“I love your patterns, but I’m not a pear shape!”

As the Sewaholic Patterns line grows, this question comes up from time to time. What if you love the look of a pattern, say the Cordova Jacket, but you’re not pear-shaped? Can you still make the pattern?

The short answer: of course you can!

Think of it this way – us pear-shaped women buy patterns from many different pattern companies. We simply adjust them to fit our curvy hips and muscular thighs. So we’re not limited to a certain pattern designer, at all! We refer to the finished measurements, check them against our own, and make the pattern adjustments as needed.

It’s just that with Sewaholic Patterns, for the first time the size chart is tailored to fit our proportions, so less adjusting is necessary for us pears.

(For the dress above – original post here – I cut one size on top, and the equivalent of two sizes larger on the bottom!)

So if you’re looking at the Sewaholic Patterns size chart and thinking you’d be a 10 on the top and a 4 on the bottom – that’s totally fine! Instead of adjusting for fuller hips, you’d be adjusting for narrower hips. (Essentially, the reverse of what I do when I buy from other pattern companies.)

Also, jackets and tops don’t always cover the hip area. So you’ll be able to easily use any of the top and jacket patterns just like any other pattern brand, no adjusting needed!

Take a look – the Cordova jacket stops well before the wide part of the hips.

As does the Renfrew Top:

The Renfrew Top may fit differently if you’re narrower through the hips, but it’s easy to take it in to fit. Also, the Renfrew Top is cut fairly relaxed through the body. Look at the leopard print one – you can see the fabric folds in the middle, showing that it’s not snug across the midsection.

If you’re concerned about your tops being tight in the tummy, the Renfrew has ease built in for comfort. (And if you wanted even more ease through the middle, cut the sideseams straight between the hips and armpit, instead of curving inwards for the waist. You can easily take it back in if needed but this is a good place to start!)

The Minoru Jacket covers the hips but it’s easy to take it in through the sideseams for narrow hips.

(The hip width looks right on me, but I’ve seen slimmer people try on this sample and have it look nearly A-line! If your muslin has an A-line shape over your hips, it’s easy to nip it in through the sideseams.)

The only pattern I would perhaps not recommend if you’re far from pear-shaped is the Thurlow Trousers and Shorts. It’s very specifically designed for curvy hips, muscular thighs and a narrow waist. If that’s not you, then you’ll have to do a lot of adjusting to get it to fit your body.

If you’re not a pear or hourglass shape and you ask me whether I’d recommend this pattern for you, I would say no. It’s just too much work to fit pants in general, much less pants that are designed to fit the exact opposite of you.

On that note, consider the style of the pattern, which parts are designed to fit and which are designed with generous ease. In the case of the Cambie Dress, the full-skirted version, there’s no need to cut a different size for narrower hips. The full skirt will cover whatever you’ve got happening below the waist. Choose the pattern based on your bust, adjust for the waistline if necessary, and you’re good to go!

(There could be anything going on under that skirt! The fullness hides hips and thighs as well as whatever’s in your pockets.)

The Lonsdale Dress is cut with a flared skirt, so again, if your hips are narrower, you’ll end up with a slightly more flared skirt. (I wouldn’t recommend tapering the sideseams from waist to a narrower hip width, or your sideseams will hang strangely. Cut the skirt all in one size without making adjustments, only adjust the bodice and waistband if needed.)

But will it look good on me?

The other question besides fit is flattery. Will a design that was created with pear-shaped figures in mind still look good on different body types?

I think yes. When I started Sewaholic Patterns, my goal was to design for pear-shaped women, but it’s evolved over time. Many of my designs would look gorgeous on all different bodies! It’s all based on what you feel comfortable wearing of course, but I’ve seen beautiful garments made from my patterns on women of all shapes.

If you love the look of a pattern, give it a try!

Still unsure? Here are some ideas!

Check out the Sewaholic Patterns Flickr group for inspiration and ideas, as well as to see the patterns sewn up for different body types.

Google-search the pattern you’re considering. Just type in ‘Cambie Dress Sewaholic‘ into the google image search and ta-da! Tons of photos of the Cambie dress sewn up, by people all around the world. (Try it!) It’s another great way to get inspired by people’s projects.

Try PatternReview.com to read reviews of the pattern and see photos from people who’ve made the pattern. You can search by company, by pattern name or by pattern number to find what you’re looking for.

