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Conversational Threads

Sloopers and such

Alice in Atlanta | Posted in Fitting on

How do you make a slooper?  Is it more accurate than a dress form?  I’ve been sewing for many years but still can’t make heads or tails of those diagrams for making a muslin which the pattern companies carry.  They show a form fitting dress made of a checkered material.  Anyone out there know how to master this?


  1. User avater
    Becky-book | | #1

    I am in the midst of my quest for 'a good fit'. I bought a dress form, she (I call her Rosie) helps some, but she stands up straight and doesn't have round shoulders or 'a little extra' at the hips, like my body so ... I am working on what some call a sloper, or a fitting shell... gingham cloth and all!  The lines in the gingham cloth help keep grain lines true and show where my body is different than the pattern.  It ends up taking a lot of time if done by yourself; in and out of a half finished bodice full of pins!  The goal is to have a base line pattern by which to evaluate the fit of any other pattern you buy.  I have figured out that I need to adjust the shoulder seam on front and back pieces to accommodate my old shoulders!  Have not mastered it yet.

    If you have a fairly standard set of measurements, and very few adjustments to make to any pattern when you sew, you probably would not benefit from the attempt of a 'sloper'.  On the other hand, if you have some areas of your figure that are a challenge, you might learn why some things just never fit right and what you can do about it.

    If you enjoyed geometry class in high school, you might like drafting your own bodice pattern!

    Hope this helps,



  2. HeartFire2 | | #2

    please do a search in the archives on Slopers, it's been covered extensively.

  3. stitchintime | | #3

    You can also try going to your local library or maybe a high school library and looking for older sewing books. I have a 35 yr old Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book that has an entire chapter devoted to fitting a "basic pattern" or "alteration pattern". The woman in the diagram doesn't look like she needs any alterations at all (LOL) but they manage to devote 21 packed pages to it including a demonstration with photographs.

    If you have minimal fitting problems you can try my own unprofessional hit or miss method of fitting. Most patterns these days come multisized. I do a muslin of a pattern in one size, according to my measurements. If it's too big, I make it again,one size smaller. If it's too small, I make a trial one size larger. I compare the fit and make adjustments.

  4. lilah | | #4

    I just read one of the best articles about this in Threads from May 1994, No. 52.  The article is "On Draping a Fitted Bodice" by Donald McCunn and is on page 62.  The next article, on page 66, is "Using a Basic Bodice To Check the Fit of a Pattern," by Janette Bij de-Vaate. 

    1. Alice in Atlanta | | #5

      Thanks for that good info.  I'll check it out if I can locate that issue.

  5. sewmom5 | | #6

    A sloper is just a basic garment used for fitting and then using to compare with other patterns to correct fit or to base new pattern drafts on. If you use gingham, make sure the lines on the fabric match up to the horizontal and vertical lines on the pattern. You can also use basic muslin. Baste all of the seams and darts so you can change them easily during the fitting process.Mark new seamlines or changes with a fine tipped marker, and make sure to mark any connecting points also. Then, when finished fitting, take the garment apart, iron it, and transfer all corrected markings to the pattern. You may have to add extra paper to the pattern to do this. Make sure you get help from a sewing buddy and learn together. This process requires patience, but is well worth the effort. Good luck

    1. Alice in Atlanta | | #7

      Oh boy, that's sounds like a lot of work and impossible to do without a partner.  Wish there was a class for this near me.  You did a great job of describing the process yet it still sounds astronomically difficult.

      1. MaryinColorado | | #8

        The large pattern companies have a sloper or fitting shell pattern in  the back of the big pattern books. I have Vogue 1004 but haven't delved into it yet.  From your basic fitting sloper you then take out the basted seams, copy it onto paper & should be able to adjust patterns quickly rather than having to go through the entire process each time you buy a new pattern. 

        I believe once I get around to doing it it will be wonderfully helpful.  All the measurements, alterations, darts, hems, whatever will be right there for me.  I quit sewing for myself because I have gone from a 5 petite to somewhere around a 12.  I never had to do much altering in the past but now it is a necessary and daunting task.

        My grandmother had eight children and made all their clothes without patterns right through adulthood.  I love looking at the photos of the tailored suits she made the girls.  For the boys it was school uniforms, white dress shirts, etc.  She was an amazing woman, wish I had learned at her knee.  She passed away before I knew what an incredible seamstress she was.   She did it all on a treadle!

        1. Alice in Atlanta | | #9

          Your grandmother was some kind of women!  And....she probably baked her own bread like mine did.  Maybe that's why I scoff while shopping and I see these women always talking to someone on a cell phone. It's not just a quick call either, it's extended conversations with loud laughing and loud talking, all the while flipping thru groceries or clothes.  Perhaps I'm behind the times but there's not a lots of things I can't live without.  Scheesh.  They're so spoiled.  How would they survive a real hardship like a war?  I'm old enough to remember what it was like and the enemies weren't even on our soils.

