Hello again, Curvy Sewing Collective! Today I’m here with my take on the CSC’s fascinating Sewing for My Curves series.
We’d love to hear from you, too! How do you sew for your curves? What adjustments do you typically make? What are your favorite/go-to styles? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to join in this series!
Here I go…
Measurements, body type and sizing
- Measurements: Upper Bust: 39″ Full Bust: 42″ Waist: 35″ Hip:45″ Height: 5’7″
- Body type: Pear-ish? Whatever the body type it is that causes trying on pants to be a traumatic experience.
- Attributes: smaller bust, swayback, high waist, a bit of a belly these days, wide hips, wide but not particularly round butt, somewhat short legs for my height, thick thighs, saddle bags, full biceps
- RTW size: all over the map, anywhere from a 12 to a 20, depending! Probably average a 14 on top, 16 on bottom
My typical adjustments
I am still figuring out what works for me, realizing that it differs greatly based on pattern company and garment type. After re-reading Tanya’s post, I realized that I make many of the same adjustments she does!
In patterns, I find that I end up choosing sizes anywhere from a 12 to a 20, depending.
- Grading between sizes: I typically grade between sizes, going up at least one size, often two on the bottom half or at the hip, particularly for more fitted garments.
- Bodice length: I often find that I have to shorten the bodice length on dresses or shirts that have a waistband or waist seam to accommodate my high waist.
- Swayback: Many times I also have to do a slight swayback adjustment to avoid that horizontal wrinkle at my lower back.
- Side seams: For pants, I often let out the side seams by reducing the seam allowance at the hips and thighs so I don’t have pulling.
- Curved waistband and yoke: For jeans and pants with a yoke and waistband, I have often had to curve the waistband and/or take a wedge or two out of the back yoke so that I don’t have the dreaded back waistband gape.
- Rise: I like a higher rise on pants both for backside and love handle coverage, so sometimes I have to raise it a bit.
- Hip pockets: I often omit hip pockets, particularly in-seam pockets, which I find to be bulky and bunchy on my hips/thighs. They make me self-conscious about that part of my body and are often to tight for me to use anyway, so I say, “Be gone!” Alternatively, if a pattern has slash pockets or curved front hip pockets, I will often change the construction so that they are a one-layer pocket, which reduces the bulk in the thigh/hip area. Check out my one-layer pocket tutorial!
- Skirt length: Often I find myself lengthening skirts an inch or two. Although my legs are a bit short for my height, I find that the length I do have is mainly in the upper part, so skirts can feel short to me.
- Bicep adjustment: At least 50% of the time I benefit from a full bicep adjustment on blouses so I don’t have a sausage arm effect.
My favorite types of patterns:
I like to stick with simple, clean lines, not a lot of ruffles or fluffy details. I feel like I am still figuring out what exactly my style is (I don’t have a style as distinct as Mary or Tanya) and sometimes I can be easily distracted by the newest sewing pattern or style (squirrel!, bubbles! shiny thing!, etc.). Also, the climate where I currently live (Bangkok, Thailand) dictates what I wear to a certain extent, in the sense that it’s all summer clothing. I’m sure my list would be different if I were back in the land of four seasons. Anywho, here’s what I gravitate towards these days:
Conventional wisdom might say that a girl with wide hips should avoid wrapping herself tightly in that region, but I am loving this style. I feel like it balances my pear shape and makes me look a bit more proportional. I prefer knee-length (no minis for me!) and high-waisted skirts that smooth over my love handles. Occasionally I wear these skirts with tops tucked into them, or with a cropped sweater, but more often than not I am wearing them with the shirt untucked.
Below are some skirts that I’ve made that have gotten a lot of wear. I’ve also got a list of high-waisted pencil skirts in my to-sew queue, too: Style Arc Taylor, Style Arc Fay, Colette Beignet, Bluegingerdoll Betsy, Delia Creates Pleated Pencil Skirt…
Slimmer fitting pants
I am still pretty new to the world of pants/trouser sewing. I have a couple pairs of RTW pants from Ann Taylor Loft- the curvy fit- that I wear a lot, but I am trying to bulk up my collection of me-made trousers. The styles I typically go for are sleeker, without hip pockets that bunch or gape. Bonus if the front is flat or the trousers have a side zip. I also adore elastic waistbands/pull-on trousers, especially if it doesn’t look like I am wearing an elastic waistband! Patterns made for a stretch woven usually work well for me, too. Comfort rules.
Below are some of the slim/sleek pants I’ve made, but I’m eager to try some more patterns, including the embarrassingly named Hot Patterns Tummy-Taming Trousers and Style Arc Flat Bottom Flo, as well as the more subtly named Style Arc Claudia.
I tend towards simple lines on tops, sometimes more fitted, but sometimes a boxy top. I try to wear the boxier tops with sleeker bottoms like the pencil skirt or sleek pants I described above. I love cut-on sleeves because they are easier to sew and less likely to squeeze my arms/require a full bicep adjustment. Lazy, I know. They’re also super cool in Bangkok’s hot weather.
PS: Get a new pose, Meg.
I am less of a dress wearer than a pants wearer, but if I do wear a dress, I tend to go for a defined waist and fuller skirt.