Fit is everything when it comes to clothes. Even the most expensive clothes can look incredibly cheap when they are ill fitting. I have said it before and I stand by it, making your own clothes is the best way to make sure you get the perfect fit for you and your body. Utilizing a good tailor can help too though 😉 Style, however, can be just as important and can be even more challenging than finding the perfect fit.
Knowing your “body shape” is the first step in trying to determine what clothing styles are going to work for you. We all know bodies that come in a wide ranges of sizes, heights, and proportions of course and that, no matter what, those bodies are all beautiful but knowing which basic “shape” your body is can take a lot out of the frustration out of picking what to wear. There are a lot of different websites that already explain how to determine your body shape, including this one and this one, so I won’t go into the procedure or the math of determining body shape here but I will caveat this with saying these are very vague categories and, even within the categories, there can be a wide range of body types. For example, I consider myself a “full hourglass” meaning I have the general proportions of an hourglass figure but I still want to, and need to, include the fact that I have a large chest and a big booty. Those are all important things to consider when I look at style lines in clothing and proportions of garments and just saying ” I am an hour glass” would give me the guidance I really need.
For my shape clothing pieces that cinch in at the waist tend to be the most flattering, including empire waists, belted tops, and high peplums, which are all things I tend to gravitate to easily since they are what tends too look best on my body naturally. I also tend to have difficulty with most premade patterns and clothing fitting over my bust and hips if it fits at the waist (thats the “full” part of the hour glass coming into play.
The Appleton Dress from Cashmerette patterns happens to be the most perfect design for my shape and it is a pattern that has quickly become one of my favorites. It is a full wrap dress with three sleeve options and is designed for women with curves (like me!).
I have made three versions of this dress now, and believe I have perfected it just for me. The first version I made was made off of the sizing guide from the pattern, a 12 g/h cup, and ended up being too small pretty much everywhere but especially in the arms. There is a fair amount of negative ease built into this pattern and I think that is where the sizing issue came from for me. I then sized up two sizes to make the 16 g/h cup for my next two versions (I am a RTW ten/twelve for reference) and the fit is SO MUCH BETTER!
The third version that I made is the one pictured and it is made out of a DBP knit from Knitpop. The fabric has the perfect drape and weight for this type of project and lends itself nicely to a semi structured design like the Appleton dress. The wrap allows me to cinch my waist in even more, emphasis the hour glass shape and sizing up allowed for great coverage in the chest area. I could probably still do a little tweaking int he arm pit area but that would mean I would have to take it off and I have been living in this dress since I finished it.
Pattern: Appleton Dress
Size Made: 16 g/h
The Good: The hem lengths and sleeve lengths are modern and yet modest enough for work! The true wrap aspect of this dress also makes it incredibable comfortable and breezy.
The Bad: The sizing is a bit tricky. I would definitely recommend making a muslin before cutting into your good fabric.
Documentaries watched while sewing: only two! (about three hours worth of work)