I used to think I was a plus-size hour glass, but when I started to sew for myself I realized that my hips size always matches a size bigger than my bust and waist, so I’m starting to assume I’m a “light” pear, as I have broad shoulders too. My bust size varies with my weight, so I consider them proportional to my body. My high waist is “thin,” and my hips, as I said, are veeery wide. My ankles and feet are slim though.
• Full Bust: 43″
• Waist: 38″
• Hips: 48″
• Bra Size: 40C (UK size)
• Height: 5’2″ (oh yes, I’m short!)
In RTW, I normally fit in a 18-20 (UK) size for bottoms and dresses, and 16-XL for tops. Nowadays I only buy clothes when I travel, as it is almost impossible to find nice clothes in bigger sizes in Brazil, where I live.
I have to confess that I’m very amateur when it comes to adjustments. I wish I could take an exclusive course on this to make my life a bit easier. But I usually do:
• Shortening patterns. I need to shorten every single pattern I have as I am a short lady! Most of the time I have to shorten the garment again when hemming, which I’m terrible at.
• Necklines. I think and do just like Jenny: “a lower neckline looks much better on me.” I use a French curve ruler to draw a new line on most of my dresses’ necklines or I completely change it to a V-neck.
• Bust Darts. I’m starting to notice that my bust darts fall a little bit low. So for my next projects I’ll try to raise them a little bit so they will sit more on the middle of my bust. If it works, it might become a must- do adjustment for me.
My favorite types of patterns:
I live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and unfortunately we don’t get the Big 4 patterns here (if you know where I can find them here, pleeease let me know!). The Brazilian mail doesn’t always work, and the last time I bought a pattern online it took 5 weeks to arrive, and when it did they charged me double in taxes what I’d paid! The magazines available here rarely offer plus size patterns and the ones I’ve tried haven’t worked well for me. I consider myself a beginner/intermediate sewer, and so I don’t feel confident enough to grade patterns yet.
My life changed when I discovered Colette Patterns and, later, the Curvy Sewing Collective. An entire world of indie pattern makers and their PDF files to conquer in a click!! So, I would say that my favourite pattern types are the ones available in my size and for download online!! Ha ha!
But seriously, in terms of style, I consider myself a dress/skirt girl, much because I’m still very scared of sewing pants or shorts (the last pair ended up in the pyjama drawer), but also because I live in a tropical, always summer city. I look for patterns that are simple to sew and that will make me feel comfortable (free belly!). Preferably the pattern will have some hacking potential. Oh, and I love the ones that teach me new techniques (Colette is a master of that)!
I just love patterns that highlight my curves, which means nice cleavage, accented waist, and a full skirt. The Colette Myrtle dress is a hit in my wardrobe. I’ve already made it in woven and knit, and learned a lot through the process. Also the Simplicity 1375 dress meets all my requirements and is super easy to sew. It comes with five different views! I still need to add a wrap dress to my closet, and I really want to try Cashmerette’s Appleton.
The best solution to survive the morning rush to work is a pullover dress. It allows you to go through the day comfortably and still feel tidy. I lost count of how many Fancy Tiger Crafts Fen dresses I’ve made. I like the fact that, depending on the fabric I use, it can become a completely different dress. I also like that I can add features to it, such as a peter pan collar or a long sleeve. Two new acquisitions that I’m sure will become a habitué in my closet are the Colette Seamwork Kenedy Dress and Style Arc Mila Designer Dress, which I have already hacked into a shirt dress in a very artistic fabric as you can see:
I have to say I haven’t been too successful in finding PDF skirt patterns that I like in my size. I fall in love with the patterns with some different details where I can play with prints, only to find out they’re not available for me. But the ones I do manage to get, I really like, and I’ve repeated them more than once. They are Sewaholic Rae skirt, a lovely circle skirt with a comfortable elastic waist, and Liesl and Co. City Stroll Wrap Skirt, which changes completely depending on the type of fabric you use and also is adaptable to the waist.
So, that’s me! I look forward to hearing your suggestions of patterns that you think would suit me, if you have any!