Check out pattern testers’ versions of my patterns. When I choose pattern testers, I make sure to have a range of sizes represented. (Not all of them have blogs and not all of them share photos but I do ensure to have at least one person testing each size from 0 to 16!)

Basically, after that long answer, the short answer is this: You buying a pattern designed for pear shaped women is just like someone who’s pear-shaped buying a regular commercial pattern. It might work out of the envelope, or it might take a little adjusting to get it to fit perfectly. Either way, when it comes down to it, it’s just a case of measurements! Figure out how you want it to fit, and adjust accordingly.

I hope this helps! I’ve seen this question come up a few times recently and thought there might be even more people wondering the same thing but were too busy or shy to ask.

PS. If you’re not pear-shaped, but have made a Sewaholic Pattern with good results, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. It’s one thing for me to say the patterns work on many body types, but it’s so much better to hear from someone who’s actually done it!

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49 Responses to “I love your patterns, but I’m not a pear shape!”

  1. Janey December 3, 2012 at 6:21 am #

    A very good post – I’ve always wondered whether these patterns would fit me okay as a non-pear shape. I think I’m going to have to add a couple of patterns to my Christmas wish list!

  2. Doortje December 3, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    I think Sewaholic patterns are the best on the market right now!
    I’m not pear shaped (rather a normal sized ‘apple’ with heavier thighs and a swayback) but I have more Sewaholic patterns than big 4 patterns and that’s for a reason: The fit is always great! Usually I need to make less adjustments than with other patterns.

  3. Kyriaki December 3, 2012 at 7:26 am #

    I made Cambie, and I’m an hourglass figure – 34.5, 26, 34. I had to take it in at the waist, but I made the full skirted version and didn’t alter the skirt at all. I’m currently trying to modify the skirt for narrow hips (because in sizes I’m 8-4-0) for the A-line version.

    Here’s a link to pictures of my cambia and my discussion of making it: http://candleprayer.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/cambie/

  4. neemie December 3, 2012 at 7:44 am #

    I’m not pear shaped either. I am more of a rectangle with fairly broad shoulders. I made the cambie dress (fuller skirt option) with almost no fitting problems. However, I imagine I would have to make hip adjustments (go down a size) if I chose to make the the a line skirt. It’s no biggie really. Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch has tutorial (http://www.afashionablestitch.com/picking-your-ginger-size-dilemma-b/) on how to adjust hip sizes. It’s easier to do than you think.

  5. Megan December 3, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    Thanks for this great post! Though I love the style of your patterns, I too have shied away from ordering any because, as a beginner sewer, I was intimidated by the adjustments that i thought would be needed to fit my apple shape. In my mind, the apple shape is pretty much opposite of the pear shape, right? however, after looking at the measurements in your chart, i think i am convinced that it will actually be easier to use your patterns than many other. For patterns drafted for an hourglass shape, i have to take in the bust and let out the waistline. For your patterns i should only have to adjust the waist! Much easier! I think I’ll put some on my Christmas list…

  6. Sara December 3, 2012 at 8:20 am #

    I have broad shoulders and narrow hips (so i’m the opposite of a pear) and i’ve made several sewaholic patterns. the only ones that are not flattering for me (besides the pants) are the ones with shoulder details, like the Pendrell or Cordova. Even then I can still make the sleeveless pendrell or take out the extra sleeve cap ease on Cordova. I think your patterns can be successful for a variety of body types as long as you take into account your own personal quirks and adjust.

  7. Angela December 3, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    I’m not a pear either, more of a rectangle. Just like Tasia said, the Thurlow is the only pattern I looked at and said no. I’d have to adjust it into some completely different! LOL! Too bad, because I love the looks of it.

    Tasia..hint hint… any clues about more fun patterns awaiting your fans in the future??