          I've studied those gingham patterns in the pattern books but without some help I think it would be a daunting task. Sewing is the easy part, it's the fitting that's hard.  Like you, I've gone up a few sizes and I'm at the time in my life when I can afford to buy what I need but it's still so much fun to sew.  Having recently purchased a new Kenmore it's even better, that machine is a dream with needle threading and great 1 step buttonholes.  Why did I wait so long?  It even can sew without using the foot and your can adjust the speed.  Kenmore 19606 made by Janome. My old machine's light was so hot in the summer but this is a much better light and it's cool enough that I will be doing more sewing when it's hot here in Ga.  Thanks for writing to me.

          1. MaryinColorado | | #10

            I admit to having a cell phone but rarely use it, I don't give the number out as people can call me at home or leave a message.  It is so my grandkids can reach me and for emergencies.  Most people are so rude with them.  You can't go anywhere without them annoying you.  It is like a plague! 

            The distracted drivers are the worst!  Then we end up with more laws on the books/more "big brother" mentality and less freedom in the long run. 

          2. Pattiann42 | | #43

            Speaking of distracted drivers ---- how many times have they almost run into you?  I almost lost it last Sunday when a small SUV with four co-eds nearly ran into me as I was driving through a local parking lot.  They came roaring out of a parking space (nothing there to block their view).  I was able to stop my SUV within in inches of their right front fender - thank-you GM for good brakes!  If I had hit them, the air bags would have opened and hit both my husband and me in the face - same for the other driver and her front-seat passenger.    Summer is near and soon the only students left will be the football players and the masters students ...... peaceful living until August!

          3. MaryinColorado | | #46

            Glad your guardian angel was on duty and paying attention!  Thank goodness you are all safe and well!  I know what you mean, I was driving through Golden yesterday and on a main street with lots of fast food restaurants and schools.  They have put in Yield signs for miles with "rounds", no one is paying attention, it is like kamakazi time!  I don't know who came up with the concept of "rounds" but alot of idiots seem to have fallen for the horrible idea!!!  It's showing up everywhere.

            ow!  I just got my first mosquito bite of the season!  Guess the "dog" must've left the back screen door open again.  (He gets blamed for everything, lol).  I'm sure it couldn't have been dear hubby or one of the grandkids.  grrrrrrrrrr  I get huge welts.

          4. janlorraine | | #11

            If you are not already a member of the Sewing Guild, think about joining. I am sure you will find someone in your neighborhood group who will help you learn fitting techniques. Also, the Sewing Expo is coming to the Atlanta area this week. Perhaps you can still register for a fitting class there.

      2. sewmom5 | | #12

        If there is a college in your area that offers degrees in fashion design, or in theater arts for costuming, you may want to locate a student who would be willing to teach you for a little extra money. Teaching someone else is one of the best ways to learn, and if you had questions that they couldn't answer they could ask a professor and you both would learn. It really is worth all the trouble because it saves lots of time later. If you ever come to Texas, I'll teach you. Good luck.

        1. Alice in Atlanta | | #13

          Only joking but........it may well be worth a trip.  While we're on the Texas subject, my sister lives in Austion, maybe you could teach that feckless person a thing or two.  Person was being kind. and a nicer word than one I'd choose. 

          signed, (The last one with the dying gets the money)


        2. jjgg | | #14

          Where in Texas are you?

          1. sewmom5 | | #15

            Kyle, which is very close to Austin

          2. jjgg | | #16

            I'm in Clear Lake, I teach a sloper class and pattern adjustment.

          3. eardleygirl | | #17

            Anyone out there teaching a sloper class in or around the Milwaukee area?  I have been struggling for years to fit my seemingly every changing body shape.  I can make anything for anyone else but I am hopeless at fitting myself.  I have a dress form but it's just not close enough without a bit of padding here and there and I'm afraid I'm no judge of where that should be.  I just gave up sewing for myself because I never felt good in the clothes once they were finished. 

          4. MaryinColorado | | #18

            Me too!  I am hoping that the warmer weather will help alot with outdoor exercise and I can decrease the middle and hopefully lose about twenty pounds.

          5. Ralphetta | | #25

            Now that I'm older and fatter I understand why, when someone asked my mother why she quit sewing she laughed and said, "I don't like sewing for this body anymore."

            It's a lot harder.

            Edited 4/16/2007 10:31 pm ET by Ralphetta

          6. eardleygirl | | #28

            Hi Ralphetta, I just feel like an idiot.  Just when my sewing skills are at their peak my fitting skills only work for someone elses body.  I enjoy sewing for my daughter but, face it, that's not putting anything new on my bod - and I'm the one who could use the new clothes.  I have started sewing Burda patterns - which, for the most part, seem to look the best on me - but sometimes it's difficult to look at the Burda pattern pieces and understand where they are going with their directions until the outfit comes together miraculously and by then it's too late to alter anything.  I have tried making a sloper but never seem to get it right and I bought a dress form that is impossible to adjust to the exact dimensions of my body.  I pad it and it looks right but when I put an outfit on it that I wear regularily it looks wrong in the way it hangs.  I have had a friend make a dress form out of duct tape and I find that seems to work fine if you can fill it exactly right but if it's off you're out of luck.  When I sew fo my daughters I usually make a form out of duct tape and pad it with fiberfill and it works really well.  I have made wedding gowns using that method and had no problems at all.  I usually make a muslin first and then fit it, which is fine if you are making something special, but for a quick pair of jeans and a tee shirt I don't want to go to the trouble most of the time for myself.  Is that my problem - expecting a short cut?  E

          7. Ralphetta | | #29

            I can only speak for myself, but even though I go through the motions I don't think my heart's in it when I sew for myself.  I used to look in the mirror and catch at least fleeting glimpses that I thought looked cute.  Looking in the mirror is depressing now.  It obviously isn't bad enough to get me to change my habits.  I'm not trying to open a discussion on how to improve my habits, etc., I'm just explaining what I believe is at the heart of my difficulty in sewing, fitting, etc. for myself.  I don't think it's really a sewing problem.  If it were, I think I  would solved the problems by now. Bottom line....it isn't fun so I don't stay with it.

