Pattern Review trainwreck part 2.

I hope you enjoyed the first episode. Now things start to hot up; MadelineL gets snidey and passive-aggressive to one poster who has annoyed her by daring to question her. So, get a cuppa, settle down and away we go with round 2.  

Again, apologies for strange formatting. I am NOT comfortable with WordPress! It’s like navigating Spaghetti Junction in a pea-souper! 

bettybushwackerDate: 4/17/15 9:45 AM

I think what is happening here is MadelineL is trying to compile something that would be beneficial to all our members. No need to get anyone’s knickers in a twist. Give the gal a break!

nevadaGraceDate: 4/17/15 10:20 AM

Ah, now I’ve gotten my 8 hours of sleep! I’m sure the question was posed in the spirit of wanting to be helpful. I think what vexed many of us is that you didn’t state your purpose, which I am sure was a good one. I think, however, in the question is the assumption that women who are plus-sized have a universal set of needs. This group is as diverse as women in general. Most of us who sew have already figured out which patterns best suit our needs, just as women who are not plus sized. We have figured out which adjustments if any we need to make to purchased patterns. Many of us have learned how to draft our own patterns. Plus-sized women comprise a significant percentage of our population, and many businesses are now ready to court us. If you notice, you see many more plus-sized women on television and in movies. These roles are no longer relegated to the unpopular misfits, but rather reflect the very real fact that many women are zaftig. Just as there are variations in other groups, the needs and desires of women who are plus-size vary just as much as women who are not plus-size.

My opinion is that the needs of women who are plus-sized are already very well met on PR (why I showed my approval by purchasing the paid membership). I think that if we have a specific need, we can post on the Forum. I think that most of us do a pretty good job at identifying resources for ourselves. We are interested in what most sewists are interested in, e.g., how to insert an invisible zipper, couture finishes, fabric choices, etc. The sites like CurvyCollective are run by women who are plus size, and they do a wonderful job at celebrating women who are plus-size. I don’t particularly like how the Big 4 have a special tab for plus-sized patterns, rather than having them interspersed throughout the book. It’s akin to a special little ghetto created just for us. Rather, I like the idea of inclusion. A woman who is plus-sized can enter a PR contest. A women who is plus-sized can purchase a PR pattern. A woman who is plus-sized can post a need on the Forum. I think inclusion of all types of people is what makes PR a success–whether you’re a man or a woman or something in between, whether you are a novice or a pro, whether you are 6 or 60. My opinion is that we do not need a resource list specific to us.

MadelineLIn reply to esseeseeDate: 4/17/15 10:25 AM

If you checked my second post, I clarified my question. To repeat what I said, I wanted to know which fabric/notions/other sewing supply stores featured plus sized models and had tutorials for plus sized garments. The purpose of this entire post was to find companies who are thoughtful enough to include plus size patterns, plus size models, and tutorials for plus size garments. The reason why I wanted to find these companies in the first place was to find corporate sponsors who are inclusive of plus sized people for future contests.

MadelineLIn reply to esseeseeDate: 4/17/15 10:31 AM

I think that many people, both plus sized and non-plus sized, would be happier if their local fabric store featured plus sized mannequins and plus sized models. They would also be happier if their local fabric store had classes that taught how to make a straight size pattern work for plus sized people. That was the purpose of my question. To find companies (fabric stores, pattern companies) who actually include plus sized models and had tutorial classes for plus sized garment making.

*and to all the other commenters on this thread* Thank you 🙂
My entire purpose all along was to find contest sponsors who are actually inclusive of diverse body types.

MadelineLIn reply to a7yrstitchDate: 4/17/15 11:05 AM

I’d be interested to hear what you have to share with us.

ArtedDate: 4/17/15 11:34 AM

The place to check is: Curvy Sewing Collective.

Crazygrad Date: 4/17/15 11:37 AM In replyto MadelineL

I’m not sure that many people who really only have Joann’s as a garment sewing shop DO want them to offer serious alteration classes. My local Joann’s classes are so basic, and the instruction quality is (how to be nice?) inconsistent at best and frequently poor at worst. I’m not sure I’d trust the instruction for making real adaptations to a pattern. We don’t have many garment focused sewing boutiques here. The one that does offer garment classes is good, but garment sewing classes are, again, very basic classes. Again, I’m not sure that means they have the skills to really tackle major alterations. This isn’t about not feeling welcomed or included, just that various alterations require skills, knowledge, some trial and error. Some ways of making those alterations will work for some bodies and others won’t.

Also, when you say feature various sized mannequins, do you mean for sale? Because it makes business sense to have a range of sizes available for purchase.

But if you mean for display of sample garments, then I’d say it depends on how many samples are typically shown. My local boutique has no garment samples on display. Joanns usually only has one or 2 adult garment samples, and often that is “themed” (like last spring they had a prom dress and a MOB dress). I guess the thing is they don’t display enough sample garments to really care what size they show.

michellep74Date: 4/17/15 12:10 PM

As far as sewing-related companies that feature plus sized models, Colette is the only one that I can think of that has featured a plus sized model side-by-side with a slender model.

Several companies, like StyleArc, have galleries or flickr groups where customers can post pictures of themselves modeling the company’s garments.