  8. Lauren December 3, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    I’m not pear-shaped, although I’m not necessarily slim-hipped (woohoo, fat bottomed girls haha :)). When I initially started looking at Sewaholic patterns, I admit that I didn’t think they’d work for my body since I’d have to do a lot of bust-adjusting to get a good fit up top. But, you know, once I started, I couldn’t stop! You are totally correct that all we non-pears really have to do is reverse-grade the pattern to slim down the hips if needed. And bust adjusting is NOT hard to do. Consider me a huge fan of Sewaholic patterns, and most definitely not a pear shape :)

  9. Becky December 3, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    I kind of wish I’d seen this post a month or so ago! You may recall that I’m using the Cambie bodice for my wedding dress–I’m at the tail end of the muslin stage now. I’m more of an hourglass than a pear, and I chose the bodice size based on my waist rather than my bust, thinking I’d just do an FBA. It took 3 attempts, and I finally ended up having to convert the front into princess seams! (I’m actually really excited about how it looks so far, and will definitely check out that Flickr group so I can show you when it’s all done!)

    But I love how my Lonsdale turned out, and have several of the other patterns to play around with. (AFTER this dress, of course.) I’m definitely a fan!

    • Becky December 3, 2012 at 9:25 am #

      One slight addition–the Renfrew worked great for me right out of the envelope. I just graded it from something like an 8 to a 4 just for the waist, and it worked perfectly!

  10. Sunni December 3, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    I used to believe that I was pear shaped, but in more recent months I’ve come to find that I’m not really that pear shaped. My hip line is definitely my widest point, but my bust is not only 3 inches smaller than my hip line and I have a very broad upper back/shoulder line. I’m a mix of the sizes for Sewaholic and yet, every single pattern I have made is successful and very stylish! All you really have to do is blend between the sizes and adjust for things like fuller bust or broad upper back. I have to say as well, that pattern sizing aside, the designs you come up with are just too great to pass up. In addition, they work amazingly well for those of us who are trying to create a wardrobe that is everyday friendly, yet chic and stylish. The patterns are soooooo well drafted too – Tasia, you are a genius!
    xoxo, Sunni

  11. maddie December 3, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    I think jackets are one of the few items of clothing that can fit many shapes – petites, pear, round, etc!

  12. Jenny December 3, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Over the past few years, my body has changed drastically. The extra weight has mostly landed on my hips. My problem is mostly that a RTW dress never fits – if it fits on top, it does NOT fit my hips and vice versa hence, the reason I began to sew.
    Now I’ve been learning about what fits me well and how to adjust patterns. I never knew (until very recently) that a full skirt would look nice on me. I tried the Lonsdale dress (well, just the skirt part) and I LOVE it! I am planning on making many more. I tried the Renfrew and the Alma and they are great fits. I said all that to really say, I love Sewaholic patterns. I think I should try the Thurlows next….

  13. Heike December 3, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    It’s still unbelievable to me to see pattern measurements that fit MY body, just a slight adjustment in the waist is needed. Regular patterns take quite a bit of work to get them to fit, from small bust to wider hips often spanning three sizes. With your patterns I am an even size 10. I’m so glad I’ve found your site. Several patterns are on my wish list.

  14. Allynara December 3, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    I’m an hourglassfigure and just love these patterns! With the Big 4 patterns, I have to adjust a lot at the buste and sometimes at the hips. (37″ – 29″ – 37,5″). I find that I have to alter less with the sewaholic patterns than I have to with the regular patterns. These patterns also compliment me more than the other patterns (or else I haven’t learned yet how to properly alter the other ones :P ).

    I tested the Cordova pattern and didn’t have to make any adjustments to it. Sure, if I wanted to, I could’ve taken in the hips, but I liked it that way because it gives you more ease for when you decide to wear a sweater underneath?

    Truly, I’m a big fan!!

  15. Roisin December 3, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    I’m not pear shaped either – I’m more hourglass. Admittedly, I have only made the Lonsdale and Cambie dresses but I have made more than one of each – lots more, in the case of Cambie – and I haven’t made any adjustments at all.

  16. Seraphinalina December 3, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    I agree with your post. I have only sewn up Renfrew so far (I have other patterns but haven’t got to them yet, I got stuck on Renfrew) but it worked quite well for me. I would need to do a FBA with any pattern that isn’t a sack. I have debated with Thurlow though. I have a round bum so maybe it would work, but my waist is not as small as the Sewaholic sizing for my hips and it does seem like it would take some work to get the fit right.

    I think it’s more about styling. I don’t really need to balance out my hips, but that doesn’t mean I can’t wear the fuller shoulders etc.