          8. eardleygirl | | #30

            You know what?  You are right on.  I think that is at the heart of it.  I have been sewing for so many years that if it was really a sewing prob I think I would have the answer but it's so disheartening to work at something and still not feel any better when it's finished and you're wearing it.  Maybe in our minds eye we are all thin and young and it's a constant kick in the rear to see that just isn't so anymore.  Like you, I too aren't motivated enough to change my habits.  I think the world is full of older women who feel the same way.   

          9. MaryinColorado | | #32

            So true, so true!  I am trying to kick myself in the rear to change my ways.  Took a break from making clothing and am learning to make a quilt.  Then I'm making some doll clothes.  I think the total change has been good for me.  Not allowing myself to have multiple projects for the first time in my life.  Total focus and no fitting issues!   It's really fun and challenging for me.


          10. eardleygirl | | #35

            I have made that promise to myself.  Once I'm finished making an alpaca coat and a summer suit for my daughter I am definitely giving myself a fitting rest.  Perhaps that will be enough to get me revved again.  My granddaughter is a few years away from needing doll clothes but I have some drapes I could start before the snow starts falling again.  A nice summer project with big satisfaction for a little time measuring. 

          11. MtnBoy | | #36

            And to everyone else who is feeling this way about sewing for changed bodies--I have several thoughts here, coming from my own struggles. First, I have had to admit I will never look good in the designs I used to wear or that young people wear now. Not anymore. So, I've stopped wearing anything overfitted. Am always going for the elegant look all the older women wore on that TV show "The Golden Girls." Why there aren't more patterns--a whole pattern line--available like that. Or, maybe that's where we need to work more on our own custom design adaptations. A lot of fitting problems, and disappointment, went away when I faced that.Another thing is, I can use my (rather mediocre) sewing skills to focus on what is most important to me, and to my even older mother, which is comfort. The comfort of non-binding, non-irritating, easy to get on and off clothing. The comfort of seams that don't irritate the skin. One thing I'm working on for me now is a crotch that doesn't irritate. I've designed pants with an inset gusset, I guess you'd call it, that goes all the way up to the waistband in back. Now I can garden without suffering the next few days from seam-irritation.And lastly, what others have said here: to find a new aspect of sewing that challenges your skills. Mine are sufficiently challenged just by trying to fit and execute my unique designs, but yours may not be. Not getting bogged down is so important in hobbies and in life.May we sew happily on into the age that is not for sissies!!

          12. eardleygirl | | #37

            There are independent pattern makers who do have lovely garments that don't fit close to the body and I have probably purchased patterns from most of them at one time or another.  I find that my fitting problems have to do with being relatively short while most patterns get longer as the width increases.  I find that the closest I get to fitting pants well is with Burda.  The cut is better suited to all womens figures with the longer back seam and shorter front seam but they are still too long in the waist for me most of the time.  I love the flowing styles for older women that you see on tv but they don't work so well on shorter women.   I think the dramatic look is fabulous for taller women but short women look dumpy in them.  I appreciate your idea about spending time working on more comfortable seams and easier to wear clothes but I do wish someone would come up with a way to adapt a simple pair of tailored slacks to a size 16/18 5'4" woman so that I don't have to spend hours in an attempt to fit every pattern before making a muslin so I can dare to cut the fabric and begin the project in earnest.  Life is too short and when you work full time and have grandchildren and parents to care for here and there it can be very discouraging for those of us who long to sit down and create something we're proud to wear.  If it's possible to buy beautiful age appropriate clothing for women my age who aren't my size why should I have to settle for less?

          13. solosmocker | | #38

            Very well said. I have spent a great deal of time lately fine tuning a pair of pants for my five foot tall figure. This time was taken from my actual designing/sewing time. I'd rather be creating but I guess if I am going to make Cog au Vin, I have to chop the onions, even if they do make me cry. I so understand your time constraints, having been in the same 50 hour work week and caring for a very ill parent. I didn't get much sewing done at that time either but what little I got done was my sanity. I guess all I can tell you is that this doesn't last forever. There are independent pattern companies that design more classic looks for the mature figure. You might want to check out PatternReview.com if you haven't already.

