Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tea with Stevie- Learning to make "plus sized" dresses

So much tea in my life lately!  My friend Stevie took me to tea recently, and we had a lovely, lovely time.  Stevie wore this cotton tea dress that I made for her, which made me so extremely happy because it was such a wonderful success!

Front view.
It helps that Stevie is such a gorgeous  model.  What a natural beauty, right?  Stevie has a very hourglass figure, and looks lovely in anything, but I do think that this dress looks especially nice on her.  I am making her a second dress now that hopefully she will be willing to model when it is finished.

Side View.  
Back view.  Pink zipper with key hole feature.  
I used a Peony pattern from Colette patterns (a tried and true gem), modified to Stevie's specifications, including a re-drafted neck line and an added waist band.  Technically, Stevie is "plus sized" even though I hate the term.  Does that mean that very skinny people are "minus sized?" I'm not sure why we need the distinction, except for the fact that modern clothing company's don't like to have to make the same styles in every size so they section them out into two groups-strait and plus.  Boo to them.

However, as a seamstress, it is really helpful for me to get used to sewing for different body types, and sometimes there are lessons to be learned about what works for one body type and not another.  For example, I adjusted the width of the sleeve opening, and made the sleeves longer than I usually would at Stevie's request.  Also, I had to adjust the bust quite a lot, which really isn't a plus sized issue as much as a well endowed issue that I have run into before when sewing for ample bosomed friends of all sizes.

What I learned from sewing for a plus sized person?  Really, it is pretty much the same as sewing for anyone else, except that there aren't as many patterns available.  Shame on pattern company's for their laziness.  Thank goodness for Colette, who at least goes up to a pattern size 46-38-48.

I will say that it is slightly easier to sew for people without measuring them myself if they are a smaller size.  That is simply because people carry their weight so differently.  I would be nervous making a standard dress above about a modern size 12, only because it would be hard to know exactly where each person carried their weight beyond the bust, waist, hip measurements.  Hopefully, as I continue to improve as a seamstress, I will learn ways around this for my future Etsy site, where I will not be able to take people's measurements myself.  Of course, getting more comfortable with stretch fabrics will help with this.

And here I am wearing a gold dress and a green pill box hat, because, you know, I hate to stand out.

Thanks Stevie for tea, and for being such a delightful model!  Looking forward to hanging out soon!

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