  17. Jane December 3, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Ok I am petite 5 2 and 42 34 42, 163 lbs

    This discussion makes me wish all of the pictures of finished outfits by sewers
    would have those measurements included

    and front, side and back – full lenghts shots

    Yes some pictures are just about look what I did and I like to see those but

    We need to get over the not sharing measurements and weight if we truly want to be a supportive community in the amature sewing world

    with my measurments mistakes in pattern choices can be disastorous and expensive and discouraging and yes I now make slopers and just bought a dressmakers dummy

    I have learned never to wear raglan (too much fabric at bust line and not enough shoulder definition and shoulder pads look strange on me)

    not to wear peplum styles it does not accenuate my waist as much as make my not to bad potbelly look huge

    to wear ruffles very carefully

    no turtle necks — makes me look like a turtle about to pull my head in

    necklines that are lower than a jewel neckline elongates my upper chest (and blance all that protrusion ;)

    lapels have to be perfect width and perfectly tailored or shouldn t bother

    And one peice of advice I would like to pass on

    If you have a potbelly WHY would you choose to emphasize it with a bulky front zipper and any fussiness in that area?? at the least the flattest zipper possible but better a side zipper or for dress pants/skirt, a back zipper (which is also helpful to fit the back area that has problems in a pattern fit because in my case I am shorter than average in the back neck to hip area and my waist is much smaller in bak than in front (that pot belly)

    Mahalo for considering

    I want to look calm, sophisticated and show off my best attributes — not to follow the herd just because I am a sheep

    • lynl December 4, 2012 at 10:06 am #

      Jane, I have exactly the same measurements, height and weight as you! Wow! I have tried so many pattern companies and have had to make slopers as well but they have come in so handy! Actually, I have a Sewaholic Alma blouse on my sewing table that I traced out yesterday! It might be interesting for you to know that Tasia’s multi-sized pieces are so well drafted that even my crude grading produces wonderful results! If you can get past the different sizes you ‘assimilate’ you can have a beautifully fit, custom garment. I laid out my TNT pattern right over the Alma pattern and was surprised to find EXACT matching so when I traced it here’s what I found for me:

      1. Start at shoulders to underarm size 12 (I have narrow shoulders)
      2. Underarm bodice extended to size 14 in front (to so no FBA necessary-I am D-cup)/16 on back bodice (I have broad shoulder blades)
      2B. Sleeve cap needs to be size 12 at top just extended to length of 14 in front and 16 in back (no fancy adjustments)
      3. Waist 12 on back pattern piece/14 on the front piece
      4. Hips end at 14 width on back piece and 16 width on front piece (kept both at 14 length
      5. At lengthen/shorten line, lengthened 1.5″ which is where I like my blouses to end (I don’t usually tuck them in)

      Sounds scary but really, I just traced a pattern I knew worked and everything lined up at these spots on Tasia’s patterns. It has worked for me on the Renfrew and Cambie patterns, too. I wouldn’t do this on pants, though.

      (I don’t have a blog but post little mini-reviews on Flickr. Google sewintheforest’s photostream and you can see how patterns fit on my body which seems close to yours! Good luck :)

  18. Lucy December 3, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    I’m not really pear-shaped – 33″ bust, 28″ waist, 36″ hips – but I do fine with these patterns. Some I can make work straight out of the box (the Lonsdale, although I was a rookie then and cut a 6, when really I should do a 4), others need a bit more tweaking (the Alma I had to do an FBA on.)

    I muslined the Thurlows to a 2, but I think I need to go up a size and haven’t got round to that yet. I’m quietly confident I can make those work though!

    Also, it’s not always just about whether it fits or not – it’s about whether it’s flattering. Some of the details that are there to balance pear-shaped figures don’t necessarily look that good if you don’t need that balancing. (I know the next time I make an Alma I’m going to knock out some of the gathering because it looks a little bit too linebacker on me!)

  19. Amanda December 3, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    I love your patterns, but I’m not a pear shape! :) If you’re a rectangle like me, I’ve noticed that rectangles and pears seem to be similar in the bust/waist area. Going forward I might look into an FBA, but other than that I don’t have adjustments in the bust/waist. I have narrow hips so I do bring that in, but transitioning between sizes is easy enough. And, actually, I’ve yet to find a pattern company that fits me just right so I’m used to transitioning between sizes anyway!

