10 Jun 2016 No Comments
With the fashion industry taking notice of the need for more plus-size clothing, there are more larger garments available in the market. While many designers are jumping on the bandwagon, I question whether or not they really understand the intricacies of fitting and designing garments which accommodates the proper fit of bigger sizes. I thought I’d take a moment and explain a few factors that I take into account when designing my line. I think it’s important for consumers to know that proper fit is not as straightforward as magnifying a pattern from a size 6 to a true plus size.
When designing with plus sizes in mind, it’s important to think about the curvier woman’s proportions. She will likely have a much more ample bust and proportionately bigger biceps, as well. From shoulders and forearms to calves and thighs, these areas will be proportionally larger. And body types need to be addressed, too. For example, if she’s an apple shape, her stomach will be larger. If she’s a pear shape, her bum will be bigger. Something that few “regular size” pattern makers think about is that the width (from the side) changes dramatically as well. In response to these specialised sizing needs, I always make a separate pattern for plus sizes. It’s important to do this for optimal fit!
Of course being a plus sized woman myself, I lean towards styling the plus-size woman and what her aesthetic needs are. The larger woman is less likely to tuck in her tops, so our styles do not include details like stiff/tight waistbands. Our waistbands are designed with a smooth fit and natural waists in mind, as I have noticed that it is simply the most flattering and comfortable on a range of sizes. We also tend to have slightly higher necklines to accommodate a generously sized bust as well as larger bust darts built right into the patterns. This gives our customers the ability to stylishly highlight their decolletage without fear of excessive cleavage.
Once I have a design that addresses all these fit concerns, I move on to the smaller sizes. At Diane Kennedy we make two patterns for every clothing item that we design. One pattern that fits regular sizes and another that fits plus sizes. Each pattern is then fitted on a real person in each size range. This is quite opposite from other designers, who often create with a specific body type in mind and simply size up on the patterns, which is not an accurate way to design, in my opinion. Personally, I’ve tried on garments with arms that are way to long and shoulders that hang off unflatteringly. This is what happens when a pattern is graded too many sizes, too far away from the base size.
In an effort to promote size inclusivity, our regular Diane Kennedy customers will know that we carry all 8 sizes; from small to 3X.
Which leads us to an important size that we include in our line up, size 0X. But we often field the question “What size is 0X?”
We feel it’s imperative to include this size in order to fit those that are in between sizes. Because 0X is 2″ bigger than an XL and 3″ smaller than a 1X, it is able to accommodate those between true regular sizing and true plus sizing. If you leave that size out, there’s an enormous gap between sizes, up to 5″!
I hope that the information I’ve have shared lends some insight into my fit and design process that illustrates my dedication, as a fit technician and fashion designer.