Hi everyone and welcome to a new series here on the CSC!
Inspired by a comment by Amber PB on Rosie’s great post on Plus Size Peculiarities, we’re going to be featuring curvy sewists talking about their figure, what adjustments they make, and which garments they enjoy making and wearing. We hope that it will be helpful for everyone to get inspired from women with similar proportions!
Do you want to contribute? Email us at email@example.com with details about your figure, and a few recent photos, and we will pick a diverse selection.
So I’m going to kick us off today by talking about how I sew for my curves!
– I have never successfully categorized myself as a fruit varietal, but I’m definitely top heavy, with broad shoulders and a big bust, a not-flat tummy, a flat bum, and slimmer arms, hips, thighs and legs proportionately to the rest of me.
– My measurements are:
- Height: 5’6″
- Bra size: 36HH
- High Bust: 44″
- Bust: 48″
- Waist: varies from 38 – 42″ depending on time of the month, year, whether it’s raining outside, what side of the bed I got out on today etc.
- Hip: 48″
– I am low of bust and high of waist: there’s only 3 inches between the bottom of my bra and my waist
– In stores, I tend to be around a 14/16, but I can easily be an 18 in jeans, and I’m not entirely sure how large my bust is, because I only wear stretchy RTW things, really. I’m going to guess a 22 or 24.
Typically, I start with a 20 or 22 in Big4 patterns, and an 18/20/XL in indie patterns.
- FBA all the way baby! Even cup sized patterns are much too small for my bust, so I have to do a full bust adjustment for everything I make. The good news is that it isn’t that hard, and doesn’t take me very long these days. The downside is I often have to deal with Big Honkin Darts (so I’m following Michelle’s series in detail!). I typically choose the pattern size closest to my high bust measurement (44″) and adjust from there.
- Linked to the FBA, I often have to add extra onto armscyes to cover my bra near my armpit, even after I’ve already added more width in. I’m going to try the Y-FBA soon to see if that helps.
- I think that lower necklines look much better on me (I look like I am all boob if I wear a turtleneck or crewneck!), so I very often scoop out high necklines – I simply mark where I want it to end and use a French curve ruler to draw the new line on. Sometimes, I copy it from a top I already like.
- My waist is often an inch or two bigger than the size that fits me elsewhere, so I do a full waist adjustment on fitted skirts, trousers and jeans.
- My thighs are slimmer proportionately, so I have to do a thin thighs adjustment when making jeans and pants.
Here’s what I love to wear, which I think compliments my figure and makes me feel awesome. Broadly speaking, when I’m not just getting over excited about a colourful print, I’m usually thinking about balancing out my bust, and skimming over my tummy. Sewing helps tremendously on both counts!
- I’ve been wearing these for years, even before I learned to sew, so I guess it’s somewhat inevitable these are a staple of my wardrobe! I prefer to wear them with a camisole to give a deep “v” look – if they cross high enough not to be indecent they look like they’re strangling me. You can check out all my wrap dresses here. I mostly use a heavily hacked Christine Jonson pattern, but unfortunately it only goes up to a 42″ bust.
- I wasn’t convinced with this to begin with! Partly because I’d never owned a button-down shirt that fit me, so I’m not sure I’d ever really contemplated wearing a shirt dress. However now I love them, and I think of them as my summer staple. It definitely takes some work getting the FBA right to ensure there’s no gaping, but I think the nipped-in waist with a skinny belt, and slightly poofy skirt which skims over my tummy, looks awesome. I’ve made the classic M6696 – here’s my post about the one below – and also tried McCall’s M6506.
- I didn’t realize how much I wore my skinny jeans until I participated in Me Made May, and realized I was wearing them most days! My go-to pattern is the Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans, which goes up to a generous size 20. I had to do a thin thighs adjustment, but now they’re the best fitting pair of jeans I’ve ever owned. I love the internal woven pocket stay, which holds everything in. The only thing I have to do is be careful what top I pair them with: I need something slightly looser at the waist to give me clean lines and limit the spillover. Here are my first pair:
Elasticated waist skirts
- Don’t laugh. I LOVE them! Styled in the wrong way I admit they can look terrible, but here’s the thing: when I sit down my waist is appreciably bigger than when I’m standing. So close fitting waistbands inevitably dig in, unless they’re enhanced with the wonder that is elastic. I think that paired with a tighter fitting top and a belt they can look awesome! My pattern of choice is M6931 which I’ve talked about before here: it has a great combo of pleats and gathers.
So that’s me! Do any of you have a similar top-heavy figure? What patterns do you use? I’d love to have more recommendations! Are there any other adjustments you do? And which other body shapes would you like to see in the Sewing for my Curves series?