    Like others have said, I just really love Tasia’s quality designs and thought process. Most compliments I get are from my Sewaholic creations. And it also feels good to be supporting someone’s dream. :)

  20. nothy December 3, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    I am so used to ignoring the information about which pattern flatters whom that I just went ahead and bought all the patterns I could from you – I just have to buy the Cordova after Xmas. I’m not pear shaped and I find the fit easy to make. Even the Thurlows – I added bit for the waist measurement and continued on…If these look good on me and are relatively easy to make up for me (an hourglass that is moving towards a rectangle) than they will work for anyone.

  21. Sue December 3, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    A very timely post, Tasia, you must have seen my recent comment about body shape! I am a petite size 12, rectangle/hour glass shape sewing my first Renfrew at the moment. Patterns from major companies always need neckline, shoulder and bust adjustments to fit me. Expecting the Renfrew neckline to be way too low, I reduced it and overcompensated! The neckband is a bit wavy (should have measured the inner edge, not the stitching line!). The rest of the top is a much better fit than I expected but could have done with just a slight FBA. After trying out the Renfrew and reading this post I have much more confidence to try your other patterns such as the Minoru and Cordova Jackets. I love your designs; keep them coming! Sue

  22. Claire December 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Thank you for this post!
    I have to say, the first time I cut one of your pattern (the Renfrew top), I was very confused because I had to mix several sizes, but the fit is great. I love my Renfrews. And you definitely convince me for the Thurlow trousers, I will have to give a try.

  23. Trisha December 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    I’m not a pear shape–more of a shapely rectangle! But I have made Sewaholic patterns with no problems. I love my Pendrell blouses, and I was recently a pattern-tester for the Cordova jacket, and it turned out beautifully.

  24. Rosi December 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    Thank you for answering the question I was just wondering. Unfortunately no Thurlow shorts for me but I’ll definitely invest in the jackets and dresses!

  25. Amy December 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    i love your patterns and I am not a pear shape but I have a hard time grading patterns and I am a little afraid too. I often end up with skirts that fit great in the waist and are huge in the hips! Can you do a post on this?

  26. Rachel December 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    I’m ‘average’ american size. 5’5″ size 10-12, but I’m hour glass shaped (40-30-40). So even when I shop for clothes finding something that ‘fits’ is difficult. However when I use your patterns they’re actually fairly easy to fit. The bottom typically fit with little or no alteration out of the package. The tops tend to take a big more adjustment in the chest but nothing overly difficult.
    Overall I’m always pleased with the fit and ease of construction considering that when I buy a ‘big 4’ I’m typically all over the board in terms of size and fit.

  27. Sara December 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    I don’t think you’ve ever defined what “pear-shaped” means to you. I’m not sure if I’m pear-shaped or not. Is it the width of your hips compared to your waist, bust, or shoulders? What’s your definition, please?

    • Tasia December 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

      Hi Sara! I answered this below but realized you might not see it, so I’ve pasted my thoughts on pear-shaped here:

      I define pear-shape as small bust, small waist, in proportion to wide hips, muscular thighs and a generous rear end. I know that there are so many variations of this body, such as wide hips/flat rear, or wide hips without above average thighs. When I developed the sizing, I based it on my own shape – small bust, average shoulders, small waist, wide hips, curvy butt, heavy thighs – and went from there as a starting point. The main difference is the wide hips as compared to the waist measurement. I hope this makes sense!

      So you’re right, it’s the width of the hips as compared to the waist. With a little extra allowance planned for curvy butts and heavy thighs, especially in anything that is fitted through the legs. The Thurlow trousers, for example, allow extra room for generous thighs, and the centre back seam allows you to fit a curvy rear, taking it in or letting it out as needed to fit. If I were to design a slim skirt, for example, I would not only worry about the waist-to-hip difference, but also plan for extra room around the backside, think about how long the zipper should be to get on and off a curvy lower half, and plan for heavy thighs. It’s about measurements but also a little about the characteristics of a pear-shaped body, too.

  28. ladykatza December 3, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    Question: Would you be willing to do a how-to FBA for the Cordova?

    • Tasia December 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

      Hi! The FBA for the Cordova would be just like a FBA on the Pendrell blouse. Both styles have vertical princess seams starting at the shoulder seam.

      Here’s a demo I did for the Pendrell Blouse:


      Hope this helps! The method would be the same as this tutorial, just using the Cordova pieces instead of the Pendrell pieces.

