Different body types require different types of clothing. If you want to learn how to sew and dress for your body type, then you’ve come to the right place!
Dressing for Your Body Type: Sewing the Perfect Fit
Having basic knowledge of sewing can help you appreciate your body type more! I’m here to help you change your perspective when it comes to your relationship with fashion. The five essential measurements you must be aware of to determine what body type you have are: chest, waist, bust, hips, and height. Once you’ve nailed your measurements, you are ready to sew for your body type! Dressing for your body type means considering a lot of things like sewing patterns, fabric, alterations, stitching, adjustments, among others. I got frustrated at first, but learning how to do this is worth it. It’s a skill you can carry with you for the rest of your life! Today marks the end of trying to fit into garments. Read on for sewing tips on how to make garments fit you!
Rectangle Body Type
1. Rectangle Body Type Measurement
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If you have a rectangle body shape, areas such as the bust, waist, and hips, which are usually defined, appear to have the same measurement. Technically speaking, the difference of the measurement of these areas are less than two inches. This means your body sometimes appears to be a tall block. Aside from the hourglass body type, this is the easiest to dress.
2. Rectangle Body Type Sewing Patterns
The sewing patterns you must be on the lookout for are those which are flowing and long. Try looking for Women’s patterns because they are usually for women who stand around 5’6″ and have a larger figure. If you want to minimize the movement of your garment, try a knit dress sewing pattern with no sleeves and a round neckline.
3. Rectangle Body Type Fabric
Take the sewing patterns with you when you shop for soft fabric like tissue faille and light weight gabardine. Soft fabric is needed to avoid looking bulky, which is the problem most women with the rectangle body type have. Also, avoid unnecessary details like pockets and ruffles as they create the illusion that your body is fuller than it seems. When it comes to the rectangle body type, less is more.
4. Rectangle Body Type Altering Tips
If you have a rectangle body type, all you need is a subtle definition at the waist and you’re good to go. So, altering the side seams of the garment is what you have to pay attention to. It’s also good to alter skirts and dresses to end slightly below the knee. This makes your body look slim without minimizing your height.
Triangle or Pear Shaped Body Type
1. Triangle or Pear Shaped Body Type Measurement
A triangle body type has a narrow upper body and wide lower body. Your shoulders, bust, and waist have almost the same measurements, while your hips and thighs are shapely and well-defined. For a triangle-shaped body, the difference in measurement between the waist and the hips are four inches or more.
2. Triangle or Pear Shaped Body Type Sewing Patterns
Minimizing your lower body means choosing sewing patterns that are tight-fitting around the waist with a little bit of allowance around the hips and thighs. Patterns for tops with v-necklines are good for drawing the attention to the upper body. To balance everything out, choose patterns with dramatic sleeves—maybe puffed sleeves. Also, use patterns that accentuate the shoulders and the upper arm.
3. Triangle and Pear Shaped Fabric
The best kind of fabric for the pear body type is a smooth fabric which has a little bit of allowance for movement. The key is to sew the fabric in such a way that it gathers around the waist. Doing this allows the fabric to hug the body in a slimming and flattering way, as opposed to plain figure-hugging sewing. If you’re going for a two-piece outfit, your top could be made of a bulkier or more crips fabric while your bottom must be made of soft fabric. The contrast will make balance your body proportions.
4. Triangle and Pear Shaped Altering Tips
When altering patterns, follow the proportions of the upper body and increase the fit of the lower body accordingly. Sewing the length of the garment is very important too. Make sure that garments do not end on the hips as this is the most pronounced part of your body. Tops should end at the waist (or a little below it) and bottoms and skirts should fall a little bit below the knee.
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— SewingDotCom (@Sewingdotcom) January 9, 2017
Hourglass Body Type
1. Hourglass Body Type Measurement
Women with the hourglass body have it a little easier. This is the body type which these kinds of sewing and dressing aspire to. Other body types are balanced to come close to the hourglass figure. The bust and hips are almost perfectly proportioned, and the waist is not too wide or not too narrow.
2. Hourglass Body Type Sewing Patterns
Use sewing patterns that hug the waist area since the upper and lower body have a balanced proportion. Misses’ patterns are usually your friend. Any sewing pattern which creates curved dimensions—in the neckline, sleeves, waist, or hips—should complement your body. Maximize your figure by staying away from geometric sewing patterns.
3. Hourglass Body Type Fabric
In choosing fabrics, opt for smooth and clingy ones like silk jersey or wool jersey which hug your body. Since your body has balanced proportions, you can also wear bulky fabric too, such as velour, as long as they’re tailored to hug your body, especially around the waist area.
4. Hourglass Body Type Altering Tips
While hugging your curves is the way to go, there is still a sophisticated way of accentuating your shape. Princess seams, for instance, are your best friend. There are a variety of dresses that have this seam. You can also add darts around the torso or bust area of the dress so the dress hugs your body with style.
