The rumors are true— bad fit ruins a great idea. Everyone runs into this issue from time to time, but what if you don’t fit into standard sizes? RTW clothing for the plus-size community doesn’t offer as much variety. Speaking with people around me and doing research has told me that the plus-sized clothing community is lacking in every way from style to a range of price points. Luckily, the sewing community carries a beacon of light for all! Sewists can make their clothes their way. This extension to our Alterations Guide for Women covers the tricky areas and solutions for plus-sized women when shopping or making RTW clothing.
Common Top Alterations for Plus Size Patterns
Sleeves Too Tight
Problem: Sleeves feel constrictive
Solution: Add ease by using the cut and slash method down the vertical center of the sleeve and at the widest part of the underarm, and adjust as needed. For additional room that is more than 1”, consider adding ease to the sleeve cap to keep dimensions from getting wacky.
Bust is Tight
Problem: Gaping at arms or draglines at chest
Solution: Add fullness to the waist and bust dart, and at the armhole by using the cut and spread method. This will make the front bodice larger at the bust without compromising the fit at the shoulders and waist.
Common Bottom Alterations for Plus Size Patterns
Tight at Waist (this works best for skirts and dresses)
Problem: Waist/ tummy feel constricted
Solution: Use cut and spread method to add width to waist/tummy while keeping the hip curve length proportionate.
Ill Fitting Thighs
Problem: Pulling or large wrinkles beneath crotch area
Solution: Use the slash and spread method by creating 4 lines. There will be one at the waist, 2 through the thigh and 1 around the knee. Adjust the cut lines as needed.
This concluding paragraph is going to be a bit cheesy— sometimes you gotta embrace it.
The clothing industry may continue to exclude certain body types, but with basic fit and alterations knowledge, you don’t have to conform. You can create patterns that are in size “you!” All bodies are unique. Activities, age, and genetics affect our bodies in different ways at different times. The best thing you can do for yourself is to love your body in its current state and fill your mind with the knowledge needed to make changes to your garments so that you feel the most confident!
What is the most common alteration you find yourself making to patterns?
Drop a comment below!