My Sew Called Life

A Journey Through the World of Sewing

A Lesson in Figure Flattery January 28, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Burke @ 10:05 am

My confidence grew once I had successfully created the Butterick 5415, but my ego got in the way when I decided to make this:


This was the project where I learned the next most important lesson:

6. Know your figure.

Like I’m sure most home sewers have done, I looked at the model and the dress and thought, “Wow! That’s fabulous!” What I didn’t consider was how MY body would look in this design. I had read the figure flattery warning before, but I think it’s a good idea to have it here so I can constantly be reminded:

Figure Flattery

Determine your body shape from the explanations below and use our KEY TO FIGURE FLATTERY diagram to select styles that are particularly flattering to your figure. Choosing styles suited to your body shape can also eliminate the need for most pattern adjustments. Look for the figure symbol that indicates your body shape, then proceed with confidence, knowing that your pattern adjustments will be minimal and your finished garment will be pure figure flattery.

Inverted Triange THE INVERTED TRIANGLE: Large bust and/or broad shoulders with narrow hips.

Triangle THE TRIANGLE: Small bust and/or narrow shoulders with full hips and/or thighs.

Rectangle THE RECTANGLE: Balanced on top and bottom, but boxy, with little or no waist definition.

Hourglass THE HOURGLASS: Equally balanced on top and bottom, with a trim waist.

This pattern works with every figure except mine – the inverted triangle. I know that I saw these symbols on the pattern AND on the website when I added this to my wishlist, but my ego and wishful thinking led me to create this anyway. I had purchased some really nice wool and silk tweed and had originally set it aside for a skirt, but decided to make it into this pattern. The fabric frayed and was way too sheer, but the fit was the most abominable thing about this creation – pleats and gathers coupled with a large bust is NEVER a good combination, and I learned that with this pattern. I also learned that the days of envisioning myself in a perfect body were dead – and had to be if I had any chance of making clothes that actually fit and looked fabulous on my body.

I like to think of this project as the one that killed my ego, but it also opened up a strange appreciation for my curves, and the excitement about showing them off instead of covering them up in layers of black. I did wear this once with a black cashmere cardigan, tights and patent wedge heels, but it is now retired in my closet. I may go back and adjust this neck to make it more flattering for a large bust and I actually found an out-of-print Vogue pattern that is the same style but has majorly different pleating but it’s at the bottom of my list, especially since I discovered custom fit patterns! 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s