How to Choose a Sewing Pattern for Your Shape

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One of the benefits of sewing your own garments is being able to choose design elements that will flatter your shape. These guidelines will come in handy when you’re choosing off-the-rack garments as well.

* STEP 1: Assess your shape honestly and decide which areas of your body you would like to emphasize. Similarly, decide which areas of your body you would like to camouflage or de-emphasize.
* STEP 2: Appear taller and more slender by keeping the observer’s eye moving upward. One-piece dresses with a tubular silhouettes, long sleeves, V necklines and center-front closures will help achieve this effect.
* STEP 3: Avoid hemlines that fall below mid-calf if you are very short and do not wish to appear more so.
* STEP 4: Appear shorter and more rounded by keeping the observer’s eye moving horizontally. Two-piece outfits, wide sleeves, rounded necklines, wide belts and pleats at the waistline will help you achieve this effect.
* STEP 5: De-emphasize wide hips and heavy thighs and bring attention to the upper body by choosing patterns with an A line. Look for patterns that are somewhat narrow at the shoulders and flare out toward the bottom.
* STEP 6: Bring attention to a slender torso and hips by choosing a pattern with a V line. Most of the fabric is located at the top and drapes over the bodice. The garment will narrow toward the bottom hem.

Tips & Warnings

* Choose fabrics that accentuate the lines of your pattern. For example, if a vertical line is desired, stay away from fabrics with horizontal stripes.
* A hem set 2 inches below the knee is flattering for most legs.
* Use shoulder pads to accentuate a V line and to make shoulders appear broader.
* Avoid knits if you do not want a fabric that will cling to your body.

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