          14. MaryinColorado | | #39

            I love your metaphore!  I agree,( but thank goodness for the food processor!)  Keep your eyes open as there will soon be a new independent pattern company advertised in Threads!!!  It sounds very promising for those of us with "womanly curves".  Mary 

          15. eardleygirl | | #40

            Can't wait for that.  I just got my new issue of Threads yesterday and spent 15 minutes on a casual look-see.  Can't wait for the weekend to read the second half of the draping article.  J

          16. eardleygirl | | #41

            You are so right  - great metaphor - but I guess the older I get the faster time flies and my patience isn't what it was when I was twenty.  I used to look at sweater patterns and consider that there was loads of time to get around to making the lovely sweaters I craved - now I look at them and wonder if I can adjust the sizing well enough and fast enough to make it worth my time.  I hate having that attitude toward sewing.  You are right that the time I spend sewing is a life saver in the midst of a very stressful time  but when I'm spending more time on the fitting than the cutting, sewing, and finishing I feel overwhelmed before I even get to the good part.  Weren't we the generation that could do it all?  What a myth that turned out to be.  Oh, to have known then what I know now.  Youth IS totally wasted on the young!  There's a lesson to be had in everything and perhaps the search for a perfect sloper will lead to answers to other things that plague us - Does the Abominable Snowman really exist?  After Harry met Sally did it pan out,  and do cats spend all that down time pondering String Theory?  I'm not ready to give up yet! J

          17. Gloriasews | | #42

            Oh, are you ever right!!!  It's still such a shock to look in the mirror or see our reflection in a window & see the sags & wrinkles & fluff (all of a sudden, it seems), when, in our minds, we're still reasonably young.  Then there's the physical downside too - aches, stiffness, etc.  Youth is truly wasted on the young - don't you remember when you couldn't wait to get older to do certain things???  It seemed like ages away - & now, here we are - & hoping we have enough years left to finish all our projects.  We can't win, eh?  Are you ladies also finding that it seems to take so much longer to do things now, too, that were just a cinch 10 or 20 years ago?  I now envy all the young girls who can squat & stand up with no effort.  I, too, used to take that for granted - not anymore! 

            Now that I've finished my rant, I think the clothing problem is that our clothes don't look on us the way we envisioned them to look because of the above-noted changes.  The fitting does take much more time than it used to, therefore, simpler styles are what we are now looking for.  What do you think?

          18. eardleygirl | | #44

            I really don't mind simpler styles I just don't like that they all look like bags on shot people.  I can still stand some tailoring in my clothes even if it's just a nice touch here and there.  I used to know what looked good on me and didn't have to dither over choosing a pattern.  Now I find myself pouring over ever seam placement like a blue print.  What's a squat?  I have effectively blocked the word from memory.  If you can't do it you're better off forgetting you ever could.  Concentrate on how much easier it is now to sit in one place for hours.  It's meditative!

          19. Gloriasews | | #49

            It is meditative, by then the knees stiffen up, so it wasn't worthwhile sitting so long.  You're right, though, about the simpler styles looking like sacks, and Ralphetta's suggestion of taking in tucks here & there really works.  You can also embellish any plain garment to add interest.  I have the same problem about not being sure anymore what suits me or is suitable for me.  I now look for patterns that are slimming and comfortable and not too fiddly.  I am also trying out ideas that other posters have suggested, besides the embellishing.  These threads are so much fun & educational - just like sitting together & talking!  Have a great day!

          20. eardleygirl | | #52

            I just found a few pages in the latest Burda World of Fashion mag that illustrate just what I mean about women not having to settle for looking like they're wearing bags when they don't fit the size norms anymore. In the back of the book (of course) are a few pages of fabulous and elegant designs for women "of a certain age" that don't look dowdy or require any extra help to spice up the look. Check out the top on page 81 and the dress on page 82 and think of the dress with a little linen jacket over it - or even with a transparent jacket over it. The dress skirt has lots of detail and the top on page 80 is made to show off the face and some terrific earrings don't you think? I'll be making that top, and probably those pants in several different fabrics for this summer. I might even make the top in a silk dupioni for a wedding in late summer. I don't expect to look 25 again but I do expect that pattern makers start to address the need for women my age to feel that they are still interested in real design and not ready to just wear some new version of a fifties mumu. In Burda and Patrones we have options. We just have to pay thru the nose for the books and find a Spanish language interpretor and wait weeks for them to arrive and settle (in the case of Burda) for the few pages in the back. I think these patterns all look comfy and fun but are quite ageless. Now back to the fitting issues again......... I'll let you know if they look as good on as they do in the book.

          21. Gloriasews | | #54

            I haven't seen any Burda WOF magazines here in any bookstore or venue where I usually find my sewing & quilting mags.  I'll check out their website.  Thanks for the tip.  I've never used a Burda pattern, but I think they are available at my fabric store, so will check out their catalogue next time I go, which may be awhile, as I'm trying to use up my stash.  There have been so many good comments about Burda patterns on these various threads, that they are worth looking into.  Again, thanks muchly!  Have a great day!

