Hello readers! Today’s entry in the Sewing for My Curves series is from Mary Alice, a stylish, tall drink of water. You can find more curvy sewing and curvy fashion from Mary Alice on her blog, Well Sewn Style, as well as on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest).
What are your measurements/body shape?
Bust: 46″, waist: 36″, hips: 50″, bra size: 38D, height: 6’0′ (all legs!), inseam: 34″
Typical pattern size: 16/18/20/22.
Typical size in RTW: 16 top, 18 bottom, and I generally have to take most RTW items in at the waist.
Body shape: Definitely human 🙂 Hourglass, well defined curves, very thick hips and thighs, “proportional” as many a stranger would tell me.
What adjustments do you typically make when sewing?
I generally need to grade between three sizes. My hips get the largest size, then my bust, then my waist falls into the smaller size. Grading between two sizes from the waist to the hip can lead to pointy bits around the hip curve so I have to make sure to really grade the hip to waist smoothly. This ends of being a lot of trial and error because the fullest part of my hip doesn’t always match up with the fullest part of the pattern hip.
I add a considerable amount of length to all skirts and pants. For example, in the Colette Moneta and the Cashmerette Appleton I add 5″ to the skirt to ensure the skirt hits just past the knees. In pants patterns I generally add 4-5″ as well (I like to wear heels and ensure the pant hits at the right angle). Shirt sleeves require an additional 1″ in length. Shoulder seams get bumped out about 1cm. I am a D cup and haven’t yet had to do a full bust adjustment on any pattern.
What are your favorite/go-to styles and sewing patterns?
The number one reason I started sewing my own clothes is because I absolutely love fashion and I was so frustrated with the lack of quality clothes in my size. Being both tall and plus size is a challenge. Online stores may carry either tall sizes or plus sizes, but definitely not tall plus sizes, which baffles the mind! One can be tall and thick! So a lot of the things I sew are the things I just can’t find in stores that fit like jumpsuits, dress, skirts, and bodysuits. I love playing with clothes and fashion, so I figure if I am going to spend time creating clothes I might as well make clothes that bring me joy!
There are relatively few styles that I won’t wear. I tend to gravitate towards silhouettes with a well-defined waist, although I also like a slouchy top now and then. I really like to highlight my curves instead of hiding them. My style could be described as power-feminine. I love flirty, girly details but also like to add a bit of structure with a bomber jacket or blazer. As far as colors go, I consider cheetah print a neutral. I don’t wear brown or taupes and instead stick to black. I love rich, fully-saturated colors, particularly jewel tones which compliment my fair skin. I also love to juxtapose more delicate fabrics like lace or silk with leather and suede. I love big, bright statement jewelry like bold necklaces and earrings. I also love bright shoes to go with a black and white outfit. Now that I’m trying to sew as much as possible I feel like the entire style universe has been opened to me!
I almost exclusively sew indie patterns and right now one of my go-tos is the Cashmerette Appleton–I’ve made this in a knee-length sleeveless version, ¾ sleeve maxi version, ¾ sleeve knee-length version. I love the way this pattern highlights my curves. I also love all the different ways I can make it. It really is one of my favorite patterns of all time.
I also love the Colette Moneta, which I’ve made in both black and red.
I recently started sewing Closet Case Pattern’s designs and I love the instructions and the modern styling. I made the Nettie Bodysuit in bright red with bell sleeves. I plan to make many more of these in all the different variations.
I also just recently made Closet Case Patterns Sallie Jumpsuit which came together really nicely. I tend to sew a lot of dresses and plan to graduate to separates this spring and summer.
Future sewing plans:
I swear, the more I sew, the more ideas I come up with. But in the immediate future I want to focus my energy on making pants and jeans! I have dreams about a pair of high-waisted dark denim jeans that are extra long and can be worn with platform sandals (you know you’re a style-junkie when you literally dream about this stuff!). I have the pattern (Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans), and the denim, and all the notions but I’ve got some serious anxiety about this project. I know I just need to jump in, maybe y’all can pressure me bit?
Also on the list is about a half dozen pair of super wide leg palazzo pants which is my go to style for summer. When you’ve got really thick thighs (raises hand) it’s hard to find palazzo pants that actually flow (RTW wide-leg pants get stuck on my thigh meat) which totally throws off the whole look. I can’t wait to make a pair that just flutter in the wind!
I’m also planning to hack my Nettie bodysuit into an off the shoulder look; just have to find a supportive strapless bra for a 38D. And the list goes on. Am I the only one that dreams about this stuff???