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What design is best for large waist?

lovemyelna | Posted in General Discussion on

Does anyone have any ideas on what easy blouse or t-shirt designs would
look good on a tall middle-aged woman, large busted with some weight
gain at the waist? Struggling to find something that is not frumpy!


  1. Sewmanysewers | | #1

    Although I am not tall, I do have a large bust and a bit of a tummy. I have found that a longer tunic style T shirt or over blouse works well. Also a dark colour sleeveless top or camy and pants/skirt with a brighter colored or patterned top that ties in front. It seems to hide things a bit.  Hope this is helpful.

    Mary in Buninyong, Australia

  2. Ralphetta | | #2

    I'm sort of in your category and I found that the current tailored shirts with slightly curved shaping from darts to mark, but not hug, the middle, are flattering to me.  You can make them as short or long as you wish, depending on what your hips/rear look like.  I've found that all those Vnecked things with empire waists...look like maternity clothes on me.   They make me look even bigger in the middle.  I'm heavier now and too much loose fabric flying around only looks like I'm much fatter than I am.  It's amazing how much more flattering things are on me when I remove  just a little excess fabric through the middle.

  3. SewFit | | #3

    Vogue 7063 is nice.  I haven't made it but am considering using it.  I am short (5') but with a full bust and I find that by keeping some shaping at the waist and staying away from pleated trousers, I can maintain a "thin look".....This pattern may need an additional dart at the bust area to allow for a larger than "B" cup size.

    Hope you find something you like.....

    Edited 6/6/2007 7:55 am ET by SewFit

    Edited 6/6/2007 7:56 am ET by SewFit

  4. dotty | | #4

    I wear lots of tucked out camp shirts. Buttons down the front are key. Also don't make it oversized. A nice fit through the shoulders, and not too baggy,usually works well for me.

    1. user-217847 | | #7

      Hi there Dotty, sorry to show my ignorance, but what is a camp shirt?


      1. dotty | | #8

        A camp shirt is a regular old shirt-- buttons down the front,a roll collar, a yoke(I don't know how strict the definition is). But for us large bellied/large busted types, the non clingy, cammoflaging aspect is great. I agree with Teaf(was it Teaf?) that you don't want excess baggy stuff around the armpits though. Campshirts, like everything else, look better when they fit right.

      2. User avater
        Becky-book | | #12

        In addition to what Dotty replied, camp shirts usually have a dropped shoulder allowing for loose sleeves and 2 patch pockets on the front!


  5. Teaf5 | | #5

    i like 3/4-length sleeves for v-neck shaped tees or collared, slightly shaped tailored blouses with untucked, shaped hems. The sleeves end at about the hem of the shirt (at the hip bone) and don't add visual width at the bust the way short sleeves tend to.

    Like Ralphetta, I like subtle vertical darts in the front and back to give shape overall, and I tend to favor vertical stripes or solid colors rather than florals.

    I also make sure the shoulders and upper bust are very fitted so that there isn't a lot of excess fabric to make me look bigger than I am. Harve Bernard makes cotton shirts like this that fit me well and work for sizing my patterns.

    1. dotty | | #6

      I agree 3/4 sleeves seem to be especially flattering.

  6. clrsnowball | | #9

    As a very tall curvy lady, I've lived your question!    Deep V necks and faux wraps work well for me. There is also a great top in Burda that I've done in 8 different fabrics #8361.  Butterick's 3344 and 4789 are also favourites for knits too!


    1. lovemyelna | | #10

      Thank You all for your imput. I'm not sure about cupping in under the breast area as my, shall we say, sisters, have headed farther south than
      a gaggle of geese escaping the next ice age. Wouldn't that just accentuate this problem? (Your choices are real cute though)

      1. SewFit | | #14

        Just as thought-have you been properly fitted for a really good support bra.   Makes a world of difference in how the gals and the clothes hang-I know from experience.


        1. Teaf5 | | #15

          I completely agree with a properly-fitted bra being the best way to make clothes look and fit better! Last year, my daughter dragged me into Victoria's Secret, where I was pleased to be measured over my t-shirt and then provided a deluxe, private room to try on several sizes of several styles, all of which are more comfortable and look better than anything I've ever worn before.After buying two that fit well, I find all my tops fit better and people think I have lost weight; surprisingly comfortable for all-day wear (Not Affiliated in Any Way, really!), they have reduced my fitting challenges, too.

    2. lovemyelna | | #11

      Please explain a faux wrap, I'm not sure I understand.

      1. clrsnowball | | #13

        hi there, a faux wrap sewn in a knit has a variably deep V neckline (depending on how north or south the girls are, you can drape the 'under' side of the wrap under or over that side's girl)....SO why 'faux' ? it looks like it wraps, but each side is draped over and is actually stitched into a side seam.....you cannot have a surprise falling out !

        Does that help?



  7. KarenQuiltsTx | | #16

    I think the best shirt for you depends on your overall shape - I really love Darlene Miller's system for choosing and designing clothes based on your overall shape.

