I spent day eight of SSS working on the muslin for Vogue 8648 a cute little dress with a pencil skirt that I’m working on to wear to a wedding this weekend. I also did some errands, and took the most wonderful lunchtime walk with my basset hound, stopping by my neighborhood sewing store, Sewtropolis (yay south Minneapolis small businesses!), getting a scoop of vanilla custard at Liberty Custard (yay South Minneapolis small businesses!), walking through Tangletown Gardens (yay South Minneapolis small businesses!) and ambling home along Minnehaha creek (yay South Minneapolis… oh, wait…).

my sewing and dog walking outfit – Hot Patterns 1063


The skirt is self-stitched, shirt from Macy’s. Boots, Avenue – a good source for wide-calf boots of dubious quality, but affordable price!

Later in the evening, as I was reeling around the interwebs, I came across this post from the Slapdash Sewist on pear body types. I’m a sucker for any article that helps me classify myself. Best trousers for my body type, what season my coloring is, if I’m an extrovert or introvert.

I’ve been forced to analyze my body type since starting to sew. Like most people, it’s not the most comfortable thing in the world to look at photos of myself, but it’s necessary to understand my shape in order to get clothing to fit correctly!

I always thought of myself as an hourglass with an annoying large hind end. I have a large bust (40 DD), a very large hip measurement with a lot of the weight on my belly and butt, and a somewhat defined waist. In the worst photos I’m definitely more snowman than bombshell!

I’ve realized over the past few months, though, that I’m more of a pear than an hourglass. Here are the numbers. I, personally, have always aspired to proportions of 36-24-36. What can I say, I listened to a lot of the Violent Femmes! And I’m not sure if ‘aspire’ is the best word. It’s not that I yearn to be at an ideal measurement, it’s more just a point of reference.

My bust and hip measurements are about 6″ apart, not nearly the same as the ‘hourglass standard’ of 36/36 or 0″ difference. My waist and bust measurements, on the other hand, are only about 5″ apart, instead of the hourglass proportion of a 10″ difference. If I started out with a 24″ waist, my measurements would be 29-24-35. Not very hour-glassey at all! (As an additional point of reference, according to an in-depth scan of google results, Barbie would be 36-19-33 and Marilyn Monroe was 35-37/22-23/35-36.)

Of course, that’s just numbers. When I look in the mirror, I do have a general hourglass shape, in part because my ribcage is about 3″ narrower than my waist at the smallest place. I still have much, much narrower shoulders than hips!

So what shape skirt is flattering? Below I’ve lined up photos of a pencil skirt dress with a waistline above my natural waistline, an a-line skirt (the hem of the sweater is sitting roughly at my natural waistline in this photo)and a full circle skirt.

I like all three skirts for different reasons, although I think that the A-line skirt is the least flattering of the three. I’ve never worn pencil skirts in my life, since RTW skirts that fit my hips are much too large in the waist and usually so wide around the hem they are more frumpy than I like. This version is a muslin for Vogue 8648 and not quite as fitted as the final will be, but it still is a look I like on me. And the full-circle skirt is a look I love, but it’s not just the skirt, it’s the wide belt at the narrow part of my ribcage and the hemline that hits just below my knee at a relatively narrow part of my leg.
The analysis continues…

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