fantastice!


  6. From my Stash.... | | #52

    What a great question.  I am going to be helping a friend fit a muslin and then make a jacket for a spring wedding for a special niece and the various comments are very helpful - particularly since I'm a bit nervous about helping her with this.  And yes, the muslin is essential and she doesn't really want to take the time to do it, but I'm insisting that we do this.

    I know that we are going to be working from what jackets she likes most in her current wardrobe (for style, ease, collar shape, arm circumference, etc) and then see what fabric she selects. 

    In terms of fabrics and colours (plain versus patterned), what would be some general guidelines for a special occasion outfit for larger woman - she's in her early 50's and I suspect that lace and chiffon are out of the question?  The weather can still be a little cool at the time of the wedding, but can also be warm, so we need a jacket she can definitely take off after the ceremony if it turns out to be a warm day. 

    While I personally think a princess style will be the best for her, she tends to look for a more tailored blazer style, so the various comments so far have been great.  Any help will be appreciated.

    1. quixotesmom | | #53

      I'd make a suggestion that you measure some jackets that she likes the fit and start your pattern from there. I found great directions for copying a garment that's fool proof . I didn't get a reference before I started this message so will have to post another message. I think patterned fabrics work well for plus sizes. I think they visually engage the eye and create a slimming effect. A patterned jacket over a plain fabric dress or top and skirt breaks the body image into pleasing divisions. If the jacket is lined, will the dress fabric work as lining? Great image

      I love working with knits as they give and smooth(sp) over diffects in the body line. They make fitting so much easier. At the price of fabric I can't believe sewers don't make a muslin( and it doesn't have to be muslin. Use some of that fabric stash you don't like). earlier in this thread some on complained about her finished garment not to her satisfaction. The only way to avoid this is with a muslin. You can mark it with a felt pen, slash and add or subtrac. Marymary's solution worked great. She used a muslin, corrected a problem easily which she couldn't on the final fabric and has a pattern she can use again.

       I've seen postings lambasting polyesters. If you look on the big designer's web sites all of them are using polys in thier multi thousand dollars garments. pat

      1. quixotesmom | | #54

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?Y=YRLCH is the site for copying a garment by David Page Coffin. Works really slick. Pat

        1. quixotesmom | | #55

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRLCHj2mDFE is the correct site. sorry

          1. quixotesmom | | #56

            6655.59 in reply to 6655.58 

            My favorite item is usually the one I'm making. Been reading all the couture articles and books I could find and decieded to make a Chanel jacket using her techniques including quilting the lining, making the lining and blouse from the same fabric. I found a wool with a texture she often used and a silk for lining and blouse . I'm going to wrap the lining to the front. I'm making braid from the wool fabric . I love to hand sew and now feel I have permisson to do so. About 25 years ago I wanted to use a fabric at the jacket sleeve edge but didn't want a sleeved blouse made of that fabric. I thought it would be to uncomfortable so I made a ruffle of the fabric and hand stitched it inside the jacket sleeve. Now in reading about Chanel's work I see that's the way she made her blouses. At the time I thought I was rather cheating, didn't realize I was a real "designer". I'm trialing a blouse of silk which I'm hand sewing. French seams, bound neck and arm holes. I have a super pain problem and think maybe I can get more done by hand as I can just pick it up and sew for short time and not make the commitment to go to my studio and sew. Pat

            I posted this to another site but think others in this site might find it interesting. For a fat box like me this jacket looks good and can subtract 30 visual pounds. Pat


      2. From my Stash.... | | #58

        Thanks for so many pieces of information in this and the following emails with the website addresses. 

        I hadn't thought of knits simply I thought that they would have the opposite effect and be too clingy.  We're lucky enough to still have a number of fabric stores here including finer fabrics so i'll make sure that we don't pass by the knit section.  I'm assuming that a heavier knit would drape yet not follow her lines too closely.

        I agree with you wholeheartedly about doing the muslin.  Many years ago, I wouldn't but as I've learned more about fine sewing (and had my share of disasters), I wouldn't waste my expensive fabric on anything that I  wasn't 100% sure it would fit when finished. 

        I'll keep you updated on what she selects in both style and fabric (it will be a couple of weeks yet as she's away on vacation right now).


        1. quixotesmom | | #61

          Knits and stretch fabrics are wonderful for larger sizes. You should NEVER cut a piece of fabric that needs to be streched to basically fit but you can take advantage of the built in stretch to help with the ease. A larger figure needs a lot more ease than a small one. Take the measurment of your waist and hips standing, the take it sitting and you'll see where the ease comes in. A smaller sized person's measurment is only about 1" difference. A larger size is often 4" to 8" difference. I'm large thru the body with small arms and legs. If I make a pair of pants of non strechy fabric I need to cut it 4-5" larger to get the ease so I can sit down. This increases the leg width and adds pounds and pounds. With a knit I cut with 1" ease,  the built in strech allows me to sit and the pants fit much better and I can take advantage of narrower legs.  I would only use a T shirt weight knit for a top, but the heavier knits and double knit are wonderful. I can't easily find them in this area so I buy thru the internet.  I just received a bundle of fabrics I bought. The company offered a free bag of fabrics with a new order of $25.  I sure didn't expect to get what I received. 4 fabrics of 2 1/2 - 3 yards each. One piece was a stretch dark rose vertical crimped velvet, one a lighter rose gaberdine, one a pretty blusish greeny gaberdine and a print chiffon that blends well with the green. Both gaberdines met the crush test. I haven't tried a burn test to determine the fabric but they would easily cost $15 - $20 a yard at a retail store. It was like Christmas. Pat

          1. From my Stash.... | | #63

            Thanks for the information.  I'm certainly a fan of the taking your hip measurements when seated to get the true amount of ease needed.

