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One of the assumptions people make when looking at me is that it must be so easy to shop for clothes because of my size. That is a huge misconception. I think regardless of what size anyone is, we all have a hard time with clothes. What works for us in one store may not work so well at another. One sewing pattern may turn out perfectly without any adjustments, but another pattern may need a bust and hip adjustment. It’s a common struggle for all women, unfortunately. While the grass may seem greener on my side, let me be completely honest with you: it really isn’t! But here are some things that have helped me to find and make clothes for small sizes.
Even though I’m average height, I shop in petites for tops because I have a short torso and because I’m small-chested. I also like that I can find half-sizes, so I don’t have to round up to a whole number and risk wearing a tent as a top. Unless it’s made to fit that way.
Petite sizing is also great for skirts and dresses if you’re waist is small so that you don’t have to wear a belt, or worse, finagle a safety pin and worry about it popping open and impaling you. (That has happened to me. I’m still traumatized!)
I used to be against this in the past, but after buying a beautiful blouse from the kids’ section at H&M, I’m all for it! Just be aware of how specific a clothing item might be. I’m sure you don’t want to see a 12-year-old wearing the exact same statement blouse as you! Try to stick with basics and classic pieces, like the staple white button-down shirt or tops with simple prints. The kids’ section may not work as well for bottoms, but blouses and jackets should be good to go.
Patterns can be easy to customize according to your size. Most patterns won’t fit you like a glove if you sew them straight, but a few adjustments can make for a perfect fit. I’ve never done a small bust adjustment, so here are a couple of links to help you out:
Craftsy offers an in depth course on how to do an SBA.
Sewalongs With Colette Patterns has a helpful guide in their Rue sewalong. (And it’s free to read!)
If you’re not ready or in the mood to do all the slicing and dicing for pattern adjustments, try patterns that call for knit fabrics. They have a negative ease, so it will naturally be true to size once it’s complete. The Moneta dress is my favorite!
What tips do you have for finding clothes that fit? Please help us out!