Much To-Do About A Dress

I never fail to be amazed at the things that ignite passionate responses in people ( including myself!). Some subjects are a  given, religion, race, sex,  politics, loud dresses on big girls... you know.. the hot button topics of our time. 

Yes, loud dresses on big girls.. you read that one right and I am totally guilty of wading into the fray on this topic.

The dress in question-

This is a Modkids adaption of a  regular Modkids pattern by the very talented Patty Young.  And while I am thrilled to see her putting out plus-sized patterns this one is a total fail for me personally and obviously for a lot of other people. Given the rather lengthily but over-all polite tone of the conversation on FB via the Sew Mama Sew page there are some very strong feelings about designers who wade into the world of pattern making for the plus sized figure, and I am one of them.

I am plus sized ( yep.. scroll back up and look at my photo, I''ll wait). Size 14-16-18 depending on the brand, the cut and the time of the month (sigh)*  I have been ~plus~ for 21 years and previous a 12ish given the fact that I have the shoulders of a line backer and the muscled legs of a sumo. All to say I have never been tiny so the world of ~big girl~ fashion has been mine for a long time so I feel pretty centered in speaking about it, sewing for it  and pattern critique when it comes to designs for the larger figure.

First let me say... the model wearing this dress is one hot mama! That smile.. that hair.. and under that dress I suspect there is one sexy curvy body -  GORGEEEOUUUUSS!  But this dress does it's best to outshine her in fabric choice and swallow her when it comes to the fit and flatter function of the dress.  Given the print on the dress I can't see the patten details very well so I can't see if there are  bust darts, and there seems to be no waist shaping  which is a critial factor when it comes to plus size design.  I would also point out that the neckline is way too high given the style of the dress and it makes hot-mama  look like she has a much broaderer chest, thus adding weight to her figure. Some pointed out that this dress was nice due to the modesty factor of the higher neck and while I can groove on that I think a better solution would be a lower and more open neck and a sweet cami underneath to break up the visual line at chest level.

There is no doubt that dressing the more zoftig figure can be a challenge. More curves on the body means a pattern needs to generally be more complicated to deal with those issues even when made from a knit. This means, darts, shaping and attention to balance and proportion in greater degree than is sometimes needed in design for the slimmer figure.   These techniques are part of the skill set of the more experienced seamstress and this pattern is quite clear that it's geared for the newer sewer and thus I suspect has avoided these more complicated details in favor of quick knit construction. In many cases this would be a good thing and very doable when it comes to kids clothing, just way harder if not impossible when it comes to dressing the larger woman.

Don't get me wrong.. I think as plus sized women should wear what they want when they want and that includes this dress.  I think we have the right to choose, reject and modify anything and everything that is out there is pursuit of feeling good about how we look. My reasons to jumping into the fray are simple and complex at the same time. As a plus sized person I applaud any and all designers who are working towards a broader range of of pattern sizes but also as a plus sized person I think it's right that we need to use our personal knowledge and discrimination about what actually looks good on our figures before we jump on just any pattern that is out there just because it's produced in a larger size than a 12.  I think we all have the right to look and feel our best and if I are going to invest of time and money into sewing a  dress I want the best outcome. That comes from knowing how to look at pattern and  really see the lines for what they are and know if it's right for me or any larger figure

So.. if this pattern is not good.. what is?... let's look at that next time. Until then if you are a plus size.. what are your frustrations with patterns and the currently available designs?


* I have in the past been as big as a size 22, so while I personally don't think of size 14 as ~plus~ that is a market definition not mine :)


Anonymous said...

That dress looks like curtains and does not help her any.

Chelley said...

I agree that the model is gorgeous and I think the dress has potential. I'd rather see it with a lower neck and/or wrap type styling. I'm also plus sized and rarely sew clothes for myself because they just don't fit right. It would be nice if designers could include info on how to merge multiple sizes to custom fit our own body types, but that may just be too much to ask. I think the fabric is pretty cute and might look good on her if the dress was cut a little different.

NaomiG said...

Popped over from your comment on FB, and I totally agree with you... I put a nice but constructive "what I'd do with this pattern" comment on there too. Love your post on the subject. I've sewn for friends who fall into this category, so I can appreciate the fact that she did a pattern for this size range, and I personally think it looks gorgeous in the picture, but might not look so good on a moving person.

I think the waist needs to be defined with a thick sash, the neck needs to be a bit wider/lower, and it hits right at the thickest part of the calf, so I would make it a little bit shorter... but I LOVE the pattern overall, and think it shows great promise.

It's always fun to see what other people do with a pattern though, that's what is SO wonderful about sewing. Fabric options and patterns galore, and you end up with 20,000 different projects that are all beautiful.

carol said...

Oh come on people. If I want to wear a MuuMuu I'd move to Hawaii. Like Never to hot and sewaty. I'm a plus size girl, that wears knits, t's and tops. A smaller print could look good , but a bit of cleavage to distract and cut off that ruffle. I'm not sure about the waist.