  29. Gina December 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    Another hourglass gal piping in to say other shapes can use your patterns too. I just made my third Renfrew this weekend (cowl neck this time), and I am in LOVE with it! I’m still working on fitting the Thurlows, but I know they will be flattering once I get them adjusted. I am a little scared of the more fitted blouses/jackets since they will require a sizeable FBA, but maybe I’ll get up the courage soon!

  30. Denise December 3, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    I thought the same thing too, but then spoke to Tasia, and felt confident to try her patterns. I’m glad I did! I’m an “inverted triangle fighting a losing battle with an apple” body shape, and the patterns work for me. I’ve made the Cambie dress, and next time I’m going to add a few darts in the back neck, and I’m going to raise the waistline. I made the Minoru jacket and also raised the waistline, and should have done the same waistline thing with the Lonsdale dress (I’m sensing a theme here). I would encourage people to go for it! Depending on your body shape, you might not have as many adjustments as you think!

  31. Melanie December 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    Really good to hear from fellow hourglass gals. I’ve hesitated to buy any of the patterns so far because it’s so drilled in to me to buy patterns that suit your shape best. I’ve learned quite a few fitting techniques this year and am really excited to apply them to Sewaholic patterns now.

  32. Amy December 3, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

    I agree whole-heartedly with this post. Your patterns work so well for me, and I’m more of a rectangle than anything else. I typically just grade down a few sizes from the waist to the hip. And, it’s worked perfectly every single time. Thanks, Tasia, for making some of the best patterns on the market.

  33. Seraina December 3, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

    I absolutely agree…
    I am more of an hourglass figure than a pear… (33.5, 26, 37) which is a sewaholic size 6/4/2…
    I have so far made the Minoru in size 2, Renfrew in size 2, Pendrell (several) in size 2 and the Cambie in size 4…
    I usually check the finished garment measurements and decide from there which size to go with…
    I am quite a beginner sewist and these are the only patterns i have worked with… i have never made a toile so i guess i just go lucky… because everything i made fits perfectly with basically no adjustments except taking in some side seams while sewing the clothing up…
    I am currently making another Minoru Jacket in a thicker wool fabric and will probably go for a size 4 to adjust for the thicker fabric… the first i made in a twill fabric…
    I also made a cambie dress for my sister who has a rectangle body shape… i went for bust and waist measurement and the fit was perfect…
    Thank you Tasia for all the great patterns!

  34. Nikki December 3, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    I’m not a pear shape either, There are certain adjustments I have to make on all patterns, but other than that I find sewaholic to be a much better fit compared to patterns from other companies.

  35. Erika December 4, 2012 at 1:06 am #

    Your patterns looks beautiful and well drafted, and I have been tempted by raving reviews to buy some, but I’ve always stopped for one simple reason: of course I can do an FBA from the pattern B-cup to an E that fit’s me, but that really doesn’t mean it it will look good on me. That a pattern fits is no guarantee that it flatters. After all, if it had been that simple, you wouldn’t have felt the need to make patterns that fit and flatter pear-shaped, right? It would just have been the simple question of altering the pattern from any other designer.
    I’m sorry to say that for me – stylewise, fit I can always alter – the only top-part of your patterns that I think would look good on my full bust, straight shoulders and narrow back, is the cambie. And it would take so much time to get that bust, back and those shoulders to fit…
    Of course the bottoms would fit, but skirts I have plenty of very wellfitting patterns for already =)

    I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that your patterns may not be for everyone, quite the conterary! You saw a void and has stepped in to fill it in an admirable way. I’m glad for all the pear-shapes and other body types that your patterns either fit or flatter (or both, for some lucky women!). I’m merely lamenting the fact that they don’t fit nor flatter my body, and am also raising a cautious voice that sometimes it’s not eunough to get a pattern to fit. Sometimes the style itself is unflattering on some bodytypes, and no fitting in the world can change that. Not an inherent bad thing, but something we sewists might need to keep an open eye for.

    • Allynara December 4, 2012 at 11:38 am #


      I agree with you on this one! Even though I did make several of Sewaholic Pattern’s and adore them (as stated above), I do keep an eye out and think to myself: would this suit me as well as it would fit me?

      So, thank you for putting us back on our feet: it’s not only the fitting that counts!