          22. eardleygirl | | #55

            You know what Gloria, you should consider getting a subscription to the mag. It is about $60 a year but it contains patterns that you never see here in the Burda books and you get all the patterns in the book along with it. It's really a bargain when you consider it. Also the Patrones mag works the same way but you can get a book with only plus sized garments. Plus sizes for both books go up to an American size 24. I started buying individual mags from ebay because they were less expensive than signing on for a year but then a friend gave me a subscription for Burda and I loved it so much I just continued. I hover between a 16 and an 18 and I am amazed at the difference in the fit between European patterns and American ones. I still use American patterns, mainly Vogue, as a basis for sewing items for my girls because their bodies aren't difficult to fit and I end up changing the designs so much. That's easier on some of our patterns because they are created in such an easy straight-forward way. Burda can be strange to sew at first because the pieces don't always look familiar. It's not unusual to have pants legs in three pieces and a yolk at the top that is self faced or creates part of a pocket. The pieces look funny but when you sw them they go together in such an ingenious way and there is so little extra fabric to contend with. If you like to sew for yourself it is one way to get closer to a good fit by starting with a pattern that takes into consideration that a woman needs seams in different places than a man. I would recommend it whole-heartedly. Janet

          23. Gloriasews | | #56

            Thanks, Janet - I will consider it.  Is that $60 US for 12 issues or 6?  Quite a bit, but maybe worth it.  Where do you order the patterns from, especially if they're not the ones in the stores? 

          24. eardleygirl | | #57

            It's $70 (just checked my last issue) for 6 but there's about 40 patterns per issue but only a handful are in size 18 and up. Most of them go up to 16. The thing is that those that do go up to the size you may be interested in are so much more stylish than what you can get here. Go to http://www.burdamode.com and you will be able to order from there. The English version comes from New Jersey so you don't get them later than the rest of the world. Originally it's from Germany but is printed in other languages. If you go online to that website you'll get a chance to look at what they have to offer. You can always do what I did and go for the latest version on ebay. It usually is sold by someone. The last one is 5/2007. IF you are interested in Patrones mag. That's a Spanish one but it's sold out of Germany. You need to order that from Germany and pay the postage. It's also only printed in Spanish so it helps to have a rudimentary knowledge of the Spanish language. Otherwise, you can always ask someone to translate the pattern directions only for the ones you like. Hope you like what you see at Burda. Janet

          25. Gloriasews | | #58

            Thanks for the website.  I checked it out & there are actually 48 plus-size patterns!  Will see if I can get any at my fabric shop first, as I think that'll be cheaper than ordering online.  Will also check out the magazine.  As for Patrones, I'm not interested, as I have absolutely nobody who speaks/understands Spanish, so I would find it very frustrating & time-consuming.  Take care!

          26. eardleygirl | | #59

            You're welcome.  Let me know if you get a pattern and like it once you make it.  I recommended Burda to my neighbor who was complaining that the American pattern makers didn't seem to understand that just because she was wide in the middle her legs were still relatively thin.  She made a pair of pants from a Burda pattern and says she's a convert.  I'd still love to have a really good sloper I could count on even using patterns that are a better fit.  It's the shrinking height, inability to wear those high heels that are in fashion right now, and the ever expanding waistband.  No matter how hard I try, or how much I know it's not good for me,  those pieces of cheesecake are impossible to turn down.  J

          27. Gloriasews | | #60

            Gotta agree with you on the shrinking height, expanding waistline & cheesecake (& cookies).  Quite often, the simpler pants patterns (looser style) are easier to fit than one that is more engineered - then our fitting skills (such as they are) really present a challenge.  All the pointers lately on pants fitting in these threads have been really helpful, though.

          28. eardleygirl | | #61

            I think I'd be lost without Threads sometimes.  I have been hanging on to every issue for years and before I start a project my usual ritual is to read the pattern instructions, determine the changes I'd like to make in the design, think about all the things I don't do often enough to feel really confident, and hit the Threads index.  I would get rid of the old ones but I find that sometimes they are more useful than the new.  Another thing I have to have on hand is Sandra Betzina's latest book on fabrics.  I don't know about you but I feel that at some point while my girls were in college and I was busy starting a second career loads of fabulous fabrics were invented that I really don't know a darn thing about.  All the lovely knits and micro fibers and metalics.  I would be lost without Sandra Betzina.  I agree about the loose fitting pants.  I have made a couple of pairs and I like wearing them because they are so darn comfy but I have also made some jeans (Burda) and I discovered that they are pretty comfy too when you don't have a waistband half-way up to your armpits to contend with everytime you sit down.  I have a prob with ready-to-wear jeans in that way because they don't make petites in bigger sizes.  If they're wide enough for my hips and rear they are too long in the waist.  The only option is to wear the crotch seam low and it feels awful when you walk or pull them up and suffer when you sit down.  I have the same prob with pull on pants.  I have to adjust all my patterns to make the waist lower and then adapt the waistline for narrow elastic attached to fabric ties that I thread thru a narrow turn-over rather than the wide turn-over filled with 1" elastic.  The less I have around my waist the better I like it and the better I feel.  I make all my pants with no real waistband - even the ones with the lighter elastic waist fall over my hips rather than on my waistline.  I take that from plus sized ready-to-wear.  It's so much more comfortable and since there's enough of me around my waist I don't want to make it any thicker in that area by adding layers of fabric and elastic.  It also makes whatever top you put over them sit nicely.  I called around here yesterday trying to find a class I could join this summer for fitting yourself.  The tech college has a couple but they start in the fall and they are during the day.  I still might have to bite the bullet and shift my schedule so that I can get into one but it would really be nice to go in the summer.  Have a terrific day, J

