THINK: Beautiful Plus Sizes!
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR SUCCESS, GINGER! HEAD DESIGNER STAR TREK CONTINUES!
As a plus size girl, I struggle with finding formal dresses that won't show my bra straps. The flip side of that coin is that I also struggle with finding supportive 'decorative' or convertible bras. As a result, my bra straps have been peeking out from under my spaghetti straps for years at weddings, nice dinners, the theater - so I decided enough!
This gorgeous maxi dress is a breeze with the Fabulous Fit system. First, I placed the bra I wanted to wear with my formal gown onto the base dressform. For this design I used a standard balconet bra from Torrid and a cheap adjustable dressform torso from Joannes. Next, I filled the bra with Fit pads so that it would hold its shape, then placed the Fit cover over top. After this, I padded out the torso as usual to my measurements.
While drafting this dress, I used a nice thick stretch pleather to block out the edges of where the bra lay underneath. I basically traced the braw with my pleather strips. Once I was happy with the coverage, I began drafting the silk sections. It is important to note that the 'cup' pieces of the silk fabric MUST be cut on the bias to appropriately stretch. For my silk I chose a gorgeous lightweight silk georgette print, also from Joannes. I made it a point to V the waistband up under the center chest, to give a tighter and more flattering silhouette.
VERY EXCITING THAT GINGER IS TAKING PRE-ORDERS ON THIS DRESS! Gingerholley.com
While drafting the skirt, I made sure to keep it a little loose around the body, padded with the Fitting System. This is an 8 gore flare skirt simulating a maxi cut. I had to do it that way because of fabric shortages, but I was still able to achieve the billow I wanted. This skirt also has side-seam in seam pockets, because women are people too and we have needs. Needs!
When it came time to attach everything together, I serged the silk pieces separately, then connected them to the stretch pieces using a Janome Cover Pro coverstitch machine. While attaching the skirt to the waistband, I let the waistband act as a gathering elastic so that the dress did not need a zipper closure. For the final step, I top stitched the stretch pieces and hemmed the bottom of the skirt - but not too much.
This dress came out exactly as I wanted; it simulates a plunge neckline, tricks the eye into accepting an empire waist even on someone who is not very small in the midsection, and most importantly it will not show a single bra strap.
Now if I only had somewhere nice enough to wear it!
GINGER! AMAZING!! AND ADDING SILK TO LEATHER WAS CERTAINLY A WIN! CUT ONCE! NO MISTAKES!
FITTING PLUS CLOTHES...
Creating your body on the dress form is absolutely the beginning of sewing plus sized clothes. The most important areas to watch for are, bra straps, as Ginger pointed out. Drawing attention to the curves that work, and letting the fabric fall straight on the grainline is key. Notice the areas where you move. Give yourself room to breathe and laugh. Create armholes that are not restricting, or cut too high, and layers of fabric that flow, rather than compress.
Notice only the pressure points where your body moves. This is where you will need ease in the fabric, which is slight gathering to create fullness over a curve. This slight gathering can be done at any curve, anywhere, and then pressed out to be completely invisible.
Our bodies are all so different, but the rules are all the same. (I will keep saying this.) The different body types used in the pictures represent a target market of 24 to 35 and since I am way beyond that age group…let’s extend this to “ageless, timeless clothes”. If the bust is lower, make sure the form is smaller and build out the bust with the Bust Pads at the lowest position.If you need to raise the shoulders in order to make the bust even lower; then bump up the shoulders with the Shoulder Pads to elongate the bust. If your bottom got flatter; build out the thighs and the bottom on your dress form will match. If your waist does not exist; create “no torso” with the Side Back Pads.
I love the way the jacket hem is just below the curve of the stomach and upper hip curves.
The jacket fits perfectly at the armcrease and the shoulders. Here's the catch. The jacket isn't buttoned and the balance of the shoulders would be ruined if it were.
Front and back seam only. Alter the collar to match. This is the jacket to be re-created in everything from sweatshirt fabric to silk, because the proportions are perfect for every curve. Is this jacket size too small for her? Yes. Some things about this jacket work for the style though...so why not just add to the parts that need more fabric? The jacket gives her size a higher armhole, a snug shoulder line, tighter sleeve, and perfect length. By measuring and re-creating every line that works, and then adding to the front and back seam for width, you will be able to re-create what you love about this jacket. Since the jacket size was cut for a smaller fit model, the sleeve will also be cut for a shorter elbow position.
Cut the sleeve horizontally at the wide part of the arm, between the elbow and shoulder where the vertical line of the arm is straight, and then lengthen the sleeve to match the bend of the elbow.
The sleeve is important in movement, of course, but most of the problems that will ever arise are in the bodice. This is where balance starts.
SOME COMMON MISTAKES TO WATCH OUT FOR
With only slight alterations, and a dress form that matches the movement areas of the body, you will see how every curve can be addressed to be comfortable, and flattering: whether you are showing your curves or not.
Allowing for the fabric to circle under the natural armhole will keep the fabric smooth over the curves without creasing or pulling under the sleeve. Starting at the shoulder line, always, fit the bodice first; making sure that the bust area has enough ease to follow the curve, without pulling on the sides.
If you aren't creating clothes with a tight under bust shape, then focus only on the body curves that you will be addressing when you pad your dress form.
BUST LINES CAN BE MADE HIGHER OR LOWER BY POSITIONING THE PADS AT YOUR VERTICAL MEASUREMENT
IF YOU WOULD LIKE HELP FITTING PLUS SIZES, PLEASE EMAIL US AT firstname.lastname@example.org