Inverted Triangle Body Type
1. Inverted Triangle Measurement
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The inverted triangle body type has a larger upper body with broad shoulders, ample bust, and wide back. The measurement of the bust differs by three inches (or more) from the measurement of the waist and hips. The waist and hips, in turn, appear to have almost the same measurement. This makes it appear like the lower body from the waist tapers down.
2. Inverted Triangle Body Type Sewing Patterns
Details and flare on the garments should be on the lower body. Look for patterns that give skirts, pants, and shorts a dramatic shape or some movement. This attracts the eye down takes it away from the relatively wide upper body. A-line patterns complement the inverted triangle body type really well. It balances out the wide shoulders. Pleats and pockets below the waist may be added too as this creates the illusion of a fuller figure.
3. Inverted Triangle Body Type Fabric
When picking out fabrics, go for crisp fabrics like taffeta or bulky ones like tweed. The fabric must be sewn in such as a way as to hug the upper body but give space around the lower body to balance the wide shoulders and create a smaller waist. To achieve this, it is to best to study your sewing pattern since it indicates which fabrics would go well with it.
4. Inverted Triangle Body Type Altering Tips
Alteration of sewing patterns has to be done on the upper body since decreasing adjustments are easier. Make sure sleeves hug the arms since any extra space could amplify the already broad shoulders. If you have an ample bust, sewing princess seams should complement your body type as well.
Apple-Shaped Body Type
1. Apple-Shaped Body Type Measurement
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The round or apple body type does not have a defined waist, and the weight tends to form in the stomach area. The measurement of your waist is two inches wider than the measurement of your bust and hips. Women with this body type are usually a little shorter than the average 5’4″ height for women. Therefore, the challenge here is creating the illusion of a defined waist.
2. Apple-Shaped Body Type Sewing Patterns
It’s best to find sewing patterns with fitted sleeves above the elbows. Patterns which accentuate the shoulders are good too. Approximating the inverted triangle rather than the hourglass body type is easier for an apple-shaped woman. You can work with any pattern which does not hug the waist area. Patterns for a dropped waist dress or those with an empire line are the apple body type’s best friend.
3. Apple-Shaped Body Types Fabric
Fabric choices for the apple body type should be soft—not too tight that it hugs the full tummy area, and not too bulky that you forget to highlight your asset: slim legs and nice elegant shoulders. Fabrics like single knit or wool jersey are your go-to fabrics. If you have the right pattern, you can play with the fabric to create slightly broader shoulders to create the illusion of a smaller waist.
4. Apple-Shaped Body Type Altering Tips
If your shoulders and hips have a well-balanced proportion, then strategically placed darts, pleats, or ruffles (don’t go overboard) should do the trick, as long as they’re not on the tummy area. Again, sewing the right garment lengths is key to dressing this body type. Don’t let any garment gather or end on your torso. Alter the sleeves or neckline for space and movement, but maintain alter the waistline seam closes to your measurements.
For styling ideas, watch this video of Leeanna Vamp from AMI Clubwear’s channel for her tips on how to choose the dresses that will look good on your body:
Any woman can only handle so much talk about body type. This is often a sensitive topic that brings out a lot of insecurities. But it is also healthy to learn the kind of body type you have and what kind of sewing or dressing it requires. It’s like being prepared to go to war: armed with your sewing kit and newfound sewing knowledge, no type of garment or clothing can daunt you. There’s so much fun and freedom in being able to sew anything according to your fancy! Always remember these tips, and always look the best version of yourself!
Do you have more tips on how to sew and dress for different body types? Leave them in the comments section below!
Aside from knowing your body shape, getting exact and perfect body measurements is also an important factor in creating the perfect outfit. Find out how to take your body measurements here!
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In this article the paragraph for the pear shape body is completely incorrect. So this article is of no help to those of us with amply endowed hips. Please re- write that paragraph accurately.
I think your selections for the round figure type were not at all flattering. You don’t belt a waist when there’s none there. The plunging neckline wouldn’t work in most situations: work, church, etc. Then the loud print dress with the flared skirt is frankly unflattering to all figures. Whoever did the research on this one flunked as far as I’m concerned.
If that is your advice for a round figure, I would stick to my own dress sense. They are not flattering at all.
Lauren Lloyd says
I’m glad to see there are other comments that are just as dissapointed with your description and analysis of round bodies! It’s also frankly insulting that you don’t even have a sketch or photo of round bodies and instead actively choose a pseudoscientific drawing with medical advice that looks like a weight loss advertisment! Think about the messaging that sends to enthusiasts or people that are new or especially young men and women! Ah well, focus on your legs I guess whilst belting a rayon bag around your bust. It’s ridiculous.
Be yourself, and dress for yourself not others.
(I recommend refinery 29, they are size inclusive and have some solid information for beginners!)