    I have a rather thick waist - and I am very much "square" in shape... straight across shoulders, square hips... So, I choose designs that emphasize my overall shape. After years of wondering why I never could look good in slinky, ruffly, or cinch waisted styles - I left those behind, and now chop off all my shirt tails (I'm also only 5'3" and am short-waisted to boot!), and threw out my gathered waisted paints (circles can wear those!)...

    I love camp shirts, T-shirts (cut short  - to the top of my hips, with decorative stitching across the hem), Tunics (also shorter rather than longer), in the summer the same styles, but sleeveless.  Tibetan, or oriental styled collars, and square opening shells!

    Karen A.

    Austin, Tx

  8. gwoman | | #17

    Blouson-type tops are good.  For some very interesting information about dressing for different body types, I found several books very informative.  I found  The Triumph of Individual Style especially helpful. 


  9. ctirish | | #18

    If you are looking for a T-Shirt pattern try Pamelas Patterns.  I am short but I found the most important thing for me was finding the exact length a t-shirt or shirt length needs to be so it falls on my hips at a point where it looks good. Once you do that, you can work out where the darts need to be and where you can bring the waist in so you have the look of a waist. In shirts, I find you need to be very careful about length and darts, both bust darts and front darts. If they are aligned well, the blouse, top or shirt will look great and slimming.

  10. fabricholic | | #19

    I have on a crinkle sheer top that has an empire waist and has the handkerchief hem. It is v neck and low cut, but I wear a black camisole under it. It ties in the back. I got it at Lane Bryant. You could probably look at their website and see the style I am speaking about. It is very comfortable and hides my stomach better than most.


    1. User avater
      Aless | | #20

      Re wrap tops-

      I have just trialled 2 and made serious changes to 1 of these to make it suit me.

      I have broad shoulders and am evenly heavy through to my toes(!),but I don't have a large bust compared to the rest of me.This was particularly important with the Vogue pattern.

      The patterns I have trialled are

      Christine Jonson #426......needed to cut one size smaller,but apart from that,this top looks terrific on me

      Vogue 8151(Sandra Betzina) ...this top needed to be raised a good inch at back neck and the wrap over (under breast) needed to be re-drafted to make the neckband finish much lower at the side seam. Rather than a curved 'hook' it now slants down at an angle.I also had to go down a size with this pattern.

      I hope this helps anyone else using these patterns.I spent days trying to get the Vogue just right-it was worth it.


  11. kainatl | | #21


    I have the same shape and the same aversion to frumpy!  I've found that a more tailored style is most flattering for me.  I like a pattern where the sides curve in at the waist, possibly with bust and back darts, (why not emphasize the positive) a v neck, simple collar, or faced neckline, clean lines and 3/4 length sleeves.  A slightly curved hemline and length that clears the tummy looks good.  Vertical stipes are a plus!  I also like one with a looser fit and a back that is a little longer than the front with a curved hemline.  Some of the Park Bench and Vouge patterns feature this styling.  I have to say that anything that is straight and long (over the hips) makes me look and feel like a blob and the shirt backs invariable "get stuck" on the behind when I bend over and that is not a good look!

    Good luck, let me know if you find any magic out there. 



    1. sewingkmulkey | | #22


      I agree with everything you mentioned in your post.  Our figures must be similar.


  12. nancymax | | #23

    I have no solutions other than what has already been posted. But I DO have a lot of empathy. As a 6-foot tall woman who wears a size 22 I am very frustrated. I wish the ready-made world would realize that all women do NOT fall into the "average" or "petite" worlds, and that a 29" inseam just doesn't work for everyone over 5'2"!!!
    Length in tops is critical for us plus size ladies, and it is a real challenge for us tall women.

    1. Gloriasews | | #24

      You're absolutely right - all the RTW pants this year have a 29" inseam, & I need 30" or 31", even though I am 5' 6".  As for tops, all the plus-size clothes are becoming a real problem for me in that the necks are huge (I have to put darts in, if I buy one), not to mention the lengths being too long or too short.  It seems that most of the styles now are for much younger girls & even those are not flattering to a large body (especially all the horizontally-striped T-shirts - aagh!)!  So many of the petite styles would be very flattering to our shape, but they don't make them large enough.  I was looking for a dress 2 days ago & couldn't find even one dress of any kind in the plus-size departments - it was all casual summer clothes - so back to the sewing machine!  It is really frustrating when you want to buy an item for a change and, if you're lucky enough to find it in the store, the colour is wrong!  All we can do is keep on sewing!

    2. lovemyelna | | #25

      I have finally just had to make a basic sloper and draft my own basic
      patterns, with considerable help from a professional seamstress/pattern designer who really knows her stuff. It was a lot of work but I finally have pants, top and skirt that I know fit perfectly. From there I can do design work to give a differnt look. I would like to be able to use this magic sloper to alter ready-made but the variants are so large that it is easier just to design my own. Progress is slow, especially when I gain weight because the sloper is such a perfect match. But everyone
      needs a challenge. And just for the extra-talls girls such as my self,when you feel the challenge is too great, I remember the advice and encouragement my father always said to me,
      "You'll always have the front row seat in the crowd".

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