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Womens Plus Sizes, Sewing Patterns
Article by KarensVariety.com


This is a wonderful time for plus size women to sew their own clothes. Sewing pattern companies have noticed that there are real women in the world who do not look like the models on the runway. There are two things happening which are bringing about changes. The first is that runway and magazine models are getting thin to the point of being very unhealthy and this is affecting the health and self-esteem of young girls. The second is the simple fact that the majority of women do not fit the image presented by designers and manufacturers.

Plus Size women have finally been noticed by designers and manufacturers. At one time, plus size patterns were limited in number, design, and styles. There is a growing trend to market to women as they are rather than as perceived models and TV stars. The days of small sizes only are beginning to fade and a vibrant new market is emerging.

The definition of Plus Size is extra large or oversize clothing size. Other terms used are full figure, outsize, and bbw (big beautiful woman). The definition however, does not include a definition of regular size - oversize as compared to what? This has been left up to individual marketers who have tended to use a very small size for comparison.

Generally, any size over 14 is considered plus size, however, defining plus size clothing varies from company to company.

Different pattern labelling is used:

* By number: 16, 18, 20, etc.
* By the letter X meaning Extra Large: (X, 1X, 2X) (XL, XXL, XXXL) (XL, 1XL, 2XL).
* By the letter W after the number, meaning Women.

Patterns for women are referred to as Misses sizes. Patterns for plus sizes are referred to as Womens sizes. I see this as very confusing labelling. Misses patterns very often include plus sizes so you are restricting your choices by only looking at womens plus size patterns.

If you look at the size charts for Butterick, McCall's and Simplicity, shown below, you will see that Butterick starts their plus sizing at 14, however, McCall's and Simplicity start their plus sizing at size 18. All have the same bust size of 40 for size 18. So if you consider a size 14 or 16 to be a plus size, you could overlook many patterns by looking only at plus size patterns.

The average American woman is 5'4" tall, weighs 140 lbs, and wears a size 14 dress. Assuming this statistic to be correct, any size on the upper end of the average scale is considered a plus size. 60% of American women now fall into the plus size category.

Sewing pattern companies have noted this trend and changes are now being introduced into the sizing of patterns.

Butterick features actress/designer Delta Burke, on their patterns; a beautiful women with a wonderful flair for fashion, and an advocate for the plus size woman.

McCall's has extended the size of its misses patterns up to size 26, made women's sizes more fashionable, and added new half-size patterns.

Simplicity has adopted the HOAX Fashion Formula of full-figured body types, created by Mary Duffy. These patterns are designed to create a visually more flattering shape.
H is fairly even in the bust and hips, but straight at the waist;
O is biggest at the waist, narrowing toward the shoulders and hips;
A is larger below the waist than above and widest from a front view at the thigh line;
X is a curvy body with a full bust and hips and an indented waist.
 

Butterick

Misses’ patterns are designed for a well proportioned and developed figure; about 5'5" to 5'6" tall without shoes.
Misses’ Petites patterns are designed for the shorter figure; about 5'2" to 5'4" tall without shoes.
SIZE
X-Small Small Medium Large X-Large XX-Large
6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
Chest 28 1/2 29 1/2 30 1/2 32 34 36 38 40 42 44
Bust 30 1/2 31 1/2 32 1/2 34 36 38 40 42 44 46
Waist 23 24 25 26 1/2 28 30 32 34 37 39
Hip 32 1/2 33 1/2 34 1/2 36 38 40 42 44 46 48
Back Waist Length 15 1/2 15 3/4 16 16 1/4 16 1/2 16 3/4 17 17 1/4 17 3/8

17 1/2

Women’s patterns are designed for the larger, fully mature figure, about 5'5" to 5'6" tall without shoes.
Women’s Petites patterns are designed for the shorter woman's figure; about 5'2" to 5'4" tall without shoes.
SIZE X-Small Small Medium Large X-Large XX-Large
14W 16W 18W 20W 22W 24W 26W 28W 30W 32W
- - - (38) (40) (42) (44) (46) (48) (50)
Bust 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54
Waist 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 1/2 44 46 1/2 49
Hip 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56
Back Waist Length 16 1/2 16 3/4 17 17 1/4 17 3/8 17 1/2 17 5/8 17 3/4 17 7/8 18


 

McCall's

Misses’ for well-proportioned, developed figures about 5'5" to 5'6" without shoes. Miss Petite about 5'2" to 5'3" without shoes
SIZE 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26
Bust
29 1/2 30 1/2 31 1/2 32 1/2 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48
Waist
22 23 24 25 26 1/2 28 30 32 34 37 39 41 1/2
Hip
31 1/2 32 1/2 33 1/2 34 1/2 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50
Back Waist Length
15 1/4 15 1/2 15 3/4 16 16 1/4 16 1/2 16 3/4 17 17 1/4 17 1/2 17 3/4 18
Petite
Back Waist Length
14 14 1/4 14 3/4 15 15 1/4 15 1/2 15 3/4 16 16 1/4 16 1/2 16 3/4 17

Women's/Women's Petite for larger, more fully mature figures. Women's about 5'5" to 5'6" without shoes.
Women's Petite for the Women's figure about 5'2" to 5'3" without shoes.
Size 18W 20W 22W 24W 26W 28W 30W 32W
Bust 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54
Waist 33 35 37 39 41 1/2 44 46 1/2 49
Hip 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56
Back Waist Length 17 1/8 17 1/4 17 3/8 17 1/2 17 5/8 17 3/4 17 7/8 18

Petite
Back Waist Length

16 1/8 16 1/4 16 3/8 16 1/2 16 5/8 16 3/4 16 7/8 17

 

Simplicity

Misses'/Miss Petite - For well-proportioned, developed figures.
Misses' about 5'5" to 5'6" without shoes. Miss Petite under 5'4" without shoes.

Sizes

4

6

8

10

12

14

16

18

20

22

24

26

 

Bust

29½

30 ½

31½

32½

34

36

38

40

42

44

46

48

In

Waist

22

23

24

25

26½

28

30

32

34

37

39

41½

"

Hip - 9" below waist

31½

32½

33½

34½

36

38

40

42

44

46

48

50

"

Back Waist Length

15½

15½

15¾

16

16¼

16½

16¾

17

17¼

17 3/8

17½

17 ¾

"

Petite-Back Waist Length

14¼

14½

14¾

15

15¼

15½

15¾

16

16 ¼

16 3/8

16½

16 5/8

"

Women's/Women's Petite - For the larger, more fully mature figures.
Women about 5'5" to 5'6" without shoes. Women's Petite under 5'4" without shoes.

Sizes

18W

20W

22W

24W

26W

28W

30W

32W

 

Bust

40

42

44

46

48

50

52

54

In

Waist

33

35

37

39

41 1/2

44

46 1/2

49

"

Hip - 9" below waist

42

44

46

48

50

52

54

56

"

Back Waist Length

17 1/8

17 1/4

17 3/8

17 1/2

17 5/8

17 3/4

17 7/8

18

"

Petite-Back Waist Length

16 1/8

16 1/4

16 3/8

16 1/2

16 5/8

16 3/4

16 7/8

17

"


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