Hi Curvy Sewing Collective! I’m excited to contribute to the Sewing for My Curves series today. If you want to see more of my sewing adventures (and my Old English Bulldog, Imogen), you can find me at @rare.device on Instagram.
What are your measurements/body shape?
I’m an hourglass-to-pear shape, with a generous butt, thighs, calves, and upper arms. I love sewing partially because I can get a perfect fit when RTW lets me down, but also because I can create things more fantastical, playful, and in line with my preferred dandy femme gender presentation than RTW offers!
- Upper Bust: 43”
- Bust: 47”
- Under Bust: 38”
- Waist: 37”
- Hips: 52”
- Height: 5’7”
- Bra Size: 38G
I’m usually an 18-20 in RTW, and cut between a 20-24 in the Big 4 patterns.
What adjustments do you typically make when sewing?
I most often start with grading between sizes. I generally like a close fit, but am 2-3 sizes different between my waist and hips. I’m new to doing adjustments the “proper” way, having gotten by with tweaks and darts here and there for most of my sewing life, but I’m rapidly and voraciously learning more. I’ve recently started doing full bust adjustments (FBAs), and learning that skill has completely changed my sewing – no more too-big shoulders and gaping necklines! I always have to do a full bicep adjustment on things with sleeves, and sometimes I add length to the sleeves as well. I often end up doing variations on sway-back, full belly, and full seat adjustments as well, depending on the cut of the garment. I have a long torso and high waist, so I often bring the waistline up on bodices.
What are your favorite/go-to styles and sewing patterns?
I reach for Colette and Seamwork patterns a lot, the latter especially if I want a basic shape to build on. While I have a few repeat patterns (Colette Hawthorn blouse and shirtdress, Seamwork Hayden and Paxson tops, Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes), I am more often drawn to trying new patterns or designing my own patterns as I perfect my bodice and skirt slopers. I feel like it’s becoming rarer these days for me to sew up a pattern with its intended lines, preferring instead to start from a more basic pattern and modify the lines to create my vision, like taking a wrap dress bodice and making a vest with a peplum and shawl collar.
I am most often drawn to things with defined waists and full lower halves, like flared and circle skirts or wide-legged trousers. Anything high-waisted immediately piques my interest! That being said, I will try lots of different silhouettes out at least once. I’ve been very into boxy and swingy crop tops lately and have been trying out more vintage silhouettes like ‘20s dropped waists. Sewing also lets me indulge my nerdy fan side, with some Captain America and Captain Marvel makes under my belt (and maybe some Wonder Woman coming up!)
My day-to-day style includes a lot more “menswear” than my sewing wardrobe would suggest, as I tend toward a dandyish androgyny. Besides some waistcoats, bowties, and one recent Cashmerette Harrison shirt, though, I’ve not sewn as much masculine-of-center clothing as I have feminine-of-center items. However, that’s something I seek to rectify, with more button-front shirts, some good straight-leg trousers, and maybe a blazer on my (very long) sewing queue.
I also recently made my first swimsuit, which I’ve dubbed my soft butch bikini, and I look forward to diving into more androgynous swimwear, lingerie, and loungewear, which can be frustratingly hard to find in RTW, especially in plus sizes. I so value having a set of skills that allow me to realize so many of my sartorial daydreams!