      • Tasia December 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

        Excellent points – you are right, you can make a pattern fit your measurements but it’s not guaranteed to suit you. I’ve done that with dress patterns in the past, by the time I got it to fit my hips, the design proportions were all off, and instead of flattering my figure, it exaggerated the parts I wanted to hide. (Or not hide, but at least not draw attention to..)

  36. Lizzy December 4, 2012 at 2:30 am #

    I’m not particularly pear shaped. My bust is 32, waist 24-25 and hips 36. My shoulders are also 36 inches and I’ve read that those measurements make me more hourglass. Although I am a small hourglass… I jokingly call myself a minuteglass as I am… well… quite thin! I don’t see anything hourglassy about me!
    However all your other patterns are amazing – I adore them. I don’t think I could ever make enough Almas or Cambies (I get so many compliments in them – I have three Cambies and two Almas). My Minoru was lovely but I am a little longer in the body. So my nearly ten-year-old has snapped that up! She adores it, the sleeves are a little long but she also get loads of compliments in it! If I make Minoru again it would be an easy fix by simply moving the elastic down a little.
    I did find the Thurlows a little loose around my butt – I still like them and enjoyed sewing them.
    I cannot WAIT to make the Cordova!!!! And I am desperate to start my Lonsdale. And I really really want to make the Pendrell. I have fabrics ready!
    Thank you for creating such lovely patterns that ft, flatter and make us all look so feminine. :-)

  37. Jessie Kwak December 4, 2012 at 6:31 am #

    I’ve made two of your patterns (A-line Cambie and Minoru), both times grading down about 3-4 sizes in the hips. They both fit beautifully and I get tons of compliments–but I actually wish I’d left some of the flare in the Minoru!

  38. Tasia December 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Thanks, everyone, for sharing your experiences with my patterns! Some really good suggestions and feedback from people who aren’t exactly pear-shaped but still had good results.

    I define pear-shape as small bust, small waist, in proportion to wide hips, muscular thighs and a generous rear end. I know that there are so many variations of this body, such as wide hips/flat rear, or wide hips without above average thighs. When I developed the sizing, I based it on my own shape – small bust, average shoulders, small waist, wide hips, curvy butt, heavy thighs – and went from there as a starting point. The main difference is the wide hips as compared to the waist measurement. I hope this makes sense!

  39. Online Fabric December 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    Great great post! I love that you did two different size according to the of you body. Personally I am not pear shaped and found it hard to find patterns that fit just right. I also loved loved loved the flor dress!

  40. Marcy December 4, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    I was a pattern tester for the Minoru jacket and I definitely did have to grade down in the hips, but that is not at all difficult. I just drew a line from my size at the waist to my (much smaller) size at the hip line.

    I’ve gotten hundreds of compliments on that jacket.

    I am most definitely not a pear – I barely have a waist at all, and I am not small up top, but I love the Sewaholic patterns because they give me the illusion of a waist – especially that jacket.

    I love my Pendrell blouse, and I have the Cambie dress pattern on my wishlist next.

    I am not lucky enough to fit into any pattern company’s patterns without grading, and the Sewaholic patterns are well written and nicely drafted, so having to grade down in the hips is no deterrent at all!

  41. Reyna Lay December 8, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    I would love to know what you used to make the patterns on? The software. I am a design student and would love to make patterns to sell, but don’t know how I would go about doing it. Do you have a post where you go in depth on how to sell patterns and what program you use and such? Thank you!

  42. LLBB December 12, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    I don’t have much new to add, but I just wanted to express that no one should be worried about a Sewaholic pattern not fitting her! I am alllllmost a pear; my hips are usually one size down from the bust and waist size I need. As others have said, you can make any adjustment you’d normally make on an another designer’s pattern to a Sewaholic pattern. I also agree that the only thing you need to look out for is the flattering issue. Like Lucy said, I think the main issue here can be too much 3D shoulder detail for top-heavy ladies. But, don’t we only pick patterns (from any designer) that we like the look of, anyway? :)

  43. scarlet August 3, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

    I might try one of these patterns for my lower half. My hips are 12.5″ larger than my waist, so I’m close fit for the lower proportions. However, my bust is 4-5″ too large for any of the dresses to fit, and that seems too much to adjust a pattern. Unfortunately, I have never come across a pattern that would fit hourglass proportions without alterations.