Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sewing Tips for Your Body Type

As with purchasing clothing, understanding your body type when sewing is an important factor.  After all, if you're going through the trouble of sewing it yourself, it should be custom fit to you.  Through trial and error, 30+ years of dressing myself, and getting fit education tips gleaned from the petite blogger community (thanks gals - see blogroll), I feel like I'm much better equipped now than when I first started.

Areas to consider:
  • Measuring yourself
    • All you need is a soft measuring tape!
  • Frame
    • One frame "classification" may not work for your whole body.  For example, I'm narrow at the shoulders, chest, and maybe ribs, but I'm average at the waist, hips, and legs.  I like to adjust my patterns using this method.
  • Proportion and size
    • Torso length, leg length, and where the waist and hips fall are all areas for adjustment.  I have a long torso and short legs, but my waist sits high.  In my case, I typically raise the waist 1/2" and lengthen tops.
    • I don't currently sew pants (tried once and failed miserably), but the knee placement is important.  I can't tell you how many pants I've purchased where the bottom of the thigh portion sits at my knee and makes the fit look off / sloppy.
  • Figure flattery (my opinion only)
    • Hem length
      • From a personal standpoint, my stance is that fuller skirts = shorter length and vice versa.  I like my fluffy pleated skirts to hit ~2" above the knee and pencil skirts to graze my knee cap.  In contrast, when hemming pants, fuller legs = longer length.  I used to hem bootcut pants too short and looked ridiculous when trying to wear heels with them.
      • For maxi dresses, I like the length to hit just above the floor.  I can't say that's always practical though!
      • Jean had an excellent post on skirt lengths here
    • Masking problem areas (like mine)
      • Got a tummy?  Fit and flare dresses, pleated / gathered skirts, and peplums are great ways to hide it :)
      • Self-conscious about your arms?  3/4 length sleeves are my favorite!
      • Self-conscious about your legs?  I either hide them with maxis or make the most of them using the skirt length tips above :)  
I hope this (wordy) post was helpful!


  1. I like the chart and the tips beneath. Now, I just gotta follow them :).

  2. great tips. I will have to bookmark this post. =)

  3. I love reading posts about finding out what flatters one's body proportion! My favorite looks on you are definitely the fit and flare dresses and skirts that hit at the knee or a little bit above it :)


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