          29. Gloriasews | | #62

            I like your idea of the narrow elastic at the waist - it would reduce the bulk, alright.  Most of the ready-to-wear pants in plus sizes don't fit well at all (except for Sears)!  The stomachs are way too big, crotches are too low & not enough in the backside for the thighs.  As for jeans, they are just plain terrible!  The button/snap on the fly sticks way out & shows under my T-shirts, & the backside is worse - lots of smiles under the bum & diagonal folds from the knee to the hip.  Will just have to make my own, I think, as I really like the stretchy jeans.  Think I'll just copy my Sears pants with a buttoned waistband & make jeans from them, as they really fit nicely.  Also, most of the RTW pants have inseams of 30" with not enough hem to lengthen, which are just too short for me - I need at least 31", yet I am short-waisted & high-hipped.  Fitting, fitting, fitting!  Good luck on finding a course that works for your schedule.

          30. tmorris1 | | #63

            It was my lengthy inseam (38")that first prompted me to sew. Embrace your differences, if not for the extra leg, I may not have ever started this wonderful hobby all those years ago.

          31. Gloriasews | | #64

            Wow - you really have long legs!  I'm sure that even Tall Girls clothes wouldn't do it for you, eh?  Yah, it's our differences that got us into sewing - plus the colours (whatever is trendy usually doesn't suit me or I don't like the colour), & the different styles from the run-of-the-mill.  We'll never run out of sewing ideas.  As an aside, I'm amazed at the number of 1960s patterns that have recently returned - & they are not even in the vintage section!  Even the full skirts!  Everything old is new again, it seems, except for us!  Happy sewing!

          32. tmorris1 | | #65

            Lol every once in a while I get all dressed up, just to walk into a RTW clothing store and ask "do you have this in a 38" leg?" The look on the clerks face is priceless!!! Tall girl can fit me most of the time, but I hate the styles they carry so I guess it doesn't matter. Shoes are fun too...Pick up a pair of $400.00 shoes, look at the clerk and ask "do you have these in a 12 narrow?" They never have yet, guess I am lucky or I would be stuck buying a $400.00 pair of shoes just to entertain myself LOL.

          33. Gloriasews | | #66

            Or go barefoot!  Of course, you could also look into making your shoes, too, to match your outfits - how coordinated!

          34. tmorris1 | | #67

            I was so desperate in high school having to wear mens shoes that I actually tried making my own. Think the sole was an old pair of flip flops and used the sleeves of an old leather jacket. Let us just say that the experience is not one that I would recommend to others Lol. I just about sliced my finger off in the process - have I mentioned that I seem to have a couple of co-ordination issues?

          35. Gloriasews | | #69

            No, you didn't mention the co-ordination issues.  Guess sandals are the only way to go for comfort, eh?  Of course, if you live in a winter city, you would have problems re: snow boots, etc.   I find that sandals with a 1 or 1 1/4" heel are the most comfortable, but wonder if they are appropriate for a wedding I have to attend next month?  Maybe gold ones?  It seems that fitting issues encompass the whole body - if it's not one thing, it's another.  Anyway, glad you didn't lose your finger - but we seem to try anything out of necessity sometimes, with the hope that it'll be successful.  If we don't try, we don't know.

          36. eardleygirl | | #68

            You sound like my twin.  I have all the same issues with jeans.  Too long in the waist and the stomach always has loads more fabric than I need but not enough in the butt for when I bend and sit.  That's the beauty of that Burda cut.  Longer back seam and shorter front seam.  I have a feeling that women reach an age when they just become invisible.  Marketing companies don't pay attention because we don't spend as much money on clothes as younger women, pattern makers don't pay attention because they don't have any competition here in the States to push them out of their familiar time worn ideas of what older women want or need.  Our generation of sewers may just change all that considering that there are more of us than ever before and we are living a whole lot longer.  We also aren't as sheltered from our options as women in our mothers generation.  With computers we can see that there are lots of options available to us and they are easy to purchase.  Threads has always done their share of informing their readers about independent pattern companies and they seem to have had a  love affair with Burda for years before  I got on the bandwagon and tried it.  It's good to know that the problems I face are shared with others.  I find it so easy to fit someone else and I am a bust when it comes to fitting myself unless I spend hours with each and every pattern - gotta get that sloper!  Have a nice evening Gloria - J

          37. Gloriasews | | #70

            You're right on all points!  Guess I'll just have to get a Burda pants pattern.  If the mag truly has complete patterns in the issues, guess it's worth the $.  I, too, have stopped buying plus-size clothing (except in dire emergencies when I need something special really fast), as the necks & shoulders are way too big & take a fair bit of remodelling to make them fit, so it's easier & faster to make my own.  I'm getting so much better now, too, with all the advice on these threads.  I bought the Pamela's Perfect T-shirt patterns & will try them out as soon as I have a few more projects completed.  I've learned so much more about my body shape & how it moves from these threads that I have more confidence in fitting myself.  Of course, the taped dress form helps, too, except for pants.  Happy sewing!

