Sloper Series @ Curvy Sewing Collective

If you are interested in how to make a sloper, I have a new post over at the Curvy Sewing Collective! It is the first part in a new series I’m writing for the site. The goal is to show how to use a sloper to design your own patterns, recreate patterns that don’t come in your size, or alter patterns to fit.

And just for giggles I tried on some ready to wear dresses this weekend. I haven’t purchased a woven (non-maternity) dress in 5 years and now I remember why!

The pink dress is the smallest size in Ashley Nell Tipton’s line for JCPenney and was several inches too large though the bust even though by the size chart the OX should have fit in the bust and waist and too tight in the hip. The lemon dress is from Liz Claiborne and the size chart put me in a 14 bust/16 waist/18 hip. I picked the 16 to try and you can see that as the size chart predicted it is too large in the bust, but going down a size would have meant this dress is too small everywhere else.

So while sewing takes up a good chunk of my free time the results are well worth it! And with a sloper you can make clothes even more customized without playing the retail sizing game. I call that a win!

Sewing For My Curves

Hi there! Today I’m over at the Curvy Sewing Collective talking about how I sew for my curves. I hope you’ll hope on over and give it a read!

As an addendum I wanted to speak to the recent interviews with Tim Gunn and how it relates to my own sewing.

Tim got into a little hot water with his interviews, but I am that average woman. When we talks about the size 16 woman who lives just outside the misses sizing, he is talking about me.

Usually when I used to shop for clothing I could find tops that fit, but then I couldn’t find bottoms. And when you venture into the plus size stores the tops were too large, but surprisingly so were the skirts! So where do you go to look for clothing? Obviously I turned to sewing.

Even in sewing patterns I live on the edge. In the Big 4 (Simplicity, McCalls, Butterick, and Vogue) my top half fits into the misses sized patterns, but my hip measurement is too large. And very often the indie patterns stop just short of my size. I recently went looking for a slip pattern and everything was either too small (misses) or too large (plus size). This is what makes me grateful for the skills I have in fitting clothes to me shape. But what about the millions of American women who depend on stores to purchase clothing?

And then there is Tim’s opinion that people should look “long and lean”. I know many women were unhappy with his statement, but that is honestly how I want to look. I’ve spent many years working on my fitting skills and critically analyzing my personal style to make myself feel long and lean. And that’s the key, I want to feel that way. I know I am neither long nor lean. So I work to create that illusion. Necklines to balance my bust, open cardigans to provide a vertical line, defined waists to show off my smallest part, and skirts with just the right amount of flair to balance my figure and skim my hips.

I’m sure some of this comes down to when I became an adult. I’m only 2 weeks younger than Britney Spears. I was a teenager/young adult in the days of ultra low rise jeans and when a boyish figure with large breasts was the most popular shape. When I graduated college and moved to The Valley I lived with two girls who went to parties at the Playboy Mansion when “The Girls Next Door” was on TV. I was never that version of beautiful. But I was able to embrace my figure. I could reach for fit and flare dresses and heels that made me feel more comfortable with my shape. And now I look back and see that I’ve always had a pretty similar style. As I’ve aged and my body has changed so have some slight preferences, but I’ve stayed true to my idea of what I think is flattering.

So while I understand why people are unhappy with Tim Gunn’s comments, I can relate to what he is saying. Many years ago he referred to the “Slobification of America” and that struck a cord too. In a word where crazy printed leggings are becoming the norm, I’m glad to hear a voice in fashion that is still pushing for polished clothes while encouraging inclusiveness.