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Forum > Fitting Woes > Plus size knit dress... alterations necessary? ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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Plus size knit dress... alterations necessary?
ladyithis
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ladyithis
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Date: 6/6/13 9:39 AM

Hi all!

I'm sewing my first plus size garment for a friend, and I'm using Simplicity 1623. Because it's knit, I'm hoping I can get away with not making some of the alterations.

I'm currently using the largest size, which works for a woman of size 50" bust, 44" waist, and 52" hips (and 17 3/4" back waist length). My friend's measurements are so close: 51 1/2" bust, 45" waist, and 51" hips (and 16" back waist length).

The pattern's bust ease is 51", so only an inch of ease, which is why I question if I should even bother to do the horizontal adjustments. And with the nearly 2" difference in back waist length, should I even do that, because I'll need the extra length to accommodate the vertical circumference of her bust. (Personally, I've never needed to do a FBA for myself, so this is the first time I've had to experience working with a bust that's larger than a B-cup).

shajarataddurr
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In reply to ladyithis <<


Date: 6/6/13 9:47 AM

I would be very careful about the finished front and finished back meaurements. I mean, is the friend bigger by 1.5 inches in the back or the front. Can you make a mock-up of just the knit bodice out of an old t-shirt or something to try it out? Because I'm concerned that the cups of the dress might not fit the breasts on the body, if that makes sense.

ladyithis
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ladyithis
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Date: 6/6/13 9:55 AM

Normally, I would make a muslin, but since I don't have any old knit in my stash, I was hoping I could get away with not making one because knit is a bit more forgiving than wovens are.

crazygrad
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In reply to ladyithis <<


Date: 6/6/13 10:12 AM

Can you do a tissue fit or trace onto some tracing paper and try from that? I know it won't have the stretch of the knit but you might be able to get a sense of where the lines hit to figure out if you'd need more room or where adjustments need to be made.

ladyithis
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ladyithis
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In reply to crazygrad <<


Date: 6/6/13 11:21 AM

I might be able to do that... the bodice is in three different pieces, so it's kind of wonky (which is why I was hoping to avoid to do any big alterations :P)

crazygrad
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In reply to ladyithis <<
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Date: 6/6/13 11:35 AM

I'd also think you might be able to get room by playing with the ruching/ gathering detail at the bust too.

And, as an aside, did she pick this pattern? That detail at the bust will, I can pretty muchg guarantee this, make her bust look bigger. Depending on the placement of the ruching and her figure, it may result in higher, perkier looking bust OR in a boobtastic wall of breast effect. Also, that curved underbust seam may make her look fuller or pregnant in the gut area. I only bring this up because at my peak weight I was an RTW 26/28, and this style would've been okay for my breasts (which are pretty high), but that seam would've made me look 14 months pregnant with triplets. I'd still gravitate away from it now. After losing 130+ lbs., I have loose skin on my gut, and that seam will just create/increase that pregnancy tent look.

Fictionfan
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Date: 6/6/13 11:43 AM

What is her upper bust/chest measurement? If she is not a B-cup, using the size closest to her actual bust measurement will likely result in a dress that is too big at the neck and shoulders. If she has a broad back, her bust measurement may not tell you what size she really needs. Some plus-size women need a broad back adjustment and a smaller size in front. Large-busted women may need a much smaller size than the bust measurement suggests.

Start fitting from the top down. Whether it is a knit or woven, the height and width of the neckline and the width of the shoulders will be pretty much the same. Definitely check the pattern on her body for this part. You don't need a muslin for the shoulder width, since that seam should be stabilized anyway to keep it from stretching out. Also, a stretchy knit will be pulled down by the weight of the dress, so if you start with a too-large size, the neckline will end up even lower and wider than where the tissue-fit of the pattern lies. If it looks too big in paper at the size you've chosen, it will definitely be too big in fabric.

You've identified that the pattern has 1" of bust ease, closely fitted. If the paper pattern is nearly skin-tight on her but the seams seem to lie where they ought to, you will probably be okay with a moderate stretch knit. For stretchier knits, the paper fitting isn't going to tell you where the seams will end up, but you can get an idea by chalking the general bodice measurements on the fabric and holding it up to her body. How much lengthwise stretch is there? If not much, she may need some length added to get the empire waist to lie under the bust instead of over or on the bust. Some of the horizontal stretch of the knit will be held in check by the waist seam. You could stabilize it with elastic if it gets out of control with a seriously stretchy knit (like a slinky knit).