            When I talk to my friend about fabric choices, I'll certainly bring along your comments.

            Your bundle of fabrics for $25 is fabulous  and the colour co-ordination makes it so much more than just 4 pieces of fabric.  You'll have to tell us what you create out of these pieces.

            We'll I'm off to make one of my husband's valentine's day present (that's only 1 husband but several presents)- a leather change purse.  He says he has never been able to find one he likes other than the one his grandmother made him from fabric. years ago  After it wore out, I made him a new one from looking at the original and used a very hard-wearing fabric.  So didn't he go and lose it on the golf course!

    2. sewingkmulkey | | #57

      I definitely agree that the princess style would be much more flattering than the blazer style.  Tell her she will look younger in a princess style and I'll bet she'll change her tune!


      1. From my Stash.... | | #59

        Ohhhh, you're good!  Gotta try it.


  7. fabriclover007 | | #62

    Ladies, I'm 5'3", 240 pounds and I'm easily the best dressed person in my office. Fit is it. Take my advice, forget all those sewing technique classes and concentrate on fit. No matter how great your sewing skills are if the garment doesn't fit it won't look good. Perfect the fit on a few patterns and use them over and over as you work on others. I admit I've spent a small fortune on fitting classes over the years but it has paid off. I've bought every fitting book I could get my hands on and taken classes and the methods I use are a combination of different things. In my opinion:Palmer/Pletsch. Great for bust fitting. If you can't find or can't afford a book buy one of their jacket or blouse patterns with princess seaming. You'll get a basic understanding of how to enlargen patterns for your C+ cup. Patterns are drafted for B cup and as most of us age, our bust is lower also. These patterns will show you how to not only enlargen the bust, they'll also show you how to adjust the fullness to where you need it.Cynthia Guffey: Best overall fitting expert. I learned things from her that made a huge difference in my sewing. Ever made a jacket and been surprised by how it fit? I have large upper arms. Her method teaches you how to enlargen the upper arm and keep the sleeve seamline the same size. Plus she'll teach you how to figure how how a jacket will fit you in the shoulders by measuring the shoulder width. Hint: find a RTW jacket that you love and measure it - shoulder width, hip width, waist, etc. and strive for those measurements in your sewn garments. Those of us with large upper arms really need a somewhat extended shoulder, contrary to what we've been taught because the longer shoulder length enables the sleeve to "drop" off the shoulder and skim your upper arm.sleeves in general: I have a two-piece sleeve I've perfected over time and use in all my patterns. I throw out the one from the pattern. Standard one piece sleeves twist at the bottom for me as my arm curves inward more than normal. I figured this out one day by pinning a sleeve into the armseye (left the bottom open and looked at the direction my arm was going and the direction the sleeve was going. Opposites.The lady that teaches the "seam method" of alterations (her name escapes me now). How to enlargen your patterns by clipping the seam allowance on the seam line and moving it out. Fabric: My favorite store in the U.S - Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, IL. They do a fabric catalog and mail order. Gorgeous silks, wool,etc, very reasonable prices.Patterns: I wont buy a jacket or blouse pattern that doesn't have a dart. If it's vertical darts coming from the hemline it gives a great starting point for alternations.Sewing is a journey, not an end. Just as you get your fitting issues resolved your body will change - again - and you'll have to work on the next challenge. But don't give up.

  8. ComstockKitty | | #64

    Hello Pat,

    I'm a Fashion Designer, and I have a suggestion for you. Start with a pattern that is your measurements. Pin the pattern on you first, to make any adjustments. When you cut it out, cut it out at least 1" bigger all the way around. You need a friend to help you with the 2nd fitting.  Pin the whole thing together, and make the adjustments as necessary. Nothing makes a heavier person look worse than something that is tight.  Stay away from lots of detail around the waist area- pleats with pants.  Pants with the wider legs also look good.  Stay away from bulky fabrics. All women have beautiful faces, and exceptional necklines with cleavage, so go for your best asset there, and show it up! Some of the new styles right now call for large belts around the waist- chose carefully in proportion with your body type. Princess seams can be slimming with dresses. The current issue of Threads has a couple of patterns that look good on larger folks. Since I'm not as active as I used to be, I have put on weight, and it is around my middle and butt, of course. I hoped this helps, Kit.

  9. User avater
    Colorful | | #67

    I have had the same problem for my self and for others that I have sewn for.  What has helped me greatly is Barbara Deckert's book "Sewing For Plus Sizes".  I have even gone to her website, emailed her a question, and found that she was quick to respond.  This book explains the art of sewing for plus sizes in a way that one will be able to catch on very quickly.  You will find that it is not as challenging as one may think.

    Happy Sewing

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