          38. eardleygirl | | #71

            Let me know how that Tee pattern works for you.  I haven't made a tee yet that I've been thrilled about and I have spent a lot of money on some beautiful knits that feel like silk -only to ruin them in my attempt to fit a tee.  I have broad shoulders but a small bust and a wide back.  I can end up with some pretty hilarious looking things when my bust measurement sounds like I am very well endowed but it's all in my back rather than my front.  I have to make my own bras because I can't get a size 38A.  It's amazing how easy it is to make a very professional looking bra but nearly every notion used has to be ordered on-line.  None of the ffabric stores near here sell the correct elastic.  I never found the elastic that has a soft inside to it but that's what the pattern recommends.  I did shock the daylights out of myself by coming up with a bra that really fits like a dream though.  Now if I only had enough time and material to make loads of them.  J

          39. Gloriasews | | #72

            You are the first person I've heard of who makes her own bras.  All the articles (including the Threads ones) do say they are easy, but I'm really afraid to even try (mine would be 44DD).  They look like they'd be really fiddly to do.  It is really hard to find a well-fitting bra for under $85 here, though, so maybe I'll have a go.  (How much did it cost to make one)?  It's true, the fabric shops don't seem to carry all of the supplies necessary, but maybe nobody has been asking for them, so they don't order them.

          40. eardleygirl | | #73

            You know it takes so little fabric that the total cost is about $12 - but you're talking to someone who doesn't need to wear one most of the time because the coverage isn't vast.  I bet you could make them for less than $20each though and they reallya ren't all that fiddley.  You need to buy the fabric in half yard increments for the cup so you already have enough for several bras when you buy for the first one.  I make mine with cup that's half lace and line it with silk organza.  The other thing I like about making them is that you can make any style you like and they can look more like something you bought in Victoria Secret than Target.  It took me half a day to make the first one because I hadn't done it before but I think it's about an hour and half after that.  If I was at home now I'd tell you the pattern I used but i'm at the studio so I don't have the info at hand.  I'll drop you a line over the weekend to let you know the pattern.  You choose the cup size and the back size from one pattern and marry the two together.  Simple and easy - and with nice fabric they turn ot quite beautiful too.  I had been reading those same articles and was relieved to find that it was all true.  J

          41. Gloriasews | | #75

            Sounds good, after all.  Now to get the supplies. . .  I can't believe you can make them that fast!  It's worth a try, anyway.

          42. eardleygirl | | #77

            It's one of those things that only goes fas because you cut out more than one at a time and there's a rythm to doing each in an assembly line fashion.  All of the seams are very short in comparison to making a garment and after you take the time to make one on it's own you learn all the little tricks that make it faster.  The key is ordering enough straps (you can make your own but it takes longer) and pre-made elastic tabs with hooks already attached.  Then it's simply sewing two middle seams per cup and attaching them to the stretch lycra backs, lining and adding one triangular piece between the cups, sewing elastic along the top and bottom, turning it toward the inside of the bra which captures the raw edges between elastic and inside of bra, zig zagging the elastic to the bra one more time and adding straps and back closure panel.  At first it can be a bit finicky but after you do it once it's a piece of cake and the results are amazing.  You should get a pattern for the list of notions and then hit google to find suppliers because that's the hardest part.  J

          43. Gloriasews | | #78

            And they don't look home-made???  It does sound easy - I'll really consider it now.

          44. eardleygirl | | #79

            Hi Gloria, The bra pattern I use is KWIK SEW 3300. It's for sizes 32A to 38DD but if the cup size works for you it's just a matter of making the back longer and, perhaps increasing the size of the little triangle in the front? It isn't the only bra pattern out there - I looked at several before I decided that this one was right for me - and they can't be any more difficult than this one was to make. Looking at the front of the pattern right now I am amazed that the one I chose to make looks exactly like the pattern illustration - that, as you know, doesn't happen as often as you'd like it to. J

          45. tmorris1 | | #74

            Gloria;here is a link to a bra workshop on-line. Lots of pics and great explanations...http://sewing.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&sdn=sewing&cdn=hobbies&tm=5&f=00&su=p445.92.150.ip_&tt=14&bt=0&bts=1&zu=http%3A//www.andsewitis.net/braclass/class_start.htmljust copy and paste it into your browserT

          46. Gloriasews | | #76

            Thanks so much for the website!  I would never have known where to look.  This is becoming more interesting all the time!

            Edited 5/10/2007 2:14 pm by Gloriasews

          47. Cathie | | #80

            I have read most of these, and will return soon. I really can relate. I am 5 ft. 6, and am a 14 to 24 in one body, also very curvy. Although I am 57, I am "fairly" fit, and like funky and/or sporty clothes. But, I have been pulling my hair out re: fit and patterns. I think you would be amused by "Dress Your Best" (Kelly and London), which is very helpful, but also lets us see that younger people have fitting issues too (which is "consoling"). In my long search, I came across older sewing books, with more fitting help. Also, Betzina and Deckert explain how to up-grade, yet have those embellishments we like too. Marian Lewis writes in a fun way about sewing for the "mature" figure. One thing that is important (and those European patterns understand this), is the pattern pieces must have their shapes modified, to suit us. Barbara Emodi has a great Threads article on this, you can down load. She explains small modifications we can make, as do these other authors. Working with proportion and colours and texture we can look great, even if not 25. Also, three pattern companies from B.C.  that cater to the larger ladies are: Sewgrand Patterns, Petite Plus Patterns, and Pavelka Design. Happy sewing.