Also, as a plus-size person, she may need a narrow shoulder adjustment or a biceps adjustment to have the upper body and sleeves fit correctly. You might want to pose further fitting questions on the plus-size sewing board, too.

HTH and good luck!

ETA: Back-waist length is important! If she is a petite-proportioned, shorter person, then shortening the pattern to have the back waist lie where her back waist lies will make the garment more comfortable as well as more flattering (though I totally agree with crazygrad about the lack of potential for this empire waist maternity style dress being flattering on a full-figured woman). This is one of the problems with pattern grading, especially in the plus-sizing. How many people have a 17.75 inch back-waist length anyway? Most plus-size people don't have the same proportions of width and length as for misses' sizes, but the patterns are often graded as if the neck and shoulders and back-waist length increase with the circumference dimensions in the same proportions as the smaller sizes.
-- Edited on 6/6/13 11:58 AM --

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Fictionfan

HDWen
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In reply to ladyithis <<


Date: 6/6/13 11:58 AM

Quote: ladyithis
Hi all!



I'm sewing my first plus size garment for a friend, and I'm using Simplicity 1623. Because it's knit, I'm hoping I can get away with not making some of the alterations.



I'm currently using the largest size, which works for a woman of size 50" bust, 44" waist, and 52" hips (and 17 3/4" back waist length). My friend's measurements are so close: 51 1/2" bust, 45" waist, and 51" hips (and 16" back waist length).



The pattern's bust ease is 51", so only an inch of ease, which is why I question if I should even bother to do the horizontal adjustments. And with the nearly 2" difference in back waist length, should I even do that, because I'll need the extra length to accommodate the vertical circumference of her bust. (Personally, I've never needed to do a FBA for myself, so this is the first time I've had to experience working with a bust that's larger than a B-cup).

Good for you!! Personally the issues on the pattern look like

the princess seams before the center bust rusching - Depending on how far apart her breasts are - these could make it look nicer or not! These may not hit at the right spot but need to be at the outer edge of her busts. I like the rusching and think this style will be flattering!

That said the low neckling - IF after it is made up and wants to pull down to an "unapporpriate" dip - you could always add a small lace underlay to cover up that

I think this is a good pattern for plus-sized women. Perhaps inside of gathering in front (I read the pregnant tip lol yeah), I would use small pleats to keep this from highlighting the tummy.

Otherwise I do think you are right - depending on the stretch of the knit you have, asking for another 1" give will work.

Good luck and hope to see your review soon.

:-Debbie

------
I have a great enthusium for sewing, but lack talent to be great.

2013

ladyithis
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ladyithis
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In reply to crazygrad <<


Date: 6/6/13 12:23 PM

Crazygrad, yes she picked the pattern. (I gave a shot at trying to alter Butter 5882 to fit her, but that was a big giant fail. And since I've never sewn for anyone else but me [and I'm a B-cup], I've also never done a FBA. So I told her that she should pick pattern that were drafted for her size.) I'll let her know what style challenges she'll face with it. There's another dress by that designer that she wants too: http://www.simplicity.com/p-1719-misses-plus-size-dresses.aspx

ladyithis
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ladyithis
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In reply to Fictionfan <<


Date: 6/6/13 12:37 PM

Yikes! I was hoping that choosing a plus size pattern that recommends knit would solve some of my fit problems!

She's got a high bust of 48" and a bust of 51.5" (she says it's 50.5", but my measurement was an inch extra). Her bra band and waist are the same measurement at 45". So looking at the pattern, you'd think that the bodice would fit right under her bust, but the waist marking for the pattern are on the skirt portion (which is where I would have to adjust it for her back waist length). I suppose I could take up the back length by nearly 2", start with the size smaller (since that's for a 48" bust) and then do the FBA *cringe* for a 52" bust.

The knit she choose is a cotton/linen blend. It has probably about 5" stretch to it, but not a whole lot of vertical stretch.

Thanks for the tip about the Plus Size board, I'll definitely go check it out.

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