Plus Size Sewing Patterns
Selecting Plus-Size Patterns To Sew
The selection of plus size sewing patterns available for women who wear plus-sizes is broader than ever before. The four big pattern manufacturers in the United States – Simplicity, Butterick, McCall and Vogue – all have lines specifically designed for plus sizes. In fact, Vogue has two – Vogue Woman, and Today’s Fit by Sandra Betzina. Sewing plus sizes is no longer a matter of guess work when you are trying to work with a pattern that stops about three sizes before the size you need. However, as with any other sewing project, there are still factors that you should consider as you select the pattern for your project.
First, honestly evaluate your skill level as a seamstress. Are you a beginner, more advanced, or an expert? Choose your pattern accordingly. Most pattern companies print the difficulty level of the pattern on the pattern itself, on the website where it is displayed, or in their catalog. If you are just starting out, it would be far better to break yourself in gently on a “Very Easy” or “Easy” project. The more experienced you are, the more eager you may be for a challenge, making the “Moderate” or “Difficult” patterns ones you are eager to tackle.
Second, bring your measurements with you! Pattern sizes do not equate to off-the-rack sizes, as I sadly learned from experience. If you are buying clothes that are a size 20 at your local retail store, you are probably looking at patterns that need to be in a size 24 at least. In addition some lines, such as Sandra Betzina’s Today’s Fit, use sizes that are different from the sizes which we are used to seeing, and only your measurements will let you select the right pattern size.
Third, pick a pattern that not only looks good on the page, but also will flatter your body type. Just because you are wearing a plus-size is no reason to limit yourself to fashion patterns that resemble flour sacks in different colors. There are now many different options and many aids to help you choose. Personally, I enjoy Vogue’s fit recommendation feature – with a series of four icons, Vogue tells you which sewing pattern it believes works best for particular body types.
Fourth, if you can find them for the style you want, multiple size patterns work better than single size patterns. With multiple size patterns, most pattern pieces have multiple cutting lines for multiple sizes. This feature provides a great aid in ensuring a good fit – if you have a pattern that has lines for sizes 18 through 26, and your bust size would put you in the 22 range while your hip size puts you in the 24 range, the pattern instructions will tell you how to cut the pattern out so that you can take the difference in sizes into account easily.
Fifth, pick your fabric out carefully. Pay attention to the fabric suggestions on the pattern envelope, and if you are unsure whether a particular fabric will work with your pattern, don’t be afraid to ask the sales clerk for help. In addition, if you are new to sewing, pick fabrics that are easier to work with such as cottons, or cotton/polyester or wool. Leave the patterns requiring more tricky (and expensive) fabrics for another time when you are more experienced.
Finally, no matter what kind of sewing pattern you select, remember to take your project in stages. I find my concentration and patience wavers after a couple of hours. When that happens, it is time to quit. Those times when I have pushed myself past that point usually have resulted in mistakes that cost me more time than just waiting and finishing another day would have. Being able to sew, and use plus-size patterns will greatly expand your wardrobe beyond those fashions that society seems to “expect” all plus-size women to wear. Just take care in selecting the patterns and fabric you choose to use, take your time, and have fun, and you will achieve the ultimate fashion experience – when you wear a garment you made yourself and someone genuinely admires it and ask where it came from. That moment alone makes all of the hard work worthwhile.