          48. Josefly | | #81

            Great info to have. Thanks.

          49. Cathie | | #82

            Hi there ladies. Very enterprising re: bras and jeans! The jeans up near armpit, with excess stomach (and I have a "small" tummy too), and tight thighs, and no bottom on the pants are so familiar. I have a huge cache of Burdas from rummage sales. Gorgeous, and with lots of fitting articles. Also, back to the sloper idea, Marian Lewis (who writes about the "mature" figure, but is a fun read, and not frumpy), suggests making sloper-like simple garments, that you can wear (like simple T's), and then using to check the fit of future patterns. Somewhat easier that the muslin idea. Happy sewing.

          50. Ralphetta | | #45

            Whenever I see my reflection in a store window I am always reminded of a statement I read a long time ago, "Any woman who looks at herself in a storewindow deserves what she gets."

          51. MaryinColorado | | #47


          52. Gloriasews | | #48

            Unfortunately, how true - I consider myself chastised!!!  Of course, I wasn't looking at myself in the windows on purpose - it's just when the light is right & you surprise yourself, like - yikes, that's me!  I got what I deserved, eh????  Guess I'll just have to live with it.

          53. Ralphetta | | #50

            I meant to be funny, not rude to anyone.  It's just that occasionally I look, to check my hair,etc. and when I see my reflection I always think of that quote because I rarely like what I see.

          54. MaryinColorado | | #51

            How true!  I don't like what I see either!  A wise person once said to me, I'd never get a facelift!  I've earned every one of these wrinkles and am proud of the life they represent!  Of course, she had lovely soft skin and laugh lines and smile crinkles.  I would like a bodylift, but only if it doesn't require surgery! 

            For now, maybe I'll just try not to frown at the mirror and appreciate that I can afford the food that got me here!  Mrs. Santa Claus looks like a kindly grandma, why shouldn't I?  But then, haven't seen her in a bathing suit!  lol  If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, maybe we just need to look deeper, beyond the reflection.

          55. Gloriasews | | #53

            OK, you're off the hook for your comment!  But, aha! you also catch yourself looking & it is a shock, isn't it?  Have to agree with you - I don't like what I see when that happens, too - think we all feel that way.  We're only human & aging fast!  Have a great day!

          56. gigibudrog | | #34

            Hi, I'm new here but I just had to add my two cents.  You are so right.  At one time I sewed for myself all the time.  Now I sew for my granddaughter age 19.  I can't stand my shape, it's so round.  I at one time I was so thin.  I can't buy clothes that fit neither.  Real frustrating, but not enough to cause me to do something about it. 

          57. Alicia | | #33

            Hello Ralphetta:

            I understand completely.  However, I find it so difficult to purchase clothing that fits or that is a reasonable style for a woman of my age (74).  This year all blouses and dresses are sleeveless...... you know what I mean...

             So I am making a muslim out of a dress pattern and have posted a message about my difficulties with the back area.  Maybe you have some suggestions.



          58. sewingkmulkey | | #19

            Where do you teach your class?  I live near IAH (the other Houston airport).



          59. HeartFire2 | | #20

            I'm jjgg - just on a different computer I can never remember my logins so it's different on each computer! LOL. I"m actually also HeartFire without the 2 after it, but can't remember that log in either!!!! HeartFire Gowns is the name of my dressmaking business.Anyway, I'm in Clear Lake - way south on 45 I teach at Sew Contempo Nasa Rd 1 and Egret Bay. My next class won't be till probably late September as I'm going hiking for a few months starting in April.
            http://www.trailjournals.com/heartfire if you want to read about my hike on the Appalachian trail and see pictures of it.I had a class of 7 students tonight, one was from somewhere near Spring (near you) 2 from the katy area!!! I was really shocked that people come from so far away for it. You can check the Sew Contempo web site for their classes, I'll be back on the sched starting Sept.

          60. sewingkmulkey | | #23

            Thanks for the info.  I'll try to remember to sign up for your class in August. 

            Happy hiking!


          61. sewmom5 | | #21

            I'm not sure where clear lake is. I'll have to look on a map. Do you usually have quite a few people in your class?

          62. jjgg | | #22

            Clear Lake is going south on I-45 about halfway between downtown Houston and Galveston (Clear Lake is actually part of the city of Houston).I usually have about 4 ppl in the class, my cut off is 6 but I had 7 last night and it all went smoothly

          63. Michianna | | #24

            I visit clear lake several times a year.  Where do you teach?

          64. HeartFire2 | | #26

            Michianna - I'm the same as JJGG - just on different computers!
            Anyway, I teach at Sew Contempo but my next class is not till late September.

          65. Michianna | | #27

            That is my favorinte store!  I go there every time I am in the Houston area to visit my kids and grandkids.  If your class is in their fliers I should get notice.  Thanks!

          66. HeartFire2 | | #31

            yes, my classes are in their mailings

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