There is definitely a process I go through when deciding my next make. When choosing a pattern to make up for myself, I tend to look at shapes that will flatter my body first, and then what I would get most wear out of. The fabric comes next, determined by the pattern, and what works best with the particular style chosen.
I was quite indecisive when it came to fabric for my latest dress, Republique Du Chiffon’s Melinda dress, until the sales assistant posed the questions, “Where will you be wearing the dress?" and "What’s it for?” It didn’t take me long to see my life as it is - countless trips to the supermarket, and school drop-offs. Don’t get me wrong, this suits me just fine. If I was working nine-to-five, the lifestyle of a full-time sewing fanatic would severely suffer. This helped me enormously in my decision, and the denim-look viscose was true to the garment I was going to make.
The pattern was chosen knowing this was a style that would most flatter my body shape. I’ve written before about being a pear. As much as I’d love to wear a pencil skirt, it would look ridiculous on me. It’s really important to work out your shape, and then decide on a pattern that will enhance all the right parts, and make you feel great. Sewing can at times be disheartening, especially when a style you adore just won’t work on your figure type. Running through the measurements chart is also very important. No point cutting out a size 10, when the pattern you’re making has your measurements down as a 14. Yes, it can be that extreme. We are not buying off the rack here. If it states you’re a 14, then cut out a 14. You can always take it in.
What drew me to the Melinda dress was the detail on the top. It’s blousey, and I just love the button closure on the shoulders and the design lines across the front. If I made it again, I would probably enhance these lines with some piping in a contrasting colour. I have a feeling this is going to be my go-to dress this summer.
The most common body shapes are:
This shape entails shoulders and hips that are in proportion with a larger waistline, often sporting good legs and a larger bust.
Apples look great in v-necks, giving an illusion of a longer torso. Also belts to pull you in at the waist, empire line tops and dresses are suitable. Shorter skirts are a great way of showing off those pins. Avoiding monochrome looks is advised.
Patterns that most suit apples are the appropriately named Appleton dress by Cashmerette and the Katha Tunic by Schnittchen.
The triangle is often known as the swimmer with broad shoulders and a smaller waist and bottom.
You can wear bright and light colours on the bottom and high-waisted styles. Wide-leg pants and full skirts look great on you.
A couple of pattern suggestions I have for triangles are Harper Shorts and Skort by Megan Nielsen and the Astrid Wrap Pants by Named.
The rectangle’s shoulders are quite square/ athletic and are in proportion to the waist and hips. Generally, there is very little waist definition.
I would suggest choosing patterns with scoop necks or even a sweetheart neckline to create curves. Long jackets will elongate you. Tops with collars, ruffles and dresses with ruching will all work on your shape.
Both the Marie Gathered Midi Dress by Named and the Longley Drapey Cardigan in the MiY Collection would be suitable with this figure type.
If I had a dream shape, this would be it. Proportioned through the shoulders and hips and a small defined waist. You shouldn’t hide under baggy clothes. Fitted clothes look fabulous on you. Belted waists and high-waisted skirts and skinny or straight-legged pants will look fantastic.
Pattern suggestions for hour glass are the Pulmu high-waisted pencil skirt by Named and the Safran pant by Deer and Doe.
Last of all, the pear. Our shoulders and waists are smaller than our hips and bottoms. Anything a-line with a tapered waist is suitable. Draw attention to the upper half of your body by adding volume to the shoulders. Light-coloured tops and dark-coloured bottoms are a good idea.
Anything by Sewaholic, which are all designed for pear-shapes, and the new Rue dress pattern by Colette are great for your shape.
If you choose to make a garment in a style that suits your body shape, you will be more inclined to wear the garment. I also believe, if you’re onto a good thing and it works for you, make it again in different fabrics. Be true to yourself when choosing your pattern and you can’t go wrong.
The Melinda dress by Republique du Chiffon is the real me. It's casual and comfortable, and boasts a little bit of style at the same time. Perfect!