Burda Plus’s “plus” size models are often a joke, in that most (but not all) of these models rarely look like they wear a larger size than a US RTW size 8. Occasionally, though, they will feature a plus model with significant curves. I wish they’d do that more often as a curvy model gives a much better idea of how a garment will look on women in their target market.

On the retail side of things, Modcloth (one of my favorite inspiration shopping sites) features regular models side-by-side with plus models, as well. I’ve been loving their recent swimsuit advertising campaign, which has featured the company’s own employees wearing the swimsuits they’re selling, including a couple of plus sized women. I actually bought a swimsuit from them after seeing how great it looked on the plus sized models.

Sorry for the rant–if you can tell, this is a pet peeve of mine. And in the interest of not being a hypocrite, it’s why I review and/or blog just about everything I make, regardless of how it turns out, so that other plus sized women might get a better idea of how a pattern will work for them.

LauraTS Date: 4/17/15 12:25 PM

Ottobre has always been good about using models of different sizes and ages, although I haven’t bought an issue recently. Knipmode is good too. Burda, unfortunately, often has insultingly small models wearing their plus patterns in the magazine.

I don’t know of any fabric/notions store that shows their products on a diversity of mannequins, although I’m sure there are some local indies out there that do. Why would the chains bother? It’s like clothing stores; they may sell up to a size 14 or 16, but the mannequins are always a size 0 or 2.

michellep74In reply to LauraTSDate: 4/17/15 12:49 PM

Ottobre has always been good about using models of different sizes and ages, although I haven’t bought an issue recently. Knipmode is good too. Burda, unfortunately, often has insultingly small models wearing their plus patterns in the magazine.

I can’t believe I forgot to mention Ottobre. They are great for showing garments on different sized and shaped bodies

esseeseeIn reply to MadelineL Date: 4/17/15 1:05 PM

Then perhaps that is what you should have posted in the first place, instead of seeming to imply that larger sewers use some special subsection of retail for their extraordinary requirements.

FWIW, who cares what size mannequins a fabric shop uses? I don’t think I’ve ever been in a fabric shop that even uses mannequins anyway – why would they? They’re not selling clothes. The smaller the better, I say – leaves more space for fabric, and that’s what we all, as sewers, surely want, whatever our size.

MadelineLIn reply to esseeseeDate: 4/17/15 1:29 PM

Actually, 2 out of the 3 fabric stores near me use mannequins to display hand-made garments. Both of them use only “straight size” mannequins. Also, all three fabric stores use only “straight size” models in their advertisement campaigns. Maybe you don’t care about the mannequin and advertisement model diversity but many people do care about it.

Crazygrad In reply to michellep74 Date: 4/17/15 2:01 PM

Ottobre also gives the size and height of the model now too!

ElephunDate: 4/17/15 2:44 PM

I have not travelled much internationally, but I did notice that when I was in London, the fabric shops were just that- places to buy fabric, not notions or patterns. I don’t remember seeing any sample garments in the shops. I think the samples in US shops are to sell the patterns or classes, not the fabrics.
I think depending on location, you are going to have different expectations about what will be in store in terms of products and displays.

esseeseeIn reply to MadelineLDate: 4/17/15 7:06 PM

I’ve never seen anything at all like you describe, hence my dismissal of it as irrelevant – which it is, here.
Hand-sewn garments – for adults! – used as a display in a fabric shop? Advertising campaigns for fabric shops – with live models? How very very odd indeed!

But I am in a very different country to yours.

a7yrstitchDate: 4/17/15 8:55 PM

I think a chart of pattern companies showing size ranges with one or two boxes for one word general descriptions of fit category for the company/designer would be beneficial. The question of pattern sizes comes up for patterns for men also.

The most challenging fit projects (for me) have been fitting my ‘willowy size people’ nieces during their preteen and early teen years. This was done long distance and their needs were not addressed by the big four childrens’ or misses’ patterns.

I’d prefer that a pattern chart be all inclusive, plus size people, willowy size people, short size people, tall size people…… Many fit more than one category and/or sew for more than one category.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a sample garment in a store; or made a sample garment for a store. My online retailer has just begun to include pictures of the fabric draped over one shoulder of a manequin. This is helpful but the size of the mannequin is irrelevant. For online shopping I am more interested in an additional close up shot with a ruler for reference and true color representation – especially appreciate references to Pantone colors.

I do not shop for fabric any differently for myself than I do for others. If I see a fabric for any size person that inspires me to sew a gift, or sew for myself, I purchase that fabric. The only ‘people’ type category that I might consider when fabric shopping would be ‘baby/toddler size people’ or ‘allergic people’ and perhaps, ‘nursing home dependent on strangers to wash my clothes and have sensitive skin people’.

There have been previous threads listing and/or linking to patterns of various sizes. A quick search of the forums should help you with that information.

The only notion that comes to mind for your topic is underwires; those too cross sizing lines.

Lastly, what are you defining as plus size, and are you going by rtw sizing or pattern sizing, and whose pattern sizing? Another reason to consider an all inclusive resource.

I wish that you would sit with Deepika and discuss how this thread was started and how it has evolved. There is much to be learned here.

Might I add that after reading your intro I have been looking forward to learning more about your area of interest, cosplay costuming.

Check back later for the next thrilling episode of the pissed-off plus-size chronicles!


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