Drafting and larger sizes

This recent post on Already Pretty about how to dress while losing (or gaining) weight pretty much describes my wardrobe woes recently. I’ve been culling a lot, getting rid of things and working with a much smaller set of clothes, which has been illuminating and irritating in turns.

Taking this in a sewing-related direction: it seems like every few months, on Pattern Review or on someone’s blog, the plus-size sewers protest the lack of plus-size patterns, especially in indie pattern lines. Someone always replies saying that grading up isn’t as easy as it seems, and most of us roll our eyes and think it’s about fat-shaming instead (hello, Abercrombie & Fitch!).

I thought so myself, but now I’m realizing the issue is more complex than I thought. As I’ve lost weight, my tops have gotten too wide, but they’ve also gotten too long – armholes are too big and necklines are too low. I haven’t gotten any shorter, but the length required to travel over my girth is less. Even my feet have gotten smaller, about a half-size. And, because the RTW grading rules are averaged over a general abstracted figure, all the pants I try to buy are too short. So I’m stuck with too-short pants and too-long tops, which is a charming combination, let me tell you.

What I guess I’ve learned is that it’s true that grading isn’t as easy as “just making something bigger,” because everyone’s got a different build and proportions, and gains and loses weight in different places. So offering a pattern in a very wide range of sizes is challenging, especially when it’s quite fitted. Not impossible, clearly, but challenging, so thanks to those pattern lines that give it a go.

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2 thoughts on “Drafting and larger sizes

  1. Interesting topic you raise here. I’ve been trying to get my head round working out what it would be necessary to do to offer patterns in a better size/shape range. One aspect not always appreciated, is the way styles sometimes won’t translate well into either smaller or larger sizes. I prefer cutting individual sizes from blocks drafted for different cup sizes, rather than making a grade nest, because I think subtleties are lost through the grades.

  2. Pingback: Drafting Individual Sizes and Shapes | Pattern Pandemonium

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